Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)

Title: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)

Director: Kazuki Omori


I never thought I would be saying this but there is such a thing as a ‘Mecha-King Ghidorah’. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read that right a ‘Mecha-King Ghidorah’. What is a ‘Mecha-King Ghidorah’ you ask? Well, basically, a King Ghidorah is an alien creature brought to earth by a group of time travelers from the future. But a Mecha King-Ghidorah is actually the robotic pimped up version of that! But I’m getting ahead of myself, and you should find out for yourself what a ‘Mecha-King Ghidorah’ is. A regular King Ghidorah is a three headed golden dragon that can fly and shoot lightning bolts out of each of its three heads. Never thought I’d end up typing that either, yet here I am talking about ‘Dorat’s’ and ‘King Ghidorah’s’ and Godzilla! That’s right my friends, I’ve finally decided to go deeper into the world of Godzilla films! I recently watched and reviewed the original Gojira (1954) a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed that one so much that I’ve decided to go even deeper into Godzilla films. It looks like this will be ‘A Very Japanese Summer’ here at The Film Connoisseur, I will take this opportunity to announce to you guys and gals out there that starting in June 2011, The Film Connoisseur is going to go Japanese! I have lots of Japanese films lined up for you guys this summer 2011! Their will be lots of anime, lots of Kaiju, lots of everything Japanese, so look forward to that in the coming months! But now, the task at hand: my review for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah!

In this film time travelers from the year 2204 (called ‘The Futurians’) land their spaceship on Mount Fuji. They tell the Japanese that they have come to warn them that Godzilla is going to end up destroying Japan. But fear not! These Futurians have a solution to the Godzilla problem! They can travel back in time to 1944 to destroy Godzilla before he was Godzilla, in this way avoiding the destruction of Japan at the hands of the beast. Problem is, these Futurians actually have an ulterior motive for traveling back in time…they want to eliminate Godzilla and replace it with an even deadlier creature: King Ghidorah! Their ultimate goal is the destruction of Japan. You see, in the future, Japans economy surpasses that of many countries in the world. It becomes the most powerful country in the world! Even more powerful economically then the United States, and the Futurians don’t like that! Their plans are to set King Ghidorah loose upon Japan and completely annihilate it! Will the Futurians achieve their goals of destroying Japan and putting an end to Japan’s future economic reign?

How Godzilla films started, and what they evolved into are two very different films in my book. While the original Gojira was a mostly a straight forward monster movie, its sequels evolved into something else altogether: I’m talking about films in which two giant monsters fight each other to the death! That’s right, starting with the very first Godzilla sequel Godzilla Raids Again (1955) these films turned into films about monster against monster. In fact, while monster vs. monster movies are quite common place today (think Alien Vs. Predator and Freddy Vs. Jason) Godzilla Raids Again was actually the first Japanese film of its kind! It depicted Godzilla going up against a monster known as Anguirus, the first monster that Godzilla ever faced. Fast forward 28 films later and that’s all Godzilla has ever done! Fight other monsters! What makes these movies interesting though are how different and totally out there each of these monsters are. Case in point King Ghidorah!

Since I’m not watching these films in order, I learned that this film I’m reviewing today is actually the fifth time that Godzilla has fought King Ghidorah, so I guess I have a lot of catching up to do. But seriously folks, King Ghidorah has to be one of the coolest creatures that Godzilla has ever gone up against. In fact, King Ghidorah has gone down in Godzilla history as the main bad ass of the series, Godzilla’s ultimate arch-enemy. Cool thing about this movie is we get to see King Ghidorah’s origin story, and I bet you guys are just dying to find out where a three headed, winged, golden dragon that shoots golden lightning bolts out of its mouth came from aren’t ya? No worries, its all here. And speaking of origins, we also get to see how Godzilla came to be! I mean, yeah, we all know that Godzilla is a mutation caused by the radiation that came from nuclear bomb testings, but what was he before? What did he mutate from? This movie answers us those questions in the form of Godzillasaurus! That’s right, Godzilla was once a dinosaur!

Ladies and gentlemen, Godzillasaurus!

I just want to go down in saying how much fun I had with this one. I didn’t expect to enjoy these films so much. I loved seeing a three headed winged dragon with golden skin flying above Tokyo! So far, the best thing about these Godzilla movies is how completely outlandish their stories can get. I mean seriously, on this film, just when you think you have seen it all, boom, the movie gets crazier! Take for instance the fact that one of the Futurians is actually a freaking cyborg that runs at lightning fast speeds! It’s a hilariously cheesy image, but it’s totally insane, and therefore completely entertaining. The time traveling angle, the changing of past events to alter the future and the muscle bound cyborg in the film (called M-11) let’s us know that this particular Godzilla film was very influenced by The Terminator (1984). A couple of these Godzilla movies were heavily influenced by American films, for example in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) there’s this Indiana Jones type character that goes around getting relics and avoiding booby traps! Hell, some scenes in Godzilla vs. Mothra were completely ripped off from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom! On Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah they only rip off The Terminator. It’s obvious that Japanese love American movies just as much as we love theirs, they even make a Spielberg related joke when two American soldiers see a spaceship pass above them and one of them says “Let’s keep this between us, it’s a story you can tell you’re kids Major Spielberg!”

Mecha-King Ghidorah!

