New Godzilla does battle with a cyborg brewed from the DNA procured from the bones of old Godzilla. Science!
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Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla starts off rather stronger than I can ever seem to remember. During the first 10-15 minutes, I feel myself overcome with an urge to sing it’s praises, and hold it high as a testament to the brilliance that the new era of Godzilla has in store for the unenlightened. Then that damn kid shows up and it all goes to crap. Kids who wear shorter than short shorts might play well with Gamera, but have no place in Godzilla. Godzilla’s Revenge, Godzilla vs Hedorah, Godzilla 2000… it’s a trend that just needs to stop!
But it’s not fair to place all the blame on the youth, for there’s only so much damage one child with abandonment issues can do, and there is so much more wrong at play here. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla simply doesn’t know what type of movie it wants to be. It’s it a story about cowardice and redemption? Is it about the follies of toying with nature and trying to bend it to our will? The former is beyond cliché, and the later is both central theme and afterthought at the same time.
Usually making the battle against Godzilla personal is stupid. He is a force of nature after all. Or is he? Early in the film, when the Big G puts his foot down on the jeep and ground the military men into compost, he knew what he was doing. Ohhhh he knew! Godzilla was sending a deliberate message, cuz quite frankly, since Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, he’s been rather a jerk. Still I maintain that you should put your personal feelings aside and beat feet. Running from Godzilla isn’t an act of cowardice — it’s good sense!
Besides, it’s not heart and determination that beats Godzilla — it’s luck and super-science! I will give the Japanese government credit for thinking big. They forgo the standard gradual escalation of anti-monster schemes, bypassing traditional methods such as electrified nets and big pits, and take the jump from missiles ‘n lasers straight to giant robot! That’s super-scientifical thinking at it’s finest! The BEST super-science is science that is really super-duper yet lethally hazardous and an affront to rationale thinking, therefore the decision to make a cyborg and program it with the DNA of the original Godzilla is so off-the-wall, it’s brilliant.
You can’t even reprimand the builders for when said creation goes crazy-eight bonkers and runs a’muck. That’s just par for the course. However, any mechanized-menace that can be tamed into submission via a mere software update simply fails to reach legendary status. I had hopes for Mechagodzilla (affectionately named “Kiryu” by the heroes, but I think that is stupid, do not share their good feelings, and refuse to address it as such) helping history show again-and-again how nature points out the folly of man, but alas t’was not to be. And upon that sad revelation a mere halfway thru the playtime, the movie is all downhill from there.
Godzilla X Mechagodzilla is just friggin’ unbalanced in every way possible. I never like to criticize the special effects — to do that means to miss the point of G-fun, but here they’re such a mixed bag. One moment they’re so superb that you want to shove them in the face of every smug troglodyte that ever dismissed Godzilla-fare for being just a bunch of men in silly rubber suits. Then the next, everything is stiffer than Yumiko Shaku’s acting. It’s not only annoying, it’s embarrassing, and I won’t be made a fool!
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla did redeem the absolute suckage that was, is, and forever shall be Godzilla 2000, but it’s just not enough.
Is Kiryu controlled by DNA, remote control, the cockpit? Is he friend, foe, neither? The makers of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla can’t seem to make up their mind. Neither can I, and that’s why I rank this movie somewhere in the middle.
Godzilla × Mechagodzilla (2002)
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