Godzilla vs Biollante 1989
I am going to resume reviewing the rest of the Godzilla movies in the franchise. Before I continue reviewing the final series, called the Millennium Series, I want to back track and review Godzilla vs Biollante which was one of the movies from the Heisei Series that I had not seen yet nor reviewed.
First a little background on why I never saw this movie until recently. In my 20s and 30s I fell away from the Godzilla franchise. One of the reasons for that is the lack of Godzilla movies released to US theaters. I knew the first of the Heisei films, Return of Godzilla, had been released to the theaters and other the only other Japanese Godzilla movie I had heard of was Godzilla 2000. In 2005 I began to buy Godzilla movies on DVD and discover between 1989-2004 there were many other Godzilla movies than had been produced. All of them had been on VHS but they must have slipped under my Radar. 1989’s Godzilla vs. Biollante was one of the movies that I had not seen on VHS and by 2005 the VHS era was over and it wasn’t released on DVD until just last month! So Now I will be able to review this movie.
Before seeing this movie I thought that it had a very strange premise even for a Godzilla movie. Basically, a scientist, Dr. Shiragami, is working on cells from Godzilla that were found from his previous attack (as depicted in the movie Return of Godzilla). After his daughter Erica is killed in a terrorist attack he takes the cells from Godzilla and his daughter, combines them with the cells from a rose and creates Biollante a giant plant-based monster. Although I had heard many positive reviews from fans, I went into the movie hopeful but with low expectations.
The movie also has a sub plot of espionage. In the start of the movie a lone gunman working for a corporation called Biomajor steals the Godzilla cells and takes them to the Middle East Republic of Saradia where Dr. Shiragami works for the government. Shiragami hopes to create a strand of wheat that when combined with Godzilla cells will be able to grow in the most adverse conditions. Five years after Dr. Shiragami’s daughter Erica is killed he successfully mates her cells with the cells of a rose. At this time we meet Miki Saegusa a psychic who has sensed that Godzilla has woken up at the bottom of Mt. Mihara. The Government responds to the threat by activating the Super-X2 craft to combat Godzilla. The Government also is looking into a biological approach to defeating Godzilla and Dr. Shiragami joins in the effort. Henchmen from Biomajor also try to steal Godzilla cells from Dr. Shiragami but are attacked by the growing rose in his office.
Members of Biomajor then set explosives on the rim of Mt. Mihara releasing Godzilla. Godzilla makes his way to Biollante who seems to be calling for him. The two fight and Biollante is seemingly defeated and Godzilla makes his way to Osaka where he is confronted by the Super-X2. Another battles ensues where Godzilla defeats Super-X2 while leveling the Osaka. While he is in Osaka a poisonous projectile is shot in his mouth. Aft first he seems to have no ill-efect. After leaving Osaka Godzilla is faced once again by Biollante who is now in his…or her…final gigantic form…and the two titans face off for the final time. Godzilla is defeated and it was the combination of Biollante and the poisoned missile that vanquished him. Godzilla collapses into the sea as Dr. Shiragami is assassinated by the lone gunman who in turn is also killed. Godzilla suddenly arises revived and healthy and returns to the sea.
I really enjoyed this movie and felt it was one of the better of the Heisei Series. After having seen this movie I have to say I am impressed with the design of Biollante. Impressive and frightening looking monster in its final form. I also think the idea behind it, while being a bit hokey, certainly is new, creative and demonstrates that someone was thinking outside the box. The battles between the two are also impressive as Biollante is not the pushover you think a plant-based monster would be. At one point Biollante jabs one of his vines right through the palm of Godzilla’s hand.
The human aspect is also interesting although with the espionage and the double dealing it is a little confusing at first to know who is who and what exactly is going on. I felt a lot of empathy for Dr. Shiragami who is trying to save some aspect of his dead daughter’s life. This film also debuts Miki Saegusa, a clairvoyant, who would be used in every subsequent Heisei Series film. I actually feel that it is in this film where her character is most useful. There is a great scenes where a group of children, who all have been having the same dream, are asked to draw their dream for Miki and when asked to show their drawings to Miki everyone puts up a picture they drew of Godzilla. That is a great moment in the film and it is startling because it is so unexpected.
Most people watch these movies for the monster battles and the destruction of cities. As I already mentioned the battle with Biollante, but what is equally impressive and enjoyable to watch is the destruction of Osaka by Godzilla and the military. These scenes are filmed very well and have great special effects. It also is an important dory point and is not brief yet also does not over stay its welcome.
I have met some fans that did not care too much for the Heisei Series. I happen to enjoy the entire series and feel that there really is only one sub-par movie (Space Godzilla). Godzilla vs Biollante is one of the best movies of this series and even one of the better over all Godzilla films of the entire Franchise. Tone of a movie is always hard to pinpoint and describe. I enjoy the tone of the film and it has a look and feel very much in line with the Return of Godzilla. It has a tone that I feel is missing from not only other Godzilla movies in the Heisei Series but other Godzilla movies in general. Because the tone of Godzilla vs Biollante and The Return of Godzilla are so different they are often forgotten movies. I think that is a shame because both movies are gems in the crown of Toho Godzilla movies.
I rate this movie: B+
Posted on January 25, 2013, in Godzilla Movie Review and tagged Godzilla, Godzilla 2014, Godzilla vs Biollante, Heisei Series, Miki Saegusa, Osaka, Space Godzilla, Toho Studios. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.