Godzilla Raids Again

GodzillaI’m planning on using the rest of the year to try and tackle the Godzilla reviews I haven’t got around to yet. The first one is the sequel to the original Gojira. Was the King of the Monster resurrected properly or was it far from his great second coming?

Tsukioka and Kobayashi are pilots who work for a fishing company. While on a routine patrol they come across Godzilla and Anguirus engaged in combat. Despite their efforts in the previous movie, Godzilla is still on a rampage and now there is no weapon which can stop him. Will humanity be able to survive the return of Godzilla?

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The film is awkward. Its not entirely its own fault as the original Gojira was an incredible film which was able to become an iconic movie even out of the Kaiju community thanks to its message against nuclear war. In comparison, Godzilla Raids Again doesn’t really have a deep story to tell. Kobayashi wants a girlfriend, the malicious acts of humans draws Godzilla’s attention, Godzilla and Anguirus fight and someone sacrifices themselves to once again take down Godzilla. Nothing here really stands out as being exceptional. It could be argued the film is a look at how there is both good and bad in humanity but you really have to reach for this message.

This film also introduces the world to Anguirus who shows up too soon, his origin isn’t explained, and dies just as easily. They really don’t take the time to explain where Anguirus comes from, he’s simple there but they do take the time explain WHY he is fighting Godzilla. Turns out its in his nature to fight against “war-like predators” like Godzilla. After building up how Anguirus is a force to fight against Godzilla and framing it as if he will be the savior who will take down the giant monster and save the world, he is killed in the very next battle. Once he’s gone the film trudges to its ending at a very unsatisfying pace. Luckily, Anguirus would return and would find a place as being Godzilla’s brother in arms and help him to fight off many an invading threat. Unfortunately, his initial appearance isn’t really worth going back to visit even for die hard fans.

It should probably be noted this movie has the legendary “Banana Oil” dub line by George Takei in it. Yes, its a funny bit of old school dubbing but this joke is lost if you don’t watch the dub version of the film and instead try to watch it subtitled. It’s an amusing joke but still not going to save the entire movie.

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This movie was the last of the Godzilla films I watched. It took so long to track it down because of the fact its release on DVD took forever to finally come around. Frankly, it was not worth wait. The studio really didn’t know what to do with Godzilla in his first sequel and it would take a while before they really figured out what to properly do with him at all. Sure sequels which come out have to live in the shadow of what preceded them but frankly, in comparison Son of Kong was a much better film than Godzilla Raids Again ever was.

RATING: C-

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Godzilla vs. Biolantte

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Today’s film is my favorite Godzilla movie. This is the film I have watched over and over to the point that my VHS copy of the film will probably burst into flames if I watch it again. This is the film that I push every time I run a Godzilla panel because I want everyone to see it. If its not obvious already, I love this movie.

After the events of The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985 as it was called in America) the world has begun to rebuild and prepare for Godzilla’s returns. With the formation of the special task force, G-Force to combat the King of the Monster, new methods of attack are investigated. To this end Dr. Shiragami, a reclusive scientist is recruited to work on the weapon. Dr. Shiragami has his own plans and tries to use the cells to revive a plant he believes has the spirit of his dead daughter. The results is a monstrous rose known as Biollante. As Godzilla appears he makes a beeline to the new creation and battle ensues.

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One of the most appealing elements of this movie is the world building. The lack of knowledge or feel over the fact that humans live in a world where giant monsters could appear at a moment’s notice always annoyed me. Putting measures and procedures into place for such an attack should just be a way of life. This film opens with the different levels of the Godzilla appearance scale. There are buildings dedicated to those that were lost in the last Godzilla attack. This is a world that experienced a monster attack and is ready for when the next one takes place. Also, there is the subplot of people who are intentionally using Godzilla’s cells as a means to get a leg up in the energy race across the globe. Again, this is a world that definitely feels like its feeling the impact of giant mutated dinosaurs stomping around and causing havoc.

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This film introduces us to Miki Saegusa the one character that we will observe and follow the rest of the Heisei era films. Here she starts as a young girl with psychic abilities working at a center for people who have special talents. We also watch her become contracted by G-Force for her abilities. This is not the last time she will be asked to use her gifts to take on Godzilla. Truth be told, she was my first movie character crush.

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Biollante is unique and I meant that in a very good way. Other than Destroyah, she is the only monster that is original in the Heisei era. All others are based off or modified monsters that we saw previously in the Showa Era films. She definitely leaves an impression with her tentacles and her acid spitting abilities. Sadly she is still a plant and is very vulnerable to Godzilla’s radioactive blast and thereby easier to kill.

Basically if I have not gushed enough I will say it again “Go see this film!” This is the movie that I keep coming back to every now and again to remind myself just how much I enjoy Kaiju films. My only wish is that other films of the Heisei era stuck with this level of intensity and awesomeness. Sadly, its a bumpy ride from here. If you don’t believe me check through the archives for my review of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Compared to this, the rating went down considerable.

Rating: A