Saturday, August 7, 2010

The creatures walk among us: Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: All Out Monsters Attack(2001) re-visited

I recently decided to re-watch all the Godzilla films that have been made thus far. This evening I sat down and watched Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: All Out Monsters Attack(2001), a movie originally released theatrically in Japan back in December, 2001 and directed by Shusuke Kaneko, who also directed the trilogy of "Gamera" films released between 1995-1999.

This movie is easily my favorite of the "Millennium" Godzilla films, that is those made between 1999 and 2004. As always I submit these observations, some made previously and perhaps some that haven't, for the inspection(and dissection) of the members of this online community -

What I liked:

-Chiharu Niiyama, who played BS Digital Q reporter "Yuri Tachibana". She took a lot of chances in this film in her pursuit(often literally) to cover Godzilla's rampage and the monster's subsequent battles with the guardian monsters. She's brave to the point of insanity and is IMO perhaps the most beautiful Japanese actress I've ever seen not named Yumiko Shaku

-Commander Tachibana, Yuri's father: a tough, no-nonsense type who shows phenomenal bravery near the end of the film in using the mini-sub to try and stop Godzilla

-the special effects and overall pyrotechnic effects in GMK are marvelous. They aren't perfect: some matte shots and CGI look a little too much like, well matte shots and CGI but are minor quibbles for me. The effects used during the monster battles and the destruction caused by the monsters look terrific overall

-Godzilla's appearance: with bulky legs, a thick neck, jaws full of sharp teeth and milky white, pupil-less eyes, Godzilla's look in this movie suits his role as lumbering, malevolent and unstoppable juggernaut quite effectively

-there were several one liners in the English subtitled version of the film I thought were amusing, particularly one from a soldier on the ground who, first observing Mothra flying overhead remarks, "That's one hell of a bug!"

-the black irony and humor in this film: the sequence where the man, relieving himself at the urinal, opens the nearby window to discover he's about to be trampled by Godzilla. In the other scene the injured woman in the hospital who believes she has dodged death again at the hands of the monster...only to be proven wrong a moment later.

-a movie such as this always needs IMO at least one scene of comic relief and we get it courtesy of the police officer who, seeing Baragon out of the ground for the first time by the police station, and believing his revolver might somehow scare the monster back below the ground, opens fire with his pea shooter at the huge creature

-Baragon: though I didn't care much for the monster's new roar, I did like the look of the creature and give it credit for attacking Godzilla in earnest despite the fact it was about half the size of Godzilla...and possessed no special weapon of any kind(beam or otherwise)

What I didn't like:

-the sequence(s) where Yuri Tachibana tracks Godzilla's movements while on a bicycle. I doubt even Lance Armstrong could keep up with the movements of the monster by bike and being asked to believe that a female reporter could do likewise is IMO assinine

-the young hoodlum on the motorcycle who decides to take it upon himself to drown the dog near the beginning of the movie. Thankfully the dog survived

-the absence of Baragon from the final battle: I still would have liked seeing all the guardian monsters in an all out battle against Godzilla

It remains my supreme hope that when Toho decides to do another Godzilla film Shusuke Kaneko is in the director's chair.

A short trailer for the film: