Godzilla Countdown: Day 6

Second to last day and I'm just tired. Pity that I had to get to this point during the 90's movies, but there you go. I'm gonna just power through these last two days and try to make succinct entries, more than I had, but I don't know.

I spoke to someone who saw gino 2 yesterday, some sort of thing because he works at a theatre I guess. Says it ignores the first movie altogether, some other stuff. Its not looking real good. I don't think this is going to end well.

19. Godzilla vs. Mothra • ゴジラ vs. モスラ (1992)
The decision was made, eventually, to reinvent another of the classic monsters, however this time around the twist isn't a new origin but a subversion of the story structure of a Mothra movie by adding a second, black Mothra. The original idea was that the egg hatched into twins just like it did in the Showa universe, but one of them came out a mutant called "Gigamoth." A few drafts later and Gigamoth changed from a mutant to an opposite Mothra that was supposed to be that way, a yin to Mothra's yang. It also changed its name to Battra, and that's where we come in.

This time around they get much closer to giving an origin to Mothra, very close. They state that Battra was "created by the Earth" because it was angry. Mmkay, so was Mothra as well? The Cosmos don't say. Who are the Cosmos? That's the name of the "Shobijin" in this movie, which is great, because "Shobijin" was never their actual name, it's just a nickname for the fairies, so it doesn't contradict anything. They tell us that they exist to help keep in Earth in balance and harmony and all the rest. Almost literal Gaia theory has been a pretty common theme in these fi- no, this genre, ever since the original Mothra. It was really well developed in the Heisei Gamera trilogy, which I've mentioned before was a thing I was into in high school when I was a stupid teenager. The idea was there's a special kind of energy generated by the biosphere or something called "mana," which powers Gamera and Gyaos. The Mothra version is still more mystical, with the living-Earth or Gaia energy not only being used to simply power monsters, but intentionally create them. The Cosmos, then, is the actual will of the Earth. They measure when something is off balance, and the Earth reacts when they can tell something is off. Its still fantasy stuff, but there's a clearly internal logic to it now than there had been before.

Like the difference between the Showa and Heisei Godzilla being traced back to a single divergence point, in this timeline Infant Island is uninhabited, having its advanced civilization destroyed by Battra 12,000 years ago, so there's not really anybody to treat the Cosmos or Mothra like deities. Other than this the circumstances regarding Mothra are the same as they were in the Showa series, as the egg that hatches into Mothra was actually buried underground and is older than the original original Mothra. Here, an ancient Mothra died in a battle with Battra, and this affected the first Mothra from the Showa films but not the egg the twins hatched from. Perhaps Battra actually is still a mutated Mothra ala Gigamoth, mutated by the Earth's will, and a much earlier hatched version of the first Showa Mothra. There's definitely a straight line connecting the two continuities, though, and this is the second time that has happened... remember that.

The non-Godzilla Rebirth of Mothra trilogy can tell us a little more. In this series there's a third fairy, here called the "Elias," and each has a more or less distinct personality, they're not triplets. Also, for the first time, we actually get to see the origin of Mothra. We aren't told why they're there, but we see three larval "Primitive Mothras" with an armored carapace. Much smaller than normal, but still in the vicinity of kaiju-sized, these things show up during the futurian Mothra's battle with Cretaceous Ghidorah, i.e. a time when the Earth's balance was under threat. So throughout the different timelines we get a little piece of the puzzle, and putting them all together gives us a clearer picture of just exactly what Mothra is.

This film, the previous one, and the next one are curious watching just a few days after the 60's "golden era" films. They've brought back Akira Ifukube to score the films, and a lot of the scores are previously composed pieces. They also brought back series regulars like Kenji Sahara and Akira Takarada, not to mention the return of monsters like Mothra and Rodan. Combined with the modern effects and settings, these movies feel like a second golden age. And, really, that are. Back then the Heisei films were legendary, fantastic powerhouses that would blow you away. You would see these incredible photos in G-Fan and read about them having Ifukubue music scoring this wicked radical film where there's an evil Mothra, or a cyborg King Ghidorah, or this weird blue monster that looks like Godzilla with crystals, and it was incredible. It took me so long to track these things down, and I finally got to watch them (except Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II) in their original forms, subbed, after finding them in a specialty rental place in Austin. I'm not exaggerating when I say that each one became my favroite movie after I saw it the first time. Even Space Godzilla. Really. They were so new and incredible, and it's not just that, they felt like the classic Godzilla movies but with cool new twists and designs. The whole thing was just a wonderland. We called it: the Kaiju Renaissance. Monster movies returned with a vengeance and the 90's was an incredible time to be a part of the fandom, where the frustration of the difficulty of getting a hold of these films was worth it, and their rarity hung over your head like a cloud of awesomeness just waiting to zap you with its bad ass computer-aided beam weapons.

