Thursday, July 31, 2014

Through the Dark Cosmic Mirror: Godzilla vs Space Godzilla

Another year, and Toho put out another Godzilla film. At this point, Toho was only creating Godzilla films, and distributing the films of Studio Ghibli. They were clawing their way back from the disastrous eighties, but weren't in good shape just yet. Godzilla vs Space Godzilla was written and directed by a new team, and feels different from the previous films, even as it pays homage to Godzilla all the way back to the Showa era, and maintains a continuity from previous Heisei-era films.

Old Mechagodzilla has been scrapped for a new version, MOGERA, a call back to the 1957 Mysterians, which features a more subtle alien invasion. Like the previous Mechagodzilla, MOGERA can separate into two parts, a jet and a drilling machine. And it can reassemble itself into godzilla-like form. It also has a torso-based weapon, but it isn't a superweapon, unlike the last version. Nor does it have a mechanical jaw or cry, so it resembles Godzilla less. Still, I consider it part of the Mechagodzilla line.

MOGERA, aka Mechagodzilla Mk. 4

Space Godzilla is essentially the end result of the reasoning that nothing but Godzilla can stand up to Godzilla. So a powerful Godzilla comes from space. Space Godzilla is badass. Godzilla's basic upright lizard design with chunks of crystal erupting from the skin, and a couple of side-tusks similar to Biollante. It also has psychic abilities; levitation, and telekeisis and control over the crystals is has travelled through space with. It draws power from these crystals. Whatever it has instead of an atomic heat ray has a seeking function, even curling in on itself before striking its target. It can also use these powers to block Godzilla's heat ray. Nose to nose, it has enough power to perhaps destroy Godzilla. But Godzilla outsmarts it, attacking its weak point.

Target-seeking space atmoic heat ray. Cool trick.

Space Godzilla Takes Some Fire.

After languishing in the last three films, Miki Sagusa finally returns to the important role she had in Godzilla vs Biollante. Directing the psychic institute, she doubts that human psychics will ever be able to control Godzilla. However, it's a better alternative than attempting to kill him. Miki retains her softened position towards Godzilla from Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II. It's something of a relief to see some growth in a character who has been neglected for so long. Using the amplifier, she exerts a certain amount if influence over Godzilla's behavior. What's surprising, given the continuity between the previous film and this one, is that Mikki is not on Mechagodzilla errrr MOGERA's crew.

Miki Sagusa and a wee, tiny Mothra.

Godzilla Junior is back, and remains cute. Its first appearance, over a small ridge of rocks, echoes Godzilla's first appearance in the 1954 film. Juinior is essentially helpless, used as a hostage to get Godzilla to act. Still better than Minilla, though.

Junior. Still cute. Last time, though.

Godzilla Junior lives on a small island, similar to Monster Island from Son of Godzilla. But where the Son of Godzilla scientists had all the equipment they needed, the party here has a tent, a motorcycle, and not much else. The team, ostensibly military, stands in opposition to the scientists as to what to do about Godzilla. It's a nice continuation of the conflict from Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II, which brought the two conflicting attitudes about Godzilla to the fore. In a call back to the military of the Showa era, the scientists tend to favor contol, rather than destruction, and paint the military as linear thinkers. Opposites attract, however, and romance brings the two sides together.

This is also a return to monster control, something that hasn't been brought up since . It was a much more common theme on the Showa era. Ghidorah is almost always controlled by someone, either Futurans, the M-Space Hunter Nebula Aliens, Kilaaks of the Kilaaks. Titanosaurus, Gigan, and Ebirah were all under control to some extent.

The light lets you know it's working.

The film also features a rare appearance by the Cosmos (formerly the Shobijin) without Mothra being an active participant in the story. Unlike previous appearances, a tiny version of Mothra is shown, which in some ways ties into the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy, which would start in just two years. The Cosmos appear, deliver a warning that Earth is about to be invaded, and then fade away.

Junior. Still cute. Last time, though.

