Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
All good things must come to an end, and the Heisei series of Godzilla movies (1984-1995) came to an end with this movie. Released in Japan on December 9, 1995, Godzilla versus Destoroyah promised the death and burial of Toho Studio's beloved giant mutant lizard and it mostly delivered. This movie gives us the best drama, the most eye-popping special effects, the most shed tears for a monster, and some of the cutest girls in any Godzilla movie. It was a fitting end to the 1990's run of Godzilla and a lot of fun to watch.
Although Godzilla "dies" in this movie, Toho, knowing that the future might demand that Godzilla return, gave us a deus ex machina in the film's last few frames. Like Mister Spock in Star Trek III, Godzilla is regenerated in a younger form, assuring that sequels would be available if needed. You'll have to read the full review for an explanation of what happens.
Why did they even want to kill off the most recognizable icon in Japanese cinema history in the first place? Lots of theories abound, but the best answer is that "it was just the right time". Tri-Star was working on its own American Godzilla movie and there was some hope that Toho would turn over the reins to the Americans. As the horrible and heretical 1998 Godzilla showed, however, Americans can't do monster movies. Toho found itself under intense national pressure to rescue Godzilla from the bungling hands of Hollywood. Godzilla was therefore revived for the new century, starting with 1999's Godzilla 2000, and the series returned to its Japanese roots.
But back to our movie. Godzilla versus Destoroyah, like most of the other 1990's movies, never made it to theatres stateside, but was released on wide-screen DVD in 2000, and this is what I will review. This Columbia Tri-Star DVD is the original, uncut Japanese version with English dubbing and subtitles and it clocks in at a full 102 minutes of fast-paced action.
This movie was directed by Takao Okawara, who had already helmed 1992's Godzilla vs. Mothra II and 1993's Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II, and would go on to direct 1999's Godzilla 2000. On a sad note, this was the last Godzilla film producer Tomoyuki Tanaka ever did. He was the only person to work on every previous Godzilla films and his unique style and touch are evident in all his work. His presence has been sorely missed in the new Godzilla series.
And now on to our movie...
We open with a G-Force helicopter flying along the wave-tops of the South Pacific, heading for "Baas Island". Baas Island, of course, is where Godzilla and Little Godzilla have been living the past few movies, though in the last movie it was called "Birth Island". Why Toho can't pick a name for something and just stick with it is beyond me.
The chopper, a civilian mark of the OH-6 Cayuse, arrives at the location of the island to find it gone! Well, there is a little bit of rock left above the waves smoking and boiling, but basically the entire island has been destroyed. As we shall hear later, the island was destroyed by the "nuclear fission of a huge underground pocket of pure uranium" that exploded due to a volcanic eruption. [Editor Pam: Not possible, but I won't bore everybody by discussing why. If anybody's interested, let me know, and I'll explain.]
The remains of Birth Island.
As we have seen in past films, this island was really quite large, so the explosive force needed to completely destroy it must have been amazing. We are led to believe that no one knew of it until this helicopter came to visit, which defies logic. An explosion that big would have set off seismographs on the other side of the planet and would have been easily picked up on every satellite in space. As well, as the island exploded from a large pocket of uranium in the bedrock, radiation meters downwind for a thousand miles would have certainly detected the effects. The only solution is that the island just did explode, just minutes before the helicopter arrived in the area. But this can't be as they would have seen the massive smoke and ash cloud still in the air and would have felt the blast effects from many miles away. I hate having to think this hard in the first thirty seconds of a movie...
Anyway, we now cut to the thriving island nation of Hong Kong, where a placard tells us this is "1996". We follow a "Cathay Pacific Cargo" 747 airliner as it takes off from Hong Kong's International Airport. It's clearly dusk in these shots, with the sun still out enough to see without lighting, but in one second it's suddenly pitch black as the pilots see something looming up in front of them as their wheels leave the tarmac. In all the subsequent shots of Hong Kong it's also pitch black, and we scream at the editors for not catching this glaring mistake.
What looms up is Godzilla! The pilot, a Caucasian man shouts in English "What is that?". His copilot, an Asian man, shouts back in Japanese, "It's a monster!" and his voice is dubbed into English. This just seems weird, as if the two men don't speak the same language, which would make flying a plane together pretty tough. The plane veers to the left, we see Godzilla shoot out an Atomic Fire Breath into the sky, and then see a huge splash of water, so I assume he just shot down the airliner. A check of the DVD counter shows us to be a mere 2:31 into the movie, which is an amazingly quick first entrance for a Godzilla movie.
Godzilla here looks tremendous, all toothy and bad-ass as usual. However, patches of his skin are glowing a sickly bright orangish red! His Atomic Fire Breath is a bright orangish red as well, showing us that Godzilla is pumping out some serious radiation with those blasts. I'll go ahead and tell you now that Godzilla is having an internal nuclear meltdown, causing his skin and bones to glow red and him to get really pissed. The effect is outstanding, with his eyes a dull red, his dorsal spines sparking and flashing an iridescent red and water boiling into steam when he wades ashore. An explanation of why he is like this will follow.
That's gotta hurt.
The credits now roll, simple white letters superimposed over the coming scenes of Godzilla walking through Hong Kong, smashing and flaming at random. The title card is in Kanji with the English title below it in small letters, which is really cool in my opinion. His attack on Hong Kong is vintage Godzilla, buildings crash, flames billow and terrified people point and run. The only things to note are the common Godzilla problem of city traffic cruising along normally while a matted-in Godzilla rampages in the background. It's almost as if the people on the next street over from him are oblivious to his being there.
We must ask ourselves, why Hong Kong? Godzilla is not known for attacking cities outside of Japan, and it seems odd that in what is billed as his final movie, our lizard is overseas. Perhaps it was a sly attack on Hong Kong's economic assault on Japan in the 1990s, one which saw a great loss of market share to cheaply-made Hong Kong goods. Perhaps it was a stab at the resurgent Hong Kong movie making industry, which was stealing a lot of screen time from Japanese films in the 1990s. Perhaps he was just lost. Who knows, but it was indeed refreshing to see Godzilla smashing some place other than Tokyo.
We cut now back to Japan, to Tokyo, and to the HQ of the G-Force, the organization responsible for combating and studying Godzilla. G-Force HQ is in Tsukuba Science City, a relatively new high-tech area just north of Tokyo.
G-Force HQ at Tsukua Science Center.
We join in what a title card tells us is a "Godzilla Summit Meeting", where a suit is recounting how Birth Island was destroyed and how this affected Godzilla, making him into the orange glowing, smoking beast that just stomped Hong Kong. The suit is Professor Fukazawa, who is played by 46-year old Saburo Shinoda, reprising this character from 1992's Godzilla vs. Mothra II. We will call him "The Suit" for the rest of this review.
The Suit's report is interrupted by a video call from a G-Force field agent. On the viewscreen we see a cute young twentysomething Japanese girl in what appears to be a black Girl Scout's uniform and matching beret. The screen tag tells us that she is in Washington, DC, her name is Meru Ozawa. She's played by Sayaka Osawa. Together with Keiko Imamura, Sayaka was a member of the Japanese singing duo "The Cosmos", who played the Mothra faeries in two of the Heisei series movies.
Meru introduces an American scientist who tells the G-Force summit about an interesting bit of info. It seems that this very problem of Godzilla's power-reactor-heart overloading was examined in depth by a Japanese college student for his thesis. He shows us the disk, which he says "came through the internet", and is named "A Private Consideration of Godzilla's Structure." The student who wrote it is named Kenichi Yamane. Last name sound familiar?
