A true fan can acknowledge the bad while still appreciating and cherishing the good.
— JurassicKaiju14 (paraphrasing a quote from The Warp Zone)
I've been a Godzilla fan since about 2012 or so, and my love of the franchise only increased after the 2014 film. Besides that, I'm also a fan of Jurassic Park/Jurassic World, Star Trek, Superman, Spider-Man, The Lion King, Back to the Future, Portal, and MLP (Yes, I'm a Brony too).
As a Godzilla fan, I generally tend to veer towards the later films, starting with the Heisei series onward. Out of all the Showa films, Destroy All Monsters is probably my favorite, mostly because it was the first Godzilla film I ever watched in full.
My Godzilla Collection
Godzilla Movie Reviews
Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
I'm not quite sure what I expected to think going into this one. Regardless, I ended up enjoying it quite a bit when I was finished. I've heard people hail this as an underrated entry in the franchise, a sentiment that I agree with. The story and characters are pretty good. I liked the tragic, almost-Frankenstein like story of Dr. Shiragami and how his desperation to keep his daughter alive somehow results in Biollante's creation. Speaking of Biollante, she's a very unique addition to the kaiju roster, and makes the most of her appearances, especially her absolutely gigantic and monstrous final form. I also thought the sub-plot of the fight over Godzilla's DNA was an interesting concept. Godzilla's design is fantastic, and one of my favorites in the franchise.
I do have a few gripes, though. There are parts where it quite honestly feels more like "The Return of Godzilla II" than "Godzilla vs. Biollante", as a large part of the plot revolves around the JSDF having to stop him again once Bio-Major lets him out of Mount Mihara. Not that it's strictly a bad story, but I feel it kind of detracts from the Biollante angle. The soundtrack is kind of hit-or-miss too, most notably the ridiculously cheesy 80s music that plays over what should be a serious gunfight scene between the Japanese military and Bio-Major mercenaries during the film's opening.
Other than that, this is a solid entry in the franchise. 4/5
I've noticed that this seems to be a favorite amongst the Godzilla fandom, and it's often highlighted as some of the best of the Heisei era. Unfortunately, this one kinda failed to give me that same feeling.
I think first and foremost I have a problem figuring out who exactly I'm supposed to root for. Is it Godzilla who's mostly trying to track down Baby Godzilla and gets crippled and half-killed for his troubles? Or is it Mechagodzilla and humanity by proxy trying to rid themselves of Godzilla's menace? Or is it Rodan who's sole role in the movie seems to be kicked to the curb by both of the other kaiju characters? I really don't know.
The battles are a mixed-to-negative bag. There's not a lot of melee fighting, and when there is it's rather cumbersome. Most of it consists of the Heisei-era's trademark "beam spam" battles. Speaking of which, while I think Mechagodzilla's design and arsenal in this movie are fine, he really seems more like a mobile weapons platform than anything else. You'd think G-Force would be better off just building a big gun.
Aoki is annoying. I'm sorry, but I just can't stand him. He breaks into a government lab and steals government scientific property, fails to report to duty during a crisis situation, and practically kidnaps one of his superiors to pitch his Super Mechagodzilla idea. And he's awful at flirting to boot. Also why does that one recruiting guy at the beginning scoff at his Pteranodon fandom? You live in an age where public enemy #1 is a giant radioactive dinosaur, paleontology nerds should be revered. Speaking of the humans, there are moments when they try to start what I'm assuming were attempts at deep conversations, but they just come across as a lot of hot air, like "maybe dinosaurs will rule the Earth again", or "life beats artificial life". The latter especially bugs me, because with the dinosaur thing it at least has some precedent because of Godzilla, Baby Godzilla, and Rodan, but was the life thing supposed to be a theme of the movie? I couldn't tell. It's especially egregious since it's spoken by Mechagodzilla's pilots. Humanity's best defense against Godzilla has just been annihilated and you've barely escaped with your lives. Why are you getting so introspective about the loss of your job and mech?
