30 Days of Godzilla – Day 21: Least Favorite Kaiju and Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 21: Least Favorite Kaiju: None, I love them all, I mean I’m a zany kaiju fan what’s not to love about them? If I had to say I guess maybe Giant Condor? Maybe GMK Ghidorah who felt lackluster compared to his other counterparts.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Gojira tai SupēsuGojira aka Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla 1994:
So after TriStar’s 1994 Godzilla movie didn’t exactly happen, Toho responded by making another entry into the Godzilla franchise. So for the 40th anniversary of the franchise, like they did for Godzilla’s 20th anniversary Toho decided to create a grand new opponent for Godzilla, one that is similar to him in many ways.
In comes SpaceGodzilla. The idea of which came from an draft for a film called Godzilla vs. AstroGodzilla. A clone created in space of Godzilla, who would have an army of giant dragonflies at his disposal as well as using his psychic powers to control Miki and Little Godzilla. However most of that wasn’t used.
To put Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla simply, it feels like the black sheep of the Heisei era of films, feeling rather disjoint and lackluster. Part of that may have to do with those in charge with making the film. Kensho Yamashita as Director and Hiroshi Kashiwabara as screenwriter. Though both did contribute to the 1975 Godzilla film, Terror of MechaGodzilla, most of their experiences were with teen idol films. They decided early on to have the film focus be of a lighthearted nature, perhaps too much lighthearted as some scenes were cut due to their serious nature. One scene that was cut was a scene of Godzilla trying desperately to save Little Godzilla from SpaceGodzilla’s crystal prison. Kenpachiro Satsuma Godzilla’s suit actor didn’t really approve of this decision to not keep the serious nature. Even Akira Ifukube refused the film, after reading the script, stating it sounded too much like a teen idol film and wanted to include rap music.
So I think this is where Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla kind of dropped the ball, not so much the creature itself but the execution.
However Yamashita and Kashiwabara did want to to have the focus be on Miki Saegusa played by Megumi Odaka. A rather interesting and smart move as it felt like with everything going on, Miki needed to have some more focus. I just don’t think the focus was necessarily what was wanted. Her plot is basically her warming up to Godzilla, however someone wants to use her psychic powers to control Godzilla.
While that’s going on, SpaceGodzilla wants to kill Godzilla and take over the world. Something like that can be lighthearted but you can’t just ignore the serious stuff just because you just want to feel happy, the previous Heisei films were able to get a nice mix when they wanted to. I think that is what is off putting for Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is the mindset going into the film.
The end result is just something mediocre and more disappointing that anything. I wouldn’t say it’s terrible but it’s not as great as the films before it. It’s a mixed bag.
The cast and characters are decent, Miki being the focus was nice and I was rather engaged with her finding some sort of happiness in her life.
Ever since she was a teenager she’s been involved with Godzilla, it was time for her to find something in her life that wasn’t just conflict.
There’s also Akira Yuki played by Akira Emoto who wants to kill Godzilla as revenge for the death of Goro Gondo (who was killed in Godzilla vs. Biollante). It’s interesting to see him struggle with wanting revenge but also seeing that SpaceGodzilla was the bigger threat.
The cast does it best with the material it’s working with. There is one scene at the end when, everyone finds their love and are talking with them, then the one lonely guy who has no one starts running to Godzilla saying, “Godzilla get back here, we have unfinished business!” that was amusing.
Godzilla is great as always, this time feeling like a savior in a way. Only because the threat of SpaceGodzilla is much bigger. He’s hell bent on stopping SpaceGodzilla for trapping his son.
SpaceGodzilla is despite his weird origin, awesome, he’s vicious, cruel, and will do anything he can to hurt Godzilla, even emotionally. He wants to kill Godzilla badly but wants to have fun doing so. He’s a menace and the more you see of his powers, the more intense he is (He’s a freaking psychic!). He’s a nice addition but sadly his full potential is wasted in the film.
Baby Godzilla is now Little Godzilla having grown bigger because of radiation. His look becomes less animal more cartoonish or monster like. Special Effects Director, Koichi Kawakita wanted to show Baby evolving more into a monster. He’s not in it much but is memorable for the most part.
Also in this film is another mecha, M.O.G.U.E.R.A. who is a modernized version of the mecha Moguera from the 1957 Toho film, The Mysterians. It looks nice and cool in action. Though maybe not as spectacular as MechaGodzilla, M.O.G.U.E.R.A was still able to do some impressive work and damage and was a fun “ally” for Godzilla to fight with.
Interestingly enough, it was originally going to be a second MechaGodzilla to fight with Godzilla against SpaceGodzilla, however since MechaGodzilla almost killed Godzilla last film, Toho thought the match of Godzilla and MechaGodzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla would be too one sided.
The special effects were alright in this film but again like I said before not as great as it’s predecessors. In particular was an average at best space fight between M.O.G.U.E.R.A and SpaceGodzilla that wasn’t really amazingly executed. The music by Takayuki Hattori was decent but kind of pails in comparssion to Ifukube. Decent but not great. Same with Yamashita’s directing.
Overall, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla isn’t exactly the ideal 40th anniversary film for Godzilla. It felt like a mixed bag that missed it’s potential. Kind of like some of the Showa films in the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t think it’s a film for everyone, but if you’re looking for a more Miki focused film or want to see SpaceGodzilla in action, it might be for you. I enjoy it for what it is and can have fun with it but it’s probably the weakest of the Heisei era, but not the worst in the franchise, just could of been better.
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