Tear Gas, as it turns out, works well against Godzilla Junior. This is a rare call back to King Kong, where Kong is knocked out by gas. In addition, anti-Godzilla Yuki has a bullet of blood coagulant. This magic bullet calls back to the isotope grenade fired into the Beast's neck in Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. One bullet to take down a massive creature.

This till take down Godzilla.

Godzilla's red atomic breath has been regraded to the blue version, until the very end. Perhaps the power-up from Rodan was only temporary, or optional. And as the times have changed, so has Godzilla's parenting style. In cotnrast to Son of Godzilla, and Godzilla's Revenge, Godzilla now protects Junior from the attacks, shielding him with his body. In some moments, it's quite touching as Godzilla hunches over Junior, shielding him Space Godzilla's onslaught.

Junior. Still cute. Last time, though.

Part of the reason this film gets a terrible reputation is due to the laughably bad encoutner between MOGERA and Space Godzilla in the first half hour. MOGERA intercepts Space Godzilla in what appears to be an asteroid zone, because of course the anti-Godzilla weapon is space worthy. The fight looks awful.

Junior. Still cute. Last time, though.

The final battle, however, is strangely beautiful. Godzilla and Space Godzilla face off in a field of giant crystals. MOGERA gets to the battle first, but the real show starts when Godzilla shows up. In addition to using its breath attack, Space Godzilla also uses telekenesis to throw Godzilla into a building. And it levitates, like some sort of enlightened Buddhazilla.

Enlightened Godzilla, levitating above the city.

It also uses the crystals as projectiles, throwing them at Godzilla.

Glowing evil crystal projectiles.

But its vulnarability is the crystals embedded in its shoulders. MOGERA smashes these, and Space Godzilla's power decreases markedly. And then Godzilla does what he does best.

Red vs Blue.

Once both of its opponents are down, Godzilla unleashes the red atomic heat ray, incinerating both MOGERA and the remains of Space Godzilla.

Like a boss.


The final confrontation between Space Godzilla, MOGERA, and Godzilla is excellent. Unfortunately, there's some stuff to wade through before the reward. I haven't mentioned the completely extraneous plot to kidnap Miki, because it doesn't affect the rest of the plot at all. So I can see the dislike of the film, but it's certainly not the worst Godzilla film, or even the worst of the Heisei films.

Next up, the return of old fiends, and enemies.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Powering up Through Song: Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II

With the success of Godzilla vs Mothra, and the further impetus of a pending deal with Tri-star, Toho resurrected not one but two old enemies for Godzilla. The next truly new monster in the series This would be Destroyah, but even that had its origins in the 1954 Godzilla film. Given the popularity of giant mecha in Japanese culture, it's no surprise that Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II was made. As a small aside, the title is really just Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, but the II makes it weasier to distinguish from the 1974 film with ape-like aliens and King Seesar.

Buoyed by the success of the Super X series, of flying tanks, and salvaging the futuristic technology of Mecha King Ghidorah, the Counter G Bureau will create their own Godzilla to fight the original. This is in line with the increased militarism of the Heisei era, and a huge difference from the original mechagodzilla, which was created and run by aliens. But the similarities are striking. Mechagodzilla has an astonishing amuount of firepower that it can out downrange; a wide variety of beam weapons, as well as missiles.

Using future technolgy to get ahead.

Before the construction of Mechagodzilla, G-Force's main machine was Garuda, another iteration of the Super X flying tank concept. But Mechagodzilla rules the roost now. It's kind of interesting to see the training of the Mechagodzilla pilots. It's a bit like the combat training in Pacific Rim, specifically with martial arts and information lectures, and time in a simulated cockpit.

Sooooo, drift compatible?

Meanwhile, a group of geologists have discovered an egg on a volcanic island inhabited only by Rodan. TRhe egg was discovered near the broken shell of another egg, which the professor is certain hatched Rodan. And, of course, it's been radiated. How he knows this... well, some questions don't lead anywhere productive.


But where there's one giant mionster, there's likely to be another. Godzilla shows up a little after Rodan does, and the two have a quick fight. Rodan shows a breath weapon similar to Godzilla's, but he never uses it against Godzilla. Instead, there's a lot of body-slamming, which was very absent from the previous film. The physicality of the fight makes it much more satisfying that the director's previous effort. As the titans fight, the scientists make off with the egg.

Note the blue heat ray.

Any egg introduced in the first act must hatch in the second act. This introduces us to Godzilla Junior, a much more palatable scion of Godzilla whan Minilla was. The plot involving Junior is quite similar to Gorgo and Gappa. The child of the monsters is taken by humans, and the parents wants to get it back. But Junior seems to be the product of a mixed marriage, unlike the baby Gappa. Godzilla and Rodan stop fighting only to take on threats to the young monster. Junior will appear in the next two Godzilla films

Wee cuddly Godzilla. Still not as annoying as Minilla

Pursuing his child, Godzilla makes landfall in Japan and Mechagodzilla is deployaed. Like all future Mrechagodzillas, this one can fly, allowing it to be rapidly deployed. It has a hovering action that is very similar to Space Godzilla's in the next film. The big weapon, the one deployed from its belly which suspiciously a telephoto lens, is called the plasma grenade. I have no idea why. It's an energy blast, just like all the other weapons. It is, however, powerful enough to knock Godzilla on his ass.

Behold the power of this fully operational Mechagodzilla!

It also has a taser-like weapon, again, likely inspired by Mecha King Ghidorah. And the first fight against Godzilla goes well until Godzilla uses the nuclear pulse to send energy back up the shock cables. Mechagodzilla is thus disabled.

Power runs two ways, Mechagodzilla!

With Mechagodzilla out of the way, the standard military tried to engage. It works out about as well as it always does.

Again, Pacific Rim seems to have drawn heavily from this film, since this is the only film to target Godzilla's 'second brain.' In this case, the G-Crusher plan is to paralyze Godzilla.

Rodan, who has been absent since the slug-out with Godzilla, is awakened and powered up, somehow, by a song which reaches it through Godzilla Junior. It's at this point that he gains his atomic breath. I guess part of the point is thast everyone powers up during the movie?

Rodan with atomic heat ray

Unexpectedly, some complex emotions are evoked in the film. Miki Sagusa objects to the military using Godzilla Junior as a lure to get Godzilla clear of Japan. They're putting Junior's life in danger, yet at the same time, this action may save the lives of others. Miki suffers a similar moment of doubt as she is the one who activates the G-Crusher and paralyzes Godzilla. How can the audience's sympathies be divided beween the humans and the gigantic monster bent on destroying all humans? Yet this film understand that Godzilla is a sympathetic character, even if it's destructive, and this film captires that contradiction.

The fights, especially the final one, is immensely satisfying. It begins with Rodan, who manages to take out Garuda, the flying anti-Godzilla weapon. It takes out one of Mechagodzilla's eyes before being hammered with the Plasma Grenade. Godzilla can't deal with Mechagodzilla's ordinance, Rodan doesn't stand a chance.

Rodan isn't feeling so good

The battle between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla takes place on a larger stage than any of the previoud Heisei films. There's a lot of room for the camera to pan, to catch the monsters in longer shots.

A large stage makes for more satisfying wide shots

Godzilla gains the upper hand almost immediately, as Mechagodzilla overheats after and shuts down. But Garuda is able to distract Godzilla, and the two merge into Super Mechagodzilla confguration.

Together at last, Super Mecha Godzilla

This is too much for Godzilla. The combined and sustained firepower knockes Godzilla down and keeps him down. It's then up to objector Miki Sagusa to deploy the G-Crusher, which will cripple Godzilla.

Let's really hurt Godzilla

Godzilla screams in pain as the energy from the wires lashes at him. Miki pulls the trigger, and the nerve bundle that's been targeted explodes. It's a hard scene to watch.

Fortunately, Rodan isn't as dead as we thought he was. Awakened by Godzilla Junior, it lands on Godzilla, and gifts it the rest of Rodan's life. This repairs the nerve bundle, and Godzilla is back in action. This raises an interesting chain of events. Rodan was first reawakened by song. It therefore follows that Godzilla has just absorbed the power of song. Which is kind of weird.

