Godzilla X Mechagodzilla (Review)
Godzilla X Mechagodzilla
aka Gojira tai Mekagojira
Yumiko Shaku as Akane Yashiro
Shin Takuma as Tokumitsu Yuhara
Kana Onodera as Sara Yuhara
Koh Takasugi as Colonel Togashi
Yusuke Tomoi as 2nd Lieutenant Hayama
Kumi Mizuno as Prime Minister Machiko Tsuge
Akira Nakao as Prime Minister Hayato Igarashi
Jun’ichi Mizuno as 1st Lieutenant Sekine
Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
Godzilla continues his rampage, as the Millennium series continues its run on TarsTarkas.NET for March of Godzilla 2. This time, history is rewritten again, as we go to another alternate reality where Godzilla again never returned after his death for 45 years. Derivations abound, a new anti-Godzilla force is introduced, and this movie trumps everything by getting a direct sequel. It also gives us a new and improved Mechagodzilla, making the third version of that creature. Like the second version, this Mechagodzilla is built to fight Godzilla by humans, but has some noticeable differences. You see, he’s built on the bones of the original Godzilla, which weren’t vaporized by the oxygen destroyer as previously shown in the original script. I guess they just floated a few feet off camera or something during one of those bubble fade outs (or the convenient excuse: alternate reality.) Anyway, so that makes Mechagodzilla a bio-robot. Now, it is odd that this film got a direct sequel, as the human characters are some of the least interesting in a while. Some of them don’t even appear in the next installment, making you wonder what the heck happened. Well, not that much, since they aren’t that interesting. Drum that up with an unsatisfying conclusion, and you got some sort of messy Godzilla flick that only marginally entertains, at least until the title monsters actually start fighting. Both before and after, it’s a bumpy ride.
After the success of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Toho was set to just redo popular monsters. As one of the most popular and classic monsters was the robotic double of Godzilla, here he is. And so we got the third movie entitled Gojira tai Mekagojira. But it’s cool, as instead they renamed it Godzilla X Mechagodzilla for the US. You see, the X makes all the difference. The prior Gojira tai Mekagojira was simply titled Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2, despite the fact it was unrelated to the original Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. Terror of Mechagodzilla is the sequel to the first, making this all confusing. All those facts and titles making your head spin? Well, that’s funny, because the original Mechagodzilla spun his head as a weapon and….
Okay, enough of that, let’s focus on THIS movie. Problems or not, it is what is playing in the DVD player. So we are stuck with it. We seem to get that a lot here. Maybe I should fix the DVD player, so it stops playing stupid movies….Nah, then how would I update the site? In addition to the Japanese version, we also got the English dub, which makes some of the characters sound over-dramatic, and still uses the Kiryu name. The clips will be from that version, so you don’t have to read subtitles. But before the movie, we must meet the cast!
Thus we begin. It is 1999, and everyone was listening to Prince’s song. Japan was being attacked by a powerful typhoon, and one of those crazy weather reporters is outside in the rain and wind reporting. He gets the scoop of a lifetime as Godzilla arises right behind him! This movie doesn’t waste much time bringing out the big gun. The Anti-Megalosaurus Force (AMF) is called into to deal with the monster. The AMF was founded in 1966 to defend Japan from monsters, and has 4072 members. These facts are told to us onscreen, not by Wikipedia. Also, Godzilla 2000‘s Takehiro Murata (who was Professor Yuji Shinoda) is seen picking up cans as the AMF goes by. Without a Godzilla to chase, poor Professor Shinoda must have gone to the poorhouse. This is different from his turn as a jet fighter pilot in GMK. The AMF is armed with tanks and with masers (those vehicles that have the satellite dishes that shoot beams at the monsters.) The vehicles take position, and the tank fire only succeeds in getting Godzilla’s attention. He smashes two of the tanks as the masers prep their equipment. Akane Yashiro commands one of the maser units, and lines up and fires. The maser beam is reduced in effectiveness by the rain, so it only is at 70%. Still, it does more than the tanks, but not much, and Godzilla gets angry. Akane fires again, this time aiming at Godzilla’s eye. That is enough to make Godzilla very very angry, and he atomic blasts the nearby hillside. The unit tries to back out, but as Akane is backing up, she accidentally hits a jeep, causing the jeep to go flying over a cliff and into the path of Godzilla, who promptly stomps on it. Akane is horrified as to what she did, though I personally think it wasn’t that horrifying, as mistakes happen in war and all that. Akane’s maser is then tail-whipped by Godzilla, and she barely dodges being smashed. Godzilla roars as we jump to the opening title sequence.
