My son and I are endeavoring to watch about eighty Japanese-style monster movies before the new Godzilla film opens in May.
This time ... we've cheated a bit. We were on such a Heisei Godzilla high that we decided to skip over a couple of films and finish up the era with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995).
I'll go first:
Look at that GIF there. Godzilla has rarely looked as terrifying and badass as he does in this movie. And thanks to the score by the great Akira Ifukube, he's rarely sounded as evil, either.
As I've said before, I love continuity and that's a big reason why I'm a fan of the Heisei era films. Each one is connected to the next and with this one, the last in this connected saga, it harkens back to the original 1954 film.
We see Dr. Serizawa in clips from the film. We see Dr. Yamane's daughter, played by the same actress from the first movie. And Godzilla's enemy here was born from the very weapon that killed his counterpart in the first movie: the Oxygen Destroyer.
That's Destoroyah, one of the biggest and scariest damn monsters you've ever seen. It shifts size and appearance throughout the movie, but the above is his most fearsome form.
The action, for one thing, is great:
Godzilla's suit glows and emits steam/smoke the whole time and Destoroyah seems to unveil a new weapon whenever he's on screen. Godzilla takes a pounding but he delivers as good as he got.
Even with all this action is the knowledge that Godzilla is going to meltdown. Being born from radiation and eating reactors over the years will catch up to you, and that's why he's burning in this movie. When Godzilla dies, the world might die with him. So even though we want Godzilla to win ... we have to root for the humans to stop his death from being such a violent one.
In the end, his death is handled beautifully and gracefully:
And from his ashes springs the next generation: Godzilla Junior, all grown up (and thankfully never as stupidly cute as he was in Spacegodzilla):
What's not so good in this movie? To my mind, only two things.
First, Destoroyah has several moments and abilities in this movie that are direct lifts from the Alien franchise. Most obviously the internal extending tiny mouth thing. Also, the bit with the soldiers in the building, wearing some sort of harness for their rifles while looking at motion detectors ... straight outta Aliens. It wasn't handled badly or anything. It was just a very distracting choice.
Also, Destoroyah's death. He gets super-atomic blasted by Godzilla and then ultra-low temperature laser blasted by the humans right after. I'm sure he cracked apart or something but we're never explicitly shown this or told this. He just falls back to the ground and disappears in a huge plume of smoke and debris. Of course, the reason for this was simple. The climax of the film is about Godzilla's meltdown, which was imminent. But I felt that Destoroyah's death should have been made more obvious, even if only for a few seconds.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah ... it doesn't get much better than this. 4.75 out of five atomic breath blasts.James' turn:
Well, this one is also very important because baby Godzilla is the only Godzilla in the family, because Godzilla went meltdown and looks amazing but he melted himself. This movie has Destroyah, my favorite enemy!! Destroyah was a mini crab, a huge crab, a ultimate crab, and a Crazy monster!
So, rating wise, i'll say 3.9 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Awesomeness!!!Trailer:
Up next, for real this time, Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon.
(GIFs from BadLuckButterfly, DestructionMode and Tokumonster)