Rodan gives Godzilla his power up

Godzilla is more powerful than he was. He crackles with electricity, his heat ray has gone from blue to red. As Akira Ifukube's familiar Godzilla march plays in the background, Godzilla gets back to his feet and destroys Mechagodzilla. His power, already increased in the last film, is even greater now. It doesn't just blast Mechagodzilla, it turnes the supposedly heat-proof robot into a blazing inferno. Once again, by interfering, humanity has just made their Godzilla problem worse.

Powered-up Godzilla is WORSE Godzilla!


As with Gorgo, the solution is to send Godzilla Junior back to its parent, and the two walk out into the sea. Miki says farewell to both Godzilla and Godzilla Junior. While she may not like what Godzilla does, she no longer wants him destroyed. Bye bye you scamps!

This is one of the better Heisei Godzilla films. The monster action is pretty constant, and there's a little more heart to it than in most other Heisei films. There is no obvious homage to other films, and despite cute, young Godzilla's appearance, it's not nearly as irritating as the previous version of Junior Godzilla.

Godzilla + Space. Should be awesome, right?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Have We Mentioned the Environment? Godzilla vs Mothra: Battle For the Earth

Toho experienced greater success by re-introducing Ghidorah back into the Heisei series, so the next logical choice was to bring back perennial favorite Mothra. Mothra hadn't shared screen time with Godzilla since 1966, as part of the monster soupcon Destroy All Monsters. As with much of the Heisei series, this draws heavily from popular Western films of the day. The openning borrows heavily from Indiana Jones, with the protagonist stealing from ruins, apparently in Cambodia. A thief who also avoids paying his child support he's one of the least sympathetic protagonists in the Godzilla series.

a thief. Yay.

A meteor has descended on a far-away island (Infant Island, specifically) and our protagonist is pulled out of jail to lead a team including his ex-wife and a corporate secretary, into the interior of the island. There's a bridge scene I greatly enjoyed the first time I saw it in Romancing the Stone. When the people enter the cave, they find a window cut into the rock that points them in the right direction.

The uninteresting human plotline of Godzilla vs Mothra: Battle For Earth

Mothra's egg looks just the same as it did in Godzilla vs Mothra, a pastel, sherbert-y swirl of pale green and pastel orange. The shobijin are back, this time they refer to themselves as the Cosmos. They aren't played by the Peanuts anymore, but look twin-like. In an abrupt turn-around from Godzilla vs King Ghodirah, and in keeping with Gorgo, Mothra, and Mothra vs Godzilla, the greedy industrialist is back. And if the religious subtext has waned, Mothra is still beholden to a higher power: The Earth.

The Cosmos. Formerly, the Shobijin

Battra is the new villain, and continues Mothrea's theme of twins. Battra is the dark twin of Mothra, created by the angry Earth. Like Mothra, is has larval and an imago forms, which is quite unlike any sort of bat. It also uses Rodan's cry. Luckily Rodan hasn't been heard from since Destroy All Monsters. But he shows up in the next film. Coincidence? I think not. It's first form is a sort of crawling lizard, with a horn. It has energy beam eyes that destroy the military when they show up, and another beam that comes from the horn. With the dark coloration with colored extrusions, there's a presaging of Destroyah's design.

Battra, with charcoal grey body and orange highlights

The imago form is again, black and angry, retaining the horn. And has no explanation. Mothra undergoes its transformation, and then there's a flying Battra. But it's definitely changed, it has spiny insect-looking legs now.

The uninteresting human plotline of Godzilla vs Mothra: Battle For Earth

Mothra's backstory has been tweaked. Mothra is a guardian of the Earth, who lived twelve thousand years ago, in harmony with all living things. But, as all utopia, someone got a bright idea and screwed it up. The Earth created Battra to combat Mothra, and did so poorly. Mothra defeated Battra, which was laid to rest in the ocean. As with Godzilla vs King Ghodirah, the writer has the idea that monsters are unaffected by a few thousand years under the ocean. This is much the same origin story as the Gamera reboot. And, like the older Gamera films, deals with an ancient civilization of great power. Fortunatly, it's quite dfferent from the Seatopian society from Godzilla vs Megalon.

