Movies and Film

An Old Foe, A New Fight – Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)

In one sense, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is a return to form, the movie going back to what everyone remembers most about the Godzilla series of films. That not only includes the monster fighting off a giant creature and dealing with mankind, but being filled with all manner of crazy things, in this case time travel, little baby dragons, robots and more. For some that is a good thing and yet in another sense, it is a bit of a disappointment considering the more serious tones of the two films that came before it, specifically Godzilla from 1984 and Godzilla vs. Biollante. Though it looked as if the franchise was moving forwards, it instead took a huge leap back into territory considered safe by Toho – material that was tried and true that they know would please the public instead of venturing into the new and unknown and the risk of diminishing returns.

The result of bringing back King Ghidorah is a big and bold film filled with the fantastical, more than just the promise of the two monsters battling it out and it definitely delivered. The only problem with it all was that it was perhaps just a bit too much, the makers of this film wanting to pack it full with everything that they were not able to put in the last two movies. It begins in the future with the body of King Ghidorah on the ocean floor, takes a trip to the present and then back to the past where Godzilla’s origin is revealed, one of the better moments in the film, and finally back to the present again. To say there is a lot of time travel in this film is putting it lightly and after a while, it just tends to get repetitive and a little confusing towards the conclusion of the picture. That does not mean that the film is not any fun, because it is, especially during its latter half when the kaiju battle it out all over Japan. The destruction they cause is immense and seeing the two go at it, especially when it seems like Godzilla is easily outmatched makes it all the better. One cannot count the monster out though and of course, when all is said and done, Godzilla takes care of Ghidorah not once, but twice proving exactly why he is King of the Monsters.

While the story falls a little short for those that might put a little thought into it and the entire thing runs overlong, especially at the hour and a half mark where it looks to be over and then one realises that there is still another half hour to go, it nevertheless has something for everyone. One of those things is Robert Scott Field who plays the android M-11 and seems like a throwaway character, yet by the end of it all, he manages to win over the audience as cheesy as he tends to be. For those that might be used to watching the cutting edge special effects seen in today’s films, they might find some of it looking a little crude like when the Futurians are teleporting the flying saucer away and yet it turns out to be a pretty nail-biting scene and it completely captivates the viewer as basic as those effects might seem . The creatures looked great as always, Ghidorah being incredibly fiendish when he comes back the second time with his robotic enhancements and overall, there was always something to catch the eye.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah would fall short of being as good as the previous film; it was still enjoyable and hearkened back to those Godzilla films of old that many remember fondly. It might have brought back the silliness of those films, but it was at least modernised and continued to introduce the monster to a new generation of fans, old and young alike.

3.5 out of 5

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