Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Review)
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
aka Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju sokogeki
Chiharu Niyama as Yuri Tachibana
Ryudo Uzaki as Admiral Taizo Tachibana
Masahiro Kobayashi as Teruaki Takeda
Shiro Sano as Haruki Kadokura
Eisei Amamoto (Hideyo Amamoto) as Professor Hirotoshi Isayama the Prophet
Mizuho Yoshida as Godzilla/Gojira
Akira Ohashi as King Ghidorah
Rie Ota as Baragon
Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack aka GMK aka Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju sokogeki aka Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: The Giant Monsters’ General Offensive (the literal title) has a reputation of being one of the better entries in the series. This couldn’t be further from the truth. GMK is one of the worst entries, in my opinion THE worst film of the whole series. Biollante? Megalon? The Smog Monster? They are three Citizen Kanes compared to GMK. Director Shusuke Kaneko became famous for making the highly regarded modern Gamera films, and was given a chance to make a Godzilla film. His original concept would have been far superior, but Toho screwed around with his monster choices, and that combined with stylistic touches I don’t really care for ended up melting into a nasty soup of disflavor. We shall go over some of the origins of the film before we get to the story, and deal with the problems in their appropriate areas.
Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguilus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack would have been a neat film. It would have eliminated one of my major criticisms of this film, the complete role reversals of several established monsters. It also would have provided a reappearance of Varan after many years (last seen briefly as a ratty costume in Destroy All Monsters), Anguirus returning (who hadn’t been seen since Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla), and Baragon (who made it into the final film.) Varan was actually director Shusuke Kaneko’s favorite monster, but he ended up keeping Baragon in the final product, and changing Ghidorah’s face to resemble the old Varan costume. Also, rumor is the Gotengo from Atragon would have also appeared (it ended up reappearing in Godzilla: Final Wars, alongside Anguirus) and lots of maser tanks (the tanks with the satellite dishes that shoot lasers.) But as Varan and Baragon were not box office bankable, something Toho was more worried about after the failures of Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus; and after Kaneko’s own friends had no idea who Anguirus and Varan were (I don’t know if they knew who Baragon was) he decided to drop them in favor of the pushed by the studio King Ghidrah and Mothra. This provided a small wrinkle storywise. Okay, a huge wrinkle. The plot of the film is about Godzilla attacking, being the souls of the dead from World War 2 out for revenge. Japan would then be defended by three guardian creatures, which were weaker than Godzilla but teamed up their power. Since Mothra and King Ghidrah can both hold their own against Big G, they had to modify them a bit to make them smaller and weaker looking. Also, that meant Ghidrah was a hero for the first time ever, something I do NOT agree with. The monsters end up not being much of team players, with only Mothra doing things to help anyone else.
So now Godzilla, instead of being treated like a force of nature, is now a malevolent force of destruction. He doesn’t even have pupils anymore, to give him a more sinister look. I kind of find that annoying, but it fits in with the intended storyline, so I let it go. He also has a hunched back and pot belly, which is a tad harder to let go. Hit the gym, Big G! As a film in the Millennium series, it is free to rewrite continuity however it sees fit. Still, some things shouldn’t change, like character allegiances. The success of the film prompted Toho to continue making a few more G films, so some good came out of it. Just because I like it the least doesn’t mean I won’t watch it, but when given a choice between chocolate and chocolate with peanut butter, you take the C&PB every time. Plus, I lied earlier, this cannot be the worst Godzilla film, as thanks to this and Godzilla Final Wars, the American Godzilla is now part of the canon, making it the worst film. Hopefully some enterprising young student makes their own fan film of Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguilus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, with which we can live on vicariously until Toho decides to start pumping out more Big G films again.
Before we get on with the plot, we get on with tha characters…ROLL CALL!!
Now we begin. After the first attack in 1954,the Japan Defense Force was formed. This is told to us by Admiral Taizo Tachibana, who is lecturing the latest group of cadets. He also mentions another giant monster recently attacked New York City. Two of the cadets discuss this, asking if it was really Godzilla, the second cadet telling him the Americans say so, but the Japanese scientists aren’t convinced. Right off the bat, a swipe at Godzilla In Name Only from the crappy American film. Props for that. Admiral Tachibana is cut short by a special message: there is a missing US nuclear sub. They dispatch the rescue sub Satsuma.
