Talkback: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

For discussion of Toho produced and distributed films or shows released from 1980 up to 1998 (includes Gamera 3)
User avatar
eabaker
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 11247
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby eabaker » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:25 pm

I remember back in the 90s, this was generally kind of the forgotten Heisei entry, often seemingly regarded as a placeholder between the more conversation-starting Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. People kinda looked at me funny when I said it was my favorite of the Heisei flicks (people were all crazy over Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II for awhile there...) After time away from the fandom, it was exciting for me to find it now held in such high regard.

Most of the reasons for its popularity have already been mentioned in this thread. The Godzilla and Biollante suits are some of the best ever built, each achieving a good mix of naturalism and stylization (a balance that the Heisei series would never quite capture so well again). The concept of Biollante is intriguing, and is handled in a very serious manner, but not so seriously that it robs the movie of fun. The themes are interesting, and addressed clearly, but the movie largely avoids being preachy about them. It moves along at a good pace, never veering into the ponderous (even when it stops to examine its ethical concerns), and never rushing or skipping relevant beats.

One area where it takes some heat is in the size of the cast. Me, I'm a sucker for an ensemble, and I love it when a movie presents a variety of characters with incrementally varying perspectives on the same subjects. The combination of Kirishima, Shiragami, and Okochi, for example, gives us a nice variety of scientific philosophies, with the most complex character at times siding with one extreme, at times with the other.

And, while she was not very well handled in subsequent entries, the character of Miki Saegusa was a revelation on first appearance. She presented an opportunity to explore a completely new relationship between Godzilla and the people of Japan, and in the process introduced a sic-fi/fantasy avenue unlike any the series had previously explored.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

JVM
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5173
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:06 pm

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby JVM » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:09 am

I have a feeling Godzilla vs. Biollante will get slaughtered by a lot of people seeing it for the first time with the new release because it is so well liked and talked about by fans... and since the film is far from "high art", it's not going to meet a lot of expectations.

Honestly, I think this is a main reason why the movie didn't settle as well with me. That and like I said, it was a poor boot transfer which made it pretty visually boring, but it seemed to me to be no better than the rest of the Heisei series. Now, I like a lot of the Heisei movies, but it's a little odd to see the rest of them derided for a sluggish pace when I didn't find Biollante's fantastic.

But until I see the new DVD I'm just going to keep blaming my existing copy's poor quality.
I don't think I saw the same movies as the rest of you.
I'll always miss Vega.

User avatar
Legionmaster
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5374
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:33 pm
Location: Skyloft, seducing Peatrice
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Legionmaster » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:26 am

Jomei wrote:The characters in Biollante are at least interesting. The problem was that they tried to juggle too many different narratives and ended up under-developing most of them.

But like Arbok said, the special effects are incredibly impressive for its time, looking better than virtually any Godzilla film since IMO, the monster is unique and has two kickass forms, and it works with some cool concepts that make the sci-fi socially relevant. Plus Megumi Odaka makes her debut, so all in all it's a swell flick. It has its flaws, like virtually every entry in the series, but there's so much going for it that it remains a fan favorite.

I think the fact that it so organically jumps off from where The Return of Godzilla left off helps too. It feels like more of an actual sequel than any of the following Heisei films. They feel tacked on to the previous film, while Biollante feels more like an extension (narratively, not so much thematically, but that's ok).
bleep bloop

Plexton
G-Force Lieutenant
Posts: 2299
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:33 am
Location: Air Conditioner

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Plexton » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:51 am

Jomei wrote:The characters in Biollante are at least interesting. The problem was that they tried to juggle too many different narratives and ended up under-developing most of them.

But like Arbok said, the special effects are incredibly impressive for its time, looking better than virtually any Godzilla film since IMO, the monster is unique and has two kickass forms, and it works with some cool concepts that make the sci-fi socially relevant. Plus Megumi Odaka makes her debut, so all in all it's a swell flick. It has its flaws, like virtually every entry in the series, but there's so much going for it that it remains a fan favorite.


Yeah, I completely agree about the effects; they look quite good, especially for the 80s.

It's one of my favourite entries too; a cool monster, an intriguing story, and a good use of Godzilla as a character.

User avatar
Legionmaster
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5374
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:33 pm
Location: Skyloft, seducing Peatrice
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Legionmaster » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:28 am

Legion1979 wrote:I think the main reason this movie is so popular (especially today since the initial "high" of the rest of the Heisei series has worn off) is because it's very fresh, with incredible special effects that show the strong potential that was never fully realized with the movies that came after it. Taking the entire '90s series as whole, Biollante stands out for being a sincere attempt to do something really good without having to bow to Toho's committee thinking to appeal to all demographics for maximum profit,

To an extent, this is also where King Ghidorah succeeds more then the following films as well. Its main issue is that it was founded in a time travel plot, which are notoriously difficult to manage narratively.
bleep bloop

User avatar
Legionmaster
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5374
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:33 pm
Location: Skyloft, seducing Peatrice
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Legionmaster » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:35 am

Legion1979 wrote:Yeah, King Ghidorah is a more flawed film than Biollante but it certainly doesn't go through the paces and under-utilize decent ideas the way the later films do.