So now we cut to America, where we meet Kenichi Yamane as The Suit has come to America to talk to him about his theory. He lives in a little apartment cluttered with photographs and computers. Kenichi is indeed the grandson of the famous Doctor Yamane from the original 1954 Godzilla, his father being Shinkichi the bald kid the doctor brought back to Japan from Oto Island and adopted. Kenichi is played by 25-year old Yasufumi Hayashi, whose career has been mostly bit parts. Because of his role in this movie, and the timeframe relative to what was hot on American television in 1995, I will call him "Wesley Crusher" for the balance of this review. He will prove to be just as annoying and unbelievable as that damnable Star Trek ensign.
Ok, so The Suit and Ensign Crusher talk about his theory. The Suit basically offers him a job with G-Force on the spot, but Wesley turns him down. He says that Godzilla for him is just a hobby (!!!) and he has no desire to get involved in his grandfather's obsession. Please tell me what sane rational human being would willingly pass up an opportunity to work on the biggest scientific project in history? What geeky college kid in any nation on the globe would turn down such an offer? Wesley does say that his thesis was initially laughed at by both the Godzilla experts in Japan and even his college professor in America, perhaps that's why he's hesitant to get involved.
It's only when The Suit mentions that the psychic Miki Saegusa is at G-Force HQ that suddenly Wesley perks up. He has apparently been worshipping Miki from afar for some time, having watched her exploits with Godzilla and the other monsters over the past six years. We even see a framed picture of her on his wall. This is a little strange, as she's working in a field that he says he wants nothing to do with, and she's not very hot. Nonetheless, Wesley falls over himself accepting The Suit's offer and off they go to Japan.
A few notes on this scene. We never learn where Wesley went to college (other than the Starfleet Academy...), or even where this scene is set. He is, however, wearing a California t-shirt, so maybe he's on the west coast. Wesley also holds up a 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi once, in a moment that reeks strongly of the heinous Doctor Pepper product placements in Godzilla 1985 that enraged so many fans. There's also a large prominently displayed Apple Computer placard in the background for most of the shots, perhaps showing us another sponsor.
I'll jump a few scenes here to tie up some knots, taking us to G-Force HQ in Tokyo, where Wesley and Miki finally meet for the first time. Miki is searching for "Little One", the baby Godzilla last seen in Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, and now lost since Birth Island exploded. With the first longing glance, you can tell that Wesley is in love, though Miki doesn't really feel the same spark. Their romance in this movie is really quite one-sided as Wesley pines for her like a geeky fanboy hugging his Seven-of-Nine action figure in his pasty sweaty hands while slo-moing his DVD player through her scenes. We're never given any clue that Miki even has any feelings for him at all.
The psychic Miki Saegusa is played by 23-year old Megumi Odaka, and has been prominent in the last five Godzilla movies before this one. The character of Miki has been with us since 1989 and you either love her or hate her, depending on whether you tend to believe in psychics and ESP and the like. Like so many of us, I can't stand her overemotional whining and self-importance and in every movie I found myself begging Godzilla to step on her. She's rather homely for a leading lady, with elfish looks and protruding ears. She would be a perfect match for the geeky Wesley if he could ever get that lucky.
Wesley doesn't score points early by telling Miki that Little One might be dead, having not survived the explosion of the island that turned his dad Godzilla into a "super monster". The look of pain and hurt on Miki's face is plain and Wesley certainly isn't getting off to a good start wooing his love interest. Miki, of course, dating back several movies, has this weird emotional connection to Little Godzilla. In this movie, Miki's entire heart and mind seem to be wrapped up in the safety and health of Little One, to the exclusion of the rest of the human race at times. How does Wesley hope to compete with that?
We cut now to the news studio of Channel 3, one of Tokyo's television stations. A young woman news anchor is interviewing a scientist about his exciting new research into "Micro-Oxygen". He claims that this discovery will greatly alleviate the hunger problem in Japan by allowing plants and animals to grow to much larger sizes, thus increasing their crop yields. For this, the scientist earned the Nobel Prize back in 1995. The anchorwoman hounds him about the discovery having possible military applications. The scientist waves that off, claiming naively that no one in 1996 would risk a global war. Wow, his 1996 must be a lot different than our 1996.
The scientist is named Doctor Kensaku Ijuin, and he's played by 37-year old Takuro Tatsumi, a relatively unknown actor. He looks a lot like Emeril Lagasse the chef, though I'd be hard pressed to defend that comparison. He will play the role of the noble scientist in this movie, whose plans and theories will ultimately save the world.
The anchorwoman is beautiful, here in a white dress with gold buttons up the front, her short skirt showing a lot of leg and her hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. Her name is Yukari Yamane, and as the last name gives away, she is Wesley's older sister. She's played by 27-year old Yôko Ishino, an unknown actress whose movie career has included such memorable roles as "Shop assistant at a department store" and "Customer at a stall". Though her acting is wooden and bland at best, she's one of the sexiest women you will ever see in a giant monster lizard movie. Just turn off the sound when she is on screen and just watch those great legs go.
Following the news, Yukari's editor asks her why she was so hard on the scientist. She says that it was because he was a "smug self-centered know-it-all". Veteran movie watchers should have love alarm bells ringing right now, as it's well-established that when a man and a woman initially hate each other they are destined to fall in love by the third act. Indeed, these two will have a little chemistry, but unfortunately it will never develop into anything as the movie eventually centers on our monsters.
Yukari gets a message that her aunt wants to see her right away, and she goes to see her in her house. Yukari has now changed into a seafoam green sweater- blouse-skirt combo that looks quite nice on her. It seems that the aunt watched Yukari's interview about the Micro-Oxygen and has some concerns for her. Her aunt, of course, is none other than Emiko Yamane, the heroine of the original 1954 Godzilla, and she knows a thing or two about oxygen being used for a weapon. Emiko tells her niece that Ijuin's Micro-Oxygen is the same as Doctor Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer from 1954. She worries that it might be corrupted into a terrible weapon, which is what her brave doctor died trying to prevent.
Most fans know what the "Oxygen Destroyer" was, even if they don't understand the science behind it. Basically it was a weapon that destroys all the oxygen in organic life, and can leave an area sterile of life. Created by a lone scientist in 1954, the secret of its design died with him. The main claim to fame is that the Oxygen Destroyer is the only man-made weapon that has ever been proven to kill Godzilla. The science is sci-fi cool, but fails the logic test. The oxygen is destroyed, but the water itself is left behind? Isn't water made up of hydrogen and oxygen? Does it only affect oxygen in living tissue? How?
Emiko Yamane is played by 63-year old Momoko Kochi, reprising a role she played as a pretty young 22-year old in the original 1954 Godzilla. Since 1954, Kochi's career never really developed and she was seen in few movies, instead focusing on stage theatre and commercial work. With a Shakespearian training and a forty-year acting career to her credit, Kochi was able to shoot all her scenes in one day (!!!) and with minimal retakes. It's a shame that her role was not larger, but seeing her in this film really helped to cement the ties between the first and the last Godzilla movies. She unfortunately died in 1997 of cancer.
The legendary Emiko Yamane.
Yukari now goes to see the scientist, I guess we'll just call him Doctor Ijuin, to try and warn him about what her aunt fears might happen. She changes her outfit (again!), this time into a very flattering white top with a blue blazer over it. She also lets her hair down, which is a much better look than up in a ponytail for her. In another product placement, the camera lovingly pans over her cute little Suzuki Escudo Nomade SUV as she drives up to the doctor's lab.
In the course of the following banter, Ijuin remarks that Yukari's father was famous for being a great scientist. Does this means that that young bald kid, who we saw was just a fisherman in 1954, became a great scientist? The doctor is also well aware of Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer and the potential risks. However, he's sure that today is a different day and the benefits of the technology far outweigh any potential hazards. We really want to believe Ijuin's motivations are sincere and honorable. He's played as a truly concerned and civic-minded scientist, much like Doctor Serizawa.
Yukari is cute.
