Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
This 2001 movie is wonderfully entertaining. Classic Japanese monster movie elements have been updated to a quality level unknown to Toho and Honda’s early output such as The Mysterians.
The basic storyis simple: 50 years after his initial rampage, Godzilla returns to stomp Japan, but this time he is opposed by a trio of mythical monsters who awaken from their eons-old slumber just in time.
Classic elements are here such as:
- Remote island where monsters dwell
- Sleeping giants awaken
- Mass urban destruction
- Puny human attacks swatted away like flies
Yet there are a variety of elements that make this movie uniquely Japanese, such as:
- Mysticism and spirituality, as when the spirits of vanquished monsters unite against Godzilla (lots of super-sized fairy dust).
- Atonement and/or acknowledgement for the souls of those responsible for the “Pacific War.” (Here the subtitles fail since I couldn’t really understand the relationship among Godzilla’s attack, the sleeping monsters, and World War II. Was it punishment? Retribution? I couldn’t tell, and this theme disappears as the level of destruction ramps up.)
- Regular views of uniformed military attaches and assistants standing or sitting around being busy and concerned without any apparent function.
Unlike Toho’s earlier juvenile oriented films, there are no little kids running around talking to baby monsters. This time around we have a plucky female reporter running around broadcasting video of the attacks over a wireless internet connection that has truly miraculous bandwidth powers, but I’m happy to suspend disbelief. Generally the special effects are pretty good in this movie. The miniatures especially are very well done, as when the giant monsters battle near a mountainside cable car installation. Jackson’s Weta is not going to lose business overnight to this group but they’re pretty good.
The relationship that runs throughout the movie and which serves as a unifying theme is the relationship between the plucky reporter and her father, who just happens (a) to be a high muckety-muck in the Japanese Navy with special submarine handling skills that come in handy at the end and (b) who also just happens to have witnessed the destruction when Godzilla visited Japan the first time around in the 1950’s. (Ah, it’s good to see a baby boomer here now and then!)
So put your brain on hold and watch this one. Be sure to crank up the volume - the sound effects and music are good, especially when served loud.
Review copyright (c) 2006 by Dennis D. McDonald