FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
Shipwreck survivors are found on Beiru, an island previously used for atomic tests. Amazingly free of radiation effects, they believe they were protected by a special juice given to them by... See full summary »
Godzilla returns to terrorize Japan! This time, however, Japan has two new weapons to defend themselves. The Gryphon, a high-tech ship, and the Dimension Tide, a device that creates artificial black holes! During a test of the Dimension Tide, eggs appear in the city of Shibuya and hatch into terrifying Meganurons! These creatures need water to grow and flood the city of Shibuya by breaking underground water veins. As they multiply and grow, they start to feed on the energy of humans. After gathering enough energy, they transform in to giant dragonfly monsters called Meganuras! And now they target Godzilla for energy to feed to the larva of their queen, which eventually hatches into the terrifying 60-meter Megaguirus who also begins to attack Godzilla for his energy. Now a 3-way battle between Godzilla, the Megaguirus, and humans begins! Will Godzilla win? Will humanity survive? Written by
Toho continued their tradition of casting actors from their science fiction films of the 1950s and 1960s. The character of Yoshino Yoshizawa is played by Yuriko Hoshi who had previously starred as Yoka in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1964) and as Naoko (a completely different character) in the sequel Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964). See more »
When Megaguirus shows itself for the first time, the strings holding it up, and the strings its flying on are clearly visible. See more »
A second ending begins at the end of the closing credits: At school, the little boy Jun had finished his bug collection, and his teacher tells him to put it back in his lab. Once he does just that, an earthquake shakes the school, and looking through the window in the school lab, Jun hears a familiar monster roar! See more »
Toho cleans up their act after GODZILLA 2000: MILLENNIUM!
Although I enjoyed GODZILLA 2000: MILLENNIUM (released in the US as, simply, GODZILLA 2000), I thought that this in-Godzilla-only follow-up, GODZILLA X MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY, was a vast improvement over its predecessor, and I can see why!
Although G2000 was an initial box office success in Japan, it was a critical failure, especially with the fans. Although it had FX that improved over the films from 1989-1995 (but didn't match up to the more successful Heisei Gamera Trilogy), the story wasn't very well put together, and audiences (in both Japan and the US) had a hard time figuring out what was going on (unless you read the manga adaptation or the movie compendiums they had for every new Godzilla film). Godzilla's reappearance (remember, the film was supposed to follow the first film from 1954) was not explained. And keep in mind that G2000's director Takao Ookawara was not into Godzilla at all, and just "did his job."
But at long last, Toho hired Masaaki Tezuka (who was assistant director for 1999's MOTHRA 3), who not only made his directorial debut with this film, but is a big Godzilla fan! He, IMHO, is the best director of a Godzilla film after Ishiro Honda (along with Heisei Gamera Trilogy director Shusuke Kaneko, who next directed the more successful GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: THE GIANT MONSTERS' GENERAL OFFENSIVE). The story does not follow G2000 (but Godzilla is exactly the same from that film) because executive producer Shogo Tomiyama had planned to do a trilogy of stand-alone Godzilla films. But in this entry, Godzilla was not only much better explained, but more delightfully protrayed, as both the villain and antihero! A good compromise of the Godzillas from the decades! Godzilla's titular adversary Megaguirus, the three-phase hyper-dragonfly monster (the first stage is a remake of Meganuron, the giant insect from the original 1956 RODAN) looks like a cross between the final stage Battra (from 1992's GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA) and Scyther (from POKEMON), but made a very interesting foe, giving Godzilla the trial of speed! Kenji Suzuki's FX work is a vast improvement over his work in G2000, producing some of his best, most breathtaking visuals (such as the flood in Shibuya, and the Meganeura dragonflies that flock through said city to buzz around on Godzilla like mosquitoes), and the climactic battle between the two title monsters is one of the most vigorous monster fights I've seen! There are nods to spaghetti westerns, samurai flicks and Toei's Sentai Series, as Godzilla suitmation actor Tsutomu Kitagawa does a tribute to his Sentai work by having Godzilla jump into the