Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Freebleeper » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:15 pm

Terasawa wrote:
Spydrmanjr wrote:What is the origin of the name? I’ve never been able to get a hold of what Biollante actually means.


It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just something that the writer liked the sound of. From Wikizilla, referencing Cinema Monstology:


So is Megaguirus really a prehistoric dragonfly then?
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Terasawa » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:46 pm

Freebleeper wrote:
Terasawa wrote:
Spydrmanjr wrote:What is the origin of the name? I’ve never been able to get a hold of what Biollante actually means.


It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just something that the writer liked the sound of. From Wikizilla, referencing Cinema Monstology:


So is Megaguirus really a prehistoric dragonfly then?


"Meganeura" is a real genus of prehistoric dragonfly. That's where the kaiju name "Meganuron" came from, which of course led to "Megaguirus".

But I'm not sure how that's related to Biollante.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Living Corpse » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:59 pm

HedorahIsBestGirl wrote:I think he's probably referring to the Bio Major vs. Saradia storyline which, while not really a sub-plot since it directly drives the main plot, often feels like it's part of a totally different movie. The final car chase, in particular, is completely unnecessary, out of place and anti-climactic. It's unfortunate because the idea of biotech companies fighting over Godzilla's DNA is pretty awesome but I feel the execution here is a bit mediocre.


People wanted the Saradia agent to reap what he sowed.

HedorahIsBestGirl wrote:
Anguirus wrote:I thought the girl's face going up into the sky was cheesy.

Agreed. And the giant rose orbiting Earth with the preachy voiceover narration is cheesier still.


Erika's face is for us the auidence. All the characters are seeing is the spores going up into space and are clueless till Miki tells them she heard Erika's soul saying "thank you". You guys aren't the first to have a problem with "Space Jesus" but if everyone else can have Godzilla dancing, flying or drop kicking, then I get to keep Space Jesus and her cosmic rose. :lol:
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Sat Sep 26, 2020 5:40 am

From Godzilla 1990, a manga adaptation of Godzilla vs. Biollante:
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The story is pretty much the same. The climax is arguably better though. Biollante has a different design, and is more agile. It also more clearly overwhelms Godzilla, and it's clear that Biollante wins the fight once Godzilla loses his beam. The movie has some issues with other that chase scene following Godzilla's defeat. This makes it more clear that Biollante beats Godzilla.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby edgaguirus » Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:26 pm

Whether movie or comic, Biollante is a rose thorn in Godzilla's side.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby GodzillavsRayquaza » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:22 am

Watched this movie for the first time last night, really enjoyed it. Intriguing and engaging human cast, excellent monster scenes and effects (Biollante is one of the most impressive looking things I’ve ever seen in a kaiju movie, seeing her charge forth with all the flailing vines was amazing), and a very tense atmosphere. I do like the 90s Godzilla movies, even the lesser two of them, but I can easily say I wish that they had the same level of effort and care put into them as was put into this excellent film. Also Bio Wars absolutely slaps and if you dislike that song you’re wrong.

Only criticism is that the music is sometimes a bit too upbeat for what’s happening on screen, like there’s a track that plays a few times during action scenes that sounds like it belongs in ET way more than it does Godzilla.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:45 pm

The first roughly 25 minutes of this movie is almost one uninterrupted sequence where each new scene continues on from the one immediately previous. That might not sound unusual but, at least in the Godzilla series, it's not all that common: consider how many other Godzilla movies break to different plot threads early on and combine them over the course of the movie. This is usually true of the more complicatedly plotted Godzillas. For instance, I think every other Heisei Godzilla movie sets up its narrative that way. One method isn't necessarily better than the other, I'm just remarking how well it works in this movie, where everything that happens over the course of the film is a response to Godzilla's threatened and eventual return.

Here, in just under a half hour, all the major and most of the auxiliary players (both individuals and factions) and their respective goals are established. Even the monsters have been introduced, although neither one is active yet (and Biollante is unknown to all but the audience). I think the Super X 2 plot thread is the only major thread that isn't set up during that span. All in all, it's efficient plotting aided by some excellent cinematic techniques to keep the audience engaged. It's some of the very best filmmaking in the entire Godzilla franchise.

I think only two scenes break the pattern. The first is the news report of Mt. Mihara's resumed activity (about 15 minutes in), which isn't immediately connected to the previous scene (Asuka and Kirishima discussing their relationship at the Godzilla Memorial). But this leads into the next series of interconnected scenes until another break around 10 minutes later, with the chopper observing Godzilla's movement in Mt. Mihara below.

There are two transitions that need to be mentioned, though. The first is the match cut on the dissolve from Erika to Miki. There are a few notable layers to this transition, the most obvious of which is that a young woman's face is the focus on both shots (although the transition doesn't allow both faces to occupy the same portion of the frame). Next, the transition matches the murdered Erika to her spirit existing in the roses (implied through Asuka's narration over the sequence, and essentially confirmed by Miki a few minutes later). The transition is also a meta passing of the torch: Yasuko Sawaguchi (Erika) and Megumi Odaka (Miki) were consecutive Toho Cinderella Contest winners, so Toho is basically handing the Godzilla series over from the former to the latter. This cut connects the preceding and following scenes through Erika and seamlessly advances the narrative by five years. (I also love how Omori visually reveals more information with each successive shot under Asuka's narration. It's a series of establishing shots from small to big picture, capped off by a title that tells us how much time has passed: everything you need to know to set up the next scene.)