The ancient mysterious history of Mothra and Battra

Mothra's larva looks the same, although it's larger than it has been (I blame monster inflation). The imago form is even more colorful than the prevous versions. The colors are richer. And it has an energy beam that comes its antannae.

Mothra showing her lovely wings

Mothra's egg is carried from Infant Island to Japan on a barge towed behind a ship, similar to how King Kong was brought from his island home in King Kong vs Godzilla. And like Mothra, the Cosmos are kidnapped, to be exploited by a large and uncaring company.

Mothra's egg. No twins this time.

As the egg is being hauled away, Battra and Godzilla have an underwater fight. It's so intense that they break a fissure into the ocean floor, both Godzilla and Battra are consumed. But we know from Godzilla vs Biollante that Godzilla can survive immersion in magma. Miki Sagusa, who has an amazing amount of nothing to do in this film, should remember that.

Battra and Godzilla fight so hard they open a magma fissure

Usually, Godzilla gets the major military welcome as it approaches Japan, but this time, it's the Mothra larva. Battleships, helicopters, and planes fire at it. And Mothra does the majority of the city destruction as it finds a place to coccoon. It settles on the Diet building, which hasn't been seen since King Kong vs Godzilla.

Mothra showing her lovely wings

It's important to remember that Godzilla is still the bad guy here. Mothra is the beneficial force, and Battra, is initially intent on destroying Morhta. But after Battra gets kicked around by the King of the Monsters, Mothra uses some sort of friending glitter. This is another new Motyhra power. Showa Mothra only had its poison scales as a weapon of last resort.

Mothra glitter bombs Battra

Mothra tries this on Godzilla, who responds with the uses the nuclear pulse, his new trick, and Mothra falls away.

Godzilla won't have any of Mothra's lovey bullshit

New BFFs Battra and Mothra then join forces against Godzilla. It doesn't work out well for Battra. They get Godzilla down, grab him, and start to carry him out to sea. Battra gets the front ent, and like Mech King Ghidora before him, is subjetced to both the heat ray and Godzilla's bite. Seeing the inevitable outcome, Mothra lets go, and both Battra and Godzilla plunge into the ocean.

How to properly transport your Godzilla

Mothra then drops an odd sort of containment grid to keep Godzilla quiescent.

And the moth goes round the Godzilla, and ties some damn kind of knot.

With Battra's death, Mothra is now obliged to stop a meteor that will imact Earth in 1999. this could, perhaps be a nod to Destroy All Monsters since it takes place in 1999, and King Ghidorah initially shows up as a meteor. And I shouldn't be surprised that Mothra's wings work in space

Mothra? Or Mi-Go?

I know that it was one of the highest-grossing films on Godzilla history, but dammit, this one doesn't do it for me. The humans are too unsympathetic, the monster fights are unsatisfying. Mothra is a difficult monster to hinitiate figthts with, because it cannot go in close. It's a moth. So the bone-crunching, building smashing I have come to expect from Toho just isn't there.

Further, the environmental message is so overplayed that it sounds like author's message. But the platitudes are very broad. 'We should take care of the Earth.' But it doesn't impact the plot at all. Godzilla vs Hedorah at least gave us the emotional impact and ugly consequences for environmental neglect.

The Blu-Ray is coming out with the subtitles, and personally I can't wait. The dubbed films feel flabby to me, the dialog disconnected from the rest of the film.

Next up, another old friend, a new baby, Ghidorah's spare head, and Godzilla gets his ass kicked.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Godzilla Comes Back to the Future: Godzilla vs King Ghidorah

There was a blog post, but I managed to delete it. So now here I am at July 10, rewriting the blog entry I made last week.

Godzilla vs Biollante taught Toho a couple of things. It only sold a quarter of the tickets that Return of Godzilla had. It did moderately well, but Godzilla had a long history to draw from. So new monsters were put on the bacjk burner for the rest of the Heisei series. Everything Godzilla fights until 1995 will have its roots in a Showa-era film.

Further, the Japanese film industry was being crushed by Hollywood imports. Several films of the Heisei series will display scenes, characters, and situations that have been borrowed directly from familiar American films. David Kalat sees heavy paralells between this and Back to the Future, partially because Godzilla vs Biollante opened against it and was crushed. . In my own opinion, Terminator 2 is a much greater influence. Terminator is also a time-travel franchise, and includes a nearly-indestructable robot which switches sides.

totally not the Terminator!

The plot revolves around the Future Visitors, who have time-travelled from the future, ostensibly to save Japan from the ravages of Godzilla. Of course, they aren't being entirely truthful about this. As in Kazuki Ohmori's previous film there's a sense of nationalism and hostility towards other nations. This is not quite the cold-war fear shown in The Return of Godzilla, but it's telling that the future visitors are named Wilson and Grenchiko, obviously reflecting the recently-fallen Soviet Union and the United States.

Meet the jerks from the future

The third future visitor is Emmy Kano, who is Japanese, and naturally the pivotal character. Apparently, she was not briefed on the future visitors' Evil plan. Their real purpose is to get rid of Godzilla and replace it with controllable King Ghidorah. You see, in the future, Japan has become powerful enough to buy other countries, and the future visitors are there to level Japan and then rebuild it. This is an echo of the rebuilding America performed on the war-ravaged Japan.

Meet the future good guys

Among the cast of Japanese characters is Mr. Shindo, a captain of industry. During World War II, he was a captain in the Imperial Forces, and had an encounter with the pre-mutated dinosaur that becomes Godzilla. Shindo is enormously wealthy, alsmost exactly what the future visitors are afraid of. His cpmpany has so much monty that they have a private nuclear submarine, in case Japan is attacked. This sub becomes the MacGuffin that makes Godzilla even larger and more unpleasant than before. Although series is calling back to the Showa era, it clearly has no intention to make Godzilla the friendly superhero from Godzilla vs Megalon. This is also a very abrupt turn for the industrialist character. After being exoricated to heavily in films like Mothra vs Godzilla, this is an interesting change. But the greedy industrialist will return in Godzilla vs Mothra: The Battle For Earth.

Meet the future good guys

Which brings us to the proto-Godzilla dinosaur. It lived on Lagos Island, where Mr. Shindo's battallion was being crushed by the American bombardment. The film leaves it open whether it's friendly to the Japanese, or just attacks the Americans because they fire on it first. It's immune to small weapons and bazooka fire.

Godzilla, the way he used to be

It's more vulnerable to battleship's fire, however. The Japanese, seeing it wounded, salute it, but cannot stay to care for it. Is this the reason Godzilla constantly comes to Japan, because it was abandones in its hour of need?

Godzillasaurus takes a beating

The future visitors bring their time ship to Lagos Island, and teleport the protoGodzilla to the Bering Sea. There, it absorbs radiation and becomes the same Godzilla it always was. Godzilla, apparently, is a historical inevitability. Unfortunately, Mr Shindo doesn't know Godzilla had already mutated, and sends his nuclear submarine to find it. Godzilla absorbes the radiation from that and becomes larger and angrier than ever. This is in line with the previous films of the Heisei series; Godzilla consumes radiation.


This leads to one of the many problems of the film's time travel. If Godzilla has been erased from history, why does everyone remember both it and it's name? The film also doesn't give recurring character Miki Sagusa anything to do. Which is dissappointing.

Unknown to the present people, the future visitors also planted their own proto-monster on Lagos Island. Three Dorats, flying psychic pets, are left to absorb the radiation from the Bikini atol tests. These mutate into the single three-headed King Ghidorah, which the future visitors will use to level Japan. Ghidorah is looking good, here. This suit recalls the older suits from Invasion of Astro-Monster.

