Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
I think my favorite Godzilla movie is the 1954 original. It has a somber and serious tone. Artistically and creatively it is the best. Right behind that movie is Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (GMK) released in 2001. In some ways it is a more enjoyable movie than the original because there are some lighthearted moments too, along with great action sequences, making it more fun to watch. In all honesty this movie is the Godzilla movie I watch the most!
Like the others in the millennium series this movie ignores all the others that went before it and acts like a direct sequel to the 1954 original movie. Like the original Godzilla this Godzilla is at his most malevolent and destructive behavior. This movie also features one of the most coolest and slickest designed Godzilla suits.
Godzilla’s eyes in this suit have no pupils and are totally white giving Godzilla an evil menacing look. The dorsal fins on his spine begin lower and appear to be heavier and actually cumbersome to Godzilla as he walks. I have read some com plaints about the suit that it makes Godzilla look fat. Well, he does have a bit of a gut on him and I as I look at other suits from the past, having a Godzilla that is bottom heavy is not without precedence. A minor complaint is that in some scenes it shows Godzilla in different colors. In the majority of the scenes he is his typical charcoal grey. However, in some scenes he is brown and in a few close-ups, like when Baragon is chewing on his arm, he is actually green!
The movie also takes what I think is a very creative path in developing Godzilla’s origins. Since this is a direct sequel to the original Toho could ignore the other continuities and they were free to explain his origins anew. In this movie Godzilla’s origins are shrouded in Japanese mysticism. Godzilla is now the embodiment of the angry souls of those vanquished during World War II. The route they took in using a mystical approach may seem silly and implausible to an American audience steeped in the Western Civilization’s tradition of relying on the scientific method in explaining phenomenon, However, I find it refreshingly creative and it exemplifies the different mindset of the Japanese culture. Although Godzilla is no longer a force of nature the anger and the rage driving the creature makes him just as unpredictable and destructive.
Going further into Japanese mysticism is the appearance of the old man who is similar to a Wizard like mentor in western cultures that prophesies and warns people of the future. Another aspect of mysticism the old man delivers is the ancient concept of the guardian monsters. These ancient creatures are foretold in legend. Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, who must be awoken to protect Japan should Godzilla return to destroy the country. This idea is also new and creative. GMK was the 25th Godzilla movie and how many different plots and story lines can you create around the theme of a monster attacking a city or battling other monsters? Toho continually tired to create new scenarios on a theme that can easily become clichéd and formulaic. GMK, with its mystical approach and concept of the guardian monsters, offers something new, exciting and different from previous films.
For this movie all three of the guardian monsters (who have been in Godzilla movies before) were made slightly smaller and weaker in power so Godzilla would appear that much stronger. They each battle Godzilla in a solo exchange. First up is Baragon. I do like this creature yet I am not crazy about monsters on all four legs there is something about that which just doesn’t work for me. His roar and flapping ears are a bit silly. The special effects during these battle scenes are spectacular as the monsters are made to blend in with real world settings, as well as the usage of miniatures, in a seamless and realistic fashion. In my opinion this movie has some of the best special effects of any Godzilla movie. His atomic breath has never been better depicted as it is in this film. He creates a very symbolic and destructive mushroom cloud on his first appearance. His plasma breath is powerfully depicted destroying buildings, monsters and military equipment.
Although Godzilla makes short work of the scrappy Baragon and easily takes care of Mothra it is his battles with King Ghidorah. I have read that many fans complain to what was done to King Ghidorah in this movie. He had always been the villain and in this movie he is smaller than usual and he is one of the good guys. I can understand an empathize with those that are upset. Yet, I also can see that using him as one of the good guys makes perfect sense. In this movie there is no ambiguity about Godzilla being a bad guy. In fact he is depicted as pure malevolence and evil incarnate. So who else could face this unmovable object but the one monster that has been his most formidable foe through the entire franchise? No other monster really had the presence and the history with Godzilla such as his number one rival, King Ghidorah.
The other aspect I enjoy is the human story between Admiral Taizo Tachibana of the Japan Self-Defense Forces and his daughter Yuri, who works for a low-budget science fiction movie company. Yuri is not happy in her work and wants to do more serious work. She is also not happy how women are treated in her line of work. In GMK we get to see how both a civilian and a person inside the military face the attack from Godzilla. We also see the father-daughter relationship grow and change throughout the movie. These are two characters that I did care about and was able to see the attack from Godzilla through their eyes. Great monster action needs to be tempered with a good human story and in GMK we get both of those criteria met. Also, Yuri is pretty easy on the eyes and that sure helped!
I enjoyed the serious tone of the movie and I liked the design of Godzilla and the fact that he was at his most destructive and monstrous best since both the 1954 original and the 1984 reboot. As I mentioned it is a new and unique story with good modern special effects. This is one of the best Godzilla movies Toho has to offer.
I rate this movie: A+
Posted on February 8, 2013, in Godzilla Movie Review and tagged Baragon, Godzilla, Japan, Kaiju, King Ghidorah, Mothra, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Toho Studios. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.