Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)

Class: User
Author: Tim85
Score: (2.5/5)
April 3, 2006 [Review May Contain Spoilers]

After Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) ushered in the Millennium series, producer Shogo Tomiyama decided on a different director for a new angle. Unlike the previous director, Masaaki Tezuka is an avid Godzilla fan who wanted to make a Godzilla film reminiscent of the later Showa series. And like the aforementioned film, this movie features a new monster. What the film lacks in believability, it's made up in the enjoyment factor.

In 1954, Godzilla first attacked Japan, turning Tokyo into a raging inferno. After moving the capital to Osaka, Godzilla attacked a nuclear power plant in 1966. After the inability of wind, solar, and hydroelectric power to provide the country with a suitable alternative, a new form of energy is invented that won't attract Godzilla: plasma energy. Well, that proved wrong in 1996 when Godzilla attacks Osaka and destroys the building the energy was stored in. A small foot battalion armed with rocket launchers attacks Godzilla, which proves ineffective. The commanding officer is killed by falling debris, and one of the officers, Kiriko Tsujimori, becomes enraged and begins to hold a vendetta against the King of the Monsters…

After showing some kids a “magic trick”, Hajime Kuro (a young inventor) is approached by Kiriko and reveals the trick; tiny robots. Because of his skills, she recruits him for work with the G-Graspers, a military group whose focus is only on Godzilla's annihilation and the protection from said monster. Their ultimate weapon is a miniature black hole gun, known as Dimensional Tide, which when fired, will suck Godzilla into a black hole and destroy the creature once and for all. Kuro is ordered to make the weapon small enough to fit on a satellite.

In 2001 the weapon is finally finished. The G-Graspers test it on an empty school in the countryside. The test fire is successful, creating a black hole that absorbs the entire school. However a side effect is spotted, a distortion in the time dimension. It's then brought to Kiriko's attention that a young insect loving boy named Ken witnessed the entire thing. She tells him not tell anyone because this is a secret. Soon the weapon is launched into space. Kuro catches Kiriko working out and gives her a special bullet that can be tracked. He then spots dog tags and asks about them. She yanks them out of his hand and takes off. Her colleagues explain that they belonged to their superior officer who died fighting Godzilla, and that she was hit the hardest by the tragic event.

That night Ken spots something flying around outside. He goes out to investigate and sees a giant insect fly towards the worm hole. He then discovers a large egg! When his family moves to Tokyo, he takes it with him. Unable to hide it much longer he dumps it in the sewers. After settling, the individual cells begin to hatch and a giant insect called Meganulon attacks a couple and soon transforms into a winged creature known as Meganula. Ken sees the creature flying above the city. The next day he tells Kiriko what he's done and what the creature was. Soon Godzilla is detected in the ocean along with the Meganula. Kiriko and crew take off in the Griffon to check it out. They find the floating carcass of the insect and go down to take samples. Suddenly Godzilla surfaces! She climbs out of the water, onto the monster and fires the tracking bullet into the creature's skin. She then orders an SGS (a small Godzilla tracking sub) to be launched. She dives off Godzilla and is taken back to the mainland.

After the samples are examined, the insect's origins are explained. Soon after, the city of Tokyo is under water! Under the waves are thousands of eggs! The government gives permission to lure Godzilla to the deserted island of Kiganjima in order to use the Dimension Tide on the monster. The defense force is also sent out to destroy the eggs with dynamite. Hundreds upon hundreds of Meganulon are found along the side of a building, and they are turning into Meganula! Despite being fired upon, the swarm flies out to sea.

Fighter planes and the Griffon lure Godzilla onto the island. Just before the Dimension Tide is fired at the creature, the swarm of Meganula attacks Godzilla. This forces a delay because Godzilla can't be locked on. The giant insects land on Godzilla try to extract energy from the behemoth but most are squished or fried by Godzilla's atomic ray. After enough are defeated, Godzilla is finally locked on and the weapon fires. All it does is bury the monster. The rest of the swarm heads back to the mainland with Godzilla in pursuit. It's then revealed that they are bringing energy to their queen, known as Megaguirus, an extremely territorial creature. That night, the last of the Meganula inject energy into the larvae. Hajima arrives on the scene to check on the machinery when the giant insect bursts out of the water. Megaguirus proceeds to destroy the flooded city, killing several troops and injuring Hajima's arm.

The next day Godzilla arrives in Odaiba. The G-Graspers attempt to keep Godzilla down by the bay so that the damage will be minimum when the Dimension Tide is fired. Once again, before they can fire, Megaguirus arrives to do battle with Godzilla. During the battle, Megaguirus causes a high pitched frequency from its wings; causing the Dimension Tide problems that only Hajima can fix. After a back and forth battle, finally Godzilla rips off Megaguirus' stinger; preventing the insect from neutralizing Godzilla's ray. While she's stunned, Godzilla roasts the insect with his atomic breath.

After the battle, Godzilla locates the Institute of Science and destroys it. Motohiko reveals that it housed plasma energy, something that will not only help the country, but also his interests. All he gets is a punch in the face from Kirko, for his greed.

