GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA

(2002)
(Japanese Title: Gojira tai Mechagojira, Gojira X Mechagojira)
With Yumiko Shaku, Shin Takuma, Kana Onodera, Kumi Mizuno
Directed by Maasaki Tezuka
Reviewed by JB

This review is based on the English-dubbed version of the film.

You can'tspell Yumiko without "Yumi!"     Yet another direct sequel to 1954's GOJIRA, GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (the fourth matchup between these two, by my count) is short on plot, a little skimpy on action and a little too heavy on cute characters whom you are supposed to go all gooey over.  Nevertheless, it is a fun, fast-moving entry into the series.

    Still, fast-moving and fun doesn't mean plausible.  In an effort to destroy Godzilla once and for all, Japanese scientists come up with Mechagodzilla, a giant Godzilla-like robot whose brain is run by Godzilla's own DNA (right there, you know things are going to go bad).  Built into Mecha-G are many weapons that will annoy and irritate Godzilla, along with one weapon - your basic freeze ray - that will probably kill him.  So why do all the people running Mechagodzilla insist of shooting all those missiles and rockets at Godzilla before using the freeze ray?  Why do they insist on a course of action that is guaranteed to create for devastation for Tokyo, when all they need to do is freeze the Big Guy and then blow him to bits?  Twice in the film they have the opportunity to turn Godzilla into a jolly green Popsicle, and twice they insist of using all their other weapons first.  And why even create a Mechagodzilla when you can just load up tanks and trucks with the freeze ray?  It doesn't make sense, and it is such a stupid, poorly thought out plan of attack that I couldn't help but switch my allegiance to Godzilla halfway through the battle.

    The plot boils down to this: Godzilla arises from the sea and scientists create Mechagodzilla to defeat him.  The first attempt doesn't work out so well, so they tinker with Mechagodzilla's software and try again.  That's it.

    As for cute characters you are supposed to go all gooey over, we have three in this film: Tokumitsu, a likable scientist with awkward social skills; his daughter Sara, a cute kid who is still sad over the loss of her mother, and Akane, a pretty pilot who is outcast by her peers who blame her for the deaths of several comrades.  The story involving these three characters is not exactly riveting (he likes her, his daughter likes her, she slowly warms up to them both), but it is nicely played out and helps give a human element to the plot.  My one problem is the voice of the little girl Sara, as well as the voices of any other children in the film.  They are all obviously dubbed by adults, a poor choice in light of the rest of the above-average dubbing for most of the other characters.

    Kumi Mizuno, who appeared in several of the 1960s Godzilla movies as well as many other Japanese films of that period, has a small part as the Japanese Prime Minister.  After a few scenes, a new Prime Minister is elected, leaving me to believe that they could only get Mizuno for a couple of days.  A nice, if unrewarding bit of stunt-casting for one of my favorite Toho actresses.  There is also a third Godzilla in this film - Baseball star Hideki Matsui, soon to be a New York Yankee, makes two cameo appearances in the film as himself.  In real life, his nickname in Japan was "Gojira".  3 - JB.

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