King GHidorah

The heads are a little less frenetic, and it seems more controlled. The destruction is excellent, Ghidorah smashes things and looks menacing.

Three golden heads.

If Godzilla could have been seen as a metaphor for American bombing in the 1954 Godzilla it's possible to see King Ghidorah in that role here. The future visitors are going to level Japan and then rebuild it in their own image. King Ghodorah files, unlike Godzilla, raining destruction, like bombs, from above. Ohmori specifically shoots King Ghidorah flying past the Hiroshima Memorial Dome, the first time the building has been referenced in a Godzilla film. This could certyainly be seen as more anti-Westernism, and that could be a fair statement. It's a minor aspect of the film, nothing that's going to get me into any sort of slather.

The Hiroshima Memorial Dome

But the embiggened Godzilla is not going to let King Ghidorah tromp on his favorite country without a challenge. And a fight it is. Neither is able to gain the upper hand.

Incoming King Ghidorah

The two are evenly matched, partially because King Ghidorah is being controlled by the time travellers' computer. But when that's knocked out by the loyalist (to the Japanese, any way) actions of Emmy, King Ghirodah is just as tough as he was.

Strangling Godzilla.

In fact the fight goes against Godzilla until he unleashes the nuclear pulse, a power invented in Godzilla vs Biollante, and found only in the Heisei series.

and BOOM goes Godzilla!

With a bit of distance, Godzilla is able to use its atomic heat ray to good effect, blowing holes in Ghidorah's wings, and taking off the middle head. Nevertheless, Ghidorah gets up and flies away, only to fell into the ocean.

and BOOM goes Godzilla!

After King Ghidorah is defeated, Emmy, with the help of M-11, transports the future visitors to Godzilla's location. Godzilla, knowing a jerk when he sees one, unleashes the atomic heat ray on the time ship, giving us the very first time we see humans caught directly in the blast. And that's goodbye to Wilson and Grenchiko.

and BOOM goes Godzilla!

Without King Ghidorah to fight, Godzilla goes on a rampage in Sapporo. Gamera has visited Sapporo, and will again. Godzilla is well-established as unfriendly now. Without something to fight, he'll just trash cities.

Time to trash Sapporo.

We also have a last confrontation between Mr. Shindo and Godzilla. Will Godzilla remember the man who was kind to him all those years ago on Lagos island? Perhaps. Shindo catches Godzilla's eye, and some sort of understanding seems to pass between them. Each bows to the other, a look of rememberance on both faces.

Do we understand each other?

But Godzilla is, ultimately, Godzilla. And Mr, Shindo is annihilated with a blast of atomic fire.

It's in Godzilla's nature

To prevent Godzilla from annihilating Japan and making the future visitors' wishes come true, Emmy, in the future, locates King Ghidorah's quiescent body. She fuses future technology with the body and installs a time-travel device. Thus, Mecha King Ghidorah is created. And it's a solid-looking costume, extremely well shot.

Mecha King Ghirodah

In a rare piece of forethought, Mecha King Ghidorah is actually equipped to take down Godzilla. Emmy has equipped it with a gigantic taser in order to incapacitate Godzilla. After some glorious bashing, this is deployed, and Godzilla is again on the ropes.

and BOOM goes Godzilla!

But Mecha King Ghidorah can only carry Godzilla so far, and under repeated blasts of Godzilla's atomic heat ray, both fall into the ocean. After that, the conclusion is pretty standard time-travel resolution. Emmy waves goodbye, returning to the future. Oh, and she's the protagonist's decendant.

Much has been made of the Anti-Western attitude of this film, and it's really overblown. Although nationalism was a dirty word in Japan for a long time post World War II, a sense of pride in being Japanese was on the rise. I don't find this any more Anti-American than a Dr. Who show. Is the future American a jerk? Yes. But he is not said to be representative of all Americans, or all future people. After all, Emmy was able to get somebody to create Mecha King Ghidorah for her to save Japan.

Next week, Godzilla's second favorite buddy is back. With an evil twin. And some Indiana Jones thrown in.