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.

Godzilla × Mechagodzilla (2002)

“Oh no! Do they actually expect me to be able to act?”

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!

Godzilla × Mechagodzilla (2002)

“Well $%#^$ you too!”

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 × Mechagodzilla (2002)

“I just want to be loved. Hug me! HUG ME!!!”

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 × Mechagodzilla (2002)

“Some people are never satisfied…”

The “Millennium theme” wreaks of “direct to DVD” mediocrity.
This Monster, This Menace
ONE IS AN UNSTOPPABLE CYBORG… with less battery life than a phone running Android, only needs a hard reboot to quell its rampage, and has a pet name to boot. THE OTHER IS A RELENTLESS FORCE OF NATURE… that retreats faster than a dog whapped on the snout with a rolled-up newspaper. Mechagodzilla and Godzilla may look sharp, but they don’t have the sand of the Dead Rabbits!
Oh, the humanity!
Kids got no place in Godzilla movies, science nerds got no game, and anyone not mentioned is, well… simply too cliché of a character to bother to mention. But if pouting could be channeled into a weapon, then Akane would be the most powerful weapon in any arsenal. Damn if it didn’t start to grow on me. I… I LOVE YOU, YUMIKO SHAKU!!!
Stakes is High
Mild menace beget mild stakes. It’s hard to feel the suspense when one monster just saunters in-and-out of town on his own accord and the other has less endurance than the Energizer Bunny.
Off the charts! Maybe a biocomputer based off Godzilla DNA isn’t as crazy as it sounds, but it’s all about presentation, baby! When someone forgoes a Powerpoint presentation in favor or showing you a tank full of Godzilla bones, you know your in for a good time! Who knew that DNA stored memories (and bitter memories at that) yearning to lash out from beyond the veil! THAT is your movie right there…
Da Art of Storytellin'
…or at least it should have been. It’s a brilliant concept, but is abandoned halfway thru, and what should have been the finale is the end of the first act. The hell—?! Since Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla fails at and has no true interest in being a movie about the abuses of science, what are we left with? A tale of Akane’s redemption? Who knew that good piloting and textbook fireman carries are all it takes to earn the approval of your peers and cleanse one’s soul.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla did redeem the absolute suckage that was, is, and forever shall be Godzilla 2000, but it’s just not enough.

The Message
Did Dr. Scientist Nerd Dad get any of Akane’s good loving in the end? Heck no! The man openly flirts while no one else will have a thing to do with her AND builds the robot that saves the nation, yet still gets shot down when asking her out on a date. Let that learn ya, young nerdlings, that it’s not radioactive lizards and cyborg dinosaurs you need to fear… it’s the romantic scorn from the cruelest monster of ’em all — woman out of your league!
Godzilla X Mechagodzilla (2002)

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 Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

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Author Braniff

Braniff believes there isn’t a problem that watching a lil’ Godzilla or a bit of impulse shopping can’t fix.

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