I have to say that I loved seeing Godzilla destroying building after building, fighting off giant monsters from the future and kicking all sorts of ass. I mean, yeah it’s guys in suits, the plot holes concerning time travel are as gargantuan as Godzilla himself, and some of the dialog is god awful (“Take that you dinosaur!”) but the creativity involved in this film is astounding. The miniatures are very elaborate, and the fun level is way up high. I don’t know if this particular film is one of the best Godzilla movies out there or not (because I haven’t seen them all) but all I know is that I had tons of fun with it! I mean how kick ass was it to see Godzilla grabbing Ghidorah by its tail and slamming him on the floor repeatedly? Very kick ass that’s how kick ass! If this film is any indication of what I can come to expect from other Godzilla movies, then I’m in for a damn fun time! And if some of you out there have never seen a Godzilla film, I’d say that this one is a good place to start. Just remember to bring your ‘suspension of disbelief’ with ya for the ride!

Rating: 3 out of 5


Manuel Marrero said...

I remember when i first saw King Ghidorah, it was in his second movie appearance in Godzilla's sixth film. He battled Godzilla and Rodan (one of Godzillas allies). When i watched this film, I finally got to see Mecha King Ghidorah for the first time and my inner child bursted out with excitement. Let me know when you get your hands on more Godzilla movies, and make sure you see them all bro.

Franco Macabro said...

I'll be getting my hands on more Godzilla films soon! I am most interested in seeing Godzilla Raids Again because it was the sequel to Gojira. Funny, the first Godzilla died in the first film, yet the Godzilla from Raids Again onward has never died? He always ends up going back to the ocean!

I know what you mean about seeing Mecha King Ghidorah for the first time because in that scene Mecha KG suddenly appears, as if it was teleported from the freaking future! Awesome scene!

Next up, Godzilla vs. Mothra!

Jack L said...

I don't think I've ever seen any of the original Godzilla films, but I think i did see the American remake, I didn't like it.
These looks better though, and certainly more entertaining! I might check them out, I'll probably start with the original and see what I think of that...

btw, I'm lookign forward to all these Japanese films you'll be reviewing, I'm a fan of Japanese Cinema myself, and was actually think of reviewing some of their films regularly as well, but mostly Samurai films.

Great review!

Franco Macabro said...

@Jack L: Not many people liked that American version of Godzilla, the japanese themselves called that movie "Godzilla in name only" I wonder what theyll think of the upcoming Godzilla film thats slated for the near future...

If you want to start somewhere Gojira is not a bad place to start, I loved that one. But the sequels are something else altogether. These movies are great fun, if you are ever in the mood for some crazy whacked out films...these are the ticket. These movies show you situations you will never see on any other movie! Very outlandish stuff.

I have many interesting Japanese films lined up, stuff I've been meaning to see for years! I've got some Kurosawa in there, and a couple of his Samurai movies will be making my list so olok forward to these reviews starting in June!

Thanks for commenting Jack!

venoms5 said...

This one isn't one of my favorites at all. I liked it when I first saw it in 1993 and I like it now, but I'm just not as crazy about it as some fans are. This wasn't the actual origins of Godzilla and KG, but a new start. The Heisei series ignores the previous movies save for the very first one. For me, the previous movie, GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE had an even more ambitious story and effects than this one.

Some of the plot devices here I did like, though, and there's one scene in G VS. KG that's one of the best out of all the movies--the one where Godzilla sees the old man in the building and has a flashback. The original Japanese version is much more palatable than the ridiculous dubbed version.

In hindsight, the Heisei series is pretty bland compared with the films before and after it save for GODZILLA (1984) and BIOLLANTE (1989). Effects man Koichi Kawakita seemed to get bored with the series as his monster scenes more and more consisted of the two beasts standing at one end of the set and firing brightly colored laser beams at one another. The 1993 version of GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA is also pretty good and foreshadows G's death two films later.

Speaking of GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, it's not the same Godzilla. It's a pretty average movie.

Bob Ignizio said...

Lots of good stuff to be found in Japanese cinema. You're already talking Kurosawa, which is great. Hope you check out some Seijun Suzuki stuff as well. Maybe the 'Lone Wolf and Cub' and 'Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman' series, as well. Man, I love me some Japanese movies.

And yeah, this is a fun Godzilla flick. Not the best, at least in my opinion, but still pretty solid entertainment.

Franco Macabro said...

@Venom5: Duude I'd been waiting for your reply cause your blog is what got me into Godzilla movies, so here I am enjoying the hell out of these movies! Had I know they were so cool...

But basically I've turned into an overnight King Ghidorah fan! Love that character! It just looks so outlandish flying over tokyo with its three heads spewing lightning bolts! That was an outlandish image!

I was reading about the different Godzilla eras that you've mentioned, so this one is from the Heisei era, and the names of the first two eras come from the emperors that were ruling at the time over Japan, if I understood correctly anyways. I'm looking forward to descovering how different Godzilla looks through out the different eras, this will be fun no doubt.

Agree about that scene with Godzilla having a flashback, me and my friends all looked at each other and said "is Godzilla having a freaking flashback?" It was just such a crazy idea, but then again, thats what I've been enjoying about these movies, how crazy they are! Sad to say I saw the dubbed Tristar Pictures version, I wished I had seen the original, but this one was the one that was available. Still, I think the film looked mighty fine.

Biollante is the one Im currently most curious for because the review you wrote for it sparked my interest in that one. It sounds like a Godzilla film with a very unusual monster.

I need to find out which of these movies are on DVD and which arent, but I'll try and get my hands on all 28 of them! Whew, it's going to be a marathon seeing them all! But a fun one! Thanks for the recommendations, Im taking notes.

@Bob: Yeah, I'm going to go all over, try and include a nice variety of films from Japan, from the classiest, to the trashiest. Should be pretty cool.

I remember your recommendation for Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster on my review for Gojira, so thats the one Im seeing next!

Thanks for your comments!


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