Movie Reviews

Number 25 – “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” (1994)

 

 

I like to divide my favorite Godzilla movies into different tiers, mostly defined by my own grading system. Everything that I’ve previously looked at, from “Godzilla: Final Wars” through “Godzilla’s Revenge” was in the F-grade tier. Now we’re moving up into the D-grade tier, the ones in this series that are still not very well made movies and should be outright skipped on their own, but they still manage to have one or two good moments. Basically, these ones are more bad than good, but maybe have a few things going for it.

To start us off we have the Heisei film that just barely missed being in the lower tier, “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla.” The title is our first indication that it is an unbelievably stupid and insane idea for a movie, but don’t worry that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It also doesn’t help that this one probably has some of the worst special effects of any Godzilla movie, including a point where Godzilla’s tail falls off in the middle of a shot, some very noticeable gears inside the mouth of a monster and the notorious asteroid belt fight sequence.

 

 

Let’s start by talking about Godzilla’s opponent, Space Godzilla. His creation is supposed to be the culmination of everything the Heisei series was building up. At this point in the series, two of Godzilla’s previous opponents, Mothra, and Biollante, had gone into space with some cells of Godzilla attached to them. The theory of our main characters is that these cells fell off Mothra and Biollante at some point, combined together, then fell into a black hole, were pushed out through a white hole, and then combined with the explosions of stars and other planets to create Space Godzilla.

Every time I hear this plan, I burst out laughing just because of how ridiculous and impossible it all sounds. You cannot make any of that sound plausible in the slightest, but the movie tries its damnedest to make Space Godzilla seem threatening. Then you’ve got the giant shoulder crystals, the crystal tail and the overall blue design that just looks so silly. Space Godzilla might be the least threatening looking monster in the entire series. Hell, even Gabara from “Godzilla’s Revenge” looked scarier than this thing.

Space Godzilla’s personality consists of unexplained destruction and a need to rule over everything. So basically like every villainous monster in the Godzilla series.

I think Space Godzilla is a terrible villain. His only strength is that he seems to have an endless supply of powers and energy weapons that he keeps pulling out of his ass, so he fits in with the beam-happy Heisei series. We’ll see some other Godzilla villains later on in this countdown that seem to have lots of powers, but also have a distinct personality behind that power. They’re not just a threat for Godzilla to take down, but something that both Godzilla and the audience fear. Space Godzilla does not fit that bill.

The film also continues one of the human organizations of the Heisei series, known as the G-Force. Their mission is to keep track of Godzilla and create something that could finally finish him off. Their previous attempt was to create MechaGodzilla (so this is two films in a row where Godzilla has to fight one of his clones), and that almost worked. Now they’ve created something supposedly even stronger than MechaGodzilla, known as M.O.G.U.E.R.A. (Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot Aero). This monster is actually a redesign of another kaiju from the 1957 film “The Mysterians” complete with pin arms, a drill for a nose and giant bug-eyes.

While Moguera was made to fight Godzilla, the G-Force eventually sees Space Godzilla as the bigger threat to the planet and sends it in to fight alongside Godzilla to take down Space Godzilla. I do see what this film was trying to go for – attempting to make Godzilla and the G-Force work together for once to take down a bigger monster, something neither of them could take on their own. But this is gummed up by our main cast of characters and just how unlikable they are.

I guess the lead character is Yuki (Akira Emoto), a man who lost his best friend to Godzilla back in “Godzilla vs. Biollante” and how now sworn to find a way to kill Godzilla as a way of revenge. He’s tracked Godzilla to a remote island, befriends his adopted son Little Godzilla (imagine Minilla except not as cute or as convincing due to bad animatronics) and sets up tear gas mines all around the water front just for Godzilla. He’s also developed a special blood coagulant that could supposedly kill Godzilla if Yuki hits him in his one weak spot, underneath his arm pit.

I like to think Yuki is just making up everything as he goes, because then he’s just a crazy selfish man living on a deserted island for years and is far too absorbed in his need for revenge who doesn’t realize that Godzilla’s arm pit isn’t his weak spot or that his coagulant is just Kool-Aid.

Also, Yuki shows his bare butt cheeks to our other main characters. So yeah, I stand by my statement that he’s crazy.

 

 

In the final act of the film, Yuki ends up being the lead pilot of Moguera, for some reason. As expected, he takes every opportunity he can to turn on Godzilla and take him out instead of Space Godzilla. Our hero, ladies, and gentlemen!

But the most irritating character in “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” is none other than our dear friend Miki Saegusa, who has her biggest role of the series in this movie. In the last couple films, she has decided to join the G-Force and wants to start up a new plan to telepathically control Godzilla by placing in implant in the back of his head and using her own powers to make him leave Japan alone. This plan ends up taking up about the first half of the movie and ultimately feels like a waste of time, since after Miki tries to control Godzilla once and fails, the plan is basically forgotten.

It is never brought up or used during the final battle, even with Miki sitting on the sidelines watching Godzilla get stomped by Space Godzilla.

 

 

Even worse, Miki has supposedly joined this military operation to take down Godzilla of her own free will, yet won’t stop talking about it is wrong to kill Godzilla. That he’s a living creature and that women are so much better than men because all men want to do is destroy other living creatures. Anytime she opens her mouth about how Godzilla deserves the right to live I just want to slap her and remind her of all the lives Godzilla has taken and will continue to take if he isn’t stopped. And if you’re so against killing Godzilla, then why did you join G-Force?

Miki’s incompetence is really on display in this movie and anytime she tries to accomplish anything, it just comes across as annoying and unnecessary. Her plot takes up the first two-thirds of the movie, when she wants to control Godzilla and then she gets kidnapped so some shady organization can use her psychic powers for their own use, and it is almost always cringe worthy.

 

 

Now I did say early on that these particular Godzilla movies do have one or two good points, and while it is small, I do think there is one redeemable factor to “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” and that is its final battle. The fight between Godzilla, Moguera, and Space Godzilla in the middle of downtown Fukuoka is filled to the brim with nothing but laser blast after beam war and goes on for what feels like 45 minutes, but I was never bored during the fight. In fact, there’s a lot of fun parts in this final battle, like when Moguera separates into two vehicles to goes underground to disable Space Godzilla’s power source.

While Godzilla’s plan of attack just seems to be hit Space Godzilla over and over, Moguera’s pilots keep the fight from getting stale by using different tactics. They vary up their plans and weapons and it actually works on Space Godzilla, to the point where his shoulder crystals get destroyed and he begins to lose power. It is a change of pace compared to the other Heisei films to have an extended fight scene that isn’t interrupted by human interactions. I like how both Space Godzilla and Moguera constantly seem to have this rivalry going on that evolves from annoyance to pure rage and hatred and both get plenty of battle scars from the other as a result.

If anything, Godzilla feels like a third wheel to the ongoing fight between Space Godzilla and Moguera. But then Godzilla brings back his red spiral ray at the end of the film to land the killing blow on Space Godzilla, and it is glorious to see this beam in action, making everything it touches explode in a massive ball of bright-red flames.

 

 

While the fight does go on for much longer than it needs to, it is an entertaining exchange. It’s just too bad that we have to sit through an hour of pointless and terribly acted scenes with our characters to get to it.

Overall, “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” is not good by any means, but it does have a surprisingly fun finale. The villain kaiju is a mess, the acting is atrocious, the plot doesn’t go anywhere and the effects range from passable to laughable. The only reason this film isn’t lower on this countdown is because I was sometimes entertained by its badness and because the final fight was handled competently. It is certainly not the worst Godzilla film out there, but you can definitely find way better ones out there.

 

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