My main issue with it his how bland all the characters are. Biollante succeeds in establishing a good cast of humans, but just fails to develop them much. To use a construction metaphor, it has the sturdiest foundation of all the Heisei films, and looks beautiful from the outside, but the interior design work leaves a lot to be desired. It's a script that could have used a few more months of editing (a luxury studios wish they could afford).
bleep bloop

User avatar
Legionmaster
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5374
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:33 pm
Location: Skyloft, seducing Peatrice
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Legionmaster » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:45 am

Tyler wrote:Haven't seen the film in a while but the idea of the girl's literal soul embodying Biollante feels weird in a movie that's more of a techno-thriller. I think if they were to bring back Biollate they could do that in a more symbolic way.

That's part of the "trying to go too much" that brings the film down. There's psychics, spirits, monsters, Middle Eastern secret agents, industrial espionage, industrial terrorism, mad scientists, genetic warfare, romance, and global techo-politics. All shoved into one movie.
bleep bloop

User avatar
eabaker
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 11247
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby eabaker » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:23 pm

Legionmaster wrote:
Tyler wrote:Haven't seen the film in a while but the idea of the girl's literal soul embodying Biollante feels weird in a movie that's more of a techno-thriller. I think if they were to bring back Biollate they could do that in a more symbolic way.

That's part of the "trying to go too much" that brings the film down. There's psychics, spirits, monsters, Middle Eastern secret agents, industrial espionage, industrial terrorism, mad scientists, genetic warfare, romance, and global techo-politics. All shoved into one movie.


To me, the movie really succeeds in interweaving these elements. That sheer breadth of ideas is exciting and engaging, and part of why the movie always feels fresh.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

JVM
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5173
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:06 pm

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby JVM » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:28 am

Am I the only one who didn't find Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah confusing?
I don't think I saw the same movies as the rest of you.
I'll always miss Vega.

User avatar
Arbok
Kingdom Mikado
Kingdom Mikado
Posts: 1886
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Arbok » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:27 am

Living Corpse wrote:It's a real shame this movie didn't do well at the box office simply cause it didn't have a classic monster to fight.


Yeah I agree, would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Godzilla vs. Biollante been a hit. Had it been a box office smash, we would have gotten Mothra vs. Bagan in 1990 and whose to say where the Godzilla franchise would have gone after that (although an eventual meeting of Godzilla and Mothra was a certainty).

That said, on the topic of Biollante's box office performance, the film did not meet expectations when it was released and was the low point of the Heisei series in terms of box office returns... however, it did equal or better than all of the Millennium films besides GMK.

Legionmaster wrote:That's part of the "trying to go too much" that brings the film down. There's psychics, spirits, monsters, Middle Eastern secret agents, industrial espionage, industrial terrorism, mad scientists, genetic warfare, romance, and global techo-politics. All shoved into one movie.


The film had a lot of "cooks", and had a much longer writing process than any other film in the series. The first draft was in 1986, final was in the summer of 1989 when production had started. Reading the drafts, the movie got more and more complex as time went on. It started off as a goofy, mad scientist just cooking up monsters in his lab out of thin air after his daughter died that Godzilla would fight, to a much more sophisticated plot involving Godzilla cells and a far greater concept of a power struggle bred from this discovery.

While the film has A LOT going on, I think it helps with the pacing as something is always going on and I can't imagine the film being anywhere near as enjoyable without the industrial espionage and struggle for control of the cells.

JVM wrote:Am I the only one who didn't find Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah confusing?


Yes.
If it bites... don't mess with it!

User avatar
ghidorasauras
Interpol Agent
Posts: 406
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby ghidorasauras » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:45 am

JVM wrote:Am I the only one who didn't find Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah confusing?

No. Didn't confuse me...
Svitska Donkun wrote:Godzilla vs. Robot was best one. It was my favorite of movies. Especially part where Godzilla becomes magnet. I wish I could be magnet, but for people. Maybe then Mama will love me despite me not coming from her womb.

User avatar
GIGAN05
EDF Soldier
Posts: 3406
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby GIGAN05 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:46 am

The story is the reason why I love this film so much. Its the most thought out of the entire Heisei series in personal opinion. Sure, it is not for everyone. But it is great that they tried to do something different. And the human cast are actual likable to a degree. Biollante is a monsterous yet tragic creation, something later on monsters would lack.

To be honest, I personally believe we are never going to get a Godzilla film of such quality again.
TK's Jojo. It's MUDA.

User avatar
eabaker
Seatopian Daikaiju
Posts: 11247
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:16 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby eabaker » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:43 am

JVM wrote:Am I the only one who didn't find Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah confusing?


No, I didn't find it confusing.

Ultimately, aspects of it don't make complete sense/aren't fully explained, but that only becomes confusing if you look at it in search of an internal logic that simply isn't there.