The Satsuma finds the wreck of the nuclear submarine, there is evidence of an explosion. Suddenly, underwater turbulence hits the sub, and the bug-eyed captain sees some Godzilla spines swim by as a tune that sounds suspiciously like the Jaws theme plays. The credits roll, projected on the skin of monsters. Think about Godzilla vs. Jaws. Or Godzilla vs. Megalodon! I’d watch it.
After the credits, Reporter Yuri Tachibana is filming scenes for her new documentary about a local guardian of Mt. Myoko in Niigata. Outraged townspeople are upset that her company is doing a paranormal film, but Yuri manages to convince them that they will get the village famous, and it will be a tourist draw. I guess she saw Blair Witch Project recently. There is a very brief earthquake, and then the head village guy agrees. Yuri sees a creepy-looking old man for a few seconds.
Later, the head village guy (they don’t say who the heck he is!) is chatting up what I can assume to be his wife (given that they are both around 50) in a car in a dark parking lot (okay, maybe he has an older mistress or something) when a Japanese Biker Gang descends upon them. Japanese biker gangs are no Hell’s Angels, they ain’t even Hell’s Homeless Guys. They all have dirt bikes, with bicycle horns, and some have big goofy flags. They circle around the car like a bunch of putzes and just make a bunch of loud noise. Seriously, if this is the limit of non-yakuza criminal gangs in Japan, that country is filled with weird people. One of the bikers wrecks an idol statue (which will become a common theme in the film, ancient idol statues getting destroyed by punk teenagers or others) and then they drive into a nearby tunnel when an earthquake happens. The movie seems to like us, as it has the entire tunnel collapse and kill all the bikers. A guy in a truck just outside the tunnel catches a glimpse of Baragon in the debris.
The next morning, Yuri is wondering why the earthquake she felt wasn’t registered on any of the seismic equipment in Japan. That has to wait, as her long-haired smoking boss Haruki Kadokura is less than intrigued by that story, or the tunnel collapse. As their production company only makes low-budget films (sounds like something I would like!) they don’t have the money to go investigate things. Back at the tunnel collapse, the army takes out the special D-03 Drill gun to clear the tunnel. The D-03 is a missile-launched drill (really!) that looks insanely ridiculous, especially on its special custom launching vehicle. So they dropped the maser weapon because it was too far-fetched, but left in a rocket-propelled drill. Hmmmmmm…..
At a bar, Yuri complains to her cameraman that she can’t make the movies she wants. They are then joined by Teruaki Takeda, Yuri’s friend and expert on science and paranormal science. He gives her an old book entitled The Guardian Monsters, and inside are pictures of Baragon, Ghidrah, and Mothra.
Lake Ikeda, Kagoshima: Some dumb teenagers shoot off fireworks and steal from a store. They then put a dog in a box so they can dump it in the lake! BOOOO!!! What is wrong with Japan? Plus the girls in the group are the loudest supporters of dog drowning. As they get on a boat and go out to dump the dog, something knocks the boat over. The kids get sucked under one by one, and then something rises from the depths…Mothra! In caterpillar form. Mothra now eats people, I guess. Teruaki Takeda ends up taking a drunk Yuri home, her father answering the door. Her dad is the Admiral, in case you have forgotten. The next morning, the two are chatting while watching the news, talking about how 11 people died at the lake, their bodies wrapped in a cocoon. The footage also shows the rescuers pulling the dog out of the box safe and sound, so that’s good.
Yuri takes the train to Lake Ikeda along with Teruaki and her cameraman, as the military discusses the submarine sighting of Godzilla. Various high ranking military brass question if it was really Godzilla. Military brass is useless, as usual. Near Lake Ikeda at Motosu, an officer there tells Yuri about an old man who had been arrested. It is the same one she saw in the forest, Professor Hirotoshi Isayama, and he tells her that Godzilla will return, and to go to where Ghidrah is buried: a shrine where the monsters were killed 2000 years ago. The movie doesn’t say it, but I’m betting Jesus slew them. The monsters were supposed to sleep for 10,000 years, but are being awoken prematurely to deal with the threat. You see, if Japan wasn’t filled with crazy warlords, the monsters could get some rest! But, no, they have to go try to conquer the Pacific…. Anyway, Yuri goes and at the shrine, and Teruaki picks up a broken piece of a Japanese Idle and puts it in his pocket. You can tell by me mentioning something this lame, it must be important later.
