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Rated PG-13
Copyright 2004 Toho Film
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 22 May 2006

The Characters:  

  • 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.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

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.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 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 formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note godzillafinal1.wav 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!"
Green Music Note godzillafinal2.wav 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.)
Green Music Note godzillafinal3.wav The Gotengo XO verifies the plan with Captain Gordon.
Green Music Note godzillafinal4.wav Old Man: "Hey, Godzilla, it's over! You must forgive!"
Godzilla: "Rooooaarrrr!"
Old Man: "Damn lizard!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipgodzillafinal1.mpg - 3.3m
Godzilla takes on Seesar, Rodan, and Anguirus in a brutal soccer match. Guess who gets kicked around as the ball.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #33. Posted on September 10, 2007, 03:26:12 PM by RapscallionJones
I was really happy with this movie.  I think it moves a little too slow for my liking and spends way too much time on the mutants, but there's a fight on two moving motorcycles, for crying out loud!

The mid-movie smackdown when G finally faces down all the monsters (and roasts American Godzilla) was awesome.  That big American guy also sold me on the movie big time.
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #34. Posted on September 10, 2007, 05:50:25 PM by GoHawks
Overall, I like this movie.  It's not a question to me of if the film is good, but rather what is good about it and what isn't.  This was the big G's 50th anniversary movie, and Toho tried to pull out all the stops on this one, with mixed success.

Almost everyone complains along the lines that the monster fights are too short and too silly.  I agree with this assessment, but one must realize that for every monster that appears in this movie, that's either that many more minutes that must be added to the running time or that many more that must be removed from other monsters' fights.  Still, if the human (and alien!) part of the film were shortened, that would open up time for the monsters.

Much of the human part of the film was obviously influenced by other recent movies (e.g. The Matrix) and it shows.  I feel this is the weakest part of this movie.

What does work well in this film?  The monsters.  This is a (Godzilla) daikaiju film.  It's supposed to be about the monsters.  Is there any other film that has as many as this one?  Mostly, they are well done with only a smattering of CGI (e.g. Anguirus when he's a bowling ball).  (I had a hard time figuring out who Zilla was supposed to be until the Real Godzilla put the smack down on him.)

I don't watch daikaiju films for the 'kung-fu action', but the fighting action that was in this film was pretty good.  (Yeah, even the <cough><Tom Cruise><cough><Mission Impossible><cough> motorcycle scene wasn't bad, if unbelievable.)

I would not recommend this film to be someone's first Godzilla film, but I would recommend it as a 3rd or 4th.

[Toho] said 2013, but they've said they have absolutely no interest in doing any more daikaiju films for a long while.

I'm showing my American ignorance here, but just out of curiosity what kind of films other than daikaiju does Toho even make?

Finally, just one quick anecdote.  Above, RapscallionJones says "That big American guy".  One must never assume that a Caucasian in an Asian film is an American (although in this case the actor is and I'm sure RapscallionJones knows this).  When I was in Singapore (in the U.S. Navy), I came across a typical redneck type family waiting for the subway.  I couldn't figure out for the life of me why a family of rednecks would want to go to Singapore, or for that matter how they could afford it.  Then I heard them talk and everything became clear to me.  They were from Australia (which is right near Singapore).
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #35. Posted on September 10, 2007, 08:07:08 PM by trekgeezer
There was way too much of the Matrix- style stuff and not enough monster action.  I loved the part where big G drop kicks Roland Emmerich's CG monstrosity into the Sydney opera house.
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #36. Posted on September 10, 2007, 09:02:20 PM by Shadow
There was way too much of the Matrix- style stuff and not enough monster action.

I would agree with that assessment. I like the film, but it really needed more time spent with the monsters.
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #37. Posted on September 10, 2007, 09:16:57 PM by akiratubo
I would have to call Final Wars a failure as a Godzilla movie.  Honestly, it felt like they were making an alien invasion movie when, all of a sudden, Toho bosses called in and said, "Throw some Godzilla scenes in here!"

The monster scenes were very rushed and you could edit them out without really changing the movie much.  And, hell, Godzilla himself basically just makes a cameo appearance!

So, yes, a failure as a Godzilla movie.

However, as a big dumb action movie, they don't get much better than this!  Watching Final Wars was like listening to a little kid tell a story: it didn't make much sense, story threads came out of nowhere and went back in a hurry, but there was always something happening!

"Godzilla was fighting a tank and got buried in ice and then -- Oooh!  And then Manda was fighting a submarine except it was really a plane and then there were aliens and mutant people and -- and --!!!"

Aside from that, there were just enough scenes that were right.  For instance, when Godzilla faced off against Angilas, King Caesar, and Rodan, you could tell he was wondering why his old buddies were trying to fight him.  And he simply beat the hell out of them instead of killing them because, hey, they're his buddies.

The ending was pretty crappy.  Aw, look, the damn kid and Minya are stopping Godzilla and the humans from fighting.  Awwwwwwwwbarrrrrrrrf.

Fortunately, before that, we had the Planet X guy going "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" while things blew up around him.  No movie that includes and image like that can be that bad.
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #38. Posted on September 10, 2007, 10:39:32 PM by Jim H
I enjoyed it, but it should have had twice as much Godzilla and about a half hour of people crap cut out.
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #39. Posted on September 10, 2007, 10:51:08 PM by Joe the Destroyer

I'm showing my American ignorance here, but just out of curiosity what kind of films other than daikaiju does Toho even make?

Check out Toho Kingdom (, and on the right click on "Movies."  Nowadays, it seems they do more comedies, drama, and action flicks than anything else, but they also do a lot of fantasy, horror, and samurai films.  In fact, most, if not all, of Kurosawa's old samurai films were produced by Toho.  They also distribute a lot of films in Japan that other studios make like Reincarnation (of Horrofest fame) and Ringu.

Interesting fact: Toho produced the film Milo and Otis.
Re: Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Reply #40. Posted on September 11, 2007, 11:29:29 AM by horseshoe crab
The working title was Milo vs. Otis.
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