|GODZILLA: FINAL WARS
|Copyright 2004 Toho Film
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 22 May 2006
- Ozaki - If Keanu Reeves were Japanese, this is what he would look like.
- Miyuki - A molecular biologist for the United Nations who would not mind a little mutant lovin'.
- Captain Gordon - Hard-bitten commanding officer of the Gotengo. An imposing, but fun character, and perfect for a movie like this. His acting is a bit wooden at times.
- Kazama - Ozaki's main rival in M-Force. Selfish and rudely competitive, but he does seem committed to doing the right thing.
- Anna - Miyuki's older sister who is an investigative reporter.
- The Shobijin - Definitely the least interesting version of these two ever.
- The Young Xilian Leader - He possesses amazingly physical powers, including the ability to make people glow and fly around the room. It is the complete lack of discipline and self control that does him in.
- Godzilla - Lucky for mankind that he is intensely territorial.
- Mothra - Perishes in flames! And there is no egg or larva in sight! How is that for poor family planning?
- Gigan - As the Xilians' pet heavy hitter, he keeps getting blown apart pretty easy.
- Just About Every Other Monster - Knocked out or destroyed in record time, often in a silly way.
|The return to super scientific technology in the Godzilla series was a delight to me. I have said that before; this time they went all the way. There are flying submarine warships, mutant humans who serve in an elite monster fighting army, and devious aliens. I should be in heaven, but there are a couple of problems.
We open with Godzilla stomping across a part of Antarctica strewn with destroyed tanks and wrecked deathray machines. Delivering a final near-suicidal attack is the Gotengo, looking just like she did in "Atragon." The flying battlewagon is knocked from the sky by Godzilla's breath weapon. Then a fortuitous earthquake strikes, opening a chasm beneath the leviathan's feet. Gotengo fires a full salvo of missiles into a frozen mountainside, causing an avalanche that buries Godzilla under tons of ice.
In reference to the tanks in Antarctica: why deploy that much heavy armor to such an inhospitable location? It makes little sense, since the tanks require resupply and would probably perform poorly. You also have to wonder about a military commander who would expend that much effort to defend a frozen desert.
Now that the movie has your attention, the credits begin. A montage of footage from older monster movies plays, providing a nice way to pass the time while everyone important receives their credit up front. This does become a little confusing, because the previous scene seems to indicate that Godzilla was defeated and encased in ice during the 1950's. Some of the footage is from more recent films. Since later plot revelations preclude the idea of Godzilla escaping his icy prison every few years, the scenes do not make sense. I should probably not worry so much about this sort of thing. Then again, if not me, who will?
After the introduction montage and some additional background we find the Gotengo, obviously upgraded, again fighting a huge monster. This time it is Manda and the submarine is in serious trouble. The crew is lucky that Captain Gordon is solid as a rock. The giant serpent is vanquished and Gotengo, badly damaged, limps home. The new and improved Gotengo looks really good, by the way. The design shows obvious Zentradi influence. Too bad that the other flying battleships are less inspired.
Everything seems to be under control until one fateful day. A sudden outbreak of monsters threatens a number of major cities. Anguirus in Shanghai, Rodan in New York, Deanzilla in Sydney, and Kamakaras in Paris, to name a few. Ebirah also makes an appearance, destroying a refinery as pickup trucks with missile launchers randomly crash in the foreground. Ozaki and Kazama lead a crack assault team to stop the colossal crustacean. The team blasts the shelled monstrosity apart (they have some really cool guns), but are thwarted in breaking out the melted butter when it suddenly disappears.
Huge spaceships appear over parts of the planet, sucking up the monsters with some sort of teleporter. They then return to the mothership, which is a really huge honking sphere. Yup, the aliens are here and they are going to make our lives better. Everybody rejoices when the galactic visitors start appearing on chat shows.
How come nobody guessed that the aliens set this all up? Every single monster on Earth going on a rampage at the same time must be unheard of (granted, maybe during a full moon). Alien benefactor's suddenly showing up and teleporting the monsters away should raise a few red flags. Even more so when the extraterrestrials state that their reason for visiting is not to stop the monsters, but to save the Earth from Gorath (a huge, very dense, rogue planet). Awfully improbable coincidence if you ask me. Maybe I would believe it if a bowl of petunias and sperm whale fell out of the sky.
Mankind, blind to the writing on the wall as it may be, is saved by the reporter and other main characters. They realize that the UN Secretary General has been replaced by a Xilian, because he never blinks. This culminates on live television when Anna tricks the doppelganger and reveals the deception. Well, heck, Capt. Gordon shoots the fake Secretary General. Dying makes his head split open, revealing some sort of fish monster. (Now things get really crazy.) The young Xilian leader shoots his mentor through the brainpan with a pistol. A squad of mutants enters the room to deal with the Xilians, but the aliens prove they can control the elite humans. Ozaki is not affected, for reasons unknown, and the human freedom fighters escape from the trap. They capture Kazama in the process.
Meanwhile, the new Xilian king (president, prime minister, scout master, whatever) sets loose all the monsters again. He also orders an all out attack, with waves of small fighters joining the larger support ships and kaiju. Against such an onslaught Earth's flying battleships have no chance; all are destroyed, except Gotengo in her secret repair bay.
You can probably tell that "Godzilla: Final Wars" contains many elements that seem to be drawn from "The Matrix" and "Independence Day." Yes, it shows very heavily, but the elements fit quite well into a Godzilla movie.
Aboard the Gotengo, Captain Gordon makes full speed for "Area G" in Antarctica. The super flying battleship survives an attack by Gigan, sending a huge volley of missiles into Godzilla's icy prison. As would be expected, this wakes up the world's greatest monster and puts him in a bad mood. He vents by blowing Gigan's head off, then chasing after Gotengo. That was exactly Gordon's plan. "Operation: Final War" is simple. The Gotengo leads Godzilla on a world tour, bringing him into proximity with all the monsters that are destroying civilization.
