Monday, December 30, 2013

Godzilla - Final Wars!

With a new Godzilla movie getting talked about, I thought it might be finally time to watch the last one. Godzilla - Final Wars from 2004 was the last Godzilla movie made by Toho and after this one, the character has been left to rest for a decade. It's been a quick ten years.

In this spectacular, featuring in some way or other nearly every Kaiju Toho ever put onto screen, Godzilla is often absent. He is buried by the ultimate fighting sub The Gotanga in the opening shots then the movie lingers over its new cast and mileau. The future is protected by a high-tech military especially geared to fight monsters and bolstered by a new species of mutated humans who form their own force within the larger military units. Then monsters reappear and wreak havoc across the world, and eventually we find it's the shenanigans of some aliens called Xilians, who have a connection not only to the monsters but to other things as well.

Things I liked about this movie was the wonderful pacing, almost frenetic which didn't linger for long on any one scene, but left you hankering for more. The exceptions are some overlong human martial arts sections, but the monsters are well handled. These are fast monsters, moving both thanks to practical effects and computer graphics. Rodan looked especially dangerous, when often he/she doesn't.

Without spoiling much of this story I'll only say that eventually Godzilla does re-emerge and when he does, it's most impressive. His moves are evocative of classic Godzilla flicks, but kept barely within the range of modern interpretations of the great monster. The battles have a real rhythm and if anything are over too quickly sometimes. It was fun seeing some monsters I haven't glimpsed in a very long time, especially the wacky razor-chested Gigan who gets a lot of great screen time in this one.

And as apparently one of five people who actually enjoyed the often-abused American version,  I still have to admit it was fun seeing the classic "Big G" dispatch his doppleganger "Zilla" with little trouble. Fun moment!

It's far from a perfect movie, often making limited sense, but I found myself properly diverted by this last Godzilla movie, the last that is until the next one.

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  1. Besides the incredibly-fast (and well-deserved) obliteration of "Zilla", Final Wars ties a lot of Toho movie history into the Godzilla series including:
    the asteroid "Gorath" (from the movie of the same name that was Toho's version of When Worlds Collide)
    the "Gotengo" which looks like a revamped "Atragon" (since the 1960s movie was based on a novel and not a Toho-created property, the flying sub couldn't be called "Atragon".)
    Manda, the kaiju who appeared in Atragon reappears in Final Wars
    and of course, Mogura, who, while said to be based on the tech from the wrecked MechaGodzilla is thought to be at least partilally made up of salvaged Mysterian tech.

    1. I've never seen Atragon, but it's hard one to find for a nice price. Manda I've seen before in something, but I forget where. I've never seen Gorath either. I'm intrigued.

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