And now we go out to the Tokyo waterfront, where the first signs that something is terribly wrong are appearing. First off, remember back to 1954 when Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in the shallow waters of Tokyo Bay. Well, in the past 40 years, the area where that happened has been reclaimed and the landfill over that spot is now a large industrial park. We see that a subway tram tunnel is being dug down into the landfill, but disaster has struck. The elevator shaft is suddenly "melting" and the workers scramble to the surface.
We get now some of those close-ups of newspaper front pages to give us some expository information, in this case just some general comments about the mining troubles and worries about the strata. Unlike the English versions made up for other films like 1964's Godzilla vs. Mothra I, these newspapers are in Japanese with paraphrased English subtitles. From these we learn that today's date is July 16, 1996, firmly placing our movie's timeline.
We cut from that to the "US Satellite Information Center", where a USAF Sergeant tells us that temperatures in the Sea of Taiwan are rising abnormally. I'm assuming that this is at NORAD in Colorado, though that is just a guess.
From there we go out to the Sea of Taiwan where a Japanese maritime patrol plane is checking on the temperature disturbance. It's Godzilla, of course, swimming along near the surface with his glowing red dorsal spines out of the water. A cloud of steam wreaths him as he goes, his extreme heat boiling the water. The plane is a P-3C Orion, a big four-engined aircraft used for maritime surveillance.
Back now to G-Force HQ in Tokyo, where the news of Godzilla's movements are being told to the council. Meru (the psychic girl with the beret from before) and Wesley Crusher are running the meeting, which seems strange as Wesley has apparently just been hired. The gist of the meeting is that Wesley has determined that the Birth Island explosion has caused Godzilla's nuclear power heart to begin the process of melting down, and eventually he will explode. When asked what the damage from this explosion will be, Wesley says that it will be greater than "All nuclear weapons put together, a burst of energy unseen since time began." And then the Earth's atmosphere will "heat up and explode, vaporizing everything we know." Right...
To help illustrate this cataclysm, we now get a "dream sequence" of Godzilla attacking Tokyo and then melting down into a nuclear explosion of epic proportions. It's mostly CGI and quite impressive, especially the nuclear fireball expanding over Tokyo and the mushroom pillar rising to the sky. Of note, we see two prominent buildings in the dream shot of Godzilla in Tokyo, the Wako Building and the Diet Building. Both of these were seen in similar shots in the original 1954 Godzilla, and astute watchers will catch the deliberate homage.
Ok, that done, we now go back to the tunnels under Tokyo Bay that were melting earlier. We see that Doctor Ijuin is here, having entered to take some soil samples. A media circus has formed just outside the tunnel and the doctor must run the gauntlet of shouting and pushing reporters to get to his car. He has nothing to say and the camera locks onto his car as he drives away. It's a burgundy Opel Omega, which was not sold in America until 1996, so I guess that General Motors paid some serious yen to have their pre-production car in this movie. I love product placements.
Later that evening, Yukari the anchorwoman has met up with Doctor Ijuin, who she saw on TV leaving the tunnel. Yukari looks gorgeous here, in a white coat over a peach top. She asks him about the soil samples and it's also established that the tunnel accident site was exactly over where the first Godzilla was killed 40 years ago. As she says "the first Godzilla", we are left to assume that this movie differs from Godzilla 1985, where lame dialogue from Raymond Burr tries to make us believe that Godzilla didn't really die in 1954.
Ijuin tells Yukari that the soil samples indicate that "the soil had no oxygen millions of years ago", and claims that the samples are from the Precambrian Era where creatures evolved differently in an oxygen-free environment. He says that the samples, once analyzed fully, will reveal all. Is this for real? Is there a geologist in the house?
We also see the first signs of a budding love between Yukari and Ijuin. They smile and laugh despite the seriousness of the subject, and Yukari casts a few soft gazes at him. The weak English dubbing makes this seem lamer than I'm sure it is in the original Japanese.
They will make a cute couple soon.
Ok, while all this is going on, back at G-Force HQ it has been realized that to attack Godzilla with conventional weaponry is to court disaster. The risk of prematurely detonating Godzilla's reactor is deemed too great and the military is ordered to avoid conflict, even if Godzilla attacks Japan. This is anathema to G-Force's military commander, the familiar Commander Takaki Aso. Aso is played by 53-year old Akira Nakao and he would play reoccurring roles as Commander Aso in this movie as well as 1994's Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla and 1993's Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II. Despite this three-movie arc, his character never develops further than a blustering, shouting military man. His role in these three movies is to be the irrational army guy whose militaristic views on Godzilla are countered by the more acceptable views of our scientist and journalist heroes.
It's Wesley who speaks the unspeakable, that the only way to kill Godzilla now is the way he was killed before, with the Oxygen Destroyer. This is accompanied by such dramatic fanfare, zooming close-ups of shocked faces and gasping that we must believe that this weapon has passed into the realm of mythical superweapons like Excalibur and the Holy Lance. Even uttering the words "Oxygen Destroyer" seems to be taboo. A great flashback scene of Doctor Serizawa's heroic sacrifice from 1954 accompanies the scene, reminding us of the horrors of the Oxygen Destroyer.
We now go back to Doctor Ijuin's lab, where the soil samples from the tunnel have been put into numbered beakers to be analyzed by all the fancy computers and machines. They're surprised to find "signs of life" in sample #6.
We leave the lab for a minute to go to Emiko Yamane's house again, where the old woman has been visited by her niece and nephew. Emiko tells Wesley about Doctor Serizawa's sacrifice (though we are sure he has heard the tale a million times), to which he replies "Waste of a good man." This is the younger generation of Japanese kids talking there, no respect for an honorable death. Wesley pulls Yukari aside to ask her to ask Doctor Ijuin to build a weapon out of his Micro-Oxygen process. She reluctantly agrees to try.
Some notes here. In Emiko's house is the same stegosaurus skeleton model that was in Doctor Yamane's house in Godzilla, nice touch. Yukari is really pretty here, with a sleeveless taupe and pink shirt and matching long skirt. We do have to wonder why G-Force is going to Ijuin through a newswoman and not to him directly. With the end of the planet riding on it, you'd think that they would go right to him and throw money at him until he agrees. Ijuin seems the patriotic sort, anyway, he'd probably do it for free.
Ok, back to the lab now, where Doctor Ijuin finds that beaker #6 now has a small hole in it, as if something about the size of a quarter burned its way out of the glass beaker. The camera follows some water pipes out of the lab and through the underside of the city, finally opening out in the water supply tank for the Tokyo Aquarium. It's clear that whatever was in the beaker is now in the Aquarium.
The Tokyo Aquarium.
It's now night and the Aquarium is closed. We see a night-watchman on his rounds, humming "Singing in the Rain" softly as he strolls about the facility. He reaches a tank of salt water fish that is strangely bubbling. To his horror, he sees several of the tropical fish dissolve before his eyes. Ah, just like in Serizawa's tank, eh?
Melting icky fish.
Back now to Ijuin's lab, where Wesley and Yukari have come to ask him to make an Oxygen Destroyer. While Wesley is still wearing the same outfit he had on at his aunt's house, Yukari has changed again, this time into a tan silk jacket and peach blouse. Ijuin tells them that it won't be easy but he can do it. He also says he has finished analyzing the soil samples and has seen the effect the Oxygen Destroyer had on the seabed on Tokyo Bay where it was used. He says that had it been used on the ground, "Tokyo would have become a cemetery."
This moment it interrupted by Yukari's cell-phone ringing. It's the news of the weird happenings at the Aquarium. Check out that phone, it's huge and bulky by 2004 standards, but I'm sure in 1995 it was top-shelf gear.
That's a big phone.
And so our heroes zip off to the Aquarium in Yukari's Suzuki SUV. The press and the police are there, watching the closed-circuit camera tapes of the previous night. The time-date stamp on the tape tells us that the fish started to melt early in the morning of July 19, which jives so far with the last date clue we got.
Ijuin takes the tape back to his lab and runs it through a computer enhancer, where they see a creature in the murk behind one of the dissolving fish. It appears to be a small lobsterish horseshoe crab-looking thing, the culprit in the fish deaths. The gist is that this thing was once a harmless micro-organism from the Precambrian Era that has been evolving abnormally since it was hit with the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954. This was the "life form" that escaped from the doctor's lab the night before.
The lobster thingie.
We now cut out to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean north of Okinawa where Godzilla is still swimming north-northeast. He's being shadowed by a Japanese Navy destroyer and a helicopter. Several shots show us that the ship is very close to Godzilla, maybe two hundred meters at most. This seems really risky considering Godzilla's proven love for roasting Japanese military hardware. The ship is a 3,700-ton Hatsuyuki class destroyer, and the hull number of "123" makes it the Shirayuki, a rare case of being able to identify a ship exactly. The helicopter is a UH-1 Iroquois, which isn't normally carried on Navy ships, so perhaps it's a G-Force chopper from Okinawa.
IJN Shirayuki follows Godzilla.
Back now to G-Force HQ in Tokyo, where the news of Godzilla approaching has set off the alarm bells. In the situation room (the one with all the big view screens and computer banks), we see The Suit, Commander Aso and Meru the psychic amongst others. They are concerned about Godzilla's route. Meru, not showing us any smarts, asks "why is he headed for Japan?" Duh, he always heads for Japan! Meru is wearing a black beret again, along with what appears to be the uniform of a cashier at Ace Hardware.
Meanwhile, in another part of the complex, Wesley and Miki are talking about Little One. Miki is worried that the explosion of the island has "changed something deep inside of him". She determines to go look for him.
It's probably here that we should note that in this movie, unlike in past movies, Miki has a more junior position within the G-Force structure. In Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, just last year, she was Head Psychic for the organization. Now, she has apparently been usurped by Meru. And while I'm at it, where's Miki's love from last movie? In Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Miki was head-over-heels smitten with the dashing young Lieutenant Koji Shinjo, a G-Force officer and MOGERA pilot who saved her life on several occasions. Did he turn out to be a jerk? Was she too controlling? We never learn, and not one word is spoken about the man in this movie. Perhaps this is the reason Miki has been reduced to a junior position?
Anyway, we now go out to the open sea again where Miki is in her helicopter flying around looking for Little One. She does that whole mental ESP thing to try and pick up the monster, but is not having any luck.
While she's doing that, it's now nighttime in Tokyo. We see these car-sized creatures in the dim light skittering around the Aomi area of Tokyo (which is on the reclaimed land over Tokyo Bay). Just to keep everything straight, these creatures will be called "Destoroyahs" later so we'll use the name now. More on them in a minute. The coming battle with these creatures will take place inside the Telecom Center, a huge "H"-shaped building that looks like the Bastille, completed in 1996 and an architectural landmark of the Tokyo waterfront. It was still under construction when this movie was filmed here, and much free press was given to the building.
A little something on the name of the monster. Some places have "Destoroyah" (in fact, many Japanese toy tags and boxes spell it that way), but the movie subtitles say "Destroyer", and that's what it's supposed to be pronounced in English. The Japanese may pronounce it "Destoroyah", but that has more to do with their inability to pronounce the "er" sound properly. As well, Toho Studios deliberately spelled the name of the monster in English as "Destoroyah" for the simple reason that they couldn't copyright the name "Destroyer" because it's so common. Destoroyah also sounds way cool.
The police come running, with at least seven patrol cars pulling up outside the building. The press is also on the scene, including Yukari, who must never sleep. She's wearing a light brown jacket over a white shirt, a very business-professional woman look. Her cameraman wears a baseball cap with "CMAS" on it, and as the camera focuses on this for a second, it must mean something to Japanese audiences. Anybody know?
Perhaps knowing that beat cops can't handle this sort of thing, two SWAT teams now arrive, "Sigma" and "Omega" squads. They pull up in eight Mazda SUVs and start unloading guns and ammo. The SUVs are a mystery to me, as Mazda has no SUV for the American market and I've never seen them before (is it a Proceed?). With the SUV craze of the 1990s, I wonder why it never made it to America. The SWAT guys are armed with M-16s rifles and Uzi submachineguns along with heavier support weapons including LAW rocket launchers and grenades. They move into the building and fan out, looking for the mysterious creatures.
As can be expected in such a movie, the creatures attack the men and there is much gunfire and yelling and general confusion. This entire SWAT-team-versus-monsters sequence to come is such an obvious homage (or rip-off) of the outstanding battle between the Colonial Marines and the alien drones in the mining complex in 1986's Aliens. The similarities are legion and I will point out some of the most noticeable as we go along. These "drone" Destoroyahs are about ten-feet tall and roughly a fusion of a lobster and a praying mantis. They move with the shambling gait of bugs and xenomorph drones, and are powerful enough to bust through brick walls with ease. The Destoroyahs here share numerous similarities with the Aliens drones, including those nifty extendable inner jaws, a susceptibility to flame throwers when bullets fail, and an uncommon taste for beautiful young women at the exclusion of other, easier targets. There are also a few physical similarities with the bugs from Starship Troopers, though that movie didn't come out until 1997.
The SWAT troopers are armed similarly to the Colonial Marines of Aliens, right down to the bulky body armor, com-linked helmets, proximity sensors, large Squad Automatic Weapons on waist-pack harnesses, and the flame throwers (just why the hell does a urban SWAT team have SAWs, anti-tank rockets and flame throwers? Is crime in Tokyo that bad?). The battle in the building takes place in dimly lit corridors and basements, the claustrophobic feel very effective.
The most notable thing about the drones is their ability to shoot out a burst of "Micro-Oxygen" from their "inner mouth", preceded by a orange electrical buildup in the creature's "horns". This whitish burst is powerful enough to kill a man and shred a police car, though we wonder how it manages to only affect the oxygen in the intended target and not affect any of the oxygen in the surrounding area. It's as if the burst is in some sort of "containment field" when it's shot out so as not to affect the air and ground around where it's fired. This burst weapon looks really cool, but really takes some believability away from the creatures. They would have been just as deadly and frightening if they just killed with their claws and teeth than with some fancy Power Rangers beam weapon.
A drone firing.
The SWAT teams give a fairly good account of themselves, despite being clearly outmatched by these creatures. There are at least three of the creatures, and they show some Aliens drone-like ability to coordinate their attacks on the men. At the end of the battle, at least six of the troopers are dead and undoubtedly most of the others wounded. The guns seem to be ineffective, though the flamethrowers and grenades cause some damage, and we can confirm only one possible kill on the monsters, and that with a LAW anti-tank rocket.
Outside the building, Doctor Ijuin has arrived in his Opel. He tries to get the police to stop shooting (why?) but can't get anyone to listen to him. Suddenly, one of the Destoroyahs busts out of the building and starts skittering towards the mass of police and reporters. It kills one policemen with a Micro-Oxygen burst and hell breaks loose. The press runs in a panic while the police open up with pistols and shotguns. In the rush, Yukari falls in a puddle (!!!) and is left behind. Why, oh, why do women always fall down as the monster gains on them? [Editor Pam: You try running in high heels and you'll find out.]
Doctor Ijuin, seeing his love interest in danger, rushes to her aid, but can't get close enough. Yukari takes cover inside a police car as the creature seemingly ignores the hundreds of easier targets around to hunt her and her alone. The creature dismantles the car around her, and in a screamingly bad rip-off of Aliens, the creature sticks its head in the window and out comes that inner jaw to snap at Ellen Ripley...er, I mean Yukari.
Ripley vs. Alien.
Just when it looks like our babe is toast, Doctor Ijuin dashes in to pull her from the car. The SWAT team torches the Destoroyah with flamethrowers, seemingly killing this one. Ijuin and Yukari exchange those loving, "You saved me! You big strong stud!" looks.