Of course, they haven't maintained that level of mind-blowing-ness after all this time... all this time... it still feels weird to me to think that the 90's are in the past. It feels like barely any time passed at all, but it just slipped away from me. Re-watching these all has never given me such a rush of nostalgia as it has before now, the time of Barry's Temple of Godzilla and Conster and Ramsin Tamaraz and Queen Ghidorah and that one site with the Space Godzilla cartoons and the organic Gigans that was weird, or rc2000 and his cool fanfics. Or the real Monster Zero. Most of these are gone, now. G-Fan sold out to hollywood's machine, but it still technically exists, if anyone cares. The days of mystery and the unknown are long gone, and the initial sense of wonder I got from these films has dissipated as well, but watching them now I can at least remember the time when this was new and exciting stuff. The new Godzilla movies, the kaiju renaissance, the kind of stuff I lived for.

20. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II • ゴジラ vs. メカゴジラ (1993)
Artificial life vs. Natural life. The stated theme of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, literally stated out loud by one of the human characters at the end. This film was an instant classic from day one. After Godzilla vs. Destroyah left the theaters, G-Fan magazine did a reader poll, where one of the questions was which of the new Heisei Godzilla films was your favroite, and this one beat out even Godzilla vs. Biollante. It's true! I still have the issue lying around here somewhere. The theme revolves around the UNGCC's efforts to get rid of Godzilla by exploiting Baby Godzilla, finding a weakness to take advantage of with a bunch of mechanical super weapons made from the reverse engineered futurian technology. This is where Miki starts to think that maybe things have gone a little off the rails and she's not sure if she's on the right side or not. This is the beginning of Miki's internal crisis which isn't resolved until Destroyah, and its also the first time we meet Junior. Junior is a very important monster.

The UNGCC (United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center) is established in 1992, shortly after the events of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, which is an expansion of the JSDF's investigatory efforts seen in Godzilla vs. Biollante. There's a hell of a lot more going on here, now that the threat of Godzilla is a persistent and, it seems, permanent problem. But now we have an issue because, as an international effort, we're going to have to deal with the most widely spoken language of the first world: English. Oh dear... the English. Now I've looked and I can't find the original versions of Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Destroyah, or Godzilla 2000 anywhere. For the Heisei films that means we don't get to see the end credits (which really upsets me, the end credits of Destroyah are quite moving), but G2k was radically changed, to the point where pieces of the plot have been removed or altered, and that fucking pisses me right the fuck off. We'll get there soon, but I bring it up because it means I'm watching 3/5 of these films dubbed, by the same group of loopers, whi, by virtue of me listening to these same guys voice every Godzilla movie for the past 20 years over and over again (I hadn't grown out of the "again! again!" phase yet), have become just as much stars of these films as Kenji Sahara or Megumi Odaka. What I wasn't prepared for, having not seen the original forms in some time, was that these Heisei movies are filled with gratuitous English, for reasons that only sometimes make sense. The examples in King Ghidorah were mostly harmless, and pretty fun, like Terasawa yelling "go ahead, make my day!" or the undubbed American naval officers (yes... they dubbed over English speaking "gaijin" actors) with a hilarious "gay" lisp. But here people speak in English for whole scenes, whole sequences, even. Now, it's bad, but it's that lovable kind of B-movie bad, which you don't really get to see in Godzilla movies. Sure, we got camp and silliness in the 60's and 70's, but laughable terrible Engrish? No, this is special. And it's even better because it actually makes sense, like I said, that an international anti-Godzilla organization would have a lot of English being thrown around, even if he only ever lands on Japanese soil.

So their big bet this time is Mechagodzilla. Mechagodzilla sounds promising, coated with a special armor made of synthetic diamond which has the ability to absorb Godzilla's heat ray and s- waaaaaiiiiit a minute, didn't we try this exact some thing already? Yep. Didn't work out too well, did it? As I mentioned, Godzilla is an unstoppable force, you can't touch him, and it doesn't matter what the hell it is he'll destroy it eventually. The only time this isn't true is in a timeline we never actually see, the future Emi is originally from. Mecha-King Ghidorah was successful in removing him from the city, which solved the immediate crisis, so it's only natural that the UNGCC would look to that technology for a more permanent solution, but what everyone seems to be forgetting is that even the most technologically advanced cyborg super monster from the future can't survive against Godzilla for more than a few minutes. MKG worked because it got him out of the city, you can't just build something more advanced than something from 2204 and expect it to actually kill him. And here's the thing: it kinda actually works. They find a weakness in the form of an anterior bundle of nerves that, if you're an idiot, you probably think is a second brain. But it does have the effect of disabling Godzilla until Rodan sacrifices himself to revive him. But, um... Godzilla could... he could have done that on his own eventually. And before this Godzilla was royally kicking Mechagodzilla's ass. If Rodan didn't step in, he would have eventually recovered and finished the job. Now, back in the day there was some debate over whether or not Godzilla technically died during this encounter, but ultimately it isn't important, since even if he "died" he would have come back. Godzilla doesn't die that easily, that's that.