Meanwhile on Maganate in the Bonin Islands (I have been unable to locate this part of the Bonin/Ogasawara Islands), the location of Godzilla’s first appearance back in 1954, some teenagers are playing ping-pong in the basement while one girl mentions that they are where Godzilla first appeared as one of her friends sees photos of the event on the wall of her house. Shortly, they hear faint crashes that get louder and louder. Godzilla’s feet smash the house! Yuri is watching the tape of the Old Man Professor Hirotoshi Isayama, who mentions that Godzilla is full of souls of the Pacific War dead. Godzilla is attacking because Japan wants to forget the war. The army reaches the Maganate-Bonin Islands, and some of them see a moving hill. They make no more radio transmissions, because the moving hill was Godzilla and he kills them dead. Professor Hirotoshi Isayama states that the souls of good people are stored in the idols around Japan, and they will power the monsters that will help fight Godzilla. Speaking of the monsters, a businessman who is about to hang himself with his tie manages to fall into a pit where the monster Ghidorah is sleeping. This freaks him out and he runs. Guess he wants to live now. By the way, the suicide man was actor Yukijiro Hotaru, who played Inspector Osako in the recent Gamera trilogy.
A press conference by the military admits that Godzilla is probably back, and the military sends out the big guns. The battle cruiser Aizu is near the Bonin Islands, and seems to be made out of bad CGI. Yuri and Teruaki explain to her father the Guardian Monsters and how they are defending the homeland (not the nation, a point specifically pointed out) of Japan, but he doesn’t initially accept their explanation. The bug-eyed Captain of the minisub arrives to help, but Admiral Tachibana tells him their funding has just been cut so they can’t do anything. Yes, cut funding to the anti-Godzilla unit just after Godzilla has been spotted. Who is running the Japanese military, the Joker? Admiral Tachibana then remembers when he was a child 50 years ago and Godzilla first attacked, killing his whole family.
The anti-Godzilla unit has detected an underground tremor heading south around Niigata. It is Baragon, and the Admiral has proof of a new monster, near the location of the legends. The first people to see Baragon when he attacks the police station Yuri was at call Baragon Red Godzilla. This is sort of funny because when I was a kid and drew pictures of monsters, I invented a few of my own, my favorite being a red version of Godzilla who shoots lasers from his eyes. Baragon has no lasers and looks nothing like Godzilla, but the movie did remind me of being a small boy. Baragon running around seems to have drawn out Godzilla, who emerges from the sea and looks just plain goofy. I am not impressed with his look here; he looked a lot better in some of the previous films. The blank-eyed lizard look of Big G just doesn’t seem like him, even if things were supposed to change for the new story. Baragon is heading to Mt. Fuji, to yell and try to wake up Ghidrah, then goes to where Godzilla is. Godzilla first must smash his way through the town he is in, including walking by a hospital with one of the female survivors from the teenagers at the Bonin Islands. She panics as she sees Godzilla walk closer and closer, unable to move due to broken legs, only to have him pass by. Until his tail then smashes the building. As she isn’t seen again, she’s probably DOA. Godzilla also does something he rarely does anymore, fire breath a bunch of pedestrians. The effect is seen as a flash followed by a mushroom cloud, noticed by some school kids far away. Very subtle. Not only do they have a gigantic lizard as a metaphor for the atomic bomb, his breath is now a separate metaphor for the atomic bomb. Tune in to the next scene, where Godzilla’s toenails become another metaphor for the atomic bomb!
Baragon and Godzilla are about to meet, as a man is trying to take a photo of his wife in front of Baragon, when Godzilla comes from behind and smashes them with rubble. Luckily for everyone, the battle is on TV thanks to a news helicopter. Baragon goes underground and digs a pit, which causes Godzilla to fall in. Baragon then emerges, and bites Godzilla. Yuri and Teruaki drive up, see the monsters fighting, and realize the much smaller Baragon doesn’t have a chance. Baragon is getting savagely beaten, and climbs out of the way. Baragon then leaps at Godzilla, who ducks and tail-whips Baragon in midair. Baragon flies away from the impact, hitting the TV helicopter as well. Godzilla goes to finish Baragon off, breath blasting under Baragon as he climbs so the cliff falls on top of him. Yuri is also injured by the force of the atomic breath blast. Godzilla then does a final blast, wiping Baragon off the map; a ghostly specter floats up and dissipates. At Mt. Fuji, Ghidrah’s crystal starts to crack.
Meanwhile at Lake Ikeda, the Mothra cocoon looks like a giant white peanut, as Yuri decides that she isn’t going to just stay at the hospital and goes to get a bike so she can continue reporting (over Teruaki’s objections.) A random General is put in charge of the counter-attack against Godzilla, which makes Admiral Tachibana annoyed because the new guy doesn’t really know how to counter Big G. Jets are sent in, Yuri arrives to see the jets attack and to broadcast the footage. The jets fire missiles, but the explosions just make Godzilla angrier, and he responds with some breath blasts. Yuri films as the jets swing around, all four getting blown up by a breath blast stream. The General reluctantly tries to figure out what to do next as Admiral Tachibana looks ashamed and disgusted at the same time. But now Mothra emerges from her cocoon.
The Japanese Prime Minister tells Admiral Tachibana that the first Godzilla was killed by an unknown substance, and that the fact had been keep secret, as it would make the military lose face. Stupid face, it has brought nothing but trouble. If you can’t apologize you are a loser, and that is worth a bigger lose of face. After all, now the Prime Minster has to admit they knew for 50 years that they were useless, and still did nothing. That’s 50 years of failure, not just a few weeks. That’s the price of face. Now, Face man from the A-Team? He’s the good kind of face, as is the movie Saving Face. Admiral Tachibana is told his daughter is reporting from the attack areas. Mothra now flies over a city, and two girls walking together are focused on pretty heavily, that is because they are supposed to be a shout out to the shobijin (twin fairies.) As there are no twin fairies in this film, this is all we get of them. Also, Ghidorah awakens.
The military finally starts to listen to Admiral Tachibana, who finally listens to his daughter, and tells the guardian monsters story. The big plan is to name the monsters so they don’t shoot the wrong one. Because they’ve never had friendly fire incidents in the army where you knew the guy’s name. Actually, Admiral Tachibana comes up with a better plan, to put those ridiculous D-03 drills on the end of missiles. Meanwhile, Godzilla and Mothra begin their fight in the middle of the city. Mothra manages to scratch Godzilla on the head, and then shoots an array of stinger darts from her abdomen at Big G. Godzilla blasts at and follows Mothra as she dodges the fire. The blast goes by Yuri and she gets injured again, but not very badly at all. Mothra then flies by a tower where some army men are inside, as Godzilla shoots at her she weaves out of the way, and the men inside get roasted. Mothra grabs Godzilla from behind his head, and holds on.
Ghidorah arrives, and grabs Godzilla with some of his heads, electricity flows all over, but Godzilla escapes the grasp and bites Ghidorah on one of his necks, drawing blood. Mothra tries to help, but Godzilla slams her with his tail. Godzilla throws Ghidorah and blasts him with his breath. Godzilla fires another blast, but Mothra swoops in front and takes the blast. The army fires some of the special missiles with theD-03 drill, and we get missile-vision as it finds its mark. It lands, and drills into Godzilla. This ticks off Godzilla, who then blasts the troops with his breath, as well as the missile launchers and the boats in the harbor. The only boat not destroyed is the wounded Aizu which Admiral Tachibana is on. Godzilla preps some more breath to finish the ship off, but Mothra sneaks up behind, and Godzilla spins and blasts Mothra, killing her instead. Like Baragon, a specter appears after Mothra is dead, and the gold sparkles move over to where Ghidorah is lying unconscious, and Ghidorah wakes up. Ghidorah gains a shield now, which protects him from Godzilla’s breath. Ghidorah can now also shoot balls of energy at Godzilla, causing a BIG EXPLOSION.
