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Gojira vs. Biorante (or Godzilla vs. Biollante as it's know here in the
USA) opens up right where Godzilla 1985 left off. A group of scientists
searching through the rubble that was once Tokyo make an interesting
discovery: Godzilla Cells. These "Godzilla Cells" are actually
palm-sized flakes of Godzilla's skin that were either scratched or
blown off. Now many different groups of people are fighting to get
these cells and one group in particular called Bio Major, which is an
American terrorist organization, will stop at nothing to get these
cells, even if they have to release Godzilla from his volcanic prison.
On a lighter note, a prominent Japanese scientist who lost his only
daughter in a terrorist bombing, combines the Godzilla Cells with the
cells of a rose plant. Once these cells are joined together, they form
a monstrous rose that the scientist names Biollante. Now Godzilla gets
loose and pretty soon you can guess that Godzilla and Biollante are
going to go at it.
This is in fact my favorite Godzilla movie in the second generation of Godzilla films. It has a real dark tone and a really haunting score. It should also be pointed out that the film is probably the most violent in the second generation of Godzilla films. I say this because there are several bloody shoot-outs, Godzilla gets stabbed in his side by one Biollante's tendrils, a man is strangled to death, and a man is disintegrated by electricity.
Finally, has anyone noticed that the Godzilla costume in this movie is different than the one in Godzilla 1985? I think that is because the costume in G-1985 was stolen and was rumored to be worth over $100,000.
Anyway, Godzilla vs. Biollante gets a 10/10.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This has got to be one of the hardest G-films to acquire. Neither Sony
or Classic Media have released on DVD, among the few that haven't been
that fortunate. However, a real fan would know those Heisei
double-features Sony Tristar have are crappy editions at best. This
DV-R copy of the actual Toho DVD is spectacular. It's in 5.1 audio,
re-mastered and is in the original Japanese language. Not only that,
but it comes packed with bonus material, though they aren't subtitled.
The only way to purchase this, and other unreleased films (like the
original uncut versions of "Godzilla 1985", "King Kong vs. Godzilla",
and "Godzilla vs. Megalon") is to buy them online. Trust me though it's
definitely worth it.
"Godzilla vs. Biollante" is a close contender for my second favorite Heisei G-film, even surpassing "Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla" (1993). Numer one will always go to "Godzilla vs. Destroyah". How shall I begin? Well I'd like to amend Kazuki Omori for his directing and marvelous screenplay. He may not be the original author of the story, but he made it what it is. Entwined with the usual sudo science, there is also a great espionage aspect to it all. Some say the characters are stale, but this is only a fool's utterance. There doesn't need to be American-style over done acting here just to make it work, as some suggest all Godzilla films need. No, in fact it is this dark atmosphere that makes this G-film undoubtedly one of the best. The relationship of Shirigami ( Koji Takahashi) is the most beautiful and twisted character in the whole movie. I can not refer to him without bringing up his daughter/creation: Biollante. The human aspect to it that some may not get is that Shirigami obviously injected some of his deceased daughter's blood or simply a few cells into those roses. Inorder to 'perserve' her, essentially to preserve her soul. When that earthquake hit, he felt she was in danger of finally dieing all together, and so he rushed to save her via the G-cells. I've read so many ignorant reviews stating that this film's story is "convuluted". No, it just needs a little reading in-between the lines is all.
Of all the monsters I have ever seen in these films, Biollante has the most original origin. It's not a simple mishap with some chemicals or dimensions ( i.e. SpaceGodzilla...), but within that aggregation of Godzilla and a delicate rose is the soul of a man's long dead daughter. Killed by the heat of radical politicians and over ambitious scientist. The real antagonist portrayed in this film; when science runs amok and the government is only eager to exploit it even further, there is often hell to pay. Kazuki Omori has a talent for creating intricate stories, and it is in this film that talent is brought out to the fullest.
