At long last, I return with a new Godzilla movie review. The last Godzilla movie I reviewed was GMK, after which I gravitated towards the Heisei Gamera movies for a bit of variety. After all this time I’m back with a new movie, and this time we take a look at the 1994 movie Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. I chose this movie because in my Top 10 Best Godzilla Foes list, people were saying SpaceGodzilla was one of their favourites. I didn’t put him on the list simply because I’d never actually seen his movie (I never watch Godzilla movies in order), so I decided to see what all the hype was about and sit down with cider in hand to watch it. I went in with low expectations since I’d heard people say this movie wasn’t too excellent compared to others, but personally I think it was out of this world amazing (I need to stop with these puns).
For the most part this story is plenty original and isalso quite a compelling tale. The human plot is that a group of scientist and soldiers travel to Godzilla’s home of Birth Island, where they meet a man determined to kill Godzilla while they aim to control him. All the while a new threat dubbed SpaceGodzilla, a mutated and uber powerful version of the Big G is headed to earth and it’s up to Godzilla with the help of the mecha MOGERA to stop him. This story actually has one of the more interesting human stories in the Godzilla series, with conflicting motivations and ideals being a major point of contingency in the plot. Seeing these clashes of opinions really does create an interesting human story. The actual meat of the plot does take its time to get going and we don’t see Godzilla at all until about half an hour into the movie, but when it gets going it picks up tenfold. I particularly liked Godzilla’s side of the story, how the majority of his reason for being in this conflict with SpaceGodzilla is revenge for hurting his son, adding shades to the character very rarely seen in later movies. One problem I did have with the story was that a lot of plot points were either left unresolved or were resolved way too quickly, an example is of the character Yuki giving up on his quest to kill Godzilla alarmingly quickly, despite vowing to kill him less than half and hour ago. If you want a movie with a ton of monster action, you’ll either be overall disappointed or have to be very patient since the final battle really does take place a the very end, but I think it’s worth it. In conclusion, this was a very unique story and one that I was invested in for the most part.
- Koji Shinjo (Jun Hashizume) – The main male lead, Koji isn’t too well-defined, but is a likeable lead. He has barely and shades of dimensions and works well only because of his friend Kiyoshi, otherwise he isn’t much. I do like his tenacity and forgiving nature, but he also has a level or sternness and steadfast attitude that lets him stand against others. So he’s not the best character, but he’s serviceable for a kaiju movie.
- Kiyoshi Sato (Zenkichi Yoneyama) – There’s barely anything to Kiyoshi, I honestly kept forgetting he existed in this movie, mainly because from what i remember he barely spoke. He helps add to Koji by playing off of him and the two do have a pleasant camaraderie and friendship, but other than that relationship, Kiyoshi falls flat. Not much else to really say, he has that little going for him.
- Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) – The female lead of the movie, returning from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2, Miki is a recurring character in the Heisei era who appears in every movie from Godzilla vs. Biollante to Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Miki is fine in this film, I feel the majority of her dialogue is just her defying the ideology of Yuki and the other two male leads, who are more focused on killing Godzilla than saving him. Her connection with the world thanks to her psychic abilities is one that you feel and isn’t a complete ex-machina type ability, so it is an interesting ability to witness. She’s likable and the way she slowly warms up to Koji is a really sweet touch.
- Akira Yuki (Akira Emoto) – I am so confused with this character, is he a secondary antagonist? Is he a tragic hero?I just cannot get this guy. Despite this character confusion, his obsession with Godzilla is something rarely seen in a Godzilla movie, his lack of fear around the king is something that really sets him apart from others. I do feel he changes motivations a bit too much, but other than that little gripe, he’s an engaging character who I enjoyed watching and wanted to see evolve and change.
- Additional Characters – Chinatsu Gondo is a fine secondary female lead, but she barely contributes to much, not to mention her relationship with Yuki kinda comes out of nowhere for me, her affection spring from seemingly thin air. Aside from her, the other characters are not worth mention as they don’t really add that much to the plot or have anything worth talking about. Dr. Okubo is a cliché human villain, whose so bland and forgettable you don’t really care about his plan. So aside from the main cast, these side characters don’t add much.
I feel I often repeat myself when it comes to the presentation in these movies. I always comment about how the suits look great and how the use of low angle shots, creative miniatures and wide angle shots help to accentuate the size of the beasts. But one thing I have to praise this movie on is its actual set designs. The crystals used for SpaceGodzilla’s fortress look great and really create this ominous and malevolent feeling that really adds to the dread that SpaceGodzilla commands. I also like the interior of MOGERA, the control panels, little elevator and smaller components are all really nice things to look at. I also like Birth Island, it’s basic and pretty boring looking, but to me the serenity of it really seems to fit a solitary creature like Godzilla. THe combat in this movie however is a mixed bag. On one hand the fights can be awesome, but on others the lack of movement can make them kinda boring. SpaceGodzilla’s biggest problem is that he’s so big the actor couldn’t actually move, so they cop out by adding a levitation effect that looked good for the time I’m sure, but right now just looks really artificial. Speaking of the suits, I really have to credit the suit actors in this movie, with all the pyrotechnics and explosions happening around them you really have to think how dangerous it had to be for them and you really have to give them credit for letting themselves be effectively set on fire almost. In conclusion, the presentation is about as good as you’d expect from one of these movies and the monster suits, set design and quite frankly bravery of the actors really sells this movie on the presentation side.
