Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mechanically Inclined: Godzilla X Mechagodzilla(2002)

Let me first say that I don't believe Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla(2002) is the best Millennium Godzilla film made by Toho. Rather, I believe GMK(2001) is. That said I like the 2002 Millennium G movie a lot, and for a lot of reasons. As I do every Sunday afternoon I sit down and watch a Toho film. Today's fare: Godzilla X Mechagodzilla, first released to theaters in Japan back in December, 2002. Some observations about this movie, both positive and negative -

Thumbs up:

1. the Godzilla suit, which was modified from the G suits used in Godzilla 2000(1999) and Godzilla Vs Megaguirus(2000). I'm sure there are those who don't like the suit as much. The suit looked less scaly and the dorsals didn't look so gigantic(and over-sized).

2. the character of "Akane Yashiro", played by model/actress Yumiko Shaku. Yumiko Shaku is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and while I could absolutely watch her for no other reason than that her character in this movie is so much more than looks. She's mentally and physically tough, disciplined and dedicated to her job. Granted, she suffers a confidence problem and is extremely hard on herself because of the accidental deaths of comrades which she was unfortunately involved in. Rather than feel self pity Akane Yashiro swallowed her pride and kept plugging. In the end she stepped up and redeemed herself quite well.

3. the character of Dr. Yuhara: forgetting for a moment his bumbling attempts to make nice with Akane Yashiro, presumably to get her to agree to a date with him, this affable, somewhat goofy scientist is still a nice guy, easy to like, clearly a good father to his daughter "Sarah" and a key to the success of "Kiryu"(Mechagodzilla).

4. the rendering of Mechagodzilla: I didn't find the MG construction to be as visually threatening as the '74 MG rendering. Rather, the MG in this film looks almost noble. It's array of weapons is very impressive and its combat tactics against Godzilla are also impressive.

5. many of the effects shots, in particular MG's plowing through the building after it malfunctions, as well as many shots used during the final battle. High speed filming slows things down in many of the final battle sequences. The shot of Mechagodzilla driving Godzilla backwards along the ground is very satisfying to watch. I also liked the cameo appearances of Misato Tanaka, who played "Kiriko Tsujimori" from Godzilla Vs Megaguirus(2000), and her old CO from that film. MG's descent to attack Godzilla before the monster can incinerate the hospital is very cool: Mechagodzilla descends, slides along the ground and slams into Godzilla, sending the monster flying.

Thumbs down:

1. Lieutenant Togashi's hair style: Togashi is the leader of the Kiryu Squadron and yet his hair is a mini-mullet in back. This guy was in need of a haircut and badly.

2. Hayama: he acted like a jackass in this film and is lucky Akane Yashiro didn't throw his ass through a window.

3. New Japanese Prime Minister Igarashi accepting flowers from outgoing PM Tsuge(played by Kumi Mizuno). It should have been the other way around, for God's sake. A man accepting flowers. Good God.

4. The actor who plays "Dr. Kanno": this guy, with crewcut and possessing a squat, burly physique, looks more like a professional wrestler than a low temperature physicist.

A scene from the film: