Movies and Film

Has Godzilla Met His Match? – Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

Godzilla returns once again to batter Japan, but this time it is not the same Godzilla, as that particular one from the 1954 motion picture had died. This is an all-new member of its race and the Japan Self-Defense Forces are on high alert because of it. To their dismay, they discover that their weapons, including their masers, are useless against the creature and as a result, people die with the blame falling upon Lieutenant Akane. Soon there is a chance for godzilla-against-mechagodzilla-3redemption as scientists have discovered the first Godzilla’s bones and have decided to construct a giant robot dubbed Mechagodzilla out of them, with young Akane becoming its pilot.

After delivering the masterpiece called Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Toho needed to deliver something on par with it and while Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla may not sit on the same level monster-wise, it is just as good for different reasons. One of those is story, of which this film features a little more of, with the human element being far stronger and more integral to the overall plot than it was in the previous movie. Here, Yumiko Shaku’s character Akane is central to the action and story of the movie as we follow her through her troubles and eventual reparation, not to mention she happens to be Kiryu’s/Mechagodzilla’s pilot. Shaku does a great job portraying the disgraced godzilla-against-mechagodzilla-4soldier, a woman who wants nothing more than to put the past behind her, to make up for what she has done and maybe if she is lucky, make peace with herself. The movie is not truly Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla but rather Godzilla Against Akane and sometimes human tenacity is stronger than any giant monster could be.

The special effects are quite good, though nothing like those seen in the last film as certain things were not needed. Kiryu has a fearsome weapon called the Absolute Zero cannon and there are a couple of times where Godzilla almost falls prey to it, only avoiding it by whatever monstrous senses the beast godzilla-against-mechagodzilla-5has. What is more interesting than anything else is that the robot not only has Godzilla’s bones inside of it, but runs on a gene-computer so that when the current Godzilla roars, it awakens something inside of the metal monstrosity and Akane loses control. What makes it so intriguing is that for a few moments, it would almost seem like Japan would have to face two Godzilla’s and one of them of their own making.

There is a ton of action to be had of course, this would not be a Godzilla movie without it, but this go round is balanced out by a fair bit of drama and it is just as compelling as those big, bombastic scenes. Like the previous Millennium films, this one ignores everything that came before, but unlike the other Millennium pictures, this one generated a sequel and did not end up killing the big green lug come the end of it all. A truly exciting time can be had when watching this film and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla turns out to be a worthy addition to the canon.

4 out of 5

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