The next morning, the news is reporting the aftermath, telling us that this was the first time Godzilla has been seen since the 1954 attack in the original movie. Japanese Prime Minister Machiko Tsuge (G-Fan favorite Kumi Mizuno!) discusses with her science minister other monster attacks, also letting us see stock shots of Mothra attacking Tokyo from the original Mothra film, as well as Gaira (one of the Gargantuas, but called Big-Foot Gaira in the subtitles) from War of the Gargantuas. We are told that Mothra’s attack was when the first masers were made (actually, they were called Atomic Heat Rays, the first masers were in War of the Gargantuas.) Gaira’s attack was stated as the time that the AMF was formed to combat monsters. As monsters attacking seem to be a common occurrence, some of the other non-Godzilla films can probably also be considered cannon here. Namely, Rodan, Varan, Frankenstein Conquers the World, and maybe some messed up version of King Kong Escapes. Heck, perhaps King Kong actually was in the events of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monsters.
Akane gets grilled by the army brass as to the deaths of her men, and gets transferred to data processing. The military is also aware the masers are all but useless against Godzilla, thus they must do something drastic. Like build MOGUERA! No, wait, wrong continuity. They go even crazier this time out, and jump straight to the robot double.
At the university of somewhere, scientist Dr. Tokumatsu Yuhara is showing off his bio-robot trilobite to his students. He says it is half-robot, as he used horseshoe crab nerves and organs, and it is run by DNA computers, so it moves as if it is alive. Yuhara claims to have done so because he wants to conserve the species, even as humans ravage the planet. Keep in mind trilobites went extinct 250 million years ago, not by humans (except for the trilobite found in 1954’s Gojira, but this is not that one nor is it mentioned. I thought this was a reference to it, but it just might be some random thing.) Also, species aren’t conserved if they are robots, because they still don’t have the DNA (even if they are using DNA computers or whatever.) Yuhara is picked up by government agents for doing experiments that blur the line between science and madness. Or at least he should have been, but instead he is take to a think-tank where he will be recruited for a project that crosses way over the line of madness, far into the realm of cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. We also meat the other people brought in: Dr. Akamatsu (Robotics), Dr. Yamanda (Microwaves), Dr. Kanno (Low Temperature Physics). Obviously they are building a cyborg defrosting microwave! No, wait, the scientists lift up a curtain and reveal CG Godzilla bones! The bones of the previous Godzilla have been recovered, and are still being stored underwater in that building. Why underwater? Probably because that was the best artist rendering they could make. Also, since this is the first film of the Millennium series to not reuse the underwater Godzilla CG footage, they had to throw in something Godzilla and CG underwater, even if it’s just bones. Well, dem bones, dem bones gonna rise up!
TV announces the passage of the bill to make the weapon, and PM Tsuge says she will go to each country that doubts they are making the weapons only for defense to show them monster damage. We must stave off rumors of another Pacific War…until we unleash the weapon upon the world to regain Japanese supremacy! Yuhara is shown to be home with his daughter Sara, not having accepted the job offer. Sara is our Kenny, but is less of a “runs everywhere” Kenny, and more of a “just there but still annoying” Kenny. Sara quizzes her dad as to why he isn’t employed helping to build the weapon, and he explains that he has to look after her. Sara says he should ask that she be let into the building as well, and a visiting government agent a few seconds later makes the same argument/offer, thus Yuhara is now helping to build Mechagodzilla.