One mistake I feel a lot of fans make in reading GvsKG is that they look at it as a time travel story, and analyze how well is succeeds or fails as narrative entertainment based on how well its time travel concepts are conveyed. But it's not a hard sci-fi movie, nor is it thematically or philosophically about time travel; it is a story that uses time travel purely as a narrative exec use to create story points. Of course, the does leave one with a valid complaint: that the movie inserts a major element which requires massive suspension of disbelief even though it's not really interested in dwelling on that element in a meaningful way. But that's a very different complaint from the ones fans usually make.

As much as I love GvsKG, of course, this really highlights one of the ways in which Biollante really achieves: Each of its many different sci-fi, fantasy, and socio-political concepts is there for a reason, all integrated into a single conceptual/thematic tapestry. There's a lot going on, but every bit of it means something, and works towards creating a cohesive whole.
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

User avatar
JAGzilla
Kwaidan
Posts: 6898
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:45 pm
Location: Georgia

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby JAGzilla » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:03 pm

I don't recall ever having trouble understanding GvsKG, either. However, that may be because I've had it since I was eight. I didn't pay much attention to the story back then, and had dozens of viewings to gradually figure it out.

User avatar
Arbok
Kingdom Mikado
Kingdom Mikado
Posts: 1886
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Arbok » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:01 pm

Living Corpse wrote:She'd probably end up being a classic. Well she is considered a classic NOW by fans but I mean she'd probably would have more then one film. Like maybe not make a ton of appearances but once in a blue moon ones like Gigan or Ebirah.


Well Biollante was mentioned and appeared as stock footage in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, which is more than Megalon and some others have gotten. ;-)

Not sure even Godzilla vs. Biollante being a hit would have changed that, since Toho probably still would have ended the series in the mid-1990's to make way for the US version (especially considering the films were still huge box office hits when they ended the Heisei series, even if they were slowly trending downwards).
If it bites... don't mess with it!

JVM
E.S.P.Spy
Posts: 5173
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:06 pm

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby JVM » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:31 am

I don't know, maybe it's because I haven't rewatched it in six years, but I always loved GvKG. Maybe it's just because I'm a sucker for time travel, but I never saw the flaws everyone else saw.
I don't think I saw the same movies as the rest of you.
I'll always miss Vega.

User avatar
Huan_of_Valinor
Interpol Agent
Posts: 699
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:02 am
Location: Springfield, MA
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Huan_of_Valinor » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:59 pm

Living Corpse wrote:Still, it would have been quite the sight to see her show up in say GFW.


and she could've taken Kumonga's role, getting tossed over the horizion, just to skreeonk with the laws of phisics even further than the movie already does :lol:

anyways this has always been one of my very favorite Godzilla movies, and one of the four i would show to someone who is not a fan/is unfamiliar with the franchise.

i haven't seen it in more than a few years, and i'm waiting for the DVD release to rewatch it again. assuming this thread doesn't get buried, i'll post again after i grab the movie
Godzilla21 wrote:I would love if someone came out with some batshit Reddit Q&A who claimed to see the screening.

"Yes then Rodan falls on Godzilla to sacrifice himself and Godzilla transforms into a new monster called BAGAN."


NSZ wrote:Everyone shut up and go outside. Take a walk around your block. Breathe. Get mugged by a bird. Clear your noggin.

User avatar
Arbok
Kingdom Mikado
Kingdom Mikado
Posts: 1886
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby Arbok » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:47 am

NSZ wrote:
Living Corpse wrote:Still, it would have been quite the sight to see her show up in say GFW.


I think we have enough reasons to passionately hate Final Wars, Corpse. No need to speculate on how we'd be angry at her mishandling as well.


Word, I already have enough pity for how manhandled Hedorah was in that film. Besides, I doubt Biollante would have made it in as the kaiju choices were largely influenced by the ones Kitamura was familiar with, which was from the Showa series.
If it bites... don't mess with it!

User avatar
GojirO
Interpol Agent
Posts: 711
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:43 am
Location: Waterford, MI

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby GojirO » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:19 am

If biollante was in final wars it would have been a death march. But I thought that anguirus was bulky and that the necks on ghidrah were a little thick. But a redesign for biollante would have probably been a real treat. But like the giant octopus (oodaku I think was its name) it would never be
Rest in Peace Victoria

User avatar
o.supreme
G-Force Lieutenant
Posts: 2409
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:51 am
Location: Born in the Bay Area, but stuck in Sacto

Re: Biollante's Popularity

Postby o.supreme » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:31 pm

It feels odd since I have always had access to this film in one form or another since Spring of 1991 when I got my first bootleg VHS. I remember it also being the kind of "oddball" film of the Heisei series. One of the few not to have a revamped Kaiju from the Showa Era. Having mostly new crew, actors, FX creators etc... however I definitely feel it has aged quite well. Better than most of the Heisei series for many fans, though to be fair, the only Heisei films I really dont care for are Mothra & Space Godzilla. But I know I'm in the minority. It will be nice to officially have this available in North America in an updated format. Now there is just ROG/1985.
To all you dub preservationists, my friends, you have my eternal thanks 8-) . Never stop what you do, you are amazing!


Return to “Heisei Series (1980's-1998)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests