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Friday, April 4, 2014


My eleven-year-son and I continue our trek through the big list (HERE) of monster movies to watch before Godzilla open in May.

This time around, we're watching Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989).

My son will go first:
Well, this one is about ESP and Godzilla cells combining with plant cells and Anti Nuclear Energy Bacteria, (A.N.E.B for short) and happy music at the wrong time. 
Like, the Pee Wee Herman theme song while they're battling. While they were fighting Godzilla, they used drill missiles, one hit his chest, and another in his mouth! 
So, Rating wise, i'll say 3.9 out of 5 Atomic Breaths Of Awesomeness!!
My turn:
The last time Toho created a character for a Godzilla film based on fan input, we got Jet Jaguar.  Thankfully, this time around, the results are better. 
It's been five years since the relaunch of the character and he's back, looking good, and facing a larger opponent than usual.  Biollante is also quite original.  A synthesis of plant cells, human cells and cells of Godzilla himself, Biollante has an unusual connection to the King and also to the human protagonist who lost his daughter several years before. 
Much of the film works well.  Godzilla's stomping through Osaka, giving the military the run around, is fun.  Biollante is properly frightening and its sequences with Godzilla are well done.  My favorite part, though, is this scene: 
In this scene with psychic children, we also get further acquainted with Miki Saegusa, who will feature in the rest of the Heisei series. 
Also in this scene, a rousing rendition of one of Akira Ifukube's greatest musical Godzilla creations.  In fact, we get several good hits of Ifukube throughout the film.  Unfortunately, the rest of the score is not so great.  The greatest offender is called "Countdown" on the soundtrack.  (Listen to the pertinent section HERE.)  My son astutely realized it sounds a great deal like the backbeat of Danny Elfman's Pee-wee's Big Adventure score and began singing the, "Da, da, da, da, da-ta-ta-da-duh," part.  You'll recognize it when you hear it. 
What else doesn't work?  The excessive espionage.  Apparently, while knocking down buildings in Tokyo five years prior, Big G cut himself on lots of stuff, and there's a kind of arms race underfoot to get his leftover cells.  Biotech company versus biotech company rules much of the first half of the film as English-speaking actors poorly work their way through scenes before hitman Fisher Stevens shows up, and telling some dead men, "Kiss you, guys."  Maybe he meant something more lewd. 
Speaking of dubbing, there are a couple of moments where English speakers are heard on the Japanese track and the results are hilarious.  At the beginning when the pseudo-Arabic biotech center is attacked, as scientists stream out of the facility, one woman can be heard to scream, "Hysteria!"  Later on, as some of the biotech thieves raid the scientist's crib, one guy says, I believe, "Lethal weapon!"  Just strange. 
There's a reliance on newfangled computer effects, too: 
Also not so good: the last battle.  As terrifying as the monster looks, its battle with Godzilla is too brief and it's limited to mostly vines with Audrey IIs on the ends and some Reptilicus-style spit.  Biollante gets Godzilla in its mouth briefly, but a quick breath blast frees him.  And that's it.  Biollante disintegrates and drifts into the clouds (with an annoyingly saccharine visage of the scientist's dead daughter amidst the spores). 
It sounds like I'm dwelling on the negative and I am.  That's mostly because everything else works just fine. 
Godzilla vs. Biollante ... very original for a thirty-five year old franchise.  4 out of five atomic breath blasts.
The trailer:

Up next, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

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