Indeed Biollante is an incredible monster, in both forms. Erica's soul is allowed to have a sad and mysterious theme to it, compounded by the creature's tragic echoing wail across the lake. A mixture of beauty that is fragile, and yet in the final form is transformed into behemoth ferocity that has incredible power. Shirigami wanted to make Erica's soul immortal, and believes that he somewhat failed. But in reality, his mission succeeded. Another delight is the composer Kôichi Sugiyama. And yet as good as his score is, he knows the true Godzilla master is Akira Ifukube. To this I'm sure any fan is grateful.
Godzilla looks bad-ass, a lot like the suit seen in 1964's "Mothra vs. Godzilla". It has the same dark eyes, that mammal-like muzzle and thin look to it. The dark tone is still prevalent from the last film, much to my liking. The SFX in the movie are top notch, and even has a horror element to it at times. The actors are excellent as well, and viewers won't fell disconnected with them. In fact, they're heavily involved far more than some other heisei films. Or thankfully not to ridiculous and annoying levels like in "Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla". Miki Sasegusa's first appearance, and I love her portrayal of a woman's who's estranged relationship with monsters, specifically Godzilla is only beginning.
As exciting as all that is, the highlight of this film is inarguably that finale battle between Godzilla and Biollante. Mazaaki Tezuka, director of "Tokyo S.O.S.", should've been paying close attention here. The fight is brutal and bloody, and we actually see Godzilla pierced through!! (!!!)!! Who knew a plant could put up such a fight? A small joke but a terrific fight that ranks among the best. Koichi Kawakita is definitely proving his worth here. The film ends on a somber note, as Shirigami finally is layed to rest, and Erica's soul is at peace.
"How long have we have been living in such an age? Maybe it started when man first stepped out of the Garden of the Eden, and left his innocence behind. Man would do well to remember this day, forever."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite its less than stellar performance at the box office in Japan, I
actually think this is one of the better Godzilla films in the entire
29 (as it stands currently) movie series. For one thing, the plot is a
lot more interesting and topical than the traditional beings from outer
space or what have you. The character development isn't note worthy,
which admittedly is one of the weaknesses of Godzilla films. Special
effects work was quite good, on the other hand.
Biollante herself is a wonder all her own, and she just might be the most original creation that is featured in a Godzilla movie. Her second/final form is amazing looking, although something other than a giant rose would've be preferred for the initial form. Her final form continues to hold the record for largest Toho monster. As a bit of an aside, it's a darn shame that Toho perceived Biollante's box office performance to indicate that audiences wanted to see almost exclusively Showa series monsters that Godzilla has already fought (multiple times in some cases).
Downsides? Well, there is arguably too much going on for the humans. The new young military general heading the Super X II and greater anti-G mission seemed to be unnecessary for this film. It's just something that could've been trimmed being that it didn't add to the film in my opinion. Conversely, I wish they'd have explained a bit more regarding the agent following the agents following the G cells (did you catch that?). It isn't confusing in the film, but it could've been finished/explored a little better.
Garnering an 8/10 from me, this is one of highest ratings I give any Godzilla film. A must see for anyone interested in giant monster movies, not just Godzilla. Perhaps that's the real message I'd like to convey. It's actually a good giant monster film, with no need to follow it up with something like "for a Godzilla movie". The real downside with this movie has nothing to do with the movie itself. You will only find official VHS copies if you're a region one consumer (American or Canadian). That's a real bummer in a world that upgraded to DVDs years ago. I still have my VHS copy (in widescreen!), but I'd really like them to offer region one DVDs and Blu-Rays.
I was lucky enough to find a VHS copy and I have to say that this is my favorite Godzilla film. The reason I liked it is because it was so different than any other Godzilla movies. Godzilla vs. Boillante is violent, very dark, looks really good, and actually has a solid plot. I almost didn't want to watch it cuz the darkness of this flick made me feel so uncomfortable by about 45 mins in. Both monsters are great, and Biollante's horrendousness gives this movie power that no other G movie can stand up against. The monster makes this movie so ugly and creates such a dark atmosphere that it is kind of beautiful. I'm not big fan of Japanese movies (I hate anime), but this is a true accomplishment.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Godzilla vs. Biollante is an underrated Godzilla film. I know a lot of
people have criticized the plot, the music, the direction, etc. However, I
simply cannot agree with those people. I first saw this movie several years
ago and was enthralled. I even watched it the very next night it was so
cool. This movie is one of the best Godzilla movies ever
The plot takes place after Godzilla 1985. Godzilla is trapped in Mt. Mihara and a group of scientists/military men are preparing for his possible return. This involves producing a bacteria that is capable of consuming nuclear energy and making a giant mecha called Super X-2. One of the scientists decides to to combine Godzilla's cells with those of a rosebush and inadvertently creates Biollante. Soon, Godzilla is on the loose, battling both the military and Biollante. Meanwhile the humans are racing against time to recover the bacteria which was stolen and figure out a way to defeat Godzilla.
This movie does take some time to get started. However, I found myself a lot more interested in the plot this time around. The whole "dangers of genetic engineering" theme caught me and helped to keep my attention throughout the film. The use of that theme in this movie predates movies like Jurassic Park and all. The movie was very realistic in tone, something I liked. Although I do like the fantastic in these sorts of films, it kept in sync with the tone and realistic approach of it's predecessors (G '85 and Gojira).
The special FX were great, undoubtedly the best in the Heisei series, if not the entire series. Godzilla looks great, very animal and feral in nature. He's a bad guy, but a darn good one. The matte work is also great (there's one short mis-proportioned one, but I don't think a lot of people will notice). The military battles are among the best I've ever seen. Military stock footage along with well designed miniatures and effective camera angles help to maintain the illusion that an 80 meter beast is destroying the military. The pyrotechnics are astounding, especially in the battle between Godzilla and Super X-2 in Osaka and the final showdown with the military. Biollante is an inspired creation. What starts out as a "beautiful" mutated flower evolves into a vicious Godzilla-esque creature. My only complaint with the monsters is that the battles are not long lasting.
Now the music. A lot of people criticize the music in this movie, calling it inappropriate. I liked the military march theme quite a bit as well as the Super X-2 theme. However, the music that is played during the monster battles is ineffective at really increasing the suspense or giving the scene energy. Thankfully, there are various Ifukube themes played at various parts.
Overall, this is a great kaiju experience. Intriguing storyline, realistic tone, excellent special FX, and inspired monster designs make this essential monster viewing.
This is a Godzilla movie that tells a very different story than the
previous films. The root of the story all lies on one aspect-the
Godzilla cell. The plot is solid and intriguing - a story about some of
the world's power-hungry people who want to get their hands on some
Godzilla DNA for their own devious purposes. When the Japanese refuse
to hand over the DNA, terrorists release Godzilla from his lair and he
begins a new spree of terror. In an act of desperation, a scientist
merges some of the Godzilla cells with a rosebud, mutating it into the
one of the most unique monsters in the Toho universe - Biollante. The
two do battle as our protagonists in the film try to track down the
terrorists. As a result, what we have is not the usual Godzilla vs.
movie with an alien-invasion plot. This one is unique and substantive
in its monster origins, plot flow and character development.
While an exciting movie, there are some people that this film could have done without, like the horrible Saradian agent SSS9 and the campy Biomajor people. I have to give credit to this movie, anyhow, because it introduced the Godzilla-centered psychic Miki Saegusa (played by Megumi Odaka). She would take a very significant role in this and the following Godzilla films. Her using her psychic powers to locate Godzilla and stopping him from coming ashore in Osaka was intriguing.
Overall, not a bad Godzilla film. Very distinctive, albeit a little too focused on the human subplot and the military, and the Biollante angle wasn't emphasized enough.
I am a huge Godzilla fan, I grew up with Godzilla, I just love seeing
this awesome monster just destroy cities and fighting other monsters. I
like his enemies as well but Godzilla is the Icon!