Positives? Akira Ifukube's score delivers as always, Baby Godzilla is a cutie and his relationship with Azusa Gojo is sweet, I liked the military battle scene immediately following Mechagodzilla's defeat, and while this incarnation of Mechagodzilla isn't my favorite I think it's alright. I also think the explanation of using Mecha-King Ghidorah's 23rd-century tech as the basis for Mechagodzilla's weaponry is a pretty good way to explain how they got it, and it's a nice little callback.
Feeling a bit generous, so I'll give it a 2.5/5.
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
Alright, I'll be honest here: this one is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. I don't think it's a particularly good Godzilla movie, but at the very least I found it somewhat enjoyable, even if it leaves a bit to be desired. There are a few plot points, such as Project T and Yuki's blood coagulant bullet, that are given a fair bit of built up but then ultimately go nowhere. The former is discarded after a yakuza (a plot point that comes out of nowhere) attempt to hijack the project, and the latter isn't given any sort of pay-off at all. Yuki keeps claiming that there's a weak spot near Godzilla's arm that he'll be able to exploit, and given the Big G's more protagonistic role in this film you'd think he'd end up using it against SpaceGodzilla, but nothing ever actually comes of it. Why have it in the movie at all if you're not gonna do something with it? I also wish Mothra could be bothered to actually show up and help fight SpaceGodzilla as opposed to just giving Miki a warning message. Surely she's destroyed that asteroid that's supposed to hit Earth by now?
Weak plot aside, I found this one brought a lot of things that I enjoyed to the table. Kind of corny name and vague origins and goals aside, I think SpaceGodzilla is one of Godzilla's best enemies. His power set and crystal motif make him particularly formidable in combat, and he definitely made an impression on me. I wouldn't mind seeing him getting a second chance in a future film somewhere down the line. I liked G-Force's MOGUERA too. Its a very well-rounded anti-Kaiiju mech with a great array of weaponry, and the ability to transform into Land Moguera and Star Falcon is a neat one as well. I honestly prefer him to this era's Mechagodzilla, and in general he's one of my favorite anti-Kaiju weapons. Oh, and Little Godzilla is kinda cute too; quite a bit cartoony, but much easier on the eyes than Minilla ever was in my view. As far as fight scenes go, I liked the final battle in a crystal-infected Fukuoka. The bizarrely altered city-scape makes for an interesting fighting arena, one that SpaceGodzilla fully turns to his advantage.
All in all, 3/5. Not great, barely even good, but I enjoyed it well enough that I'd probably watch it again if I felt like it.
Okay, I’ll confess upfront that this wasn’t really a proper full viewing. I started watching this movie when Netflix had it up, but then they took it down before I could finish it.
Which is just as well for me. Because I really, really did not like this movie, to the point where I honestly had no desire to finish it anyway. I know this is kind of a fandom cliché at this point, but I mean it when I say that this movie is absolutely awful.
Not for "Godzilla", though. Zilla is actually one of the few things about that movie that I actually liked, believe it or not. Yeah, he's a far cry from the real deal, but I think he's a solid monster in his own right. No, my problems lay with pretty much everything else in the movie outside of the soundtrack. It was just so grating to sit through. Every time one of the characters opened their mouths it just...it made me cringe, really. This is the first movie that I'd ever describe as "cringey". And it makes me appreciate the Series a whole lot more now, because the characters were actually fun and cool there.
Honestly, I think what sealed the deal for me was when Animal's wife calls him a "retard". Now maybe this just me being overly sensitive as somebody on the Autism spectrum, but I have a very, very intense dislike of that word and how it's been hijacked. It outright borders on hatred. And I think that was the point where I decided that I did not enjoy this movie and I wanted no further viewing of it.
It does have some good moments. David Arnold's score is good, and the helicopter and submarine scenes are pretty solid action segments. But on the whole, it was just not worth it for me. I'm sorry, but I heavily disagree with the stance that "it's a bad Godzilla movie but a decent monster movie on it's own". No, I found it to just be painful on almost all fronts.