Let's talk about Godzilla/Godzillasaurus and some of the weirdness that's been going on for the past few films. Now what we know about Godzillasaurus so far is that it's an amphibious species that hunts underwater and lays its eggs on land, hoping between chains of islands and hiding down in undersea cavern for food and the like. We don't strictly know its diet, but we know it includes fish and sea animals, and was probably an obligate carnivore based on this. What we've never seen evidence for of any kind is that they might be omnivorous, but... apparently they are? That's weird, but what's weirder is when a supposed professor calls them "peaceful herbivores." Right, because there are so many pelagic deep sea animals that eat plants. All those... all those deep sea plants that totally exist. We even see Baby eat a hamburger in the movie, so it's not like they're re-writing history, the guy is just dead wrong. Another weird thing that I haven't touched on yet but I've been meaning to is green blood. It's been in Biollante and King Ghidorah, and shows up here for Rodan. What is this stuff? Godzilla and Rodan aren't xenomorphs, they're animals, ornithodiran archosaurs with normal blood just like you or me. When we saw Godzilla bleed in the 70's his blood was red, so what's going on? I honestly don't have an explanation, but I can tell you that when I was little it didn't bug me. I guess I watched too many Gamera movies back then. Oh hey, look, Space Godzilla has red blood. Oh, I get it, this is opposite world.

Last thing to get into for now is Rodan. This Rodan is a direct descendent of Pteranodons, and I personally am fond of the genus name "Pteradon" (wing tooth... because Rodan has teeth, see?) for Rodan. We know they are related to Pteranodons because we see the fossils on the island. Okay... maybe that's a stretch in the real world, but it's a pretty logical conclusion to make for a movie like this. People seem to dislike this Rodan because it's only a marionette, but I don't really have a problem with it. This Rodan is still larger than the original, and it wasn't continuously exposed to more modern nuclear energy by morons who think they don't exist even though they remember them. Rodan's original films made him cool because of his speed and ability to fly, when you got him cornered he wasn't that tough and could be killed by lava, but zipping around at mach 5 made him the fastest thing in the world and he could tear you to pieces and you won't even see him coming. Rather than beef up Rodan to match Godzilla, they kept him in line with his strengths, and so we get what for our purposes is a Showa monster fighting a Heisei super-robot with his own means. I think it's cool and a nice change of pace.

21. Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla • ゴジラ vs. スペースゴジラ (1994)
Ugh. I like all Godzilla movies in their own way, but this one is just... hmm. I have to admit that didn't have such a violent reaction seeing it this time around, but I certainly didn't enjoy it, although how much of that blame lies on the shoulders of the dub is probably debatable. As I said, when I saw it for the first time, in its original form, I was a pretty big fan. The real problem though is that this movie breaks away from the previous three, all of which feature classic monsters, twists on older films, and scores of classic (and sometimes new) Ifukubue themes. They instead opted for fresh blood, new composer to the series Takayuki Hattori and new director Kensho Yamashita. Hattori's music isn't really bad or anything, but the difference between this and GvsMGII is only amplified by the lack of it. The director, on the other hand...

So the story goes that Biollante's cells got sucked into a black hole or something and fused with a "crystalline lifeform" that is theorized to exist but is never seen. I always thought this monster seemed really cool as a kid, it was the 90's and crystal were the shit, you might even say they are hella tight. Oh snap, crystals are all that and a bag of chips. Talk to the hand, girlfriend, because the crystal doesn't understand. Also, in those days the notion of a Godzilla from space, forming a triumvirate with Mechagodzilla, with a bunch of weird new-agey powers like crystal missiles fired with telekinesis, was really, really cool. I still think the crystal angle is pretty neat, and I do think a "Godzilla from space" has a lot of potential, but this monster just screams lazy. Lazy and stupid. And evil too, did I mention that? Space Godzilla is like a weirdo creepy pedophile or something. The hell is that about? Godzilla's not evil, Biollante's not evil, so where'd this come from? I will say that he's a hell of a fun character to play as in the Atari games, though.

So Moguera's back. He's never been in a Godzilla movie before, so he's new for our purposes. Why Mogeura and not... really anything else? Because Koichi Kawakita really likes him. The Mysterians was his favroite Toho monster flick as a kid, and now that he's working as the head sfx director on their flagship series, he of course had to bring Moguera back. I don't really get his infatuation with the monster, but the fact that an ascended fan gets to do something awesome like that is, well, awesome. But I'll be honest, Moguera sucks. His special power is getting knocked over really fast. He's pretty intimidating in Justirisers, though, a series with special effects from Kawakita of course, but then in Sazer-X they start making a lot more and he becomes canon fodder again. Hmm.

