aka Gojira X Mekagojira (Original Title)
88 min., 2002
Written by Wataru Mimura
Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
My rating: ★★★★
Mechagodzilla returns in great form.
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The movie begins with Godzilla re-emerging years after his first attack in the 50’s. Among the troops who are fighting Godzilla is a woman named Akane (Yumiko Shaku). While trying to leave, in her tank, she ends up knocking into a jeep, which goes over the mountain and is stomped on by Godzilla. Jump forward a few years and she is now working behind a desk. The Japanese government is working on a new plan to destroy Godzilla once and for all. They get Yuhara (Shin Takuma) to take the bones of the original Godzilla and make a mechanized version of Godzilla. He only agrees if he is able to bring his daughter, Sara (Kana Onodera), with. While training Akane is shown to be the best pilot and is chosen to be the one to pilot the MFS-3 Kiryu (or Mechagodzilla), the only problem is that one of her teammates, Hayama (Yūsuke Tomoi), still blames her for the death of his brother. Can she pilot the Kiryu with enough confidence to defeat Godzilla or will her self-doubt let Godzilla win?
The acting in the movie is pretty solid. Yumiko Shaku plays a great heroine, but makes her very human, instead of superhuman like most heroes are portrayed. My favorite actor has to be Shin Takuma. He is just fun to watch every time he is on the screen, and his chemistry with Kana Onodera is very father/daughter and doesn’t ever feel forced.
The effects in this movie are a total jump up from the past few. There are almost no wires to be seen and the use of blue/green screen has been lessened as well, or if it is used it is actually done better (or at least less noticeable). Godzilla looks a whole lot better compared to the last movie. In the last he had more facial expressions, but he also looked a whole lot weirder. This time around they have dropped the expressions and gone with a more straightforward mean look, and it just works a whole lot better when Godzilla looks that way. Mechagodzilla also looks really great. Before, Mechagodzilla used to be entirely robotic, but this time around it’s more of power armor than anything else. They used the bones of Godzilla and partially recreated him, then tossed armor and weapons on him. He is really a sight to behold, and then they fight. The fight between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla is just awesome. This time around the fighting is more hand-to-hand than anything else, and it’s so cool to see monsters get tossed and slammed into buildings. Missiles and lasers are cool as hell, but I always love seeing a monster being swung around by its tail and then tossed through a building. This battle is actually one of my favorites of the whole Godzilla series.
In the end this is a pretty good Godzilla for non-fans to come into the series with. You learn all about the first Godzilla and a few others (Mothra (1961) and War Of The Gargantuas (1966) are both brought up specifically) and the characters are actually likable this time around. The fights are great and the effects are some of the best in a long time. This is one of my favorite Godzilla films so far and I think most non-fans can actually sit through this without much heckling.Have You Read...?