on August 28, 2008
As a kid I loved Godzilla, and I am thoroughly enjoying introducing my daughter to the creatures now that I am an adult (so to speak). Apart from the first Godzilla movie from 1954, I find the rest of the series far too hokey to watch anymore. That is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover this gem among the Godzilla catalog. It took them 50 years, but they finally got it right! This movie picks up 50 years after the first movie. In this tale, none of the other hokey movies of the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's movies have taken place. Godzilla has been asleep for 50 years but is reawakened at a time when Japan is no longer acknowledging their role in the global conflicts of the previous century. The spirits of the dead have reanimated Godzilla and they have come to venge themselves on the uncaring population of Japan.
Who can stop it? An ancient spirit is awakened in Japan. He contacts a news reporter to try and get her to warn the Japanese people that they have to change their ways. He also asks her aid in awakening the Guardian Monsters, Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah, to protect the land from the rampage of Godzilla.
The result? An all out monster attack featuring monster fights, jet planes, missiles, rockets, battleships, and a daring hero in a small one man sub.
The characters are reasonably well developed--considering this is a monster movie. The story is solid and exciting. My daughter loves this movie, not just because her favourite monster, King Ghidorah, is in it, but because one of the two heroes of the movie is a young, gutsy woman who overcomes fear to do something that she believes in. Her father, too, the other hero of the film, overcomes fear, and is willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the land that he loves.
on December 20, 2004
"Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack" (something simply must have gotten lost in the translation for that title) is arguably the best Godzilla movie of the new 'millennium' series. Godzilla, for the first time since the sixties, is presented as pure evil, and is more effective here than he has been in a long time (even if the rubber suit is a bit more lacklustre than usual). The monster battle scenes, featuring King Ghidorah, Mothra, and the long-forgotten Borodan, are up to the series' recent high standard, and there are some interesting new takes on the monsters' origins. Even if the human plot is decidedly uninteresting, this should still be a must for any Godzilla fan.
The DVD presents the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The picture is clean and sharp, with only minimal grain and print damage. Like all of Columbia Tristar's recent Godzilla releases, there is a choice between English dubbed/Japanese subtitled audio, which will keep purists happily. Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly), there are no extra features other than some trailers for other Tristar Asian movies.
on June 19, 2004
Spanning five decades, it's not too surprising that many Godzilla films are rehashes of earlier ones. "GMK - Giant Monsters All-Out Attack" is a welcome addition to the series largely because of its original take on the series (as well as some suprisingly impressive special effects). In this movie, Godzilla is the embodiment of the souls of Japanese soldiers who died during WWII and have become sickened by the Japan they fought so hard to save. The Japan of today is decadent and without decency or honor, according to these spirits. Godzilla rises from the ocean to exact revenge.
The undertones of hatred of society are unusually strong in this film but serve to make the film stand out from the rest of the series. A gang of mischevious youth attempt to drown a dog out of sheer boredom only to be entombed by Mothra. Teenagers giggle at how "cute" Godzilla was (whom they have only seen in history books) only to be slaughtered by said lizard in the middle of their joking. The arrival of Godzilla in the 21st century poses a problem for the Japanese military who have re-written history to claim that they successfully destroyed Godzilla in the 50s in order to justify their existance. A housewife scoffs at the idea of interrupting her shopping trip simply because of Godzilla only to be blasted to bits by the monster. A 30-something couple ignores warnings to evacuate in an attempt to take a photo of the approaching Baragon (which they will presembably brag to their friends about) -- a mistake which results in their death at the hands of Godzilla. One cannot help but feel that many of the people who die at the hands of the monsters almost deserve it. Perhaps the souls of the WWII soldiers are on to something...
Japan's protection comes in the form of three mythical monsters -- Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidora -- as well as the Japanese military. Each monster is unique. Baragon features no fancy weapons but is all heart. Clearly outmatched, he fights to the death against Godzilla and you cannot help but be impressed. His bravery stands in stark contrast to the fleeing Japanese populace. Mothra deftly plans her attacks to take advantage of her aerial capability. Ghidora is content to duke it out with Godzilla on his own terms. And the Japanese air force, navy, and army attempt to regain some honor by destroying an enemy they have already claimed victory against.
The SPFX are unusually good for a Godzilla film and the soundtrack features some of the best music of the series since Akira Ifukube. The leading characters, however, are another matter entirely as none of them are particularly likeable. This is a chronic problem in Godzilla films (including the American film) and serves to detract from the potential impact. The final battle against Ghidora drags on way too long (how many times can this creature come back from the dead?). And Toho still doesn't seem to understand that an aerial creature like Mothra would be significantly more effective if it flew faster than Godzilla's ability to blast it with his heat ray. The film's really shinning moment is in Godzilla's rampage through the city, before he engages any monsters, including an inspired choice of a "Godzilla-cam" point-of-view that lets the viewer see the fleeing Japanese populace as Godzilla sees them -- as an infestation of scurrying cockroaches that should be exterminated. As in the earlier film "Godzilla vs. Biollante", the monster battles seem poor compared to the drama of Godzilla vs. humanity.
All that having been said, this film is a refreshing look at the legend of Godzilla. While other films feature Godzilla as a unfair, cruel menace to humanity or as a goofy superhero savior, this film features a vengeful monster who's motivation is not entirely without merit. The film does an interesting job of dancing between condemming humanity as worthy of extermination and praising our species as being compassionate towards others. The main character, Lili, embodies some of this as she takes her father -- a famous war hero -- for granted until she sees him risk his life for Japan. For those who have longed for a Godzilla movie that harkens back to the seriousness of the original, this is about as close to that ideal as Toho is likely to achieve.
on June 3, 2004
This is definitely near the top of the list of best Godzilla movies of all time. The only reason I didn't give 5 stars is that I don't think Godzilla movies are the greatest movies in the world in general, so even the best of Godzilla movies only deserve 4 stars. Except maybe THE best one or two Godzilla movies of all time might deserve 5 stars...but this movie is probably just below.
Though released in the 2000 era...this is not really a part of the Godzilla Millenium series. The costume is not the same as Godzilla 2000 or later movies...and his flame breath effect has reverted to blue. However, the flame effect is also unique and technologically impressive in this movie, so this movie is definitely well done.
It appears that respectable effort has been put into this movie to make it the most authentic-to-the-original 1954 black and white Godzilla movie yet. The costume, though new (I would hope) does bear a resemblance to the 1954 design, as opposed to the various designs which Godzilla has gone through over the years (several redesigns/costume changes in the 60's and 70's....followed by mainly one new design for the 90's Godzilla series...and now the 2000 design). The flame breath also has some authenticity to the cheesy smokey effect of the 1954's Godzilla, but is way more visually impressive and destructive.
About the only gripes one could have with this movie are 1) the cheesy plotline regarding 3 mythical saint monsters who are destined to combat Godzilla, and 2) Giant Monsters All-Out Attack does NOT describe what this movie is about. There are 4 monsters in this movie, but quite a few Godzilla movies in the past featured just as many monsters without being called "Giant Monster Battle" or anything similar. This movie is really just "Godzilla vs King Ghidorah IV" and that's it. Past clashes between G and Ghidorah have all involved at least 3 to 4 monsters as well, and this one is no different. It's not the monsterfest that the title suggests (I was hoping for another "Destroy All Monsters" but this isn't it).
In fact, the monster battle matchups in this movie ironically mirror that of the original 70's Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla. Once you've seen both you'll see what I mean.
All in all, this is a great movie. The directing was great and exciting, and the movie and fight sequences action-packed. Music is also above average for a Godzilla movie. Very well done, and an excellent tribute to the 1954's original Godzilla.
on May 11, 2004
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, for all of its updating of the genre of kaiju eiga (Japanese Giant Monster movies) with its thrilling special effects, moving story and titantic monster battles, is really an homage to the golden era of these films, the 1960's. GMK is easily the best Godzilla in decades, as it connects modern social commentary with ancient myth in the form of the Yamato Seishu, the Ancient Guardian Beasts of Japan, summoned forth to fight Godzilla, now driven by the souls of the victims of the Pacific War. Horror and humor, irony and great spectacle, so characteristic of this type of film, make GMK one of the best entires in the Godzilla series. Director Shusuke Kaneko, who helmed the Gamera trilogy of the mid-to-late 90's, taking the genre to new heights, brings his unique vision and style of story telling to GMK. Do not expect to find a cheesy monster movie here with unconvincing effects and no plot. GMK will arrest your imagination and take you somewhere you have not been.
This is a stunning giant monster film, the best in the series after the original 1954 Gojira. If you are new to the world of kaiju films, this is an excellent place to start.
Get this DVD, and watch how the great battles unfold and the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.
on April 30, 2004
Mr. Shusuke Kaneko has always wanted to direct a Godzilla film. Well, folks he finally got his chance. Widely acclaimed by fans as the best film of the series since the original(of course), this movie takes a darker look at Godzilla and adds several mystical elements. Such as: Godzilla has been possesed by the forgotten dead of WWII, and three holy monsters are summoned to stop him. Sounds good so far? Right? Well, it gets better. The cheesy special effects that often plague a kaiju film are done away with and we are given beautiful CGI effects and magnifecent explosions. Thye acting is great and is easily as good as anything Hollywood can cook up(that's right you heard me).
The monsters in this film are amazingly well done. Baragon is revamped and is given a great tooth and claw battle with the big G himself. Mothra is given an agile body and beautiful wing movements. Godzilla is given a horribly evil look and very white eyes. And, well Ghidorah is given plastic looking heads and stumpy wings, well nothings perfect.
All in all this is a very good film that should not be passed up. So go and buy a legitamate copy, a liter of coke, three bags of popcorn and let the good times roll.
on April 23, 2004
Unlike with the first 22 films none of previous films are connected to it expect the very first Godzilla movie made way back in 1954. Godzilla has returned to Japan to destroy Japan.
In this movie Godzilla is possed by the soul of Japanese and Americans who were killed in the Pacific war. It also bring back three other monster . Mothra and King Ghidera. The puny not so popular Bargon. Lots of destuction and god fighting scenses.
Problems made Godzilla to powerful. Made Mothra, King Ghidora and Bargon to week. These three the guarding monster fight to defeat Japan. All three of them are defeated by godzilla.
Godzilla is still defeated. By the three monster transfering there life force into godzilla's body at the end of the move weakens godzilla. To the point that it can be destoyed. All of godzilla body is destroyed.
One annoying thing about this DVD was the dialogue was not budded or tampered so all the dialogue is in Japanese. So unlesh you have the American subtitles activated you can't under stand a darn word any of the charaters say.
on April 2, 2004
This one just blew me away when I saw it. Just freakin' awesome! The only films that even compare, technically, are the 3 Gamera films by the same director. I love Gamera and all, but Godzilla stomps all over him! In this film, Godzilla returns to Japan to avenge those who died in the Pacific War and he has never been meaner. His eyes are pure white, giving him a demonic look about him and his fire breath unleashes all of the power of an atomic blast, mushroom cloud and all. Every time the combined might of the military and the 3 opposing guardian beasts threaten to stop his relentless destruction, the big guy pulls another trick out of his sleeve and just devastates. You will truly cheer for the villain in this film. The lead Japanese actress is adorable and does a great job with her character, and the supporting cast is good as well. I think what impressed me most about this film was Mothra. No longer can you practically see the wire holding her up as her wings slowly flap and propel her at a leisurely pace across miniature sets. This Mothra dodges and swoops between buildings at breakneck speed and even fires stingers from her abdomen. Pretty awesome stuff! The shots of Baragon travelling through the forest are beautifully done as well. Ghidora is the least impressive, but most powerful, of the trio of guardian beasts. Still, the part where he bites Godzilla and shocks him is pretty darn cool. I disliked the ending, but due to the content of the rest of the film, I'm willing to accept it and bestow the highest honor I can give a film of any genre: a five star, absolute must-see rating.
on March 22, 2004
I love "GMK." With proper subtitles, it's the best Godzilla movie since the original. A lot of fans complain about the plot because, frankly, it comes across as garbled and silly in the American version. But I think it's a great idea to make Godzilla a possessed creature; it's an effective way to tweak and modernize his character. But sadly, this American DVD cheapens the film's attempts at drama and depth by adding comedy dubbing that does not reflect the original script. Yes, the DVD has subtitles, but they're based on the dub - so they're not accurate either.
Just how bad is the translation? Here's just one example: on the Japanese DVD, one of the soldiers says: "We're not allowed to open fire on Mothra." On the American DVD, he says something on the order of: "Damn, that's a big, flying bug." Sorry, but that's a disgrace; can't we make a serious adaption of these films, or must we turn them into dumb, unfunny farces? Virtually every line has been changed to make the characters seem stupider and more melodramatic. If you like Godzilla because it's stupid, by all means, buy this; but if you like Godzilla because it's good science fiction, pass until a better translation comes out.
No wonder people don't give this movie enough credit - they haven't seen an accurate version! Nice print and all, but in all the areas that really count, this DVD stinks.
on March 22, 2004
This is an interesting episode in the Godzilla saga. Once again TOHO has re-written Godzilla's past. In this story, Big G has not been seen since 1954, but everyone has a funky feeling he'll return one day. And he does. But this time, there are three Guardian Monsters- Baragon, Ghidorah, and Mothra- to stop him.
This is a very mystical film that may be hard to fathom by American audiences. For example, Godzilla is powered by the souls of those who lost their lives in the Pacific War. So he is now a force of vengence, and not a "force of nature" as stressed in previous movies. Bad guy Ghidorah is now a good guy. Baragon is a lame monster. TOHO won't learn- 4 legged monsters just don't work (it's obvious the man inside is walking around on all fours).
One thing that really sets this apart is that Godzilla is seen killing people. Folks get trampled, burned, and buried under rubble and earth by Big G. This Zilla has a bad attitude.
Japanese, with English subtitles. A nice addition to your Big G collection. Now if only they would re-make King Kong vs. Godzilla.