Monday, March 9, 2009

Back To The Future: Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991)

As is my custom on late Sunday afternoons or early evenings I make it a point to watch a Toho film. This week's fare: Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah, originally released to theaters in Japan back in December, 1991.

In recent years many of my DVD copies of Heisei Godzilla films have been largely ignored and I've decided to revisit the Heisei era of G movies.

One of the things I like best about this 1991 film is simply that two of Toho's most powerful monsters square off, not once but twice. Godzilla and King Ghidorah are both portrayed here as colossal and supremely powerful creatures, neither afraid of the other, and both fairly evenly matched, as the battles illustrate.

Godzilla Vs Biollante(1989) is still my favorite Heisei Godzilla movie. That said Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah is a fairly close second. It's a film I like to watch about every eighteen months to two years.

Thumbs up:

1. the overall special effects, which I thought looked quite good. As always there are those sequences that could look better but taken as a whole the effects get it done for me.

2. the bulked up appearance of Godzilla in this movie: the monster is a barrel chested, 100 meter tall juggernaut and the high speed filming, used extensively in this movie, as well as the audio effects used for the monster's foot steps, both help project the monster's size, power and intimidation "factor".

3. the ship of the Futurians: domed and with a pulsating, strobe like pulse flashing along the bottom part of the craft, this ship indeed looked like something from the 22nd century

4. Anna Nakagawa, who plays "Emi Kano", for simply looking gorgeous

5. the effects of KG's gravity beams: KG's beams look terrific and their effect on anything they come in contact with is devastating, buildings blasted apart in often spectacular explosions of debris

6. the two battles between the monsters: a nice combination of close in grappling and beam exchanges. Both Godzilla and KG use their respective powers to full use: KG uses his greater bulk to try and stomp down on Godzilla, as well as trying to strangle Godzilla with one of his necks. Godzilla relies on his primary weapon, his oral beam, as well as his nuclear "pulse". I liked the battle between Mecha KG and Godzilla somewhat more because the fight took place in the city(Tokyo), the absolute demolition of surrounding buildings by these two monsters a reminder of the collateral damage their fighting causes

Thumbs down:

1. the time travel plot. I've never been, with an exception here and there, a fan of films that heavily incorporate time travel into their story lines. Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah does nothing to change my overall disdain for time travel movie plots.

2. the uniforms of the two principal, male Futurians: their suits look like a cross between Sears Roebuck knockoffs and pajamas.

3. the scenes with the American actors on the US Navy warship: the spoken dialogue between these two fellows was laughable. Let us all be thankful that Kent Gilbert never took up acting as a full time career.

4. the roar(s) of the dinosaur on Lagos Island: this creature may have been a dinosaur but the audio used to render this creature's roars would suggest it's also part Rodan and part Gamera as well.

5. the piano intensive parts of the film's score. For some reason I just don't like it very much. Other parts of the score were fine for me, to be sure.

6. the sequence where Mr. Shindo stands watching the first G Vs KG battle: this scene has always made me wonder how exactly he's able to view the battle to begin with...perhaps via a satellite dish on top of his office tower?

There is continuing debate and discussion about what the next Godzilla film should be like. Sometime down the road I would love to see Toho remake Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah with updated effects.

Here's a short "Making Of" featurette video: