Godzilla VS King Ghidorah ~ 1991, Kazuki Ohmori – Japan
Dammit, Toho. This one may take a little while.
So, right off the bat, let’s try to soften the blow with some good news; Godzilla VS King Ghidorah looks great. The monster suits, Godzilla especially, are lookin’ top tier. Also, there is some excellent monster photography, including a few Godzilla shots which are frame worthy. Now. Time to drop the hammer.
Godzilla VS King Ghidorah is stupid. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY stupid. The plot starts off passable, albeit teeth gnashingly recycled, and then degenerates into utter illogical garbage. Beyond being super convoluted, the real death blow to Godzilla VS King Ghidorah’s integrity is that it centers around time travel, but was written by someone with a staggeringly poor understanding of what time travel actually was. Someone who, had they watched Back To The Future, would not in a million years ever be able to figure out what the fuck was going on. Let’s hop down a line for emphasis here:
THIS IS THE WORST TIME TRAVEL MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN.
We’ll get to why in a little bit, but first, let’s delve into the terrible, terrible plot.
THE TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PLOT- Japan; circa 1991- Godzilla hasn’t been seen for a while. That’s always a bad sign, if he isn’t already stomping you to death, it’s because he’s working out so he can stomp you extra hard tomorrow. Japan, of course, is stressed out about this. Suddenly, wow, would ya look at that, it’s a UFO! I sure hope this isn’t like every other time we’ve had UFOs show up, where it starts out with them being nice and saying they’ve come to help us, but then later we learn it was all a ruse and in fact they have some giant monster related scheme to kill us all. Oh, thank goodness, the people inside the UFO are really nice and say they’ve come to help us. I bet this isn’t going to be like the two hundred and thirty eight previous examples of this happening in a Godzilla movie (It’s exactly like all those other times. Rehash time, everybody).
So, the people in the UFO are (get ready for this) NOT aliens, they’re apparently humans from the distant future! They’ve brought one Japanese girl, the rest of them are all frump faced, red haired white people with giant foreheads/receding hairlines and zero screen charisma whatsoever. Japan just RAIDED the bottom of the Hollywood barrel to recruit as many Caucasians as possible, and you’re going to feel all the money they saved via the power of horrible acting. But I digress; All these future folks tell us that in the future, ain’t no Japan no mo’, on account of Godzilla stomping the shit out of it so many times. So, they’ve come to save it. How? Why, by going back in time again! They just stopped off to pick up a few people. Who are they picking up and why? Well….
1. Kenichiro– A writer of non-fiction books about strange phenomena. At the time of this film he has just uncovered information regarding the origin of Godzilla and is in the process of writing a book about it. The people from the future have his book, and they know 100% of the information he could tell them already. FACT: There is absolutely no reason for them to need to stop and pick him up, and he contributes nothing to their mission. He is brought along for absolutely no practical reason whatsoever, and it benefits the aliens in absolutely no way. He’s the main character.
2. Miki– An employee of some Japanese Paranormal society. Her contributions to this mission also add up to an intense lack of anything whatsoever. She also does nothing. There was no reason for her to come.
3. Professor Mazaki– A dinosaur expert. Guess what? He does nothing for this mission, either.
1. No reason at all.
Here’s the mission: Apparently Godzilla was not always the towering, unkillable champion of city smashing and monster throw-downs that we now know him to be. No, he started his life as a fairly ordinary dinosaur which had somehow managed to survive extinction and used to live on an island in the South Pacific. Why, pre-radiation Godzilla even fought for the Japanese in WWII! It wasn’t until later on that atomic testing had exposed Dino Godzilla to fallout, thereby transforming him into a damn giant monster. The future people’s plan to save Japan involves traveling back in time to that island right smack dab in the middle of WWII (Good news; more bad lines and horrible acting from white people in abundance here) and remove the dino from the island before his radiation exposure. Accompanying our 90’s era Japanese people are:
- Some Japanese girl from the future named Emmie– The one future dweller we ever see who isn’t a balding, frump faced ginger.
- M-11– an android, the ultimate balding, frump faced ginger, and the single worst character in anything, ever. I hate him.
- Dorats – three suspiciously Ghidorah-like, biologically crafted super pets from the future. Why are we bringing those? Uuuuhhhhhh…..
Those are the damn Dorats.
So, when they find Godzillasaurus, he’s basically dying on a beach. He’s mortally wounded. They could just kill his ass, but that’d be a dick move, so instead they teleport him to the bottom of the Bering Sea, which sounds like it would also kill him, but as this movie teaches us, there is no better, or more safe, place for a wounded person to just lay for hundreds of years without food or oxygen than the bottom of the ocean, it’s like hitting the pause button, you can stay there Indefinitely and just relax. So, they do this. Success! Next they return home, only to find that, oh hell, now instead of Godzilla, the f’ing Dorats have been mutated into Ghidorah, and now we got him rippin’ our shit up. Even worse, evidently this was the future people’s plan all along, they wanted to remove Godzilla from the equation so that Ghidorah could destroy Japan, not save it.
So, for a little bit, that’s a big issue, until the Japanese conclude that their only option is to take a nuclear submarine down into the Bering Sea to atomic blast that somehow not dead dinosaur who has been laying down there mortally wounded on the ocean floor for fifty years and create a brand new Godzilla, which could fight Ghidorah for them. They head down there in their submarine, but in a major act of “Well what do ya know, that’s a coincidence!” There just so happens to have already been a major nuclear incident right at that very spot in the Bering Sea years ago, so when they get there, there already is a Godzilla, fully formed and waiting. Yep. Out of the whole ocean, that’s where the spill was. Terrible, terrible writing. Just unthinkably bad.
So, Godzilla shows up, there’s a big fight, he kills Ghidorah by tearing off one of it’s heads and chucking him the ocean, and then he kills the future people. But then- oh no! We have Godzilla to worry about now! What are we gonna do? Oh, I know, let’s go into the future(?) and get Ghidorah from the bottom of the ocean, make him a cyborg, bring him back, and then kill Godzilla with our new even more dangerous, mechanized monster who we just tried to resuscitate Godzilla to defeat mere hours ago! And THAT’S WHAT THEY DO. WHAT?! This is, in effect, robbing Peter to pay Paul, only to be like “Oh, no, but how to we pay Peter? Oh, wait, I know, we’ll rob Paul!”
So, this is terminally convoluted in a way that is staggering and incredible, but that’s nothing compared to the glaring time travel issues which plague this turkey. Basically, after our heroes go back in time to stop Godzilla’s origin and remove him from history forever, making it so that he NEVER EXISTED in the first place, they return home, and everyone still knows about Godzilla.
Yeah. People remember something that never existed. Remember how Kenichiro was writing a book on Godzilla before he went back and stopped Godzilla from ever having existed? Well, now when he returns home after his mission, in a world where Godzilla never existed, he has a voice-mail message on his answering machine about the Godzilla book he’s working on. When Godzilla DOES appear, people understand him to be “Even bigger than he was before.” WHEN before?! There isn’t supposed to have been a before anymore, you stupid assholes! How did this movie happen?!?! This is a world where THIS conversation could have taken place:
“Hey, man, you remember that horrible monster that used to kill everybody, but then we went back in time to stop him from being born so now he never existed and none of us should have ever heard of him?”
“Oh, you mean Godzilla?”
“Oh, yeah, man, I hate Godzilla. He killed my father!”
“Well… Is your father alive now, then?”
“No, man, Godzilla killed him.”
“Oh, wow. I bet you’re sure glad Godzilla never existed now, then, huh?”
“Yeah, I just wish he hadn’t ever existed ever before he killed my dad.”
Another thing about time travel, these future assholes control a time machine, so they should be able to go back in time again since they screwed up the first time and didn’t actually stop Godzilla from being born. But they don’t. They conclude that the second (Second, as in, in reference to the first time, which now never happened?) birth of Godzilla was “Unavoidable.” Really? What about if you went back in time to that beach and blew that damn dinosaur’s head off of his body and then threw his fucking corpse into the sun? He was already mortally wounded when you got there, if you just killed him, then: poof, no Godzilla! No? Totally unavoidable, huh?
Apparently, in GVKG anything similar to a dinosaur is essentially unkillable, which makes it weird to think about how they’re all extinct now.
