Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
Startup - Resonance - Smashed Ice (起動・共鳴・氷砕)
— Japanese tagline
Fight 'til crumbled!
— International tagline
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (ゴジラ×メカゴジラ Gojira tai Mekagojira, lit. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) is a 2002 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the twenty-sixth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the fourth in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 14, 2002.
Yet another reboot to the Godzilla continuity, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla reintroduces Godzilla's popular foe Mechagodzilla for the Millennium series. When a second Godzilla attacks Japan in 1999, the Japanese government dredges up the bones of the original Godzilla from 1954 and uses them to construct an anti-Godzilla weapon: codenamed Kiryu. Kiryu is completed by 2003, when Godzilla returns to menace Yokohama. Kiryu is sent to combat Godzilla, but the monster's roar awakens the first Godzilla's spirit within the machine, causing Kiryu to go berserk. Kiryu's lead scientist Tokumitsu Yuhara races to rectify this error in the machine before Godzilla makes landfall again. But even if Kiryu is fixed, the question remains if the government would willingly launch it again.
After a second Godzilla attacks Tateyama in the year 1999, the Japanese government decides to commission a robot constructed from the original Godzilla's bones, with help from the country's top scientists. Four years later, the cyborg, called Kiryu, is finished and inducted into the Japan Self-Defense Forces along with its human pilots, the Kiryu Squadron. At the same time, Godzilla shows up once again, even though the JSDF seemed to finally defeat him. In the midst of the first battle, the original Godzilla's soul inside Kiryu is awoken by Godzilla's roar, and brings with it the memories of his death years ago. This action makes Kiryu extremely angry and he proceeds to destroy the city around him. Horrified, the Kiryu Squadron can only watch in terror and alarm as the rampaging cyborg destroys more city property than Godzilla did.
Kiryu is brought back to headquarters for further work. Meanwhile, Kiryu's main pilot, Lieutenant Akane Yashiro, tries to settle matters involving second lieutenant Susumu Hayama, scientist Tokumitsu Yuhara and his distressed daughter, Sara, who thinks that using Kiryu to fight is wrong and that it should be friends with Godzilla. Kiryu was put out of commission, until Godzilla once again attacked. The prime minister of Japan realized how dire the situation was, and he sent Kiryu into battle. Missiles and lasers were fired.
The two creatures clashed, slowly knocking into each other. Missiles, masers, the wrist blade, and all of Kiryu's lesser weapons were used to contend with Godzilla at a close range. Kiryu sent Godzilla into a centrifugal throw as it began to charge its ultimate weapon: the Absolute Zero Cannon. Unfortunately, Kiryu was downed before it could be used. Its pilot, Akane Yashiro, managed to take manual control of the robot as the machine was recharged by an AC-3 White Heron. Kiryu was sent back into battle, disabling Godzilla's heat ray and unleashing its Absolute Zero Cannon. Godzilla managed to survive the brutal attack, although it dealt him a massive chest injury. Kiryu's power supply was exhausted, and the Absolute Zero Cannon was destroyed. Godzilla returned to the sea, as Japan could only watch on in a bittersweet stalemate.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Masaaki Tezuka
- Written by Wataru Mimura
- Produced by Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Michiru Oshima
- Cinematography by Masahiro Kishimoto
- Edited by Shinichi Natori, Shinichi Fushima
- Production design by Shinji Nishikawa
- Special effects by Yuichi Kikuchi
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (Soundtrack).
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (literal Japanese Title)
- GXMG (abbreviated title)
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (III) (Australia)
View all posters for the film here.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla was released on DVD in the United States by TriStar Pictures in 2004. TriStar used Toho's uncut international print of the film, including both Omni Productions' English dub and the original Japanese audio.
Budgeted at roughly $8,500,000, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla opened in Japan on December 13, 2002, and earned $2,253,231 in its opening weekend. It went on to gross approximately $16,000,000 in Japan, making it the second biggest of the Millennium Godzilla films at the box office. It sold approximately 1,700,000 admissions.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is generally liked by Godzilla fans for introducing what some consider the best incarnation of Mechagodzilla.
