Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
is a movie whose title could, for those who have
not yet seen it, turn stomachs. From the title
alone, it appears as though it is a sub par remake
of one of the former Mechagodzilla movies. Upon
viewing this movie, however, it is clear that
this is not the case. Not only does the movie
sever the memories of an uninspired 1993 Mechagodzilla,
but it really makes Mechagodzilla into a new creation,
unlike its predecessors. Not only is this true,
but the handling of Godzilla, the human plot,
the pacing, the creative continuity, and the special
effects place this movie a few notches above some
of the traditional favorites. To beat an old cliché
firmly into the ground, don't judge a book by
The story starts in Tateyama, Japan
in 1999. The coast is suddenly struck by a typhoon.
Hidden under the tempest waves, boiling mist,
and inky darkness is a shadow from the past. A
member of Godzilla's species awakes and attacks.
The Anti-Mega Losses Force, created in 1966 to
contend with monsters such as Godzilla, Mothra,
and Gaira, is dispatched. This force arrives with
type 90 maser cannons. During the battle, tragedy
suddenly strikes when heroine Akane Yashiro accidentally
shoves a jeep into a ravine with her maser cannon
vehicle. Godzilla steps on the disabled jeep,
and Akane's personal vendetta against Godzilla
To deal with the revived threat
of Godzilla, a robot built around the bones and
spinal cells of the first Godzilla (which attacked
in 1954) is commissioned for creation. It is finished
in three and a half years, and in that time Akane
(who had been punished with a mediocre position)
trained to make a come back. She is chosen to
become one of the pilots of Kiryu, the name for
the new Mechagodzilla. She is to pilot the robot
remotely from the AC-3 "Shiragasi".
Finally, the world is shown this
new creation, and coincidentally, Godzilla emerges
simultaneously. Kiryu is sent on its first mission,
but Godzilla's roar sets off a memory recorded
deep in Kiryu's spinal tissue. Kiryu, in essence,
becomes the 1954 Godzilla. It runs amok until
its power depletes, at which time it shuts down.
The future of the Kiryu project
comes under scrutiny, but when Godzilla once again
attacks, the Prime Minister is convinced that
Kiryu is Japan's best chance. Kiryu goes into
battle! It fights with unmatched ferocity and
finally disables Godzilla long enough to ready
and hopefully fire the absolute zero cannon, Kiryu's
ultimate weapon. Just before the beam can fire,
Godzilla shoots his breath and knocks Kiryu over.
The cannon fires and destroys three buildings.
Kiryu's energy is depleted, and it is realized
that all of the power from local power plants
must be fed into Kiryu in order to revive it.
It becomes necessary for Kiryu to be controlled
manually, and Akane is dropped off to pilot the
disabled robot from within. When Kiryu is back
to full power, Akane manages to ram Kiryu into
Godzilla, shut the monster's fire-breathing mouth,
and use the absolute zero cannon. Godzilla survives
the attack and retreats. Kiryu's energy is depleted,
and the cannon cannot be used right away. The
battle ends in a stalemate.
There is no true victory, but despite
it all, Japan now knows that it now has a weapon
to contend with Godzilla: the bio-robot Kiryu.
In text, the movie almost sounds
like a live-action anime. On the screen, this
observation is not too far from the truth. The
fast pacing and stereotypical characters are somewhat
similar to an anime. There's the morose, main
character that is fighting for a purpose. There's
the goofy, lovesick scientist who tries at every
angle to woo the main character. There's the placid
little girl with multiple emotional dimensions
and philosophical musings. The prime ministers,
both old and new, each have a deep personal drama
in decision-making. The brother of the Hiyama
(whose jeep Akane accidentally pushed into the
ravine) shows a blind hatred that works as a side-conflict
that helps to strengthen the honor of the main
character. Altogether, these anime-esque acting
styles tend to make the human plot so filled to
the brim with fluff, that the resulting lightness
of the film ironically becomes an appealing and
As far as how well the actors handled
the characters, there were no real acting flaws.
Each actor brought to each character what was
needed and required. Yumiko
Shaku brought a deepness to her role, but
still managed to come out as a warm and likeable
character after all. Shin Takuma brings an innocence
to his role that increases his likeability right
from the get go. Kana Onodera's ability to flawlessly
transfer from mood to mood helps to magnify the
dimensions of her character. Yusuke Tomoi brings
a quality to the screen that gives the illusion
that he could have actually lived through the
events of the movie, due to the fact that his
ability to muster animosity came to him so well.
As for the other characters, there are no real
excellent or terrible performances; however, it
should be noted that Kumi
Mizuno's return to a Godzilla movie is a treat
for the fine connoisseur of the series.
As far as the monsters faired,
the use of the Godzilla and Kiryu suits were done
with some superb sophistication. Maybe the suits
weren't as sophisticated as those in Godzilla,
Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out
Attack (2001), but they easily beat out
the suits in Godzilla
vs. Megaguirus (2000). Godzilla was stiff
at times, but it was obvious that it was only
meant to truly illuminate his defensive strength.
Godzilla's eyes were more birdlike in this movie,
and there were some excellent scenes with organic
facial expressions. As far as blending in with
the scenery, the use of highly detailed sets,
lighting, and matte effects really gave a noteworthy
illusion of size and power. Kiryu was handled
with excellence as well. The organic, yet technological
look of the suit, combined with the CG weaponry,
bred a mechanical masterpiece. much superior to
the 1993 Mechagodzilla.
Kiryu going berserk was a unique
moment in the film as well. Though the casual
moviegoer may miss this, the die-hard fans know
the truth. This was an excellent way to bring
back the original Godzilla without actually bringing
back the original Godzilla. This impressive scene
should really be adopted as a paradigm for future
Interestingly enough, Godzilla
and Kiryu aren't the only monsters to make appearances
in this movie. One of the most intriguing and
enjoyable moments in recent Godzilla movies are
the flashbacks to Mothra
(1961) and The
War of the Gargantuas (1966) in this movie.
This film manages to work both Mothra and Gaira
into the plot, by explaining the need for the
Anti-Mega Losses Force, and the birth of the maser
cannon. The flashbacks to these movies, each which
never bred a direct sequel, can easily garner
applause from the serious kaiju fan.
The special effects as a whole
were superb in this movie. From the buildings
that crumbled under the absolute zero cannon,
to the flight of the "Shiragasi", this movie is
indeed a notch ahead of similar Godzilla movies
in computer graphics.
However, all of the CG, all of
the special effects, and the plot would be second-rate
if it weren't for the brilliant musical score.
Like much of the film, it has an anime-esque quality
that has a very upbeat sound. Some of the score
is revamped from Godzilla
vs. Megaguirus (2000), but this time around
it is improved greatly. Expect earworms after
you finish this movie.
In fact, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
draws a lot more inspiration from Godzilla
vs. Megaguirus (2000) than simply music.
From the heroine with a vendetta, to the similarity
of the weaponry, to a similar suit, to the similar
jets, it takes inspiration and provides it in
a much more enjoyable fashion than in Godzilla
vs. Megaguirus (2000).
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
is a triumph for the millennium timeline. It combines
likeable characters, a fast-placed plot, great
special effects, and interesting monster drama
all to form an exciting new entry in the series.
In fact, it's one of the few movies that were
actually given a direct sequel. Godzilla Against
Mechagodzilla beats the stereotype for remakes
and brings to the table one of the most memorable
and enjoyable Godzilla movies in recent years.