- Godzilla – The king is as good as always in this movie, but one thing that’s different about him this time is he has a lot more personality. Godzilla has always been c character I route for but never really felt much for, mainly because he was always this indestructible force with no emotions. In this movie we see Godzilla display genuine affection towards his son and not only tries to save him from SpaceGodzilla, but he also grabs and holds his son to protect him. I know these are just men in rubber suits, but when I saw that scene, I felt it and it was honestly a nice shade to Godzilla very rarely seen. He’s the same destructive force as always, but he now has more dimension and displays feelings that help elevate him above being a selfish and neutral force to being a creature with something to fight for. Good on you Godzilla, you protect your son!
- SpaceGodzilla – The big bad of the movie, and I can see why people wanted him in my top 10 list of best Godzilla foes. SpaceGodzilla has a lot of positive, namely his design and personality. While his look is a little busy, it is dripping with power and commands a strong presence. His powers are also unique and his origin story is definitely original. He’s also one of the few monsters aside from the Showa King Ghidorah and Destoroyah to display true malice and evil intent in his actions as opposed to a need to survive. His sadistic streak is on full display in his torment of Little Godzilla and torture of Godzilla himself. However, despite being pretty original and rife with personality, he falls short in a few categories for me. One being his origin, while unique is kinda unexplained fully, despite their being 2 explanations given in the movie. It just seems like a bit of a nothing explanation and serves only as an excuse to throw him into the plot. His lack of movement is also a negative since the fights with him are usually pretty slow as a result and consists mainly of SpaceGodzilla being a camper and shooting from a distance. Despite these gripes, he’s a great villain, one with dread, power and personality.
- MOGERA – So we went from Mecha-Ghidorah to Mechagodzilla to this? For shame MOGERA, you had such a reputation to live up to and you blew it! MOGERA doesn’t look as bad as some people say for me, but in terms of his execution he is just a let down on so many levels. MOGERA does barely anything of significance in the movie except get its ass kicked by SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla. The idea of a 2 in 1 mecha is a cool one, but it’s used only once and frankly is a wasted idea. MOGERA also acts only as an assist to Godzilla in the final fight against his space doppelganger, even when it goes solo against the space monster, he does nothing but get beat down and pummeled into the dirt. It just feels like a total waste, the fact that this was meant to serve as the upgrade to Mechagodzilla, a robot that left Godzilla dying until he was saved by a giant fire pterodactyl’s magic soul…ok, really says a lot about the engineers working on MOGERA if this is the retrain that was supposed to be better.
- Little Godzilla – The Heisei equivalent of Minya, and unlike that abomination, Little Godzilla is actually a significantly better son to the King of the Monsters. Little Godzilla has a pretty cartoonish look, nothing like his design from Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2, but I think it’s fine. I love the cute little cry he has and the love and respect he has for his dad is actually pretty earnest and sweet. He helps add a dimension of care and affection to Godzilla in a way that isn’t pandering and childish like the Showa era. He doesn’t do much in the movie and has an ultimate derp moment when he mistakes SpaceGodzilla for his dad (easy mistake to make I guess), but his presence does lift the movie slightly.
- Chibi Mothra – Yes I am including the little chibi Mothra in this review. Why? Because it is quite simply the cutest little thing I have ever seen. I don’t care what people say, chibi Mothra is the best kaiju in the movie. Anyone who says otherwise is…probably right…but still, I need to mention the cuteness that was the little mothra chibi, it was just so small and cute, I WANT ONE!
*ahem* sorry about that, now on to the grades.
- Story: 4/5 – The plot is original and has a decent human story. The plot to control Godzilla is kinda thrown aside and a few things are left unresolved but it is well paced and ends with a decently satisfying payoff.
- Characters: 3/5 – These characters aren’t exactly rife with dimension, but they are likable and you do want to see them succeed in their goals. The conflict of motivations is also interesting and actually helps include some depth in the human plot.
- Presentation: 4/5 – The presentation in this movie is standard for the time. It portrays the size of the beasts in an effective manner and the set design is also funky and creative.
- (Unique Grade) Monster…ness: 4/5 – This movie doesn’t have too many grand scale kaiju fights, but the scenes with the monsters are well done, the monsters themselves look great and the villain monster is a fan favourite for a reason.
- Final Grade: 4/5 – This isn’t the best Godzilla movie, but it is most certainly not one of the worst. It’s just another Godzilla movie in a sea of others that if you have the time to watch i’d definitely recommend.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. If you did please leave a like and follow my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.