One month later…we see Sara walking home to the military base, her new friends shocked that she lives there. Followed by a montage! A montage set to nightly news music, not the music of their J-Pop costar! Akane works out, Sara feeds a gerbil, a new PM named Igarashi is sworn in, and robot parts are made. It is now 2003, 3 1/2 years later. Colonel Tagashi comes in to tell Akane he is the leader of Kiryu Squad, and that she is in it also. Kiryu is the name for Mechagodzilla, and they call him that entirely throughout the film. I’m not about nicknames that I don’t like, so he will stay Mechagodzilla for me in this review. Take that, Kiryu. Squad member Hayama is less than impressed that Akane is on the team as a pilot, as his brother was on the jeep that got trampled in the prologue. That gives him the excuse to act like a jerk to Akane, despite Colonel Tagashi yelling at him not to. It is now training time, and to fly a bio-robotic Godzilla you need to run and crawl through an obstacle course. Sure, this is all teambuilding exercises, but it is fun pretending that it is the entire training program. Back on base, Sara is now working at the coffee shop. Somehow, she hasn’t aged in 3 1/2 years! Also, Dr. Yuhara has noticed Akane, and thinks he should be putting the moves on her, but does so by asking if she wants children. Too many weird things are happening at once, we need a paragraph change!
That’s better. Hayama comes in to insult Akane after Yuhara’s lame pick up line, angry that Akane has been picked to pilot Mechagodzilla. Hayama also insults Dr. Yuhara, and they get into a shoving match, but Akane ends it by pinning Hayama to the table. Later, Akane, Yuhara, and Sara are chatting on the roof. Akane says she has no friends and no family, but that she had a plant like the one Sara carries around. Yuhara tries to make a bet with Akane, that if Mechagodzilla wins, she buys him dinner, but if Godzilla wins, he buys for her. No matter what happens, he wins, as he gets the date.
MFS-3 Kiryu. Aka Mechagodzilla. What was MFS-1 and MFS-2? Probably MOGUERA and MechaBiollante. PM Igarashi gives a speech when Mechagodzilla is finished, and we get some more technical information about Mechagodzilla that is scientifically inaccurate. MG is run by DNA computers, which use four bases instead of a normal computer’s two binary numbers, thus theoretically making computation faster. Except that would mean they would have to totally rewrite the electrical components, and numerous other problems. Plus, DNA replication is nowhere near the speed of computer processing, the whole thing seems completely wrong. We also find out that Mechagodzilla has an Absolute Zero Gun, a super freeze ray that will reduce the temperature of anything to absolute zero, the temperature when molecules stop moving. Demonstrations show a building getting blasted and reduced to ice dust. During the announcement, a monster is detected by sensors and recon teams soon figure out it is Big G. Big MG is thus prepped to launch. MG will by flown into battle on wires, and three jets called White Herons will do control and support, with Akane piloting Mechagodzilla from inside one of the White Herons (current White Herons are 01, 02, and 03.)
Baseball player Hideki Matsui (who’s nickname is Godzilla) is among the people who see Big MG getting flown into position. Godzilla also watches, but just stares as MG is lowered into position. Godzilla will do a lot of just staring in the film, having gotten tired of being mobile or something. Maybe he took too many Ambien or something. Mechagodzilla gets ready for the attack. Missiles are fired from both the front launchers and the back, as Godzilla just stands there and takes it. Mechagodzilla also reveals there is a Maser weapon in his mouth, which he opens and also blasts Godzilla with. Godzilla must still be in shock that Mechagodzilla has been brought out of retirement for a second time, so he once again still takes it. The team is ready to fire the Absolute Zero Gun, and it charges, but Godzilla roars. The roar triggers primeval memories in Mechagodzilla, as a CGI zoom-in to Mechagodzilla’s brain shows us. Mechagodzilla remembers going berzerk on downtown Tokyo as the original Godzilla, and no longer responds to human controls. Mechagodzilla fires its hand lasers at one of the White Heron ships. It has gone rogue! Mechagodzilla’s eyes have turned red, and it fires rockets all over the nearby city. Good job, Japan! Godzilla slips off as Mechagodzilla goes berserk.
Mechagodzilla fires its hand rays everywhere as Hayama tries to bait it into following him into the sea, but Mechagodzilla ignores him, and fires missiles instead, which clip the wing of the White Heron 03, causing Hayama to crash it on a bridge. He’s knocked unconscious, but Akane pulls him from the wreckage just before the plane explodes. As Mechagodzilla is still running amok, the only solution is to wait until it runs out of energy, which will be in 58 minutes. Mechagodzilla walks through an office building and then turns off, but it isn’t clear if it was out of energy or just turned itself off. PM Igarashi takes full responsibility for Mechagodzilla going crazy, which proves this is a science fiction film, as most politicians would just blame the opposing party, allied with an online cabal of bloggers who tow the party line. Dr. Yuhara figures out that it was Godzilla’s roar that did it, despite having no evidence nor it making any sense whatsoever. So they will change the DNA computers and fix the problems. Sure, whatever, this would have been more acceptable had you not bothered to try to explain it scientifically. Does Mechagodzilla even have ears? Also, Sara goes all Emo because Mechagodzilla has a life as well, or something. Also because adults don’t respect life. Anyway, she’s a Kenny, so no one cares. Akane tries to pep her up by saying that Akane’s life is worthless. Yeah, good job there, Motivational Speaker of the year. Actually, that’s better than most motivational speakers at my high school, most of which told us they used to drink and sex up all sorts of women, but that we shouldn’t, just because.
Godzilla awakens to get this movie back on track, and he’s detected heading back to Japan as the defense forces set up again. Jets attack, but they are pretty useless and blasted out of the sky. Tanks fire, masers fire, but the tanks are ineffective and the masers just make him mad. Atomic breath for all! Colonel Tagashi goes to get personal approval from the Prime Minister to launch Mechagodzilla. He agrees, and they head out, and also Sara shakes Akane’s hand. Yes, Akane is Kenny approved. Or something, the characters in this one aren’t very interesting. Godzilla is heading towards a hospital, and one of the nurses is Misato Tanaka, who was Kiriko Tsujimori in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus! It is odd that she gets an extended cameo, because her character of the tortured anti-Godzilla squad commander is what Akane is a weaksauce rehash of. Even though GvMegaG sucked, its characters were more developed than the ones we get here. Mechagodzilla is dropped from his hooks midair, and then Akane has him fire his rocket boosters to fly into location. Nurse Kiriko Tsujimori (no character name so we will assume she is the same person, different reality) saves a baby, but is about to get blasted by Big G, until Mechagodzilla slams him out of the way in one of the coolest shots of the movie.
Mechagodzilla fires missiles, then the two monsters charge and an epic struggle begins. It is nice they still do the physical stuff instead of just missiling and atomic-breathing each other. Mechagodzilla does still use the missiles while physically fighting, and also uses his rocket boosters for fast maneuvering. Mechagodzilla fires the mouth-maser, only to also get hit by atomic breath. Mechagodzilla has some of his rocket launchers knocked off in the melee. Godzilla knocks off more, and Mechagodzilla unleashes a new weapon, a retractable blade that he stabs into Godzilla. This blade also emits maser energy! G pushes him off, but that was a neat segment. Godzilla pushes Mechagodzilla off and into some buildings, Mechagodzilla goes down. Godzilla steps on Mechagodzilla and prepares to fire breath on him to finish him off, but Godzilla is strafed by Colonel Togashi in the White Heron 01 and gets distracted. This allows Akane to be able to get up, and fires her backpack unit into Godzilla like some sort of battering ram. Godzilla tries to breath blast Mechagodzilla, but MG ducks, dodges, and then does a flying leap! Mechagodzilla then blasts Godzilla with the maser. Mechagodzilla grabs Godzilla’s tail, and uses the rocket boosters to spin Godzilla around, tossing him a ways.
