30 Days of Godzilla – Day 26: Favorite Standalone Kaiju Movie and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 26: Favorite Standalone Kaiju Movie?: Besides the original Godzilla (what a shock) there’s The Return of Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and if they count, the Daimajin trilogy. All are just very well made films that are worth watching.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaijū Sōkōgeki aka Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack aka Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack featuring Baragon who we couldn’t possibly put in the main title for some reason aka GMK 2001:
The original script written by Shusuke Kaneko (The Heisei Gamera Trilogy) was going to be called Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. It would of had Varan in the role that King Ghidorah has and Anguirus in the role Mothra has in the film.
The Gotengo from the 1963 film, Atragon would of also played a role in the film. However because of the failure of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Toho asked Kaneko to work in Mothra and King Ghidorah as they were more marketable and they didn’t think Varan and Anguirus could sell.
He accepted as long as he could keep Baragon in the movie as well. Baragon was able to stay but just wasn’t able to be part of the title…truly the worst tragedy of all Kaijus.
Anyway this Godzilla movie is one of the more, I guess intriguing entries of the franchise. Going into the film, it seems pretty promising, involving people who have worked on the Heisei Gamera trilogy, a popular set of movies among fans of Tokusatsu and just in general. Combining well crafted special effects with horror and mystical lore. Turning Gamera into what was commonly seen as just a Godzilla counterpart to something more, making the character stand out as his own thing. These application were used in terms of this Godzilla. In this case we have guardian monsters, one that is god of sky, one that is god of sea, and one that is god of earth (Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon respectively) and the role of Godzilla being a vengeful god of death carrying the burden of the those who lost their lives during World War 2, who are angry at Japan for forgetting their sacrifice.
Indeed in this film Godzilla is an evil benevolent death god who vicious kills everyone in his path, monster or kaijuu. Reminiscent of a Gamera like villain. The roles of Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon taking the role of Gamera though not as strong. In this film Godzilla is seen as unbeatable and the strongest monster in the movie. Everything thrown at him he deflects it and hits back just as hard. Even when he is “defeated” the movie ends with the ominous feeling that Godzilla will return as his heart still beats.
It is a film that again is a reboot universe, focusing on just the Original film and nothing else (Though it makes a reference to 1998 American film). This movie is praised for it’s for it’s atmosphere, the horror elements helping create a terrifying Godzilla again. With characters that you want to root for and to many the special effects and score only add to the effectiveness of the film. If you want some horror in you Godzilla and the feeling of Godzilla’s awe being complimented by our fear of him. This movie is right up your ally. I would say if you like the Gamera Trilogy of the Heisei era, you also might like the movie for the same feeling. It’s certainly a different type of Godzilla film that work for many people and feels like a film that brings the serious nature that people love. It feels like a film to many that you could recommend to a casual person and not feel embarrassed.
However my personal feeling on the film are a tad bit different. I don’t care about GMK, it’s probably my least favorite Godzilla movie. I can see why people like and it certainly does look “nice” or easy to swallow visual than some of the Heisei or Showa movies, but to me it feels about the same or even a tad bit of lower quality of those previous films. The effects and actions are mediocre and aren’t that spectacular. The same style and execution of practical and cgi that worked so well in Gamera is failed to be seen in this film. Seems like a step down.
The characters, writing, cast and directing aren’t all that well done either. There tends to be overacting and over dramatic reactions that make the previous films look tamed. It at times feels like a parody of a Godzilla film rather than the serious take many claim it to be.
The characters aren’t any different or any better than previous Godzilla films, they feel very much the same if not worse. Yuri Tachibana a reporter who is finds the mystical stuff intriguing and wants to tell everyone to not despair over Godzilla because of the guardian monsters and military isn’t exactly, she’s just kind of there and takes up way more screen time than necessary. She doesn’t change much or say anything interesting.
Her father, Taizo on the other hand is more interesting but doesn’t get nearly enough screen time that he needs.
The other human characters are ridiculous in their portrayal of trouble youth who do bad things. It’s like watching the bad humans in Kamen Rider 555 and claiming this is how humanity acts. It’s feels like insult to our intelligence.
I think my biggest gripe with the film, is that Godzilla loses all sympathy, he’s a murderer, his goal is to kill because spirits are angry. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah’s origin was ridiculous but this Godzilla being a spirit resurrected to destroy Japan is just as if not more ridiculous. Godzilla being evil isn’t interesting or all that cool, the core idea of Godzilla is that he’s sympathetic despite all the destruction he causes. He is a victim and one we feel for. A malicious Godzilla doesn’t quite fit that theme of victim.
Not to mention that monsters we are suppose to root for are very weak and don’t stand out at all. They are very lackluster and leave no impact, they are possibly the worst versions of Mothra and Ghidorah, (Baragon was alright).
Could this film been saved if it was like the original version, probably not. The portrayal of Godzilla is what hurts matters and that everything feeling lackluster. I don’t personally recommend this film but I’m in the minority in that.
It’s ultimately up to you. To put it simply, despite how it opens GMK feels like a lackluster film. The effects aren’t clean or executed well, the fights don’t feel exhilarating (except the Baragon fight for the most part). The portrayal of Godzilla not being sympathetic is perhaps the films biggest flaw, the music is decent but the overall film feels like it’s talking down to us and really dives into areas of self indulgence where it doesn’t even feel like I’m watching Godzilla, I’m watching a poorer quality Gamera film. I just don’t care for it. I wish it could of been better, the potential is there but the sloppy execution hurts any of that. It feels disappointing. Now I’m not against changing it up, but some of the basic ideas that make Godzilla unique is his tragedy and sympathy, removing those ideas and just making him an evil spirit version of Showa’s King Ghidorah, isn’t all that interesting or creative. It’s just an average film to me, that I don’t hate but just disappointed in. It may look nice to others but to me it’s nothing special.
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