Well, having original monsters didn’t last long did it. Godzilla Vs Biollante wasn’t a huge success for Toho, and as such, efforts where put in place to bring back a classic Godzilla villain. Originally this was to be in the form of Godzilla Vs King Kong, essentially mirroring the 3rd film in the Showa era. Unfortunately the rights to King Kong were unavailable. Toho attempted to do Godzilla Vs Mechani-Kong, A character they created for King Kong Escapes, but found that even the likeness of the giant gorilla wouldn’t be allowed. This was when they decided to go ahead and reintroduce Godzilla’s greatest foe, King Ghidorah. But is the film any good? That is a tough question. Click the link below for my review.
OK, stay with me here. So a writer called Kenichiro Terasawa (Kosuke Toyohara) believes he may know the full origin of Godzilla. This involves a Japanese World War II veteran who claims he, and his squad, were saved from attacking US troops by a dinosaur on a Pacific Island. Kenichiro smells a story and so he investigates. Then a UFO is spotted flying around Japan. This turns out to be a group of time travellers from the 23rd century come to warn us all that Godzilla will destroy Japan. They have a plan to stop him by travelling back in time to when the soldiers encountered the dinosaur and teleport it away so that it may never be turned into Godzilla. Whilst in the past, one of the future folk named Emmy (Anna Nakagawa) leaves three little adorable creatures behind. Upon returning to the future the team, which included Kenichiro and Psychic Miki Saegusa (Meguni Odaka), find that the plan was a success and Godzilla was erased from time. Except everyone remembers him… Anyway, the three little creatures Emmy left behind were mutated by the nuclear tests and became King Ghidorah. It appears the future people intended this all along as they wanted King Ghidorah to wipe out Japan so they wouldn’t be so powerful in the future. This leads to a plan to create a new Godzilla using the dinosaur from earlier to fight off King Ghidorah.
So, that’s the real basic premise there. This is one of those films where there is a crazy amount of stuff going on. One of the issues I have with Godzilla Vs Biollante was that it featured a large number of characters that were not interesting enough to hold a plot. This film has a similar issue. There is a lot of characters being juggled around here. I’ve not even mentioned Android M-11 (Robert Scott Field) who is initially evil but later reprogrammed by Emmy when she regrets what she has done at the orders of her two bosses Grenchko (Richard Berger) and Chuck Wilson (Chuck Wilson). She reprograms him with a couple of CDs by the way. Such space age technology they have. There is also a professor that goes on the time travel journey and various other side characters. This really is a bit of a jumbled mess as far as coherence of story is concerned. And I’ve not even got into the logic of the film’s time travel yet.
Should I? Should I actually discuss time travel logic? Time Travel is a dangerous thing to mess around with in a story. If a film does it needs to establish rules at a basic level and then make sure people don’t worry too much about the rest. Keep it simple, maintain enjoyment factor. Godzilla vs King Ghidorah provides one time travel rule. That no one thing can exists twice at one point of time. This is why they do not bring the army vet that saw the Godzillasaurus. Although I get the impression that’s really because they didn’t do much in the way of ageing make-up on the actor, and so, they didn’t want that to show. That is the only rule though. They don’t address what effect removing Godzilla from history would have. It appears to be none because everyone is aware of Godzilla. But if they were aware of him then surely he must have existed to them and thousands would be dead. Did all those Godzilla killed come back to life? Also, that one rule doesn’t really work because, after King Ghidorah is defeated the first time, Emmy travels to the future to revive him and bring him back to the present to defeat the no rampaging Godzilla. That would mean the future King Ghidorah is around at the same time as his dormant body in the ocean. Also, if King Ghidorah was mutated then did he attack Japan in 1954? Or did he just wait around until the present?
And then you start getting into story logic issues. After King Ghidorah emerges a plan is set in place to use a secret nuclear sub to expose the Godzillasaurus to radiation. But before this plan seems to take place Godzilla has just appeared for reasons. He then destroys the nuclear submarine. The villains even predicted that a new Godzilla would be made but didn’t care cos King Ghidorah would kill him anyway. So why not just make King Ghidorah in the first place and use the control they have over it to defeat a young Godzilla? Plus, The Godzilla from this timeline is a second Godzilla. The original being killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in the first film, which is part of this timeline. By going back in time and teleporting away a Godzillasaurus they only stopped the initial Godzilla being created, surely? The second one would still exist then. Man, you could fly a UFO through these plot inconsistencies.
I feel bad for pointing all that out though because, somehow, Godzilla vs King Ghidorah is actually quite a stupid amount of fun. The effects are hokey, possibly due to the scope of the film requiring way more effects work and specially crafted sets than the previous two films did. But they have a charm to them. The two big monster fights look as good as you could hope for this era though. That’s clearly where the money was spent. Robert Scott Field as Android M-11 is so brilliantly vacant in his screen presence that he takes on a weird charisma. Plus he is responsible for one of my favourite Godzilla moments. An action sequence that seems very much influence by Terminator 2, which came out earlier that year, features M-11 trying to drag Emmy from a moving car, whilst in another moving car that is clearly able to drive itself. This leads to the car flipping and bursting into flames and a now semi damaged M-11 running a super speed to catch up with our heroes. Why is this scene so brilliant? Because, for whatever reason director Kazuki Omori and composer Akira Ifukube decided to shoot and score the running sequence as if it were ripped straight from Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Go look that film up if you’ve never seen it. I swear they were fully nodding and winking when they shot that sequence. They had Robert Scott Field stood on a platform that they ran down a road and then sped up the footage to make it appear as if he was moving through the street without moving at all. Not even any shoulder movement.
Because the film also has one of those insane Showa era style storylines it gains a few points for being a very different film to Vs Biollante. The fight between Godzilla and King Ghidorah really shows how far the series has come in terms of staging these monster battles. When Ghidorah is resurrected for the film’s finale we’re given a moment to realise, for a film that just threw everything in there, that there was still one more thing to throw at us. When King Ghidorah returns he is now Mecha-King Ghidorah and is piloted by Emmy from a pod in his chest. Mecha-King Ghidorah is one of my favourite Godzilla monster designs. He’s one of those monsters that just looks plain cool, from the giant and impractical metal wings to the middle head being robotic. Every inch of him has been turned up a notch to give anyone expecting another regular Ghidorah encounter a little bit of a surprise.
It is hard for my to fully dislike a film so willing to be silly. So willing to just be a big dumb adventure. The plot holes and the time travel logic issues are a real issue though as they leave you with too many questions rattling around your brain when you should be focusing on the craziness of the film itself. Time travel can have holes in its logic, but they can’t be this noticeable. The score features many classic themes, along with a wide variety of new music. Some of the differing music styles can clash a little, ranging from symphonic scores to industrial beats, but it is still one of the better Godzilla scores. Godzilla vs King Ghidorah is silly fun in a similar vein to Invasion of Astro-Monster. It may not be art, or categorically good, but as I argued in review 300 (Which you should read) what is the quantitative value of fun? The next film on the Godzilla season will be Godzilla Vs Mothra.