Godzilla fights a giant pre-historic dragonfly in this film. Well, eventually he does. He’s gotta fight something I suppose, and fighting a giant dragonfly is certainly a step up from the giant rock and Quasimodo from the last film. Another fun fact, this is the only Godzilla film not tied to any previous film’s timeline. Even presents an alternate take on the original film’s outcome where Godzilla was never destroyed. So, this has to be worth a look I guess. Click the link below to see if Godzilla Vs Megaguirus is as mega as the name suggests… or something.
So, as mentioned, this film takes place in an alternate version of the Godzilla timeline. Well, another alternate version. Before now each Godzilla film had, at least, accepted the original film as canon. The whole Heisei era takes the events of Gojira as canon and then spawns its own story from The Return of Godzilla/1985 onwards. Whilst Godzilla 2000 didn’t explain the origin of this Godzilla creature it is taken that this was a newer Godzilla. For Godzilla vs Megaguirus the original creature was never destroyed by the Oxygen Destroyer and continued to appear at a few points in the following years whenever Japan tried to create or use a new energy source. Godzilla would target the source and knock Japan down a few pegs for their hubris. They even had to abandon Tokyo as their capital and make Okinawa the new capital of Japan due to the destruction. Which is a really nice touch. The opening scenes are quite cool as they show events from Gojira but with the new Godzilla digitally implanted into the scenes. As we see attacks in 1966 and so forth the image quality is shifted to match TV cameras and the colour tones associated with the time. This is genuinely very cool and serves to get you up to speed quickly whilst being kind enough to present something interesting to watch along the way. They communicated story visually, which is worth remembering the next time you see a text crawl at the start of a film.
The story moves on with us being introduced to Kiriko Tsujimori (Misato Tanaka), a solider that lost a friend during a Godzilla attack and is now heading up an organisation called G-Grasper. Their aim is to create a weapon that will fire a miniature black hole from space to destroy Godzilla once and for all. She enlists the help of technological genius/waster Hajime Kudo (Shosuke Tanihara) to help them get that black hole down to size so it can be used safely. Let’s ignore that a 2 metre black hole would be anything but safe. They run a test in the middle of some woods, just walking distance from a town, and inadvertently create a wormhole. Which they acknowledge happens and then promptly pack up and leave. The wormhole doesn’t disappear though as, later that evening, a young child spots a rather large dragonfly flying into it. He soon discovers an strange large egg and takes it with him on his way to Tokyo. He throws the egg into the sewers and so seals the fate of probably thousands of people to be killed by giant dragonflys and the floods they cause. Eventually, Godzilla fights the queen dragonfly known as Megaguirus and action scenes happen.
There’s a lot to like about Godzilla vs Megaguirus. The story itself is a pretty solid one, although it dips into the well of melodrama a few times too many. The idea of thousands of smaller creatures terrorising the world to make way for a much larger one is quite cool too. There’s been actual thought gone into the life cycle of the Maganulon species that Megaguirus is the queen of. The characters show traces of being fully formed individuals in roles that could have easily boiled down to one character being the army one and another being the nerdy one. The humanity is there in these characters, I quite liked how the main boss of G-graspers had a game of chess playing throughout the film but once things were not going well he threw the pieces off the table. As if he”s saying the rules of war do not count anymore. Godzilla shows a little character too which was lacking from the previous film. They even find the time to squeeze in a little humour after the quite dry Godzilla 2000. No-one shouts “Great Caesar’s ghost” though, which I deem a requirement of all Godzilla films from now on.
What could be labelled as the film’s main fault is that, for a story involving pre-historic creatures, black holes, a flooded Tokyo and giant monsters, this is all a very dry experience. What humour there is is very slight. It’s things like Godzilla getting bopped on the head multiple times or Kudo fooling kids with a fake magic trick. Like Godzilla 2000 the story just kind of happens. A message is there, the usual dangerous energy sources are just a weapon in disguise, and so, Godzilla must crush. But the lead characters are making a satellite that fires black holes at the Earth. You can’t get much more destructive than that. The message is, therefore, undermined by the lesson of the film being “ain’t no-one can stop us making big ass weapons, not even a Godzillas!”.
Effects wise the film is pretty decent. Digital composite shots have been improved somewhat from the last film, although there’s less ambitious aerial shots being used. The CGI on the Meganulons is pure 1994 low budget effects work, think Reptile in Mortal Kombat. The models and creature effects are well handled and Megaguirus is quite a beastly looking creature. The final battle has some really nice staging to it, once it has gotten past its slow start. There’s a number of cool destruction moments, such as Godzilla getting a big diamond shaped part of a building dropped on his head. There’s a presentation to some of the effects that feels very much ripped from anime, particularly the second time the black hole weapon, the Dimension Tide, is used. Pure Dragonball Z moment there. In all it is a decent looking Godzilla film.
Taken for what it is Godzilla Vs Megaguirus is a decent enough monster adventure, but it is a slightly confused and relatively charmless. Not entirely lacking charm, but not quite enough to drag you into its world as, say, King Kong Vs Godzilla would. There are signs of a direction style creeping in that values cool stand out action beats over solid and controlled pacing, a trait of a few of the Millennium era films. This is mostly due to the film coming right in the wake of The Matrix, which was popular in Japan, and around the same time as Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus, a director that would fully take Godzilla into pure style over substance with Godzilla Final Wars. There is plenty to enjoy which helps give this film a little more worth than many of the weaker Godzilla films. The next film I’ll be covering is the lengthily names Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. I’m gonna have to break my no acronym rule aren’t I?