Meanwhile, the Dimension Tide is falling from its orbit into the atmosphere and is unable to lock onto Godzilla! Kirko volunteers to fly the Griffon into lock-on range. After it does, she crashes the plane into Godzilla (ejecting first). The weapon is fired just as it burns up in the atmosphere. Not falling for this a second time, Godzilla fires his ray into the black hole just as it hits. After the dust settles, Godzilla is MIA and G-Graspers celebrate.

Later Kirko meets up with Hijima again saying, that an epicenter has been discovered and many think it is Godzilla. He refuses at first but then jokes about being replaced. She elbows him in the injured arm. He yelps in pain and she apologizes. Much later at school, Ken is putting away an insect collection before going out to recess. Suddenly the ground shakes and he looks out the in horror as a familiar roar is heard. That reptilian bad penny has returned….

There are more misses then hits in the acting department. While her attitude is understandable given the circumstances, Misato Tanaka's performance as Kirko Tsujimori is too cold, dramatic, and lacks sense of humor for the audience to get attached to the character. The only time she shows caring emotion is when she's talking to Ken. Hajima Kudo (Shosuke Tanihara) is so over-the-top that it can get irritating at times. It's odd he always seems to have the right gadget for the situation, like he just happened to have one of these things lying around. One of the best performances is Suzuki Hiroyuki as the insect loving Ken, despite him being a child actor, and the fact that his character's role is relatively brief. He's the only character the viewer can empathize with because of the dark secret haunting him that he wishes will just go away. Another well-done performance is Masatoh Eve as the weasel Motohiko Sugiura, who'll put the lives of people in harms way just to help his status.

There are a few cameos in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Commonly seen Godzilla actor Koichi Ueda is seen as a government official during the meeting when the G-Graspers plan on luring Godzilla to Kaganjima (in order to use the Dimension Tide). The director himself, Masaaki Tezuka, makes an appearance in the post credits scene as a teacher in Ken's school.

One thing worthy of noting is a similar situation to a previous movie. Like the movie Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), Japan builds this super weapon (in this case the Dimension Tide) seemingly without any arguments from the rest of the world. Another interesting thing to note in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is in the beginning when soldiers fight Godzilla on foot rather then with tanks and fighter jets.

The music score is one of the better parts of the movie. Most of the themes don't stand out, but a few do. Michiru Oshima's Godzilla theme is catchy and brings a modern feel to the monster. The battle theme during the rumble between Godzilla and Megaguirus has a Spanish quality to that while it may be jarring to the ears, actually fits the tone of the battle. Akira Ifukube's classic Godzilla theme is heard twice in the movie: at the beginning and when Godzilla comes on shore at Odaiba, and is still wonderful to hear.

The special effects were a mixed bag however. The monsters were for the most part handled decently. The details on the suits and models were well done. The placing of the 2000 Godzilla in the footage from the 1954 movie was flawless. One of the best special effects shot in the movie is Kiriko riding Godzilla, a shot that could have failed miserably but was brilliantly executed. The black hole shot from the Dimension Tide looked decent and could have looked a lot worse. The weapon itself, burning in the atmosphere, was well done. The Griffon jet was rather bland and could have been pulled off better. There are two shots that are just obviously fake: the trash cans during Godzilla's attack on Osaka in 1996, and the scene when the satellite with the Dimension Tide starts to show problems.

For the kaiju angle: Godzilla was decent. He has the same general design and orange ray from the last film with some changes. While the aforementioned suit was subtly green, this suit screams “GREEN!” The rosy pink scales actually go well with the bright greenness of the suit. The swimming was well done, and the shot of Godzilla resting underwater is something that's rarely seen in a Godzilla movie. The most unrealistic thing about Godzilla is the jump during the battle. They could have shown Godzilla using his tail to help lift him off the ground to help with the credibility.

The Meganulon props were disgusting in a positive way. They were just plain creepy. The Meganulon attacking the couple has is one of the most graphic scenes in a Godzilla movie by far. Meganula were well done. The use of CGI helped the realism and was evident even with the amount of creatures on screen. Their brief tussle with Godzilla is well pulled off and is one of the most interesting battles in the series. Megaguirus is a fantastic looking monster. It was most realistic when its wings were vibrating. When they weren't and were just merely flapping, it looked as realistic as Mothra's wing flaps were in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). It's no wonder this monster is so popular because out of the few new monsters introduced, it has the most personality. To those who are watching Sony's Region 1 DVD of this movie; some may notice strings holding up Megaguirus during the night scenes. Well, that's because Sony lightened the movie up and when they did that, it exposed the strings. However, if your TV tone is dark, the strings probably won't show. The way it neutralized Godzilla's ray and the energy ball was quite an interesting angle. After several movies of beam war fighting, viewers are finally treated to a decent physical fight not seen since the days of the Showa series. During the battle when Megaguirus was buzzing Godzilla, the portrayal of speed was magnificent but her movements were a little choppy.

Despite the lack of realism, Tezuka delivered on his promise: a fun movie. What the film lacks in human development is made up with a creative (albeit unrealistic) weapon to defeat Godzilla, a new monster with a personality, a great music score, and ferocious battles with the Meganula and Megaguirus. If you like deep, symbolic Godzilla movies, this movie isn't for you. If you watch Godzilla movies for monster fights however, you should defiantly see this movie. Remember, don't take this movie seriously, it's suppose to be a watch-on-the-surface, fun movie; it was never meant to be a deep serious one.