I know why Moguera was used in the real world, but what's the fictional justification for it? Mechagodzilla worked better than it had any right to, just streamline the thing in order to get rid of Godzilla faster, and you'll suffer less damage and can repair the thing every once in a while instead of having to just scrap it. But I know the reason for it, it's because they're fucking stupid. Miki knows this. There are two competing projects on how to deal with Godzilla now, Project M, which is Moguera, and Project T, which is even more ridiculous. Miki refuses to take part in Project M because the intent is to kill Godzilla which a.) isn't gonna happen and b.) because "you stupid men are all the same! All you ever think about is fighting!." Bad dubbed line aside she has a point, and in this timeline we never see any of the convoluted plans after Biollante, instead treating Godzilla like a nail to which the only solution is to keep hitting it with a rubber ducky. Oh, and by the way, Major Kuroki's idea actually worked, and his crazy idea was to make him sick. In lieu of that, Miki joins Project T, which intends to use an amplifier to increase her telepathic powers to the point where she can actually control Godzilla with her mind. Now look, if anyone is going to accomplish that it's Miki, but come on, you want to push Godzilla? Fuck off. On Birth Island, where the operation is supposed to take place, they meet this other weirdo, Colonel Gondo's friend who's sworn revenge on Godzilla and plans to kill him with a, get this "blood coagulate" fired at Godzilla in a bullet, a homemade bullet built from, I guess, whatever material he found on an island inhabited only by two Godzillas. Look pal, it doesn't matter if you put the fucking Oxygen Destroyer in that bullet, if a god damned tank can't pierce Godzilla's hide, what chance do you have with a bullet? OH HOLY FUCK. The pilot of the Super-X 3 is motherfucking Major Kuroki. Oh my god. OH MY GOD. O_O I fucking told you that Kuroki got shit done. Shit, I wonder if there's any other recurring Heisei characters I haven't noticed before.

Speaking of dummies, director Kensho Yamashita is a guy who makes romantic comedies. Whyyyy is he directing Godzilla? I have no answers, but what I do know is that this movie has a goofy romantic subplot between Miki and... some fucking guy. He's not a recurring character, he just pilots Moguera for this one movie, and we don't see him at all in the next movie. Hey, I'm not saying don't ever have a little bit of love in a Godzilla movies, it has been done before to great success, so it isn't welcome ever, but its so hamfisted and comes out of nowhere. "Hey, stop thinking about Godzilla and start thinking about love." Fuck you, some guy, that's Miki Saegusa you're talking to, she doesn't just "think" about Godzilla. Miki's powers increase drastically over the course of the film, because of the power of love? Probably because she's steadily become more powerful as the series progressed. Before she could just sense where Godzilla was, but now, at the climax of Space Godzilla, she can communicate telepathically, see through other people's eyes, and use telekinesis all at the same time.

22. Godzilla vs. Destroyah • ゴジラ vs. デストロイア (1995)
And here we are, at the death of Godzilla. Throughout this little journal of mine I've talked a lot of Godzilla vs. Biollante, but I haven't focused on this one very much until such time as it came to finally watch it again. There's a good reason for this, though. Godzilla dies. I hope you can appreciate how big of a deal this is.

I was 7 years old when I read in G-Fan that Godzilla was going to die. I was inconsolable. Please try to understand, I wasn't ready yet to hear this. It wasn't so long ago that I had lost Danny, and now, it seemed that I was going to lose what I had left of him. I hadn't even seen all the Heisei films yet and already the whole thing was just over. The idea made a lot of sense for Toho at the time, it was just after the 40th anniversary, and with news of an American Godzilla movie on the way, they had been planning on doing this since Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. Tanaka and Ifukube were getting older, and ticket sales were dropping off since Godzilla vs. Mothra. Destroyah gave dignity and closure to the monster, a final send off for anyone involved, opened up the way for a new beginning, and put butts in seats. Looking back on it now, and the incredibly brief "retirement" that followed, it seems almost absurd to think that anyone could think of this as the end of the world, but at the time it really was the end, and I had only just started.

The film is once again a "direct" sequel to the original, the third time this has happened. Momoko Kochi reprises her role from the first movie, which is awesome. Of course Miki returns as well, along with Kenji Sahara's General character (who's name is Aso, something I've always forgotten/not cared about), and as I mentioned in the last section Major Kuroki from Godzilla vs. Biollante returns as well, something I only just noticed watching it this time around. We also are introduced to two new human characters, and while I haven't talked much about the human characters so far, these two deserve special mention because they piss me off. Meru Ozawa, a psychic who studied in America, has some sort of abilities, but we're never given a thorough rundown of what they are. Based on what we see in the film she's maybe equal to Miki when she was just starting out. She starts out as a new member of the team and a kind of trainee/pal of Miki's they can through casual dialogue off of, said dialogue reveals that Miki's powers are fading, and she feels like she's coming to an end of an era now with her work on Godzilla, that it's probably time for her to move on. Meru, we find out, doesn't want her powers at all, she just wants to be "normal" and get married and pop out babies for the rest of her life. She also comes up with the plan to endanger Junior's life in order to get Godzilla to fight Destroyah. It's not a terrible plan, but it reveals that she has no respect for the lives of the Godzillas, something that Miki, and myself, find appalling.