Only 45% energy left, so it is time to fire the Absolute Zero Gun! Godzilla sees the weapon charging while still lying down from the previous smack down, and fires an atomic breath blast that hits Mechagodzilla in the chest, causing Mechagodzilla to go flying and the freeze ray to hit three office buildings, destroying them. Mechagodzilla is also non-responsive, as it is damaged and not accepting remote commands, and out of energy. Akane says she’ll go inside and operate in manually, over everyone’s objections. She drops down out of the plane and uses a Batman-style device to scale the side of Mechagodzilla to get inside (Where does she get those wonderful toys?) Meanwhile, the Army has asked Japan’s power companies politely for some power to recharge Mechagodzilla (America would seize first, repay 100x the cost later) which is redirected by the White Heron planes into Mechagodzilla’s back plates. Mechagodzilla is voice controlled for the most part, but also has joystick option. Mechagodzilla gets blasted by Godzilla right after being recharged, and Godzilla prepares to hit it again as Hayama flies in his plane (White Heron 06) to distract, and Godzilla grabs his jet with his mouth. Hayama can’t eject (his copilot did earlier) but as while he is in Godzilla’s mouth, Godzilla can’t hit Mechagodzilla with his breath. Akane charges up the Absolute Zero Gun, but doesn’t want to sacrifice Hayama, so activates the booster rockets, and goes flying forward. She manages to grab Hayama’s plane, allowing him to eject, and also grab Godzilla’s mouth shut, while the pair continue flying forward by rocket booster power. The two crash into the sea, and the Absolute Zero Gun goes off, as the water splashing up suddenly freezes.
The frozen water doesn’t stay in place long, as it crashes back down. Godzilla also rises up, showing he hadn’t been killed. Then Godzilla looks smug, and goes back to sea. Mechagodzilla also surfaces, damaged, but Akane is alive. The operators immediately declare that since they fought Godzilla to a standstill it is victory! Except it isn’t victory, it is just a tie. Not something you want to end a movie on. Lame. LAME!!!! What the heck, a TIE? It’s not like it was King Kong vs. Godzilla, that was ambiguous enough you could call it either way. This is just a mess. Especially since the human characters declare victory. Everyone is happy except Sara. Akane gets out of Mechagodzilla and watches Godzilla fade away to the sunset. The end.
Okay, not the end, this movie also has something happen after the credits. Mechagodzilla is being repaired, and Sara and Yuhara go visit Akane, who is watching the repair job. Sara no longer has her plant, which means she grew up or something. Akane tells Sara that her life is no longer worthless, and that she gave her strength. We also find out that Dr. Yuhara gets to collect on the bet and gets dinner from Akane. Thus we now end with Akane saluting Mechagodzilla. Done…until the sequel!
Well, that was certainly…a movie…of sorts. Not the best, nor average, sort of disappointing. Mostly due to the lack of appeal of the people, the lack of monster screen time until the end, and the bummer ending. Plus, Sara was a little freaky. The sequel recognizes some of the weaknesses and throws in Mothra, while dropping Sara, so we all come out ahead. Thankfully, that one is next on the chopping block!
The girl Sara does not age one bit the entire film, from her appearance at age “four” in a flashback to the 12+4 years later yet still 12 look after the time jump. There are two conclusions. One, she is a ghost, and died a long time ago. This is somewhat odd, as she interacts with characters outside of her father, a few children and Akane. Therefore, conclusion two is the most likely: Sara is a bio-robot. The original Sara died, and was replaced with a bio-robot version by her grieving father, who had already lost his wife and daughter. This also makes us wonder if Sara was really his daughter, or just a reanimated version of his wife. Sara also carries around that plant like it is her baby, and the mother died while pregnant. Residual memories of Mechagodzilla made him go rampage, so residual memories of Sara may make her treat something as a baby. Eventually, the baby is given up, as Sara comes to realize that the baby is gone, accepting her new fate. This also explains why she has an affinity towards Mechagodzilla that the other characters just don’t have.
Rated 3/10 (Robotic Trilobite, Absolute Zero, Absolute Destruction)