Mike Pinsky of DVD Talk gave the film three stars out of five, saying: "While I did have some minor complaints, [this is] a fine entry in the series." Pinsky said "the plot is more interesting than most giant monster movies," and "the battle scenes, which are the main reason anyone watches these films to begin with, were great." Matt Paprocki of Blog Critics said the film is "pretty flawed, [but] those of us who still love seeing Japan get trampled are in for a treat." Stomp Tokyo praised the "great monster fight action" but criticized the "uncompelling non-monster scenes." Giving the film a "B+" score, Mark Zimmer of Digitally Obsessed said that it's "a good deal of fun and one of the better entries in the series." Digital Monster Island gave the film a "B" rating, calling it "a fun and exciting film that should please most kaiju fans."
Toho DVD (2003)
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese
Universal Laser & Video DVD (2003)
- Region: 3
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), Cantonese (2.0 Surround and DTS)
- Special Features: Japanese trailers for Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
- Notes: Includes traditional and simplified Chinese subtitles. Out of print.
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Special Features: Trailers
Madman DVD (2004)
- Region: 4
Sony Blu-ray (2014)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
- Special Features: Teaser for Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and trailer for Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
- Notes: Packaged with Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
- The continuity of what has been dubbed the "Kiryu Saga" by fans reaches beyond the continuity of the Godzilla series; the film makes reference to the events of such classic Toho tokusatsu kaiju films as Mothra and The War of the Gargantuas, with the film's theater program even alluding to the events of Rodan and Varan. The sequel to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., also makes reference to Space Amoeba, and even includes the monster Kamoebas in the monster cast. A book, released in Japan on the heels of the film's release, lays out a timeline of monster attacks included in the "Kiryu Saga." Included in the timeline are the monsters Rodan, Meganulon, Varan, Moguera, Maguma, Dogora, Baragon, King Kong, Gorosaurus, the Giant Sea Serpent, and the remaining monsters from Space Amoeba; Gezora and Ganimes.
- Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui, whose nickname is "Godzilla," makes a cameo in this film. 2002 was Matsui's last year playing in Nippon Professional Baseball; he signed with the New York Yankees six days after Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla was released.
- Misato Tanaka, Toshiyuki Nagashima, and Shosuke Tanihara, all of whom starred in Masaaki Tezuka's previous Godzilla film Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, make cameo appearances in this film. Each of their characters, Tsujimori, Miyagawa, and Kudo respectively, share their names with the characters they played in the aforementioned film.
- Takehiro Murata, known for his roles in the Godzilla series such as Kenji Andoh in Godzilla vs. Mothra and Yuji Shinoda in Godzilla 2000: Millennium, appears in a cameo in this film as the convenience store clerk picking up cans in Tateyama who witnesses several Type 90 Maser Cannons drive past.
- Director Masaaki Tezuka cameos in the film's post-credit scene as a JXSDF officer. Several other staff members who worked on the film or other prior entries in the franchise, including concept artist Shinji Nishikawa, special effects director Kenji Suzuki, writer Wataru Mimura, and many others also make cameo appearances.
- Suit actors Tsutomu Kitagawa (Godzilla) and Hirofumi Ishigaki (Kiryu) both cameo as Maser Cannon crew members in the film, along with Kenji Suzuki.
- A partial replica of the ShodaiGoji suit was constructed for this film to portray the original Godzilla during flashback scenes. It was worn by Tsutomu Kitagawa.
- In the film's screenplay, the initial Prime Minister of Japan was a man, but was changed to a woman when Kumi Mizuno was cast for the role.
- According to the book Godzilla X Mechagodzilla 2003 (Toho SF Special Effects Film Series SPECIAL EDITION), Anguirus was originally planned to appear in this film and battle Kiryu, but was scrapped. Anguirus was also considered to appear as a corpse in the film's sequel, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., before being replaced by Kamoebas.
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