The other new guy is Kenichi Yamane, the son of Dr. Yamane's (of the original film) adopted son, the one who lost his family in Godzilla's Odo Island attack who we see hanging around the Yamane house for the rest of the movie. This guy starts off as a college student who writes a technical paper on Godzilla, gets laughed at, then grabs the attention of America's UNGCC branch, and agrees to join G-Center based solely off of the fact that Miki Saegusa is there... sound familiar? Sound like anyone who might know? Godzilla movies have always been ensemble pieces, without a singular human protagonist but rather multiple, usually otherwise unremarkable people, coming together in the face of great threats from unstoppable forces. Godzilla vs. Destroyah is no different, but this young Yamane kid is interesting because he is THE audience sympathy character, he is everyone watching this movie. He's you. The last time this happened was in All Monsters Attack, so I naturally instantly like this guy, not just because I'm supposed to, but because I know he's there for me to relate to, and just having that kind of character in there is awesome. Where this character falls apart is... well, almost immediately. Once again Miki seems to be the only person with a conscious, and all Yamane can think about is killing Godzilla. Now having said this I can't really blame either of these two, because Godzilla's meltdown does threaten just a little thing we call the entire planet Earth.

But let's talk about Destroyah first. It's obviously a nod to Hedorah, with an almost exactly the same progression of forms, and a shared chemical nature that makes them both deadly to nearly everything on Earth that makes Godzilla look tame. In the beginning of the film we're introduced to Micro-Oxygen, an independently invented way of... erm, shrinking oxygen, which has potential benefits in food production, and could avoid shortages due to population growth in the future. The Oxygen Destroyer has never really had a very clear explanation, having something to do with a form of energy or something, which I never really cared about since the mechanics of a weapon that is more dangerous than nuclear weapons isn't something I really want to hear that someone might now how it would work, even if it's just in monster movie logic. Micro-Oxygen doesn't really seem to be related at all, though, and though we're told that construction of a second Oxygen Destroyer is possible, though not easy, one gets the impression that to do this we'd be working off of a tangent in only loosely related territory. Also, we've skipped the weaponized phase straight to the point where the discovery can be beneficial to mankind, and going backwards from there goes against everything that Dr. Serizawa sacrificed himself for. What at least seems to be happening, based on the fact that measuring Micro-Oxygen can be used to track Destroyah, is that Micro-Oxygen can be created by the same process that killed Godzilla, and is probably just a stepping stone to destroying it altogether. Afterall, Destroyah does breath some oxygen. We're told that the monster began life as a microscopic arthropod living in the soil of Tokyo bay. It has "Precambrian" roots, which I'm assuming means the Ediacaran period, and might be the descendent of something like Parvancorina... assuming that Parvancorina is even an arthropod. These creatures aren't preserved or anything, they normally are decomposers on the ocean floor that simply don't breathe the same amount of oxygen as other animals, they occupy a specific niche that, while a little odd, is a natural part of their ecosystem that we simply didn't know about before. Exposure to the Oxygen Destroyer turned Tokyo bay into a graveyard devoid of oxygen, and environment that made the little pre-Destroyahs the top predator of their new world, and caused them to develop abnormally, probably even having something to do with the affects of Godzilla's radiation. This cocktail of influences changed them over time until, 42 years later, they become the aggregate monster Destroyah.

So Godzilla dies. It wasn't the Oxygen Destroyer, or Destroyah, probably because having Godzilla be murdered seemed like a shitty idea. Instead Godzilla destroys himself, after pockets of uranium are ignited and Birth Island is destroyed, Godzilla's nuclear reactor heart takes in too much energy and he can't cool down fast enough, causing a runaway fission that will eventually cause him to undergo a literal meltdown. If nothing is done, this meltdown could potentially destroy the entire planet. Again, literally. Now let's talk about Junior. The importance of Junior can not be overstated. Junior isn't like Minilla, Minilla in his first film was at least called Godzilla, but his role was just that of a stupid, ugly, annoying baby, and in AMA it only gets worse, and he is essentially as far removed from actually being Godzilla as you can actually get, to the point where I remember reading various fan theories back in the day that said he wasn't a Godzilla at all but some sort of weird, aberrant creature that superficially resembles one. There is no doubt, though, that Junior is actually Godzilla, and over the course of three films we actually see him grow from a newborn Godzillasaurus, to a Minilla-like child stage, to a sub-adult young Godzilla phase, and finally into a full blown Godzilla. This is the one and only time that there have been two legit Godzillas in a single film, and although Junior isn't fully developed yet, during the battle with the aggregate Destroyah there is no doubt that this is not "Little Minilla-san" but actually Godzilla. We're seeing Godzilla here. This is big because the notion that Junior is now Godzilla himself takes away the sting of Godzilla's death and gives us a continuity, a new beginning, and shows us that even if one Godzilla dies, Godzilla will still be here... until he dies. They didn't put that on the poster, by the way, but Destroyah picks up Godzilla (Junior) and drops him from some height, killing him in the impact. At first it's hard to believe, and I didn't accept what I was seeing. Without any data from a sub-adult Godzilla there's no way of knowing if he is as durable yet, but the expectation is that surely he can't be killed by falling, right? This sequence is so shocking and heartbreaking, and when we see Burning Godzilla's attempt to revive him fail... it starts to set in that this maybe really is the end. The second Godzilla has fucking had it, and he goes critical, obliterating Destroyah (I refuse to acknowledge the ending in the finished film, the real ending is the one where Godzilla kills Destroyah. That's the way it is. Period.) in his all-consuming power and rage, before finally melting down. The Super-X 3 is called in try to minimize the damage, and it seems to work. Tokyo is a lost cause, nothing will be able to live there now, but it seems that thanks to the efforts of Major Kuroki, the entire world will not have to suffer the same fate.

...but then something happens. The radioactivity levels drop, fast. Something is absorbing it, sucking it all up like a sponge. We see at the end that the savior of Tokyo is none other than... Godzilla. I was right, you really can't kill Godzilla so easily, not by dropping him from the air, not even by a complete meltdown, Godzilla has returned and we're going to get a second chance, there will be a new beginning after all. Just as he did before, a new generation of Godzilla will step into the picture and the timeless monster will revive again. The end of Godzilla vs. Destroyah is an emotional roller coaster, watching Godzilla die is difficult, and to this day I am still unable to see it without crying like a little kid. The coda, and the credits, are all handled perfectly, and they bring you home with a powerful sense of closure, a deep appreciation of Godzilla's legacy and how important he is, and finally that the journey's not really over, and as long as there are people who love Godzilla, he can never truly die.

But we'd have to go through hell itself to get there.

22.5. Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley
Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley is a silly commercial by Nike that was also adapted into a comic book by Dark Horse. It's pretty cute, I guess, but you have to know that's not what I'm going to talk about. It's time for me to address ZILLA (1998).

Originally announced in 1994, the film went through several drafts before coming up for filming in 1996, only to be completely scrapped at the last minute and turned into something else. The original idea was, well, a Godzilla movie. A weird one, sure, but not an offensive one in the least. I quite liked the original script, I've read it plenty of times, even did a breakdown board for a project in school. But the story is rather removed from the whole of the Godzilla mythos, and while it hits all the right notes, it ultimately wasn't really something that should have been made under the expectations it had. There are possible parallels here to what's happening now, as it seems that no one in hollywood ever learns from their mistakes.

When the whole thing was rewritten, it was taken over by Dean Devlin and Roland Hitl- whoops, I mean Emmerich. If there is a point where you stop being legally human and stop being protected under the law, this is it. Devlin and Emmerich are the epitome of evil, raw, black-hearted creatures spawned from the very pits of hell themselves. They are monsters, through and through, and they need to be exterminated. They don't deserve to breathe the same air as us humans, they have to be killed. When I think of Dean Devlin, all I can see is blood. These two didn't want to make a Godzilla movie. They don't care about Godzilla, and they don't like any of the movies. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and Godzilla isn't for everyone, people like different things. If Devlin and Emmerich aren't interested in the project, that's fine, I'm sure after the su- wait they're DOING IT ANYWAYS?!

Hey, you know who's the absolute worst possible choice for someone to direct a Star Wars movie? ME! You think George Lucas fucked it up? You people have no idea. You have no idea the kind of hell I could bring down on that franchise. But no one's going to let me destroy Star Wars because that doesn't make any sense to give a movie to someone who actively despises and wants to destroy the very thing they were hired to create. So, of course it makes sense that Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich accepted the opportunity to ruin everything.

They brought up Patrick Tatopolous for the special effects. Tatopolous is a special effects guy, he does special effects for movies, that's the thing that he does, it's his job. He's very, very good at it. Devil and Himlerich asked him to design Godzilla, which confused the fuck out of him. He couldn't understand why he was being asked to design a monster that was 42 years old, and that had an established look. They told him they didn't want an established look, they wanted something completely new. Tatopolous, then, because he was being paid, came up with a creature somewhere between Jurassic Park and Jay Leno, because that's what Devil and Himlerich wanted. Toho... was even more confused. "What is this?" they asked. Devil and Himlerich assured them that Godzilla wouldn't play with modern American audiences, and that a new approach would need to be taken, and the design would have to be altered radically so that it was a shameless ripoff of Jurassic Park. Toho, not wanting to question these big shot hollywood producers who surely know what they're doing, went ahead and gave the experimental idea an okay, a decision that, yeah I'll go there, has a lot to do with the way many Japanese people view the outside world. As in, they think we're too stupid for the real Godzilla because they're xenophobic racist assholes. You could say they were naive, sure... but... no one... no one stopped them? Really? I can understand the headspace they must have been in at the time, I really can, but please remember that Tatopolous showed them Zilla, and they thought it was cool. I can't excuse that.

Tatopolous went on to do great things, like the Underworld and Silent Hill movies, among others, while Devil and Himlerich were laughed out of town and have made one embarrassing piece of shit after another. However, I can't say I'm satisfied until both are murdered in front of their families. Failing that, someone needs to journey to their graves each year and defecate on them. If I'm still around, and I probably wont be, I'll do it myself if I have to. However before the movie came out I knew none of this. All I had was the hype generated by the media and the expectation of getting a big fancy American Godzilla movie. 1996-1998 was a very exciting time for me. I had finally seen all the Heisei Godzilla movies (except GvsMGII) and this film was going to be the brand new beginning I had been anxiously awaiting since I saw Godzilla die. Yep, that's right, when I stepped into the theatre that day with my mom, I leaned over and whispered "remember, the Godzilla in this movie is Junior."