Also, when Emmie goes into the future to dredge up a decapitated (one third decapitated? He’s got three heads, minus one, so how does that work?) Ghidorah who has literally been laying motionless on the bottom of the ocean for 200 years, missing body parts, but still somehow “not dead,” , she has traveled to a world where Japan was permanently destroyed by Godzilla in the 1990’s, there is no Japan, and no Japanese culture. She travels to retrieve Ghidorah in a small submarine co-piloted by a white man who is somewhat reluctant to help her, given that her goal is to save a long extinct culture which he deems to be entirely insignificant. As he does this, while talking to a Japanese girl, he is speaking to her IN JAPANESE. So…. Yeah…. Makes no sense.
Let’s move on. Let’s move on, in fact, to M11.
M11 sucks so, so hard. He’s an android from the future, brought back to carry out the dastardly machinations of our villainous dickhead time travel guys. He has abilities far exceeding the capabilities of a normal human, including enhanced durability, super strength, and a form of travel best called the “Andro-Douche-Glide.” He’s also, in a movie where giant lizard monsters travel through time, the least realistic thing in the entire film. Why? Because WHY would ANYONE, while building an android, chose to build one as stupid looking as this chud? M11 is a frump faced ginger doofus with an average build, receding hairline and less screen-charisma than his co-stars who are actually, literally made out of rubber. It’s clear that Toho really scraped up the worst out-of-work actors Hollywood could spare for their white people in this movie, but M11 is their worst. He sucks so, so bad. He’s also nothing more than an excuse for Toho to rip off The Terminator like crazy, which is embarrassing and the furthest thing from cool.
Maybe the worst thing about Godzilla VS King Ghidorah is that they strayed so far from the source material that they’ve actually managed to lose the thesis statement, this movie doesn’t even seem to possess an awareness that nuclear warfare is a bad thing at all. At a few points throughout the film they almost seem to bemoan the lack of readily available nuclear weapons, and using these weapons weapons is treated as a possible solution to problems more than once throughout the film. That’s a pretty huge jump from the chilling tale of an atomic, city crushing bogeyman that we all loved back in ’54.
On second thought, though, that’s not the worst thing about the movie.
Fuck you, M11.
NOTE: Now, while we’re wrapping up, I need to address something. As I have come to understand it, popular G-Fan consensus is that the time travel in this movie DOES make sense, in that the dinosaur they moved into the ocean was actually not the 1954 Godzilla at all, but in fact, the Heisei Godzilla, the creation of which they inadvertently caused themselves, thereby meaning that this film erases nothing, and that this is why everyone still knows about Godzilla when our time traveling nimrods return from their island hopping WWII adventure. Well, that’s a fun little theory, but I’m forced to disregard it, because it’s not expressed in this film at any point, meaning that that is fan speculation, and I don’t review speculation which does not exist in the actual film. Furthermore, that solution, while it does tidy up some loose ends, isn’t less stupid. That would just mean that everyone in the entire movie is a moron, and that’s why no one ever realizes that this time travel was ineffective, and this is never pointed out. No matter how hard we try to contort our perceptions of this film to desperately make it make sense, it doesn’t, not on the screen. Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah is horrible, it’s really, really stupid, it doesn’t make sense, and there is nothing any of us can do about that, no matter how much we wish it weren’t the case. Refusal to accept that is essentially a more mild form of the same phenomena that compels mentally ill people to keep the corpses of loved ones about the house in hopes of creating the illusion that they never died. This movie sucks ass. Let’s not live in denial. Move on.
Dorats are fine just don’t get them wet or feed them after midnight.
I’m always curious about the Caucasians in Japanese cinema. I get the feeling they just went out on the street and grabbed whatever tourists happened to be handy and offered to put them in a movie. I know that some Hong Kong movies did just exactly that so it might almost be fun to track down a few of these people to get their recollections.
How could you miss the fact that Emmi was crushing hard on Ken (so much so you expect a little loving between monster attacks) and at the end she’s all “Oh yeah I almost forgot, were related!”
That’s a good question! I guess when you’re dealing with incest in such massive volumes you almost don’t even notice it anymore. But good point!