Movies and Film

For the Fate of it All – Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

For the final Godzilla film to be produced for Toho until the release of Shin Godzilla, you can only imagine that director Ryuhei Kitamura and the writers of this project were told to throw in everything but the kitchen sink and so they did. Final Wars is a big movie filled with big monsters, almost every kaiju you could think of that Toho ever brought to the big screen is here and much, much more. There are aliens from outer space who happen to be controlling the giant creatures and there is a new class of human beings who have evolved from the masses, people who are called mutants much like the X-Men. These mutants are soon recruited and trained to work for the Earth Defense Force against these various giant godzilla-final-wars-5monsters and to say that the film is action-packed is more than apt.

While all of it is actually pretty exciting, the one problem that the film has is the fact that it has far too much going on. Aliens, mutants, monsters, mystery and whatever else you can imagine is thrown into this kettle and though the makers of this stew manage to keep it all somewhat sorted, it would have been nice to see something just a little simpler. Be that as it may, at least they tried to do something different from the norm – to shake up what was expected of them and give the audience something they could possibly sink their teeth into, never mind creating renewed interest in the green goliath. The sad thing about it all is that when it was released, it simply did not work and the film was a box office failure. Even so, that did not mean that it was a bad film, far from the contrary, it was pretty good. It was just time for Godzilla to take a break from the silver screen and having him go out with a bang like he did here, was fantastic.

One thing that Final Wars did manage to do was to pay respect to the legacy of the franchise. It was silly and godzilla-final-wars-6over-the-top, cheesy and ridiculous and was all the best things that the Godzilla films were known for. The picture would also feature the worst character to ever grace a kaiju movie – that being Minilla, Godzilla’s adopted son. If that atrocity could appear in the movie and still end up being as good and as enjoyable as it was, you know Final Wars could not be all that bad. Additionally, there were appearances from Mothra, King Ghidorah, Rodan, Hedorah, Ebirah and more. You could say there might have been too many monsters for Godzilla to face and you had to feel bad for the big lug by the end of it all as he was looking pretty tired, but on the other hand, you could say there was not enough because if there is one thing you never get tired of, it is Godzilla putting the hurt on other giant monsters.

Some might say there was a lack of characterization and that might be true, but this film was never about its characters, whether mutants or aliens or humans or Don Frye who played the absurdly ludicrous captain. The film was about Godzilla, doing what he does best and saving the planet despite what the Earth has done to him. The movie may not the be the best of the Millennium series, but it is big and bold and fantastic and despite all the positives and negatives, you can see why it had to end here the way that it did.

3.5 out of 5

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