Apparently, the big G is pretty territorial. He kills many of the rival kaiju; though Anguirus, Seesar, and Rodan are left in a comical heap like the bad guys in a superhero cartoon. This probably sounds like the battles are over fast, which they are. If I could complain about anything, it is that Godzilla's world tour results in several record knockouts. Rather unsatisfying for the audience, including Seesar kicking Anguirus (rolled up) at Godzilla like a soccer ball. The king of monsters jumps in the air to deflect the kick like some sort of goalie. That is the sort of thing I am up against.
With all the rampaging monsters out of the way, the Gotengo makes a frontal attack against the Xilian mothership. Really nice work here, with the Earth warship firing destructive beam weapons as it plows through a swarm of alien fighters. Between that and the mothership's sphere shape I had a brief glimpse of what a "Lensmen" movie would look like. Granted, the next scene would be an even more advanced ship blasting away with even more destructive rays, but that is how the old science fiction went. Kazama redeems himself during the attack by flying his jet fighter into the heart of the alien craft and ramming the forcefield generator, thus providing an opening for Gotengo to drill into it. Way to go Kazama. Though, I would probably have fired a missile at the generator rather than crashing into it.
Ozaki, Capt. Gordon, and the others enter the alien ship to confront the evil star children. You can add "DragonballZ" to the credits for "where we got ideas for this movie," because it turns out the alien leader and Ozaki are both super-saiyan mutants. They battle it out while the other characters, including the real Secretary General and some other missing public figures, all run away. I swear, there are some new ideas in here; just not many. If a prehensile furry tail had popped out the back of Ozaki's pants, then he had grown into King Kong to fight Godzilla, I probably would not have been surprised.
While the human plot plays out, Godzilla and Mothra (yeah, she makes an appearance too) fight an "American Chopper" upgraded Gigan and Monster X. The latter looks just terrible. Imagine if you combined the Guyver with the funky hybrid monster from "Alien Resurrection," that or a culexus assassin. Anyway, both bad guys do get waxed. Gigan departs again in a spectacular explosion when a flaming Mothra slams into it. Monster X is not completely finished. It suddenly grows three heads on long necks, sprouts wings, and transforms into Ghidrah.
Between you and me, Ghidrah is much better than Monster X. I wish they had just introduced the final Xilian monster without the hidden identity twist. Cutting out that part of the battle might have allowed for more satisfying confrontations earlier. Anguirus vs. Godzilla should have been much longer, because the spiky little kaiju is a scrapper. To make matters worse, I did not find the quality of Godzilla and Ghidrah's combat very good. Superior battles between these two can be found in almost every other film where they met.
Once the citywide destruction is over, it appears Godzilla is about to roast the surviving heroes alive. Then Minilla shows up (there has been an annoying side plot with him running through the movie), stretches his arms wide in the universal sign for "Stop Killing People," and stands between the king of monsters and the pitiful humans. Godzilla just shrugs and stomps off into the sunset.
The director knew how to direct the human plot and model battle scenes to make them entertaining. With the crazy science, monster fighting mutant soldiers, and alien antagonists this is probably the best human plot in a while. Sadly, the monster battles mostly suck.
Oh, and something I started singing when the Secretary General was revealed in all his pelagic glory is still stuck in my head. "Fish heads, fish heads, doppelganging fish heads..." Try having that in your head for a month. Arrrrgggghhh!
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Flying super submarines should always have the best air conditioning that money can buy.
- Kaiju rampages are financial disasters for fruit cart owners.
- Those incarcerated in Japanese military prisons are allowed access to martial arts weapons.
- The problem with being human is that every other race in the universe either finds your flesh tasty or needs your brain fluid to survive.
- A good dirt bike can outrun a performance sport motorcycle.
- Fishing would be a great deal less popular if salmon spit fire.
- Cloud stopped Meteor by using his Godzilla materia.
- Being a voyeur is okay; unless your subject is a twenty-five thousand ton radioactive reptile.
- 14 mins - I know what you are thinking. The answer is: with the world's largest chainfall and lots of elbow grease.
- 23 mins - If Spiga were smart he would be in Alabama. The trailer density is much higher there compared to Arizona.
- 26 mins - This scene makes me wonder why MegaForce never took on Ebirah.
- 46 mins - Are we certain that the dog is not an alien? Ugly little pooch.
- 54 mins - Eye twitch combat!
- 68 mins - I wonder if any of the guys stationed there ever played hockey over Godzilla?
- 77 mins - Talk about lip gloss.
- 101 mins - How much do you want to bet that one of the bad guys is cursing that they are too advanced to use grenades.
- 116 mins - "Hey Godzilla, we found your naked mole rat."
- Shobijin: "Gigan was an evil entity, and today the mutants have that evil in their blood cells."
- Young Xilian Leader: "I told you, your type of being exists only to serve us. You understand? You're just cattle."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||M-Force Commander: "Try to distract its attention while those two fire the maser. We're going to fry that lobster!" |
Mutant Soldiers: "Yes sir!"
||Young Xilian Leader: "Resistance is useless. Our weapons and science are far superior to anything you have. What's more, the monsters are under our control." (Silly chuckle.)
||The Gotengo XO verifies the plan with Captain Gordon.
||Old Man: "Hey, Godzilla, it's over! You must forgive!" |
Old Man: "Damn lizard!"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Godzilla takes on Seesar, Rodan, and Anguirus in a brutal soccer match. Guess who gets kicked around as the ball.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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