1/5. I'd give it a flat-out zero, but I figured I'd be nice and give it the extra point for the soundtrack and for the awesome TV series that rose from its foul wake.
Godzilla: The Series (1998-2000)
Up from the depths of G98's awfulness comes what many agree to be one of the best Godzilla installments period. What a redemption!
I have no idea what kind of magic the writers cast on the TriStar 'verse, because everything about this show just works. The returning characters from G98 are decidedly less annoying and much more likable, and the new characters are great. They all are solidly written and their differing personalities bounce off each other with entertaining–and occasionally amusing–results.
Godzilla–and yes, I will be referring to him as "Godzilla"–is great. He's literally the same species as Zilla, but his added atomic breath, greater resiliency, and just being more of a fighter make him more than deserving of the Godzilla name. His relationship with Niko Tatopoulos is pretty sweet too, and I like how they have their bond while Goji is decidedly not a pet.
The roster of monster foes faced throughout the series are fantastic. Each is memorable and unique in their own ways, and there's almost always some new and cool concept brought to the table in each episode.
Also I like the idea behind of Cameron Winter. I wouldn't mind seeing a Lex Luthor-esque human villain again.
My only complaint? It ended too soon and kind of fizzled out instead of getting a big finale. Aside from that little disappointment, this is a great entry in the franchise. I heartily give it a 5/5.
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999)
I like to refer to this one as "Godzilla lite"; it's pretty much everything about the Godzilla franchise simplified and wrapped up in one movie. Military battles, scientific discoveries, alien invasions, kaiju fights, and of course Godzilla himself. Not to say that the "Godzilla lite" moniker is really bad. I wouldn't consider this a great Godzilla movie, but I think it's a good one in its own way, especially as a return-to-form following the horrendous 1998 film that preceded it, and I honestly think it makes a good "gateway" movie for newcomers to the franchise.
The plot and human characters are fairly simple. Nothing particularly challenging is brought to the table, but at the same time the story and characters are easy enough to follow. By far the most interesting things about the movie are its reveal of Organizer/Regenerator-G1 as the key to Godzilla's incredible healing abilities (at least for this incarnation anyway), and of course the movie's main antagonist: Orga. I actually quite like Orga, both as a monster and in its original form as an ominous alien presence. The Millennian alien's appearance is pretty unique among the franchise's roster of extraterrestrial invaders; it's one of the few to bear a decidedly non-humanoid form, a welcome change from past invaders.
And of course mention must be given to the ever-popular "Godzilla 2000" design, a very–at the time, anyway–different take on the classic Godzilla look in both color scheme and its jagged appearance, while still being faithful to the familiar silhouette. I prefer the classic colors myself, but it's a great design all the same.
Final score is a 3.5/5. It's not a prize winner, but it's good enough and I enjoyed it.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)
I've heard beforehand from multiple people that this one is the weakest of the Millennium era, and my viewing of the film proved them right. It wasn't really a bad movie, per say. It just felt, except for a few key elements, a bit bland.
Having watched Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla some time prior to this some time ago, I can't help but notice the glaring similarities between Akane Yashiro of the former and Kiriko Tsujimori of this movie. Both are women in the military who lost a beloved superior officer to Godzilla, and hold a grudge against him as a result. Considering that this movie was made by pretty much the same people, it almost borders on self-plagiarism, although I think that GXMG handled the whole thing better with Akane. Also, in regards to the death of Tsujimori's superior, let's be honest; that whole scene of the JSDF facing Godzilla in 1996 is dumb. The idea of only sending something like 12 soldiers armed with rocket launchers against a creature who's already proven to be resistant to heavy artillery fire is completely laughable; is it any wonder the mission was a complete failure? I'm not sure what to think of Hajime Kudo. He seems okay, I guess, but I'm not exactly sure why the G-Graspers would bring on a self-trained civilian mechanic and inventor to work on something as complex as a black hole generator. And his software repair program, styled in a chibi version of Tsujimori, felt unfunny at best and stalker-ish at worst. On a more positive note, I admire his dedication to fix the Dimension Tide's programming when it goes haywire, doing the whole job with a fractured arm. His curry-on-rice microbot magic trick at the beginning was pretty cool too, and I really don't get why his young audience wasn't more impressed by the mechanics of the trick. The G-Graspers themselves, apart from their Griffon VTOL fighter craft, which I thought was pretty cool, feel quite cheap compared to the various other anti-kaiju agencies of the franchise. Their labs are single-room and very compartmentalized, and it almost reminded me of the "showroom" laboratory seen in Jurassic Park. I do like their vibrant blue-and-black uniforms, though.