air on Megaguirus (though it also recalls the 70s Godzilla, but with the friends I saw it with, this scene got as many laughs as it did cheers)! Screenwriters Hiroshi Kashiwabara and Wataru Mimura have outdone themselves this time, more than making up for their mixed work in G2000. Their story does a better job in conveying emotion, action and suspense, and manages to stay away from the many plotholes that plagued the previous film (with only one hilarious major plothole: In one scene, after the first Dimension Tide test, the little boy Jun sneaks past the heavily secured site with the greatest of ease! Tom Cruise has nothing on this tyke)! The music score by Michiru Ooshima (the first female Godzilla composer) is excellent, and the best non-Akira Ifukube composer for a Godzilla film to date! Very dark, cataclysmic and suspenseful, and her brooding theme for Godzilla fits him perfectly! I also noticed that the theme music for the Gryphon (the G-Graspers' super-jet vehicle) recalls Barry Gray's famous THUNDERBIRDS theme! But of course, Toho tacks on two stock Ifukube tracks in the score to tell us that this is a Godzilla film. And last but not least, the human characters were much better done, have more direction and better motivation! I actually felt for and liked the human characters here, and that hasn't been done after 1975's TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA! Misato Tanaka as the brooding heroine, Kiriko Tsujimori, is tough, intense and sympathetic, sort of reminding me of Carrie Anne Moss' "Trinity" character from THE MATRIX; Shousuke Tanihara (who was just in Shusuke Kaneko's CROSSFIRE) portrays the hip inventor Hajime Kudo so perfectly and carefree as any hip Gen-X type should be; Veteran actress Yuriko Hoshi (from MOTHRA VS. GODZILLA and GHIDRAH THE THREE HEADED MONSTER) is very wise and intelligent as Yoshino Yoshizawa; For a kid actor, Hiroyuki Suzuki did a very good job at playing the little boy Jun Hayakawa; Desipte his limited screen time, Toshiyuki Nagashima plays the key role of Tsujimori's late commander Takuji Miyagawa very flawlessly; And actor/anime voice performer Masato Ibu is likeable as the shady Motohiko Sugiura, who organizes G-Graspers. Oh, I noticed that this film emphasizes less on copying the latest Hollywood hit, as the films since 1984 have done so blatantly!
The plot in a nutshell: Through the decades since 1954, Godzilla attacked Japan for its nuclear energy. Even though government scientists Motohiko Sugiura (Ibu) and Yoshino Yoshizawa (Hoshi) develop a "safe" plasma power plant free of nuclear energy, Godzilla attacks it anyway! Army rangers led by Takuji Miyagawa tried to stop him, but Godzilla killed them in his destructive wake, and the only survivor of the team was Kiriko Tsujimori (Tanaka), whose hatred for the big green terror grew more bitter. Five years later, now as the commander of G-Graspers (and anti-Godzilla task force), Tsujimori enlists both Yoshino Yoshizawa and young inventor Hajime Kudo (Shosuke Tanihara), who come up with a Dimension Tide satellite, which shoots an "Artificial Black Hole" on the sky of Earth to suck anything in its radius to oblivion. This would make a perfect weapon against Godzilla, and its test was successful, but some residue from the Artificial Black Hole leaves a bunch of prehistoric insect eggs, one of which is picked up by a little schoolboy named Jun Hayakawa (Hiroyuki Suzuki). When he is forced to dump it into a sewer, a new terror begins, as the egg hatches into a giant Meganuron insect that slaughters a teenage couple, and then sheds its skin to reveal a dragonfly-like insect stage called Meganeura. While Tsujimori and the G-Graspers are in pursuit of Godzilla (she even manages to ride on Godzilla's back), the Meganeuras reproduce heavily and swarm out of the Shibuya district to suck energy out of Godzilla, so that they can inject it into their queen cocoon, which hatches into a huge dragonfly monster called Megaguirus! Now, Megaguirus goes after Godzilla while the G-Graspers prepare the Dimension Tide for him. Which monster will win? Will the Dimension Tide finally get rid of Godzilla? And what IS Godzilla looking for in Shibuya . . .
Even though GODZILLA X MEGAGUIRUS was a commercial failure in Japan (the film had a weaker advertising campaign because of G2000's failure), it was a critical success, and the fans agreed! IMHO, this is the Godzilla film that should've been released to US theaters! A fun, fast-paced, action-packed and exciting film!
Now I've GOT to see the next Godzilla film (GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: THE GIANT MONSTERS' GENERAL OFFENSIVE)! From what I've seen and read about, this looks to be the best Godzilla film yet!
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