Alright, now we leave Tokyo to return to Godzilla, who by now has reached Japan on his swimming tour of the Pacific Rim. He's headed for the Shikoku Electric Company's Ikata Nuclear Power Plant located on the southern island of Shikoku, in the District of Ikata in Ehime Prefecture. Godzilla is first sighted in the Bungo Strait, which separates Kyushu and Shikoku. G-Force is powerless to attack him for fear of blowing up the planet and things look real bad.
Godzilla approaching the Ikata Nuclear Plant.
Just then, word comes in that the "Super X-III" is ready to roll. The Super X-III is, of course, the latest Japanese military aircraft designed to combat monsters. It follows on the heels of the Super X from 1984's Godzilla 1985 and the Super X-II from 1989's Godzilla Vs. Biollante. It is perhaps a one-off prototype, as we only see one craft the entire movie. The promotional posters for this movie, however, show two of the crafts, though this is most likely creative artistic license.
The Super X-III looks for all the world like the Lunar Shuttle "Mayflower One" from 1982's Airplane II: The Sequel, and just as chunky and unaerodynamic-looking. Its stats are a length of about 40 meters, a wingspan of about 60 meters, and a weight of about 220 tons. It has a crew of three men and is armed with a large, nose mounted beam array and some internal and underwing missile racks. As it can take a Godzilla Atomic Fire Breath and keep flying, we have to give it some pretty tough armor and heat shielding. It would be so damn cool if it really didn't look like the Mayflower One.
As we see a nifty CGI walk-around of the craft, a voice-over gives us the skinny. This "multipurpose-capable aircraft" has been "adapted to cope with nuclear power plant accidents" and is armed with Cadmium missiles and "freezer weapons", all designed to negate nuclear fission and radiation. The craft's main weapon is this big-ass emitter that slides out of the nose, which is an "Ultra-Low Temperature Laser" that apparently can "freeze matter up to minus 200 degrees Celsius. One can only imagine the power-source requirements for such a weapon, and surely the Mayflower One is nuclear-powered. [Editor Pam: And what happens if it crashes? The United States tried developing a real nuclear-powered airplane in the late 1950s, but it was shelved, partly because of that. Also, the shielding needed to protect the crew from radiation made it infeasible.] There's also a pop-out missile bay on the roof of the fuselage that holds eight "cadmium shells". Both this pop-up bay and the big emitter in the nose have got to produce an enormous amount of wind drag when deployed and surely can only be used at very low speeds.
I understand that all this "non-explosive warhead" capability is vital to show that the Mayflower One is able to engage Godzilla without risking a blow-up, but it makes it sound like the craft was designed specifically for power plant accidents and nothing else. Surely it has some secondary offensive capability? Something like this would change the balance of power in the air if it were able to carry conventional weaponry.
The Mayflower One's pilot keeps his head down until a fanfare plays and the camera zooms in on him, telling us that we are supposed to know and love this guy. He is, in fact, the second coming of Major Sho Kuroki, reprising his similar role from 1989's Godzilla vs. Biollante, where he was just a Lieutenant. He is played by 30-year old Masahiro Takashima, who also played Prince Yamato Takeru in 1994's Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon, Kazuma Aoki in 1993's Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II, and Brooklyn in 1989's Gunhed. Since he is piloting the Mayflower One, it's natural that he be called "Ted Striker" for the rest of this review.
We must ask ourselves where is MOGERA, G-Force's big super robot from Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla? This took place just last year in this timeline, but we never hear a word about it. MOGERA seemed to give a good account of itself in that movie, you'd think that they would roll it out here.
We might also note that, while the other two crewmen wear flight helmets, Ted Striker has just a ballcap. I'm sure this makes him look studly, but he's just asking for a head injury if things go bouncy in the cabin. As well, the cap says "JGSDF" on it, which I assume stands for "Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force", which is Japan's Army. Does this seem strange, it being an airplane and all? Wouldn't it be an Air Force (JSDAF) project? Maybe the "G" stands for Godzilla?
The craft is hangered in this underground bunker with a floor that rises up to the runway level. It has impressive STOL capabilities as the runway is very short and ski-jumped. Off into the air it goes, heading off for Godzilla. The coming battle will take place in the Bungo Straight, in shallow water just off shore from the nuclear power plant.
And battle is brought. As the craft zips in, making a pass at the monster, Godzilla blasts it with a fiery red Atomic Heat Breath. The hit shakes the plane and causes some sparking electrical panels in the cabin, but does no other damage. Why they didn't shoot at the monster on that first pass is beyond me, perhaps they were giving Godzilla the first swing just to be sporting.
The cockpit view.
Coming in for a second pass, the Mayflower One fires off its "Freezers", which are the missiles carried under the wings. These zip off two at a time, making "bweep" sounds like Star Wars blaster guns. In a few seconds, sixteen of the missiles are fired, though maybe only a third actually hit Godzilla. The missiles appear to be totally unguided, and aiming them involves little more than the gunner peering through an open sight in the cockpit. This is the lamest weapon system ever. To show how annoyed he is, Godzilla smacks the plane with another Atomic Fire Breath.
The missiles have an impressive effect, however, and soon Godzilla is beginning to get a frosty shell building up around him. His face begins to freeze up in a nifty CGI shot and the water around him begins to turn to ice. Instead of just walking out of the freezing shell, Godzilla just stands there passively and lets the Mayflower One pound on him. In Godzilla 1985, we saw Godzilla dive under the water to avoid air attacks, why doesn't he do anything to protect himself here?
Coming around again, the Mayflower One switches to the cadmium shells in the pop-up bay. At least six of the shells hit Godzilla, including the first two directly in his open mouth, which kick out a gout of blood (!!!). Even though the cadmium is for degrading nuclear reactions and not for freezing, we see Godzilla's head freeze completely over into an icy mask using that trendy 1990s computer morphing thing.
Not content with this, the Mayflower One pulls around and opens up with that big-ass freezing laser mounted in the nose. Three solid bursts smack into Godzilla and force him to topple over into the shallow water. That is one cold lizard. The Mayflower One returns to base victorious. Back at G-Force HQ, everyone celebrates. This is not a permanent fix, however, and the computers say that Godzilla will only remain frozen for about six hours.
Unfortunately, the computers are wrong and just "several hours" later, Godzilla's temperature spikes up again. The readings are fed to G-Force by "NASA Satellite Headquarters", which the dubber pronounces as "Nassau". A computer graphic of the rising temps carries a tag in the corner which says "Access from Satellite Center 'Big Tom'". "Big Tom", what kind of name is that for a satellite? Is that a reference to the "Big Bird" surveillance satellites that the CIA uses? Back up to strength, Godzilla then heads eastwards out to sea, leaving the nuclear reactors alone. His hunger for nuclear materials has been dampened by the freezing and cadmium weapon attacks, which is a great thing.
Back now to Tokyo, where it's now the morning and the scene of the police battle with the Destoroyahs is strangely quiet, the creatures apparently "hibernating" while oxygen levels remain constant. There doesn't seem to be a lot of excitement in the area considering all that happened the night before.
At Doctor Ijuin's lab, they are working quickly to produce a freezing weapon to neutralize the Micro-Oxygen content of the Destoroyah's bodies and kill them. He seems to have succeeded, as tests show. This freezing formula will be used by the military to combat the monsters in the following battles.
Ok, now we get some chick scenes, as Miki the famous psychic finally meets Meru the new psychic face-to-face. They chat at G-Force HQ about Meru's experiences in America. Miki admits that she's losing her ESP powers over time, which explains her reduced role in this movie. We also learn that, as well as being an ESP psychic, Meru is also a paleontologist who is "good with dinosaurs". Wow, brains and beauty! Meru sympathizes with Miki losing her powers, and admits that she's anxious to lose her own ESP powers so she can "lead a normal life and be an ordinary girl with a husband and children." Arg, how chauvinistic.
The girls chat about boys and life.
