30 Days of Godzilla – Day 29: Do You Prefer Godzilla as a Hero or a Villain and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 29: Do You Prefer Godzilla as a Hero or a Villain?: He’s whatever he wants to be. I find it kind of weird though since to me Godzilla isn’t really a “hero” or “villain” he’s more neutral than anything, chaotic neutral for the most part. Sometimes humanity benefits from Godzilla other times they are hurt by him but what he does for humanity isn’t of “heroic” or “villainous” intent, he just kind of does because of the consequence of what he is, a monster. He is a being that is too tall, too strong, too heavy which when he walks up to say Japan, his presence alone makes him destroy everything. This causes humanity to fight back and him to defend himself. Any action he takes could be a harmful one, at the same time if there’s an even worse Kaiju around Godzilla can benefit humanity but not because he cares about them, but because this other Kaiju is either destroying his territory, harmed him or did something to his child.
Basically Godzilla to me is neural and his actions are mostly not noble or malicious. He’s either defending his territory, defending himself, protecting his child, looking for food, or being just a natural force, like a hurricane. I prefer Godzilla and see Godzilla as neutral, because his actions aren’t based on “good” or “evil” but of simply existing and being Godzilla. He is neutral and I feel that are what most Kaiju are.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Gojira: Fainaru Wōzu aka Godzilla: Final Wars 2004:
This review might be a short one because for the most part this film is like Tokyo S.O.S in that the plot is there to get to all the monster fights. Which isn’t a bad or good thing, but it will leave people mixed. To start with, some fans thing the Final Wars Godzilla is Junior from the Heisei series, it’s not. This movie like most of the Millennium series is it’s own universe, only counting the original. In this timeline, Godzilla was trapped in ice during the 1960’s, in Antarctica.
Also in this timeline, because of wars and environmental disasters, monsters haven awoken from around the world. This causes the world and humanity to unite together under the same enemy, forming the Earth Defense Force (EDF).
As the monsters started waking up so were humans with extraordinary abilities known as mutants. The EDF decided to recruit these mutants to a special unit known as the M-Organization. The film then starts its journey into total madness.
I’ll be honest and say, I don’t think this film is for everyone, I don’t even think it’s for every Godzilla fan. I don’t think it’s as great or well crafted of a love letter to Kaiju fans compared to Destroy All Monsters which this film was trying to emulate. The premise is the Xiliens go to Earth with “peaceful” intentions only to reveal their true intentions to take over the Earth and use humanity as a food supply. It turns out the Xiliens can control any living being with something in their DNA called the M-Base, this means they can control the mutants, except one and manipulated the DNA of the Kaiju in the film so that they can control them, again except one.
To combat this, the last few members of humanities salvation come up with a plan to counter the Xilien attack, awaken Godzilla have him fight all the Kaiju and defeat the invaders. Then bring him back to the Antarctic and trap him in ice again…seems simple enough. Once Godzilla is awaken the film, takes an excess amount of drugs and starts going to action, after action, after action.
To describe the human characters as bland is probably accurate, they don’t really stand out much and the cast doesn’t really try to push it either, even the experienced actors are just kind going through the motions.
The only ones you might enjoy are Don Fyre’s character, Captain Douglas Gordon and Kazuki Kitamura’s X aka The Xilian Controller.
Not because their characters are great but are rather amusing given who they’re surrounded by. Even Kane Kosugi and Akira Takarada were just there in terms of presence.
As for the monsters, it’s a mix of both joy and disappointment. Joy because I love these monsters and love seeing them in action and being acknowledged. But I feel disappointed because they don’t really get to do much, they all feel like cannon fodder to show off Godzilla’s power and awesomeness. Which I get wanting to make Godzilla cool, but I don’t think it needed to be at the cost of the other wonder monsters Toho has created. Once they’re defeated, they are done, in quick bouts, never to be seen again. It just feels lackluster. Godzilla being awesome is cool and all but I kind of wished the other Kaiju stood out too. Tsutomu Kitagawa as Godzilla was more flashy and fun to watch despite how lackluster everything else was.
Ryuhei Kitamura from my understanding wanted to be flashy and capture what he liked about the 60’s and 70’s Godzilla, showing him doing all these cool and amazing things. To portray just the magnificent power of the monster, which I understand but like with GMK sacrificing the awe of other monsters to make just monster look superior is disappointing and makes seeing those other monsters in action look rather boring. Kitamura also went the rout of just having human fights, copying The Matrix in terms of their action. The directing is more focused on it’s action than the portrayals. The music is alright though, I guess. The special effects and action are decent too.
Godzilla: Final Wars is a pretty long film, about two hours and five minutes long, and doesn’t feel well paced out. It’s constantly moving and is trying to get as much action it can before the movie ends. Overall Godzilla: Final Wars doesn’t necessarily feel like the welcomed send off for Godzilla like Destroy All Monsters, Terror of MechaGodzilla or Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. It’s a spectacle of action and special effects and if you love that in your Godzilla, I think you’ll love this film and the energy it brings. If you’re looking for something a big more a nice mixture of action and drama with interesting ideas, this film might not be for you. If you’re a Godzilla fan, depending on what you want, this film might not be for all of you. It’s an entertaining film for what it’s worth but not something that specially appeals to me personally. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, that some will love, some will hate, and others will feel meh about. It’s a mixed Godzilla entry that knows what it wants, whether it did that well or competently, depends on who you ask.
Final Thoughts on the Millennium Era of Godzilla:
So that’s the last of the Millennium era of Godzilla films. How do I feel about the era as a whole? The Millennium Era for me I would describe as a mix bag of I like it but don’t love it. I appreciate them exploring and testing out new special effects techniques to show that Godzilla isn’t just what the public thinks it is, also to one up the CGIness of the 1998 American film. It was an era that started off a response, telling people that Godzilla isn’t dead and isn’t what that 1998 film claims it was. It was an era that was trying to rid some generalizations about the franchise, so I respect it and like it in that sense. Their movies though aren’t exactly for me, I like Godzilla 2000 and the Kiryu Saga but that’s just it I just like them. They aren’t films I’d go back to on a regular basis but I can still have fun with them. I’ve just seen the franchise do better in the Showa and Heisei era. Again I like the Millennium series, I don’t hate it but I don’t love it. It’s entertaining though and have some nice entries for new fans, it’s just not what I’d call Godzilla’s best.
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