This Godzilla film is a great one. The story is very good and I really love the way Godzilla looks in this film. I love it when he roars and moves his tail. As for his enemy Biollante she too is awesome. I love it when she roars. The fights between the two monsters is really good. The acting by the film's human stars are also good. The music is just excellent! I really love this Godzilla film for many reasons and its arguably the best! If you love Godzilla I strongly recommend that you do what I did and buy Godzilla vs. Biollante today!
This Godzilla movie was very unique and after viewing it I have now seen every Godzilla movie ever made! This one was a mixed bag as the DVD copy I got was in Japanese with no English subtitles so I had some trouble with the plot at times, but for the most part I understand what was going on. What I have heard about this movie was for the most part true as this one was rather violent for a Godzilla movie as there are quite a few killings of people in the early stages of the movie. The fights between Godzilla and Biorante were rather cool, but were also very short as I have often read from other reviews here at IMDb. However, it has a nice story from what I understood as people at the beginning of the film are trying to get Godzilla cells for some different types of purposes. However, all is not well in Japan as at this place doing psychic research some kids have had the same vision and they are drawing pictures of Godzilla. Yes, seems that volcano from the previous movie did not finish him off, which is cool as when I saw that film as a child even though watching Godzilla die in that film made me sad I told my mother that I bet he could survive a volcano. Somehow, with the possible return of Godzilla on the horizon the military begins scrambling and I think there is discussions of making some sort of anti Godzilla weapon, I thought they said a cyborg, but I may be mistaken. Well a scientist who lost his daughter I think in a terrorist type attack near the beginning of the film is given a Godzilla cell and he combines it with a rose cell and the monster Biorante is soon born. Seeing it at first I was thinking this thing does not stand a chance against Godzilla. Well Godzilla soon starts another rampage and the military launches the super X-2 an upgrade over that vehicle that fought Godzilla in the last movie. This time they wisely made it an unmanned vehicle. Well there are fights galore and a fight between Godzilla and what amounted to a large rose bush which I give points for it being very original. Later, Biorante would come back and be one of the coolest looking Godzilla enemies ever. It also was very underdeveloped as I think they could have made the fights longer as Biorante and Godzilla just seemed to be getting warmed up and the fight was over. I just so could see Biorante as a very good villain as it is tearing up everything with its vines and overrunning Tokyo and all of Japan and the only thing that can stop it is the power of Godzilla type affair and I would even have it scoop people up with its vines and essentially eat them. I just found Biorante rather creepy even in rose bush form and I think they could have done some dark things with it. In the end it was nice to finally see this one, as I finally saw the guy who was killed that the guy in Space Godzilla wanted to avenge.
I am a big fan of this movie. The Godzilla fan base is fairly divided
on this film, but personally, I love it. It has wonderful
cinematography, acting, themes, music, special effects, characters and
all around brilliant.
The characters are likable and well written, they are believable. The music, while you cannot compare it to the work of Akira Ifukube, is still excellent and goes very well with this film. It is very well shot, with many wonderful scenes with a great atmosphere. The special effects are done, as per usual in this series, with great skill and talent. Suitmation is very underrated and all too often the subject of disdain. This film shows just how excellent suitmation can be, as well as all the other practical effects, which come together to create a believable and stunning world.
The themes were well handled, not forced violently down your throat as they were in the 1992 version of Godzilla vs Mothra (which is still a good movie, but the environmental message gets to be rather preachy and forceful at times).
The buildup to Godzilla's arrival is excellent, and when he does show up, it is a spectacular sight seeing him rise out of a volcano (however, going back to the 92 Godzilla vs Mothra film, I think the very similar scene from that film does it much better). The film contains two excellent monster battles, in which Godzilla goes up against the very creative monster Biollante, a combination of rose, human and Godzilla DNA. It's an artful movie, and shows that Godzilla movies are not just cheesy crap like most people seem to think they are (I personally think most of the films are good).
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