We go now out to the public beach at Omae Cove, southwest along the coast from Tokyo. Many people are here sunning and playing in the surf, including some very cute girls in bikinis. Suddenly, the sand starts to reverberate with thumping footsteps and from out of the sea rises Godzilla! Wait, that's not Godzilla, at least not the same Godzilla that we saw earlier. Indeed, this is Little Godzilla, who is clearly not so little anymore.
Far from killing Little One, the radiation from the exploding Birth Island caused his growth to accelerate to the point where he's now a "Godzilla Junior". He's about 40% the size of his daddy, some 40-meters tall and 15,000-tons heavy, versus 100 meters and 60,000 tons for Godzilla. He will be referred to as "Junior" from now on.
Miki arrives almost immediately in her chopper, lands on the beach and gets out to watch Junior head back out to sea without coming ashore. She fawns and gushes about how happy she is that Junior is still alive. We wonder how she could love such a beast, and why did he make this little appearance ashore here? Did he know somebody on the beach and just wanted to say hi?
Miki watches Junior from the beach.
Back at G-Force HQ, the brains that be determine that Godzilla is following Junior, though for unknown reasons. I'd think that Godzilla is just looking for his son, just like Finding Nemo. They also guess that Junior is headed for the Bering Sea to "his nest".
They also have some bad news on Godzilla's condition. It seems that he's racing even faster than predicted towards meltdown. His current temperature is 900 degrees and rising 50 degrees a day at the present rate. Remember that he goes Chernobyl at 1,200 degrees.
But there are other pressing matters at hand for the Japanese. In Tokyo Bay, the Destoroyahs are still menacing the populace and keeping the police at bay in the Ariake District. Yukari the hot reporter is airborne in her news chopper for the following action, and indeed for the rest of the movie. Keep this in mind, she and her chopper will come in handy later. She has changed into a nice brown blazer over a black blouse, by the way.
Yukari is seriously hot.
The Japanese Army is called in, utilizing freezing weapons that Doctor Ijuin's tests have proven effective against the Destoroyahs. These weapons have to have been already in stock, there is simply not enough time to design and produce the weaponry we are about to see in an afternoon. Why the Army would have such freezing weapons is a whole other question as they seem to have marginal military capability.
We see a bunch of Army forces deploying to the Ariake District during the middle of the day. There are conventional vehicles and futuristic ones. We see two big "MBAW-93" Maser tanks, which have turreted double-barreled energy cannons on a tank chassis. They have two eight-cell "freezer missile racks" jury-rigged on their turrets, which were not there in other movies where these vehicles were seen. The MBAW-93 looks a lot like an American M730 Chaparral anti-aircraft tank, and seems so top-heavy as to be only usable on flat, level ground.
We also see three large "MBT-92" Maser vehicles, which are large energy beam emitters on eight-wheeled transports that look a lot like the Asteroid Buggies from Armageddon. They also have the two eight-cell freezer missile packs.
And we see five bigger "DAG-MB96" Freezer cannons, which are very large self-propelled Ultra-Low Temperature Lasers mounted on a big six-wheeled chassis towed by wheeled prime movers, each with the sixteen freezer missiles as well. The MBT-92 and the MBAW-93 have been seen in all the Heisei movies, but the DAG-MB96 is a new weapon making its first appearance in this movie.
The conventional force consists of at least eight Type 90 tanks, twelve Type 74 tanks, two tracked Type 89 IFVs, two Type 73 tracked APCs, three Type 87 six-wheeled armored scout cars, two Type 82 command vehicles, one troop truck, four Hummers and about three companies of infantry. The tanks are armed with "Cooler Shells", which I assume are hollow shells filled with the special cooling agent that Doctor Ijuin whipped up. All these units are arrayed in a line facing one direction, which looks cool but seems like bad military strategy begging to be outflanked and rolled up.
Flying over the tank formation, but never actually engaging in any combat, are eight AH-64 Apache anti-tank helicopters. These are totally CGI-inserted craft and are not currently in the inventory of Japan's military. Undoubtedly, in this timeline the Americans have allowed Japan to operate their Apaches. It's a shame that these powerful machines are not used more in the movie.
Suddenly, at least a hundred (!!!) Destoroyahs appear in the Ariake and Aomi Districts and begin moving towards the assembled military force in a tight bunch. Where all these creatures came from is beyond reason and no one in the cast even asks why there are now so many of them when just yesterday there were only a handful. Keep in mind also that in this shot and all the previous shots of the tanks deploying it's broad daylight with clear blue skies.
The order is given to fire and suddenly it's pitch black and raining outside. What the hell? Didn't anybody notice this! In only a few scattered shots is it raining, in the rest the skies are clear and blue (!!!). They must have used a bunch of stock footage shots from other movies in the coming battle sequence and didn't care if they matched each other.
Anyway, the ULT Lasers start blasting away first, followed by the other freezer beams, shells and missiles. An impressive amount of firepower is hurled at the creatures, explosions flare and sparks fly. However, we see only two of them knocked over, and even that doesn't prove that they are dead.
Just as the battle is in full swing, the creatures "begin to assemble" as the levels of Micro-Oxygen go off the charts. In the course of about five seconds of screen time, lightning bolts (!!!) smack into the aggregate mass of creatures, flames burst up and out of the smoke and debris cloud looms a monstrous creature!!! It would seem that all the smaller Destoroyahs have suddenly, and inexplicably, merged (!!!) into one huge Destoroyah. This beast is the same morphology as the smaller creatures, only bigger. Its stats are roughly 65-meters tall and 15,000-tons heavy, with a 85-meter wingspan.
The tanks and masers open up on the monster, lancing it with beams and shells. Numerous hits seem to do no damage and the beast marches on the military force. Using its Micro-Oxygen Blast, it smashes the vehicles, destroying at least three DAG-MB96s, three MBT-92s, and one Type 82 command vehicle. Watching the devastation, Doctor Ijuin declares, "that blast is not Micro-Oxygen", the creature is firing an Oxygen Destroyer!
Destoroyah now takes to the air! Like many of the flying monsters in Godzilla movies, no effort is made to make them fly in any natural way. There are no flapping wings, no undulating membranes, no nothing, just a huge creature gliding through the air with the greatest of ease. We can buy this creature mutating into a rambling horseshoe crab-thingy, but nowhere in the morphology of the original tiny lobster-like creature was the ability to fly. In many ways, the sight of Destoroyah flying is even worse than Super Godzilla flying in the last movie. In some scenes you can see sort of a Gamera-like exhaust coming out from behind Destoroyah when he flies, but I'm not sure what that means.
Back at G-Force HQ, Wesley Crusher comes up with the brilliant idea that only Destoroyah's Oxygen Destroyer can stop Godzilla's meltdown. He claims that he "has studied Godzilla more than anyone presently alive", which has got to be pure bull, and it's the only way. With only three days until Godzilla melts down, they have no choice but to take his word on it. Since this involves bringing Godzilla to Tokyo to battle Destoroyah, Wesley had better be right.
As far as how to get Godzilla and Destoroyah to fight each other, it's psychic chick Meru who first suggests that if they lure Junior to Destoroyah, Godzilla will surely follow. Miki is of course aghast at this idea, as it'll most certainly get Junior's ass kicked by Destoroyah. Meru tells her that she needs to dump the sentimentalism and think about the future of the planet. With or without her help, Meru is going to use Junior as a decoy. Miki sees the light and goes with her, though she's torn up about the whole thing. We watch Wesley as she leaves, the look on his face is like, "Man, my plan just got my love pissed off."
