30 Days of Godzilla – Day 27: Your Collection and Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (2002) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 27: Your Collection: My collection? Jeez…I don’t feel like taking pictures of everything. So I’ll just say I have a lot of figures, a lot of VHS, a lot of DVDs and Blu-ray (I have all the Godzilla movies), I have a couple of the video games, and I have the autographs of Haruo Nakajima and Akira Takarada. I probably have other things I can’t think of right now, like a lunchbox and blanket, stuff like that.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Gojira tai Mekagojira aka Godzilla × Mechagodzilla aka Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla aka Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 3 2002:
A worthwhile entry into the franchise. Though basically taking elements from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus the film presents it more digestible and appealing way. Basically like the rest of the Millennium era, this film only counts the Original and nothing else, though it also mentions the films Mothra from 1961 and the 1966 film, The War of the Gargantuas.
The story of this film is simple, a second Godzilla came back to attack Japan in 1999, 45 years after the Original’s attack. During the military defense against this new Godzilla, their weapons the Maser Cannons is unable to do anything to this new Godzilla. The results being a unfortunate retreat as, Akane Yashiro, panics which results in a vehicle with several military members going off the road and crushed under the foot of Godzilla. Those deaths having a terrible impact on her, and the resulting Godzilla attack devastating a lot of people.
The attack causes the Japanese government to act and they gather the top scientists in Japan, technology, biology, physics to come together to build a might bio-mechanical weapon, a MechaGodzilla. Using the skeleton of the first Godzilla to build the mighty cyborg.
Ridiculous like the black hole plot like in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, yes, but because the weapon and the kaijuu are one and the same, it makes MechaGodzilla more relevant than what happened with Megaguirus.
The overall approach of this movie is a couple of things, mainly the the bond of two people, Akane Yashiro and Tokumitsu Yuhara’s daughter, Sara.
Both traumatized by lost of life. Akane lives with tremendous guilt over the deaths she accepted she cause due to her mistake. This only amplified her belief that she is nothing but a mistake, a mindset she had ever since her parents died when she was young. She sees her lifer as a means to an end, if she dies, she dies because to her, no one will care or miss her.
Sara on the other hand who lost her mother (and younger sibling) sees life differently. She sees life as something that everyone should strive for and appreciate, to her all life matters.
Even the life of Godzilla. She’s even more disgusted when they create and use Kiryu (MechaGodzilla) as just a weapon to fight Godzilla. She acknowledges Kiryu’s life, calling him a living being and that he shouldn’t be fighting Godzilla but be friends with him. Optimistic yes, but to her, controlling Kiryu forcing him to fight seems cruel. it’s a nice little dynamic the two have which comes with Akane realizing her life does have meaning, her life matters. There’s also Sara’s father, Tokumitsu who is a goof who clumsily flirts with Akane but really does form a nice friendship with her.
The cast and directing has a little more oomph in their approach as opposed to the previous two entries. They are able to project their dilemmas and conflicts well and competently. Though I could see some not liking or caring about Yumiko Shaku’s kind of doe eyed expression where she looks like she’s about to cry or sees an oncoming 4×4 pickup.
But others might see that as Akane showing just how vulnerable she is and how much every little thing makes her feel closer to appreciating life.
The film has a nice balance of action and drama which I think is benefited by it’s short run time and just trying to make progressions to the story at a brisk pace. As such we do get to see the glory of Godzilla fighting against Kiryu for a nice portion of the film including a tense climatic showdown. But before that, I want to talk about probably one of the more interesting aspects of the film that I wish was explored a bit more but I understood they wanted to tell Akane’s story. That is Kiryu. Kiryu is an interesting take on MechaGodzilla, combining the military, full on powerful mechanized protector from the Heisei era with the rampage potential and destructive, out of control capabilities of the Showa. During the first battle with Godzilla Kiryu hears Godzilla’s roar and almost instantly as if it’s instincts were awoken, Kiryu goes wild, it’s eyes going red (and what look like bloody tears as well). It seems something is not right with Kiryu as that roar caused it to act like Godzilla, as if it were fully alive again. After it runs out of power and stops rampaging, Kiryu, despite being Japan’s only hope, is a dangerous weapon with a lot of risk.
What I wish there was more of was Kiryu’s personality, really bring out that this is possibly a tortured creature who wants something. Sadly no one brings up anything about Kiryu as the focus is mostly on Akane. Which isn’t bad because her story was the focus, but at the same time, Kiryu’s potential of a tortured being wanting freedom or whatever it seeks could of been explored a bit more thoroughly and not solved simply because code and programs and science stuff. There was some real meat there that was sadly pushed to the side.
However Kiryu overall is really cool. He moves and fights from long and short distances. Missiles, lasers, arm blades, jet pack, he’s got it all, not to mention the Absolute Zero cannon which as the name implies is a powerful ice based weapon that can do some serious damage (when used on Godzilla in the end, it ripped apart Godzilla’s skin, leaving a giant hole on his chest.). As I said the potential danger of Kiryu, mixed in with the tragedy of what it is make him all the more intriguing.
Godzilla is a force of nature, and seems to be drawn by something that makes him attack Japan. In the movie, he is portrayed threateningly and antagonistic but also sympathetic as he’s a monster not a cruel being. When he walks or does anything there is bound to be destruction, and when humans defend themselves from him, he defends himself.
The action is nice and the special effects seem like a step up from GMK, though again the CGI stuff could still use some work. The music by Michiru Oshima was very well done and seemed to only of improved since Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. It matches the atmosphere of the film and uses the right tracks to portray the emotion and feeling of the scene at hand.
Overall I think it’s a worthwhile entry of the franchise to check out. It’s probably one of the better Millennium films. If you wished vs. Megaguirus had a little bit more personality then this film might be for you. If you love MechaGodzilla or find the idea of Kiryu interesting then you might enjoy this film. I could also see someone enjoying this for the character interactions and the monster action. I personally enjoy it and probably would recommend it to older fans or newer fans, though there are other films I’d recommend ahead of this one. It is however a nice starter for those who want to watch Godzilla for the action and monsters fighting. I’d say it’s worth at least one viewing. If you watch sometime, I hope you enjoy it like I did, despite the flaws it’s fine and a fun film.
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