Godzilla is on a mission to stomp a mudhole in the land of Japan, and only Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah can stop him. Oh who are kidding...
In the never-ending mission to spread the goodness that is Godzilla to all, we’re ranking every film with the potent patent-pending power of our proprietary ranking matrix. LIVE! from Planet Zero presents the Kaiju Kountdown!
I don’t think that I’m going that far out on a limb when I say that the Millennium Series of Godzilla films is all over the map in terms of quality, and the decision to cast Japanese Idols as the leads sure hasn’t helped. Long gone are the days where Akiko Wakabayashi reigned as a space princess and seduced James Bond, and no matter what side of the Pacific you’re on, a pretty face alone maketh a thespian not.
I have nothing personal against Chiharu Niiyama. She possesses much more natural charm than either Yumiko Shaku and Miho Yoshioka from the two Millennium Mechagodzilla movies (good gravy are those girls stiff!), and not many can pull off orange locks with a shirt to match. Unfortunately Chiharu can’t be more than 5’2 and 105lbs, so she simply lacks the upper-body strength needed to carry this movie on her back.
The supporting cast is so weak, mealy, and poorly written, that being cliché would have been a welcomed improvement! Instead, we’re forced to suffer through a bunch of half-baked premises and abrupt personality switches. Yuri (Chiharu) has a mild-mannered suitor, who never mans up to makes a move and is a pushover. Her television producer boss is a tad quirky, but not enough to be entertainingly eccentric. Her naval-commander father wears some cool shades and rocks a soul patch in lieu of a personality. His second-in-command gets all teary-eyed and lovelorn out of the blue just in time for the end credits. Their commander-in-chief is full of bravado and vinegar but turns into a whimpering mess after a SINGLE failed encounter with Godzilla.
Hell — the entire ending makes no sense! Yuri and dad have a moment of Michael Bay-esque military revelry. The speak about the brave sacrifice of the JSDF soldiers and monsters and how teamwork saved the day, apparently in complete denial of the proceeding events, because the army, navy, air force, Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah got their asses handedly whooped by Godzilla who is only defeated by the sheerest bit of dumb luck. It was the kaiju equivalent of Michael Spinks versus Mike Tyson in ’88.
There’s a lot about this movie that irks me. Even the concept of Mothra, Baragon, and Ghidorah as forces of nature seems rather lazy compared to origins in movies past. But if you think that I hold this film in poor esteem, you’d be wrong. I love it! There’s one thing that raises this movie to spectacular heights, and that is the utter, unabashed savagery!
Godzilla, or rather Gutzilla cuz just look at that belly, is one hardcore, cruel, vicious bum bastard! This isn’t a monster who casually destroys — he remorselessly kills! Monsters get bit. Monsters get lit. People get stomped. People get whomped. And the carnage is depicted from the vantage point of the man on the street which makes it all the more gruesome. Each death will have you jumping out of your seat and saying “OH SNAP!” That’s a LIVE! from Planet Zero Guarantee®!
Mothra simply goes thru the motions, and Ghidorah is underwhelming even when super-powered (personally, I blame it on the long legs). Meanwhile Baragon, who is brimming with personality and puts up a helluva fight, gets left out of the title. It’s just not right! And it’s that sort of injustice that fuels the evil in Godzilla’s soul.
What Godzilla lacks in looks, he makes up in sheer nastiness! He’ll look you up and down, call your momma out her name, mess up your credit rating, leave out the milk, and THEN stomp on you. He’s a mean son-of-a-bitch!
Ever the screen veteran, Godzilla doesn’t let a pedestrian script deter him from displaying the mastery of his craft. The good heavily outweighs the bad. Ironically, the “good” is the very, very bad things that happen to the good people and monsters that cross Godzilla’s path.
Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
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