The Suit and Commander Aso discuss the coming battle and the consequences for Tokyo. The Suit orders that "everyone be evacuated in a 200-mile radius of Tokyo." (!!!) That has got to be a typo or a flub in the translation for the dubbing. A 200 mile radius around Tokyo would encompass around half the total population of Japan! Maybe the line was supposed to be 20 miles? This throwaway evacuation line is here to get us to believe that the coming battles in the heart of Tokyo only destroy property as all the civilians have been evacuated. Personally, I think it's ok to show massive civilian deaths in this kind of movie, especially as they are attempting to tie this one in with the original 1954 Godzilla and that film showed graphically the loss of life caused by these monster rampages.
Out over the open sea again, we now see Miki's chopper following Junior as he swims north for the Bering Sea. Meru and Miki both close their eyes and focus their cosmic psychic energy at Junior. To strengthen their power, Meru reaches over and holds Miki's hand!!! Wow, I think I had a dream about that once! Apparently, this works as Junior begins to follow the helicopter. I've always wondered how human mental powers can affect dinosaur brains.
Back in Tokyo, Destoroyah is still flying around the waterfront smashing things in big, billowy explosions. He's primarily working in the industrial Shinagawa District of the city, which is south of Ariake along the bay. Instead of using his Oxygen Destroyer, he seems to be just using the massive downward air pressure of such a large mass flying so low to explode gas tanks and the like. People run and scream and we have to assume the casualties have been horrendous despite the evacuation order. In a nice touch, the monster's shadow is digitally inserted into the backgrounds he flies over, though it's a bit overused here.
Destoroyah flying over the city.
We now cut to Tokyo Bay, where Junior has arrived. With the slow rate of swimming speed that we saw for him, he must have been just a few dozen miles off Japan when the psychic chicks found him, otherwise it would take him days to swim to Tokyo. Junior immediately comes ashore in Shinagawa and heads for Destoroyah. Why he automatically chose to fight this monster is up to debate, but it seems that all Godzillas have an innate desire for combat.
The fight comes quickly, as Destoroyah flies directly at Junior, smacking him in the head and knocking him down. He then zaps the fallen dinosaur with his Oxygen Destroyer, and then uses another blast to knock a big apartment building down on top of him. Ouch! Junior is really hurting now.
The flying Destoroyah then spies Miki's chopper, which is still in the area. The monster banks and begins to close on the chopper as the two girls scream. No!!!! Not the babes!!! Someone do something!!! At the last second, Junior rises from the rubble to blast Destoroyah with a blue Atomic Fire Breath, saving the girls and bringing Destoroyah's attention back to him. Whew! That was close!
As Destoroyah barrels at him, Junior blasts him again with his Atomic Fire Breath. This has little effect as Destoroyah lands and the two beasts go at it with fists. Junior gives it his all but he's grossly overmatched. Four solid Oxygen Destroyer hits put him down on his knees, then Destoroyah collapses another building on top of him.
Jumping up into the air, Destoroyah comes down on top of the prone Junior, his spiky underbody limbs spearing into the smaller monster. Pinned to the ground by the spikes, Junior is bitch-slapped around a bit before he's able to fire off a pair of Atomic Fire Breaths that blow off several of Destoroyah's limbs!!! Ouch!
In a particularly gory shot, Destoroyah then jams his extendable jaws into Junior's chest! A huge amount of blood spurts up and Junior must be suffering terribly. Junior begins to froth at the mouth from the sucking chest wound and it doesn't look pretty. Junior, despite the wounds and the crushing weight of Destoroyah, is one tough cookie. He musters up two Atomic Fire Breaths, blasting Destoroyah off of him and into a power plant. The psychic girls clap and laugh, their hero on his feet again. True, Junior is standing, but that chest wound looks nasty and his blood is full of destroying Micro-Oxygen molecules. He doesn't have a lot of time left to live.
Junior frothing in agony.
We now see that Yukari's news chopper is still in the area, watching the action. At some point she landed and picked up Doctor Ijuin. There seems to be no reason for this other than to get our two love interests together at the climax of the movie. It would seem that the doctor would be needed with the military more than with the press.
Suddenly, from the waters of Tokyo Bay, Godzilla arises!!! He is pissed that his son is being mistreated so and is looking to save him from Destoroyah. It's bright sunlight in these scenes, though in a second it will be pitch black! I must kill the editors! I do have to admit that the inky darkness really heightens the action, especially with the spotlights backlighting the monsters and creating hazy patterns in the smoke. The darkness also makes Godzilla's glowing patches really stand out.
Godzilla and Junior stomp through Tokyo and meet each other near Haneda Airport, along the shores of Tokyo Bay. Haneda is Tokyo's oldest airport and now handles mostly domestic traffic, the international flights all being moved to the huge Narita Airport. It's kind of like Chicago's Midway to the much larger O'Hare.
There's a lot of back-and-forth screeching and roaring and we can imagine that Godzilla is saying, "Where the hell have you been! I've been looking all over for you!", and Junior replying, "I was just out with my friends, dad! Why can't you trust me?"
Back now to Destoroyah, who was last seen buried in the burning rubble of the power plant where Junior's blast tossed him. Suddenly, there's a tremendous explosion that levels the plant and the surrounding area. From out of the smoke and flames rises the mutated "adult" Destoroyah, a much larger and ultra-powerful final form of the monster. He has now grown to a massive 120-meters tall and 80,000-tons heavy, with a wingspan of 210 meters. Compare that to Godzilla's 100 meters and 60,000 tons. How it morphed into this version is not explained either, we just have to take it on faith that the magical properties of Micro-Oxygen can make it happen. As Godzilla's temperature now reaches 1,140 degrees, Destoroyah takes to the air again, levitating across the ruined city towards Haneda Airport.
Destoroyah looking all badass.
From Yukari's chopper, Doctor Ijuin calls G-Force HQ to tell them that they need to send in the Mayflower One again to hit Godzilla with the freezing weapons. They can't prevent his melting down, but if applied correctly, they may be able to minimize the damage created from his melt down. We have to wonder why the Mayflower One hasn't already been in action, attacking Destoroyah since the monster has been ravaging Tokyo for the better part of a day now. Since the freezing weapons worked on the smaller Destoroyahs, wouldn't the plane's weapons also be effective against the larger monster?
Anyway, the Mayflower One is sent off again, Ted Striker at the controls, to do battle. We get a cute scene in the hanger where the intercom orders the plane to "Scramble!". In the foreground is the plane, in the background we see the three pilots headed for the plane. They are walking nonchalantly, like nothing exciting was happening outside. Just seems pretty calm for the severity of the situation. In the cockpit, Ted Striker says, "Let's go freeze that overgrown lizard. This is going to make my day." Great dubbing!
Back to the action, Godzilla and Junior are still talking at the airport. Destoroyah comes sweeping in and blasts Godzilla with an Oxygen Destroyer burst and then slams into him, knocking him down. He then turns on Junior and picks the much smaller dinosaur up in his claws and carries him off into the air. Wow! He carries him a ways back to the Ariake District, where he drops Junior from about three hundred feet onto the Ariake Coliseum (a big domed sports arena), where he crashes through the dome and into the ground.
Miki and Meru, understandably upset, land their chopper near the Coliseum and run to the fallen Junior. Destoroyah is still airborne and Oxygen Destroyer blasts both Junior and Miki's chopper before flying off south to find Godzilla. The girls are unhurt (but the chopper pilot has got to be atomized) and they run to Junior. He dies right there in front of them and Miki comes unglued, sobbing and crying out Junior's name. Miki's strange love-affair with Little One has seemingly come to an end and we can feel her anguish and suffering at the loss.
The girls watch the battle from above.
Back at Haneda Airport, Godzilla is back standing and waiting for Destoroyah to return to do battle. Various cast members watch the monster roaring and raging and comment, "He's crying. He can't understand why he's lost his family." We are really meant to feel Godzilla's pain here, and if you focus on the relationship between Godzilla and Junior that we have watched develop over the past few movies, then it's possible.