I think my biggest problem with the movie is that the Meganula swarm, and indeed, Megaguirus herself, feel a bit more like a minor inconvenience in regards to the rest of the story. Megaguirus herself doesn't show up until towards the end of the movie, and once she's disposed of by Godzilla, she and her brood are almost instantly forgotten. A more accurate title might be "Godzilla vs. a Black Hole Gun (co-starring Megaguirus)". The majority of the film seems to revolve around trying to get the Dimension Tide black hole generator working enough to kill Godzilla. And really, while a black hole gun sounds awesome on paper–and just in general–it actually strikes me as a bit overkill, even for Godzilla.
The above being said, this movie wasn't without its enjoyable factors.
The Meganulon get a visual upgrade from their first appearance in 1956's Rodan (film), and an adult form in the Meganula. I quite like both creatures, and I wish that they had more to do in the film overall, like more scenes of them facing the JSDF in the flooded streets of Tokyo. They already proved to be quite scary under the right circumstances, particularly when one of them slaughters an unsuspecting teenage couple in one of the most brutal scenes put to Godzilla film. I also quite liked Megaguirus herself. Her design is suitably menacing, and she has quite the personality to boot. She seems to relish in tormenting Godzilla with her speed and agility, and outright smiles when she drops a chunk of building on top of his head. My only complaint is that she has very stiff movements, and it's a bit disappointing. The fight scenes in general, both Godzilla vs. the Meganula swarm and later Megaguirus herself, are entertaining to watch, and are undoubtably the best parts of the film. Highlights include Godzilla shearing off one of Megaguirus's claws with his spines, Megaguirus pulling an ever-hard-to-come-by kaiju jump scare, and Godzilla bodyslamming Megaguirus in one of the most comically awesome moments since Godzilla vs. Megalon's infamous tail-slide-kick. Michiru Oshima's score, while not as good as that of her later works in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. is nonetheless very well done and quite memorable.
All in all, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus does have its enjoyable moments, but the film as a whole is just so-so at best.
I didn't really expect to like this film as much as I did. Going into it with what I knew about it, what with the more mystical take on Godzilla and all, I thought I was going to see it and be like "Eh. It's okay, but it's not really my thing”. Surprise of surprises, I actually really enjoyed it. In fact, I think it's one of my favorite movies in the franchise now. GMK truly does live up to it's reputation. The story, as radical a reinterpretation as it is, works quite well, and the theme of Japan forgetting or trying to ignore it's past were intriguing and well-done. I think displaying it in almost every teenager in the movie being a disrespectful, shop-looting, dog-drowning jerkwad might have been pushing it just a bit, but other than that, I like what they were going for with this one (side note, one teen girl's musings if Godzilla would make a good pet–just before he makes landfall outside during a storm–gave me a chuckle).
Godzilla's design in this movie is absolutely fantastic, and his blank white eyes really drive home his more demonic nature in this film. I'm not too keen on how short and thin his tail is, or how almost cartoonishly large his feet are, but other than that it's one of my favorite looks, and I think it's a better "scary Godzilla look" than Shin's "Godzilla but he looks like a zombie" appearance. Baragon's visual upgrade is great as well, and his new roar is quite memorable. Kind of a pity they forewent his fire-breathing/heat ray abilities; he might have lasted a bit longer against Godzilla had he had it. I love the new purple highlights on Mothra's eyes and wings, and I honestly wish they'd bring that color scheme back in a future movie. Her ability to shoot stingers from her abdomen was pretty cool, and it’s a range-attack that I wouldn’t mind seeing used again in the future. Ghidorah is kind of the problem child of this movie; the other two we can buy as guardian monsters, but then we see this guy, typically Godzilla's greatest enemy, as a good guy, and it gets a little weird. Once I was able to stop thinking about it and just enjoy his role for what it was, though, I didn't have too much of a problem with it. I like his roar in this movie; a nice update of the classic "BIDIDIDIDIDI" that we all know and love.
