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 ... See full summary »
When the aliens Xilians invade Earth, they release monsters to destroy the big cities. The Earth Defense Force formed by mutants is incapable to defeat the creatures. Commander Douglas Gordon decides to unleash Godzilla that has been trapped for many years to fight against the monsters. Godzilla becomes the last hope on Earth to vanquish the evil aliens and the powerful Gigan. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Drill-head battleship Gotengo rams Xilian deathstar. Bad guys teleport into battleship bridge, kill a lot of redshirts, and kidnap the heroes. When the heroes return to their ship later, all the dead redshirts have vanished. See more »
Wars and pollution, relentless fighting and environmental destruction, have all awakened vicious monsters. Humankind therefore joins forces with one another in order to drive off the monsters, instead of killing each other. Thus, the Earth Defense Force is born. Meanwhile, a new race of humans with supernatural abilities, called mutants, was discovered around the globe. The Earth Defense Force gathers them and puts them into a league called the M Organization. Their greatest enemy ...
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The film opens with the old "TohoScope" Toho logo (which was used in Toho's widescreen films from 1957 to the mid-60s). See more »
My favorite Godzilla movie since TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA (Toho; 1975)! Since 2000, I felt the series was a string of indistinguishable films. I was also never impressed by the 'heisei' or post-GODZILLA 1985 series. So for better or worse, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS stands out. It tends to emulate the more over-the-top Godzilla movies of the 1970s, which I certainly don't mind. Instead of following the exact same pattern as all of GODZILLA 2000's (Toho; 2000) predecessors, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS takes a more creative approach and swipes ideas from THE MATRIX (Silver Pictures; 1999), all them X-Men comic books, and spatterings of typical Japanese TV hero stuff. While all these mixed genres may not play off each other perfectly and we have a mess of a film at times, at least we've finally got a Godzilla movie that actually stands out from the rest (I think the only other stand out film is 1971's GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER).
However, its over-the-top approach was headache-inducing: The fast pace is overkill (in sharp contrast to every movie in the series starting with GODZILLA 1985), and reminded me of crazy Hong Kong fantasies of the 1980s or 1990s, specifically Tsui Hark farces like ZU: WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN (Golden Harvest; 1983). It got frustrating trying to keep up, amid all the quick edits and flashy gimmicks which hide a fairly simple story we've seen before (space invaders attack Earth and control giant monsters). Yet despite all this, I still like the movie a lot, and consider it an improvement over everything to come out of the series in the 1980s and 1990s.
The human characters at least offer old timers like Kumi Mizuno and Akira Takarada some interesting roles, and I didn't recognize Akira Takarada right away. The younger actors are interesting too-- better than the generic, boring soldiers of the last few movies, at any rate. The main villain, in his typical post-MATRIX black cape, has this eerie make-up, but is so emotional and bumbling that he's more clown-like than scary.
Many Godzilla fans dislike the movie, but with me, you're seeing it from the point-of-view of a fan of superheroes & martial arts. So I think this puts me in a position to evaluate & appreciate the over-all movie on another level. When the heroes and villains clash, it's fairly exciting action, but being a post-THE MATRIX movie, everything is over-enhanced with CGI junk. Their plight is diminished because we know there's really no thrilling stunt work. I met action choreographer & stuntman Tsutomu Kitagawa last year, and we did some comical martial arts moves for video cameras. His karate skills are first rate, having studied at Sonny Chiba's Japan Action Club and made his debut in superhero programs such as the classic AKUMAIZER 3 (Toei; 1974) series. Unfortunately, his work is diminished because of the CGI 'enhancements' which give all the choreography & stunts an artificial feel. What's the point of a high-speed motorcycle chase that isn't real? It's like a radio ventriloquist; simply defeating the purpose. While it might not impress the average dai-kaiju fan, there are fans of superheroes & martial arts who will find fun in GFW. Though the typical Godzilla fans might hate GFW, the typical Kamen Rider fans will like it.
There's an impressive list of nostalgic names on hand: Not just Godzilla and Ghidrah, but Rodan, Mothra, Atragon, King Seesar, Minya, Manda, Angilas, Hedorah, Gino, Spiga, Gimantis, and Ebirah all make appearances. This tops the masterpiece DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (Toho; 1968) in that respect (sheer quantity). It's always exciting to see old favorites return. Angilas looked pretty damn slick, but I didn't like the designs of the two new (and over-used!) Gigans, felt Gimantis & Rodan relied too much on CGI artificiality, I never liked the "Godzilla with ears" look, and thought the meager cameos by Gino & Hedorah were way too brief and abrupt; amounting to little more than in-jokes than actual monster battles. Sad to say, for the first time ever, I thought Minya had one of the better designs and was the most interesting monster! So I guess I didn't like the way all the monsters looked, but just seeing them all in one film made it amusing.
All in all, it strikes me as a great film and if it wasn't the "final" (?) film in the series, I would consider it a step in the right direction. -Damon
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