A team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
A scientist combines the cells of a rose with those of Godzilla to create a biological creature more horrifying than any seen before. The two do battle after a destructive tour of Japan by Godzilla. A newly released version includes many new fight scenes that were cut out of the theatrical version. Written by
Todd A. Bobenrieth <TAB146@PSUVM.EDU>
Although it's not one of the classics, "Godzilla vs. Biollante" works due to a refreshingly imaginative premise and a strong visual presentation
Out of the twenty-eight entries in the long-running Japanese Godzilla series, one of the more artistic and welcomingly imaginative ones is the unfortunately overlooked "Godzilla vs. Biollante", a film that is so-so in its story and characters (although that is a standard for most Godzilla movies), but tremendously entertaining in its premise and its visual style. The movie follows the majestic monster movie masterpiece "The Return of Godzilla", in which Godzilla is released from his volcanic prison on Oshima Island and begins to wreck the countryside of Japan again around the same time that a scientist's (Koji Takahashi) experiment to preserve his dead daughter's spirit in an immortal plant species goes awry.
"The Return of Godzilla" was not only a great Godzilla movie, but one of the finest monster movies, Japanese or otherwise, that I have ever seen and I do like to sometimes pretend that "Godzilla vs. Biollante" and the not-so-special sequels that followed never existed, that it ended with Godzilla falling into Mount Mihara and being imprisoned there forever. But although this movie does kind of ruin that feeling, it's quickly forgiven once its slow beginning departs and its truly majestic middle begins.
As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the more artistic Godzilla movies there is. Most entries in the series are formulaic and repetitive. And although this is okay for the fans, it is refreshing to see one that tries something new and original. And "Godzilla vs. Biollante" most certainly is original. Basically everything except the human characters tries something new. The movie boasts a battle between Godzilla and his new monstrosity of an opponent, but it's not all about their clash, it's really more following the spirit of the preceding movie with military trying to eliminate Godzilla. What's more, the movie boasts some incredibly visionary and impressive special effects. Godzilla's appearance is one of his finest yet. There are a few shots where he didn't look very good, such as this one where the way he was positioned reminded me more of a bear than a reptile, but other times the mobility that he had in his jaws and his neck provided some surprisingly convincing movements. The miniatures for the destruction scenes are thoroughly impressive, and the effects used to create Biollante are a pure triumph without a single weak shot.
Even the music score is something new. The movie reuses three classic Godzilla themes by Akira Ifukube, but most of the score, as with the first film, is done by a new composer and he does it with a completely new style. Now Koichi Sugiyama's score is not incredible as Reijiro Koroku's was for the preceding movie. There are some weak moments and some parts are recycled too much throughout the movie. In addition, after having reviewed the whole soundtrack on CD form, I discovered that the best of Sugiyama's score was left out. Why Toho opted to do this, I have no idea. But as for what we do here, it's mincemeat of visionary triumph and minor letdowns.
I do have some complaints about the movie, however. It does take a while to get started. Whereas "The Return of Godzilla" had great characters and a strong story so that I could stay interested even when Godzilla was not on screen, this movie struggles a little more. And again, some parts of Koichi Sugiyama's dare-deviling soundtrack simply don't work as well as they should have. And the ending of the final battle between Godzilla and Biollante was a flat letdown.
However, despite its flaws, "Godzilla vs. Biollante" is a more unique and interesting and certainly enjoyable entry in this deservedly famous long-running motion picture series. Now I don't think Godzilla will ever be considered art by any major organization. But there are three films starring the big lizard that do stand out pretty strongly due to either their strong allegorical content or their tremendous style. This is one of them.
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