As for my other thoughts, I think I would have liked to know a bit more about these other monster sightings that are mentioned at the beginning, aside from the obvious–and amusing–jab at the 1998 "Godzilla". Kow Otani's soundtrack is absolutely gorgeous; a brilliant blend of orchestra and electronic music that gives the film a score that sounds both high-tech and ethereal all at once. It's absolutely beautiful, and I could listen to it all day. I liked the relationship between Yuri and her father, Admiral Tachibana. They hit a few rough spots over the course of the movie, but it's clear that they love each other, and I like to see good familial relationships like that in movies. I’m a sentimental dork, I know.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie in spite of its more radical reinterpretations of its kaiju characters, and I definitely see why it's liked as much as it is.
I must stress first of all that no matter what I may have come to think of this film since its release, it still holds a very special place in my heart. It came out at a time when my interest in Godzilla was still very new, and I think it's one of the things that helped cement me as a fan, and I'll be forever thankful for it for that alone. I still remember watching it in theaters back in 2014 with wide eyes.
So what do I think of it now? Well, I don't think it's a bad movie, but it has waned on me as time goes on.
First let's start with the problems, most of which everybody will agree on by now. This movie has a problem with cutting away from the action just when it seems like things are getting good. I can kind of forgive it in the first Honolulu scene, but after that it just became kind of annoying. I also agree with the complaints that Joseph Brody was killed off way too soon, and that he was the best character of the movie, possibly even better. Although in fairness to this, what could he have really contributed to the plot after finding out what Monarch was up to? And yeah, Ford Brody ain't exactly the most compelling protagonist in the world. Not the worst, but there are certainly better leads out there.
So that's the bad stuff. Now let's get to the good, because there's a lot about the movie that I still like after all this time.
First there's Godzilla himself. He may not have had the most screen time in this movie, but whenever he's on screen he utterly dominates everything else. His entrance at Honolulu is, in my opinion, one of the greatest scenes and build ups in the franchise's history, even more so when you consider that it's his big comeback after the full decade since Godzilla: Final Wars back in 2004. His design is fantastic, new but reverent to the classic, and is one of the best looks for the character ever put to film in my opinion, and the addition of the 1954-style spines in 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters made it look even better. And his roar...utterly fantastic. Like the design it's obviously new, but very clearly the roar of the King of Monsters that we all know. I also appreciate the new backstory, being that he's the last of an ancient species of organisms that fed on atomic radiation millions of years ago. It's a great way to keep the nuclear connections without him being a straight-up mutant.
And then there's the MUTOs. I've heard complaints about them, and to be fair they do look a bit basic. But I liked them a lot. In particular I liked their parasitic relationship to Godzilla's species. Having a creature adapted specifically to hunt and kill Godzilla and others like him is a really great idea, and they certainly proved themselves to be formidable threats, both to Godzilla and to humanity with their EMP attacks.
I must also give props to the special effects. I know that Godzilla's known for the classic suitmation stuff, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. But the kaiju in this movie are rendered with this great sense of scale and weight that it almost feels like they're really there. For the first time ever I actually felt like Godzilla and his monster brethren were real creatures that I could touch if I reached through the screen.
I'd also like to compliment Alexandre Desplatt's musical score and it's dark, ominous tone. Not the best in the franchise, but great stuff nonetheless.
Oh, and the atomic breath scene. And the so-called "Kiss of Death". Absolutely glorious.