I thought... I thought I was going to see Junior. When the movie was over, I was more confused than anything. I didn't understand that such evil could exist in the world. This is the kind of thing that you only read about in history books. You never see this, as a kid living a comfortable middle class life in the United States you don't see this kind of tragedy... ever. As such there was kind of a mental block for a while. I managed to convince myself that I hadn't seen what I thought I'd just seen, and that I must have missed something. So I... saw it again. That's right, I went back. I got a Zilla toy, and I even had one of those little paperback books for kids that retell a small portion of the plot, specifically about the Baby Zillas, since I was sure that I hallucinated the whole thing. After a while, it started to sink in, and I realized what had just happened, and I was angry.

HATE. Let me tell you how much hate a human being is capable of. Let me tell you about the darkness that hides inside of each of us, clawing at our insides begging to come out and destroy everything around you. Let me just try to describe for you have a 10 year old child can become a Ted Bundy or a Unibomber. I was a nice, sweet kid. Extremely feminine, by the way, in case you missed that, and I was an extremely empathic person who was very passionate about the things I loved. I loved my mom, I loved my sister, I loved my uncle, and I loved Godzilla. I wasn't the kind of kid who bullied or started problems, I just loved my family and my friends and I kept the things that were important to me close to my heart. Some kids had Batman or Transformers but Godzilla was something that's been a part of me all my life, and as I've mentioned, became an inseparable part of me when my uncle died, and I had just watch Godzilla melt in front of my very eyes. I had been angry before, yes, but I was not prepared for the emotions I was now experiencing, and I wanted blood. I wish I could tell you this is an exaggeration, friends, but it's very literal, Devil and Himlerich had to die, it was the only way. I was not, and am not, capable of viewing them as human beings. I do not recognize their right to live. What they have done is inexcusable, and even all these years later, after the damage has been repaired, I refuse to forget. Now don't get me wrong, I'm over it for sure. Zilla can't hurt me anymore, he doesn't have that power, but I refuse to simply forget. I remember what they did to me in 1998, and that's going to be with me forever now. I've never calmed down since, and no one should be allowed to forget the tragedy that took place back then. No one.

23. Godzilla 2000 • ゴジラ 2000: ミレニアム (1999)
I stopped paying attention, the digimon cartoon was on the air and it was the first time I heard about the pendulums. I was in middle school at the time and I fell in love for the first time. I had other things going on in my life now, and the scar Zilla left made it hard to focus as intently on Godzilla as I had before. So the first time I found out about Godzilla 2000 was actually in a little shop I visited from time to time in Austin where I got all my Bandai Godzilla loot, when I saw the figure of the new Godzilla. It was wicked cool, with jagged purple spikes, looking exactly like the kind of awesome, bad ass design you'd expect from the Godzilla of a new millennium.

Godzilla. Was. Back. And this time for real. A direct response to last year's tragedy, Godzilla 2000 was very much like damage control, a way to push something out to fix it as fast as possible. Toho wasn't about to let Godzilla die, and the film, while nothing special, was at the time a revelation and a huge cathartic release for me. It was the first time I ever saw a Godzilla movie in the theatre, a real Godzilla movie, and it legitimized the fandom. Although the same problems we had in the 90's would continue, namely just getting a hold of the damn things as after this none of the following films got the same treatment, they were much easier to come by than they had been, and due to Sony now understanding that Godzilla = money, they didn't leave us hanging for long. I want to mention here that at the time, because I didn't follow the production of the movie in the news, that I had just assumed, like any right thinking person, that the Godzilla in this movie was Junior, for obvious reasons. Junior was the Godzilla of rebirth who represented the indomitable spirit of the monster, also, I had been following Junior for years now and we all knew he was the new Godzilla. It simply doesn't make any sense to just make up a whole new Godzilla no one's ever heard of because you felt like it. The notion that Godzilla 2000 wasn't about Junior was so alien at to me at the time that the thought never entered into my head once until I actually saw the movie. I didn't think anyone would be stupid enough to not make it about Junior. My disappointment about this was minor, but from this point it's just going to build up and get even stronger with each successive entry.