The coming battle will be fought on the tarmac of a large scale model of Haneda Airport, the terminals filled with model 747 jumbo jets. Hmmm...there are a lot of airplanes still here for the city being evacuated. Perhaps with Destoroyah flying around for a while they decided to ground all flights for safety. Ok, Destoroyah comes back and lands and the two beasts yell threats and obscenities at each other for a bit.
In the opening ranged combat, Destoroyah hits Godzilla with two Oxygen Destroyer bursts, and Godzilla connects with an Atomic Fire Breath. None of these beam attacks seem to have any lasting effect. They then close the range to grapple in true monster movie fashion. Godzilla is giving up a lot of height and weight here and gets knocked on his butt early. A follow-up Oxygen Destroyer burst to the chest has got to hurt his pride.
Godzilla and Destoroyah go at it.
Destoroyah now whips around his tail, which ends in a mandible-like claw. The claw grabs Godzilla around the throat and Destoroyah takes to the air, dragging Godzilla along behind him. What? In a quick matte shot, we see the airport in front of us in live-action stock footage and in the background Godzilla being drug across screen. The airport, despite the monster battle raging around it, seems to be operating normally! A 747 is slowly pulling away from the terminal, baggage handlers are loading another plane, you can see people walking slowly through the lit passenger tunnels! This is so dumb! Why couldn't they just use the model set for this shot, it wouldn't look so stupid.
Anyway, Destoroyah is dragging Godzilla across Tokyo Bay towards Ariake where he just killed Junior. Back at HQ, Wesley suddenly realizes that his true love Miki is out there where the monsters are heading and is in danger. He asks if they have a helicopter in the area, which they don't (!!!!), but remembers that his sister Yukari's news chopper is still in the air. Why doesn't G-Force or the military have any aircraft in the area is a mystery, and why only one news chopper? Wesley calls Yukari and asks her to go to Ariake and pick up Miki and Meru before the monsters get there.
As it really doesn't matter to the monster story, I'll tell you that over the next few minutes, Miki and Meru are rescued by the chopper and they all watch the coming battle from the air. Man, do these choppers ever need to be refueled? They have been in the air for days it seems!
Just stopping to pick up Magnum and Rick.
Ok, let's reset. The coming final monster battle will happen on the large 230,000 square-meter grounds of the Tokyo International Expedition Center in Ariake. This convention center and shopping complex was being built in 1995 to host the Tokyo World City Expo scheduled for 1996. However, Tokyo's mayor cancelled the expo as being a waste of taxpayer's money and the uncompleted complex was left in a lurch. By having this Godzilla movie set here, the developers hoped to get some needed publicity to the area and generate some money to finish the project.
The two opponents face each other again and roar a bit. As customary, we have an opening round of ranged attacks. Destoroyah has a new weapon in his adult form, a "laser whip horn" on the top of his skull that he slashes Godzilla's midsection with twice, drawing some blood and leaving these nasty festering wounds. Godzilla gets in three Atomic Fire Breaths that do some serious damage to Destoroyah, a yellowish blood (?) spurts from his chest and splashes out of his mouth.
They now close for hand-to-hand combat. Godzilla get in some good smacks and Destoroyah spurts more blood and goes down in a cloud of smoke and debris. Destoroyah is lost in the smoke cloud for a minute and we wonder if he is down for the count. Suddenly, the monster reverts to its multiple smaller Destoroyah drone forms (I guess) as we see dozens of the drones burst out of the ground and swarm over Godzilla.
This is truly a great sequence, as the CGI-inserted drones scramble over Godzilla, biting and clawing at his skin. Godzilla rages and thrashes around, trying to get them off him. He kills at least one of them before they get him down on the ground. Godzilla seems to be hurting badly from the attacks and things look grim. Suddenly, the drones all disappear back into the darkness and murk!!! What? They will be gone for a few minutes here and we have to wonder why they left, they seem to be on the verge of killing Godzilla. Anyway, back on his feet, Godzilla goes over to the ruins of the Coliseum where Junior lies dead.
Godzilla fights off the horde.
We now cut to the Mayflower One, which we see has been landed in the area awaiting the point where they can hit Godzilla with the freezing weapons. This point is apparently when he reaches 1,200 degrees and not a minute sooner. The ambient heat being given off by a thousand-plus degree burning Godzilla has got to be able to melt and combust everything in a wide radius, don't you think? We never see any sign of this. The Mayflower One comes in, circling Godzilla waiting for the right time. In composite shots of the two, the Mayflower One seems to be cruising along at about 20 miles an hour! What is the stall speed of this thing?
Godzilla comes to Junior, who we see is not totally dead after all as his hands and chest are moving slightly. Godzilla breathes (?) radioactive dust into Junior's nostrils in a form of monster CPR. This has no effect and we see Junior's eyes glass over and close, signifying his death. In pain and misery, Godzilla roars and gnashes his teeth. We feel his loss.
Godzilla rages in sorrow.
Suddenly, he is hit from behind by an Oxygen Destroyer blast. Destoroyah has returned, again in his huge adult form. He comes in low, hitting Godzilla with another Oxygen Destroyer blast and then wrapping his tail around his throat again. The tail seems to be transmitting some energy as it's shocking Godzilla badly. Destoroyah then tosses the dinosaur into a building. Royally pissed now, Godzilla hits him back with four solid Atomic Fire Breaths, knocking chucks of flesh and bone from Destoroyah's legs, chest and shoulder.
Ok, Godzilla's temperature is now approaching critical (a readout in HQ shows 1,182 degree). As he stumbles to his feet again, we see his dorsal spines begin to glow and melt! Heat and radiation begin to vent from his back and his melt down is just seconds away now.
The end is close now.
The Mayflower One races in. We also see that the Japanese Army has recovered and is now moving into position to add their freezing firepower to the Mayflower One's attacks. We see at least two MBT-92 Maser vehicles, a MBAW-93 Maser tank, and two big DAG-MB96 Maser cannons move up to fire on the monsters. Where these forces where when Destoroyah was rampaging around before is unknown.
Suddenly, it seems Destoroyah has had enough and takes to the air to escape. The Mayflower One, forgetting its primary mission of slowing Godzilla's meltdown, races after it. Combined with ULT freezing laser fire from the ground vehicles, Mayflower One's big freezing emitter in the nose pounds the fleeing Destoroyah. Mortally wounded, Destoroyah falls to the ground in a colossal crash landing and explodes. Oh my God!!! The Japanese military just killed a monster!!! Has that ever happened before? Wow!
Godzilla is now melting down. The tanks and Mayflower One bombard him with freezing weapons as he reaches 1,200 degrees. We see a computer readout of radioactivity in the air and see that the levels of alpha, beta and gamma radiation are off the chart. Tokyo will be uninhabitable for millions of years at these levels. In a final burst of flame, Godzilla melts down into a skeleton and is gone.
The end of Godzilla.
Whoa. Godzilla just died. Our cast sniffles and waxes about the great loss, just like at the end of Godzilla 1985 and we are left with a hole in our stomachs. The great musical score at the end and the dark lighting accentuate this powerful death scene, one of the best in the entire series. Godzilla is well and truly dead.
Suddenly, Toho Studios realizes what a cash cow the Godzilla franchise has been and the radioactivity levels begin to drop rapidly. Something is absorbing all that released radioactivity! From out of the smoky haze we hear a familiar roar and see the silhouette of Godzilla!!!! Junior has obviously come back to life, using the released life-force of his father to be reborn! Yes!
Let the sequels begin!
And that's the end, folks.
[Editor Pam: As in Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla, the dubbing is pretty bad, about high school drama class level. There's a lot of good action sequences, even if some of them were kind of ripped off from other movies, so at least this movie isn't dull. This is the last Godzilla movie Miki Saegusa appears in, so we never find out if she lost her powers and got married or if she reconnected with the reborn Little One. Hey, where was Mothra in this movie? Isn't she supposed to be protecting Tokyo?]
Written in July 2004 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda and Darci Sharver.
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