Wednesday, May 7, 2014

GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA II (1993): 30 Days of Godzilla

DAY 21


Rodan, Mechagodzilla, and even Baby Godzilla are all given a modern revamp in this blockbuster of sci-fi action and monster mayhem. Not without story problems, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II set a high-water mark for Toho's technical special effects and monster suit design in the Heisei period.

Following the utter devastation caused by Godzilla in the films Return of Godzilla (1984), Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), and Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), the UN has established a high-tech Godzilla Countermeasures Center to respond to Godzilla's nuclear threat. Studying the remains of the Mecha-King Ghidorah from the future, they have created the ultimate Godzilla-fighting weapon: a giant piloted robot called Mechagodzilla. It's a good thing too because soon Japan's soon going to have a whole lot of monsters on its hands.

Sparks will fly as Godzilla challenges his digital double
On an expedition to Adona Island in the Bering Sea, a Japanese research team discovers two large dinosaur eggs. From one hatches Rodan, a giant irradiated pteranodon. However, Godzilla soon appears on the island and battles Rodan for the second egg as researchers sneak it away. Rodan is killed in the process. Much to the surprise of the scientists, back at the lab the discover that the egg exhibits psychic properties. Then the egg hatches to reveal not another Rodan but -- a Baby Godzilla! Well, to be specific, this is not Godzilla's literal baby. Instead, it is another mutated Godzillasaurus, although much friendly than Godzilla turned out to be and, for the time being, much smaller.

From that point on, Godzilla is compelled to seek out and find Baby Godzilla, the second-to-last remaining member of his species. Rodan also comes back to life, absorbing Godzilla's latent radioactivity to mutate into Fire Rodan, and begins a search for the baby on whom he has imprinted a sense of kinship as eggmates. Mechagodzilla is deployed to halt Godzilla's attack on Japan but when Fire Rodan enters into the mix and steals a capsule that was transporting Baby Godzilla and his handler (Ryoko Sano), the JSDF must also deploy the experimental attack ship Garuda to give Mechagodzilla some extra firepower. Equipped with information gleaned from the study of Baby Godzilla -- namely that the Godzillasaurus species possesses a second and more vulnerable brain in their bodies at the hip-level base of the tail -- they plan to kill Godzilla once an for all.

Mess with Rodan and you're playing with FIRE!
The overall human plot is rather uninspired, but Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II is a triumph of special effects. The battles are exciting and electric, and the new monster and robot suits are amazing! Rodan is so detailed even his wings have veins. You'll also be hard-pressed to find a cuter animatronic suit than Baby Godzilla (although his next appearance as Godzilla Jr. really pushes the cute-factor up to 11). Although I like the later redesign of Mechagodzilla in the Millenium series better, this Mechagodzilla is a worthy successor to the original and packed with thrilling gimmicks and tremendous firepower. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II is a straight-up popcorn movie. Bright, flashy, explosive, and full of woo-woo fantasy science that really doesn't make much sense at all, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II is pure monster fantasy entertainment. 


Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II was directed once again Takao Okawara with a score by Akira Ifukube. It was released in Japan on December 11, 1993 but never got a North American release until Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released it on DVD in 1999 and then re-issued it in 2005. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II was another box office and critical success in Japan, but for the next film Toho would begin to experiment with the audience's taste for obscure characters and new monsters. For tomorrow's 30 Days of Godzilla, we'll be giving a rundown of the 1994 film GODZILLA VS. SPACE GODZILLA.

1 comment:

  1. "Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2" is one of my favorite Godzilla movie due to combats and special effects. The story is interesting but not very valuable.