The plot here is pretty standard filler stuff, Godzilla fights a weird alien monster named Orga, though you wouldn't know it from the American version. So, I've never seen the original, and while the dub is fine for what it is, and I appreciate the effort put in to make it work, no one involved in the project of "Americanizing" Godzilla 2000 understood what the actual concern is. The "spirit" of Godzilla isn't the problem, it's already a Godzilla movie, you can't take away the "spirit" of a movie just by dubbing it over. The movie is still there. What you can do, however, is change the actual content of the film by altering lines so that the plot is altered or certain information is omitted, which is exactly what happens here. First of all, there are the changes that I know about. These are things like changing the name of Godzilla's healing thingy to "Regenerator G-1" instead of "Organizer G-1" thereby rendering Orga's name, which is never spoken in this version, completely nonsensical. Somewhere between the two is something about the millennium, about Y2K or something else that relates to the plot that commentary of the Region 1 DVD doesn't elaborate on, but merely says that they completely edited it out because the film was released in America in August of 2000. Which, uh, isn't a good enough reasons to change the fucking content of the film. What I have no idea about, however, is whatever else information the characters might have gathered from "hacking the system" (holy 1999, Batman!) about the aliens themselves. We call them "Millennians," but, at least in the version of the film I've seen, they're never given a name.

It's a very bizarre monster, this Orga, and he's always been sort of a mystery to me. He seems to be very much a monster of his time, which I like. Most other franchises couldn't get away with being so dated, but Godzilla can afford to do so easily. Because we can, or could, at least, assume there will be more Godzilla movies in the next decade, the current Godzilla should always feel modern and new, and when it becomes outdated, it can double as nostalgic as well as be an indicator of the time in which it existed. By being a cultural constant, Godzilla can illustrate aesthetic evolution over time, which I happen to think is really cool. I want Godzilla 2000 to have silver aliens hack into colored iMacs and the main characters to carry around pint-sized Sony Vaios and Godzilla to have pointed purple spines and all that. I thought back then that those things were the coolest possible things to have in a Godzilla movie, and even though that's changed I still want to be able to look back on what used to be cool. I will say, though, that I've always been against green. I just don't like it. It was fine for the cartoon, but this is a main series Godzilla film here, and green is for Kermit the Frog, not Godzilla. I'm also not too thrilled about the ray being orange. Although I really like the new effect, after just coming off of the Spiral Beam, Godzilla's beam shouldn't change color unless there's a good reason for it, and here the only reason is because they wanted to change up the colors. What's more, it seems like with the dark green skin and orange, fire-like ray, Toho is catering to the stereotypes of the character created by the late 70's American cartoons, toys, and comics, and as a direct response to Americans defiling Godzilla, it just seems really inappropriate. That said, it's still Godzilla, and this color change only lasts for two movies, so it's not as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be.

Last thing I want to get into here is the "study vs. kill" conflict between human characters in various Godzilla films. This trope has become somewhat of a laughing stock over the decades, mostly because it became associated with poorly written, shitty B-movies. However in Godzilla movies this isn't some dumb shallow characterization or poorly written science vs. military crap, this is a very real and very serious issue. Godzilla, on one hand, takes place in a world otherwise like our own, and we all know from experience that Godzilla not only doesn't exist, but shouldn't exist. Nuclear weapons destroy life, they don't create super monsters, so first there's just the issue of how Godzilla is still alive, then on top of that he's got this atomic ray business, his hide is completely impervious to modern weaponry, and his immense size, larger and heavier than (with the possible exception of Amphicoelias) even the largest of sauropods, yet he is still able to live and fight. This is incredible, and part of what makes Godzilla so awe-inspiring is that the science doesn't add up, not that he makes logical sense to, say, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. That's kinda the point, and what Dr. Yamane and those like him want to know is what the mechanics behind this god among mortals really are. On the other hand, it's Godzilla. He's unstoppable, he destroys everything his touches. He melted a mirror made from synthetic diamond. The very reasons why he's so valuable for study are the same ones he's so dangerous. An animal, and animal, that can survive the most powerful weapon known to mankind isn't something to be taken lightly, and when that animal, that kaiju, enters a city, that city is just gone. You can not overstate the danger that Godzilla poses to all of humanity, and eliminating that threat is probably a really good idea. Now that we've established that, I should say that, you know, Godzilla is invulnerable. You can't kill him. So this whole debate over whether to study or to kill, for one, aren't mutually exclusive conclusions, but more importantly why the hell Shinoda even feels like the CCI is a fucking threat is beyond me because, as previously established, you can't fucking kill him. The most advanced weapons they use against Godzilla in this film are missiles. Really fancy missiles, yeah, but still missiles. They do more damage to Godzilla than normal missiles, but they don't kill him. No one is surprised. "Oh, for sure I thought that Katagiri would win and Godzilla would die 20 minutes into a film with his name in the title. You mean the title character doesn't die before the climax? Well fuck me, I didn't see that one coming." This is a false conflict and that shit really annoys me. You can't have tension when you know for a fact that the character isn't going to die, and you sure as hell can't create conflict between two characters based off something that both of them know is impossible. I like seeing "study vs. kill" when the real meat of the issue is touched upon, or even in Godzilla vs. Destroyah where it's more like "kill vs. I've become really attached to Godzilla and this is difficult for me," which turned the whole thing into an internal conflict within Miki's conscious, which is clever and really cool. But this "GPN vs. CCI" nonsense is a false conflict and it makes no sense and there's never a point in the film where I feel like either Shinoda or Katagiri benefits from antagonizing the other.

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