Godzilla is knocked into the water, as the same CGI model of Godzilla from the two previous films is used again. Ghidorah then jumps underwater as well, and Godzilla has gone back to man in suit, allowing there to be an underwater battle. Admiral Tachibana has a new plan, to use the minisub Satsuma to deliver the D-03 drill into the wound made by the previous drill missile. He has a last radio talk with his daughter before he goes out, and Teruaki arrives to see Yuri. Yuri goes on a bridge to report on the latest plan, but the bridge she’s on is hit by Godzilla. She almost falls to her death, but is caught by Teruaki just in time, but he’s no weight-lifter so has a hard time trying to pull her up. Underwater, the sub moves into position, with thermal imaging. The other Captain with the bug eyes is in another mini-sub (called the Salvage Sub 2) but Godzilla sees the sub moving into firing position and dodges after it is shot, the missile instead hits Ghidorah and kills him. Good job! Godzilla blasts Ghidorah to be sure.
Godzilla then grabs the sub Admiral Tachibana is in with his mouth. Tachibana tells Bug Eye to surface, while Yuri is still hanging on, and a piece of broken idol falls from Teruaki’s pocket and into the water. The idol piece glows and goes to Ghidorah, which wakes him up as Yuri and Teruaki fall to their deaths from the bridge. Well, almost, as a jet of steam shoots up from the now-alive Ghidorah that slows their fall, allowing them to gently float down and not die. I guess the movie got tired or “ironic” deaths and decided to do an “ironic” non-death.
Ghidorah grabs Godzilla by the tail, causing Godzilla to let go of the minisub. We get a big monster fight underwater now, which moves to the land, electricity flying everywhere, and Godzilla gets blasted. Godzilla then atomic breaths Ghidorah, causing Ghidorah to explode. The ghostly images of Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah appear, and fly into Godzilla. Godzilla sinks into the sea. Tachibana takes his minisub and moves into Godzilla’s mouth, and is now inside Godzilla. There’s a view we haven’t seen before.
Tachibana has a vision of Yuri in his cockpit, and outside she regains consciousness with instant knowledge of what her dad just did. Tashiban fires the drill missile in Godzilla, and Godzilla surfaces. The missile ends up drilling out of him, through his shoulder. Godzilla tries to fire his atomic breath, but it leaks out of his shoulder! Godzilla tries again, but it leaks again! Godzilla starts to sink, and Tachibana’s sub swims out. Godzilla is really mad, and tries once again to fire, but there is a big big big big big explosion, and Godzilla is no longer around after it’s over. The sub surfaces, and Tachibana is alive. He meets up with is daughter and everyone is happy. Also, now we find out Professor Isayama died during the first Godzilla attack, and now has disappeared from the video tape. Dad and daughter salute all their fallen comrades and guardian monsters.
But…in the ocean…we see the bottom, Godzilla’s heart. Will what we think will happen happen? It does! The heart starts to beat again! Thus we end.
Before we go, we must list all of the Ironic Monster Encounters from the film. Director really likes having characters encounter monsters in humorous ways, but there are more misses than hits. Unlike baseball, the homeruns do not make you forget about the strikeouts. Still, they could be much worse. Here they are…
- Ironic Monster Encounters:
- Boat raised by Godzilla as he first emerges.
- Japanese Biker Gang gets squashed in the tunnel by Baragon for dissing Japanese spirits.
- Punk kids in lake get eaten by Mothra for dissing Japanese spirits/trying to drown a dog.
- Man committing suicide stumbles upon Ghidorah’s sleeping place.
- Grocery shoppers get atomic breath blasted, and teacher sees a mushroom cloud.
- Gondola people see Baragon walk between them.
- Camera guy photographing his wife with Baragon when Godzilla arrives.
- Godzilla island teens speaking of Godzilla just before being squashed.
- A surviving girl from that group trapped in the hospital as Godzilla walks by.
- Army guys getting wasted as Mothra dodges Godzilla’s breath blast.
Finally, we have to have the required interview!
Rated 3/10 (Broken Idol, What could this be?, God-drilla!)
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