So all in all, Godzilla 2014 may have waned on me as the years have gone on, more so after the release of King of the Monsters, but it's a film that I'll always cherish.
Okay. Before I go any further I will acknowledge that this is a very flawed movie on a cinematic level, more so than 2014. In spite of whatever gushing comes next I won't pretend it doesn't have its problems. The special effects are average to sub-par, the pacing is weird in places, some of the characters could have really used some work, certain bits of fan service like the Shobijin and especially the Oxygen Destroyer come out of nowhere and without any build-up, and there are a few moments of comic relief that really should have been left out.
So yeah, I can totally get why people don't like this movie. In another world I might not have either.
But I do. A lot. I absolutely love this movie, and no matter what problems I have with it I ended up leaving the theaters back in 2019 a very happy fan.
I actually liked the film's story, and I liked how instead of running with the "humans are evil and the world would be better off without us" or whatever, it actually shows the radical environmentalists as just as bad as people who recklessly abuse the planet and its resources, and generally pushes for a more balanced viewpoint. I liked that. And I also just found it so satisfying to see Emma Russell realize that she dun goofed upon realizing that her "save the earth" scheme is actually going to get it annihilated. I'm also alright with the idea that the Titans have beneficial effects on the environment, even if the whole radiation explanation is a bit wonky; it's a neat departure from the classic depictions of kaiju as mere destructive forces and fits in with the whole "monster ecosystem" that the MonsterVerse is going for.
I thought the characters were fine for the most part. I'm not too fond of Emma as a whole but I did like the idea behind her. I think my two favorites of the new characters were Mark and Madison Russell; I legit felt sorry for Mark and everything he'd gone through and genuinely wanted him to get a happy ending, and I quickly warmed up to Madison's spunk. It also helps that, aside from Dr. Serizawa, she's probably the smartest person in the whole movie. Speaking of Serizawa, he steals the show every time he talks once again, and his sacrifice to save Godzilla is absolutely gut-wrenching to watch. Ilene Chen is alright, even if I think her reveal as one of the MonsterVerse's Shobijin was a bit unnecessary, and I hope she gets more development in later films. I've kind of softened up on Rick Stanton's snarky personality, whereas by contrast I honestly think Sam Coleman is just annoying and unnecessary. Speaking of which, I'm not sure why such focus was given to those three military guys. They barely show up in the movie at all, and in my mind the movie wouldn't have lost much without them.
The returning Toho monsters are absolutely phenomenal. For the first time in a while I felt like Ghidorah was a credible threat and not just some alien's mind-controlled pawn. A lot of focus is given to him, and rightfully so. His design is gorgeous, and his new ability to regrow severed body parts and generate storms make him more formidable than ever before. Rodan's new look is a great update of the classic, and I find it kind of funny that he's now a literal "fire Rodan". And then there's Mothra; suffice it to say, this was the movie that made me give her a second look, because she's great here, both in design, new bioluminescent abilities, and her new relationship with Godzilla.
Special mention to the new Titans as well: Behemoth, Scylla, and Methuselah. They're all great designs and welcome additions to the kaiju roster, and I hope that potential future MonsterVerse movies show more of them and their brethren.
Bear McCreary's soundtrack is absolutely divine, beautifully updating Godzilla and Mothra's classic themes while bringing a host of new ones to the musical table. It's an absolute joy to listen to, and one of the best Godzilla OSTs ever produced. I think Ifukube would be proud.
I won't lie, this movie's rough around the edges. I do think there are good arguments for the stance that it isn't a good one. But as for me, I thoroughly loved it; it was the American Godzilla movie I've always wanted. I wholeheartedly enjoy it, and I can't wait for when Godzilla vs. Kong comes out...and hopefully improves on this movies errors as well.
Godzilla Related Projects
A personal endeavor to take the plot of Godzilla: King of the Monsters and improve it in my own little way, fixing what was weak, improving what was already good, and generally making little changes that I felt would either benefit the story or that I just felt like making.
I ran the plot of KOTM through Botnik. This is what it gave back. Nonsensical comedy to follow.