At the end of that sequence at Shiragami's Japanese lab is another transition that doesn't at first seem obvious. Miki has just sensed a woman's voice calling out to Asuka and as they leave, the camera pans to Shiragami's roses again, further implying that Erika's spirit is still alive among her flowers. The scene ends in a J-cut with the next scene's music and dialogue over the close up of Erika's roses. (A J-cut is the inclusion of audio from the next scene over the footage of the previous scene. Omori uses a lot of these in his two Godzilla movies.) The overlapping dialogue is Kirishima asking Asuka, "Have you ever heard of Chimera?" This is excellent foreshadowing of Biollante, a manmade chimera in which that very rose (with human spirit) we're looking at would be a part.

Thank you for putting up with my rambling.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby eabaker » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:05 pm

Good observations! And I agree, that first act of Biollante has a really tight flow, which I find draws me into the narrative much more thoroughly than most other entires of that era.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:21 pm

eabaker wrote:Good observations! And I agree, that first act of Biollante has a really tight flow, which I find draws me into the narrative much more thoroughly than most other entires of that era.


It's strange because despite how complicated GvB feels, with a large ensemble cast and several prominent plot threads developing simultaneously, I think it remains completely focused from beginning to end, with Godzilla at the root of it all.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby eabaker » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:35 pm

Terasawa wrote:
eabaker wrote:Good observations! And I agree, that first act of Biollante has a really tight flow, which I find draws me into the narrative much more thoroughly than most other entires of that era.


It's strange because despite how complicated GvB feels, with a large ensemble cast and several prominent plot threads developing simultaneously, I think it remains completely focused from beginning to end, with Godzilla at the root of it all.


Agreed. It has a big ensemble, but the character connections are all clear, and everyone plays a specific and significant role in terms of both the plot and the themes/debates driving the story.

This is why I wish Omori had been given more time to develop his later Heisei scripts. He developed a host of interesting characters and ideas for each, but everything is thrown together a little haphazardly, and I suspect that a few more drafts - or a longer initial development phase - could have ironed out most of the problems.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:51 pm

eabaker wrote:
Terasawa wrote:It's strange because despite how complicated GvB feels, with a large ensemble cast and several prominent plot threads developing simultaneously, I think it remains completely focused from beginning to end, with Godzilla at the root of it all.


Agreed. It has a big ensemble, but the character connections are all clear, and everyone plays a specific and significant role in terms of both the plot and the themes/debates driving the story.

This is why I wish Omori had been given more time to develop his later Heisei scripts. He developed a host of interesting characters and ideas for each, but everything is thrown together a little haphazardly, and I suspect that a few more drafts - or a longer initial development phase - could have ironed out most of the problems.


His Mothra vs. Bagan outline is more interesting conceptually than what he regurgitated into Godzilla vs Mothra. It's disappointing that even with that extra partial year of development the resulting movie turned out the way it did (even though I enjoy it). It seems like they really struggled to develop a story for "Godzilla 7" so, with the narrow window for completion, it's no wonder that screenplay is a mess. But I think I'd take Omori directing those scripts as-is over Takao Okawara. Mothra I enjoy and Destoroyah has a few good things going for it, but I don't think anything I love from either can be entirely attributed to Okawara's direction. Give me Omori's more impressive style instead.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby JAGzilla » Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:43 pm

Terasawa wrote:Thank you for putting up with my rambling.


Putting up with? Nah, posts like this are something we could use more of around here. For those of us who know little or nothing about filmmaking, these type of breakdowns are very educational. I probably never would've noticed or recognized the significance of half the things you pointed out, so you've slightly enhanced the way I'll approach future viewings of this and other Godzilla films.
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Kaiju-King42 » Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:09 am

It would unfortunately be much easier to becone sucked into the first half-hour and understand all the storytelling elements if one could actually understand most of the English dialogue...
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Re: Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

Postby Terasawa » Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:57 am

JAGzilla wrote:Putting up with? Nah, posts like this are something we could use more of around here. For those of us who know little or nothing about filmmaking, these type of breakdowns are very educational. I probably never would've noticed or recognized the significance of half the things you pointed out, so you've slightly enhanced the way I'll approach future viewings of this and other Godzilla films.


Glad to have (potentially) contributed to your future appreciation of the film. :P Especially if you've seen these movies a thousand times, it's worth it to stop, rewind, and analyze what you're looking at in some of your favorite scenes. (Or, alternately, analyze what the filmmakers are forcing you to look at in same.) Yesterday's post actually started with me dissecting a scene I didn't even talk about, the one introducing Col. Gondo, before extending to the connecting scenes, and then... you get the idea.

The Gondo scene is really solid, though it didn't fit with what I typed up previously. There's a great shot that starts with him in the foreground, but he wanders out of sight. The shot continues as Asuka comes into focus in the background. She has some of the children's drawings of Godzilla. The camera pans to the wall of Gondo's office with all of his Godzilla photographs. And after a beat, he comes back into the frame in focus from screen right. It's kinda rare to discuss a Godzilla movie's blocking but in this shot it's particularly good. This is also what I'm talking about where, within one continuous shot, the movie subtly directs our eye from element to element. The scene is just a guy talking on the phone, so all of this is essential to add flair.

Kaiju-King42 wrote:It would unfortunately be much easier to becone sucked into the first half-hour and understand all the storytelling elements if one could actually understand most of the English dialogue...


In that case, one should probably just watch the dubbed version, where all those characters are re-voiced by more "professional" Anglophones. The Echo Bridge release has dubtitles anyway, so you're getting translation of the film's dialogue one way or the other.
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