Godzilla Vs Megaguirus– 2000, Masaaki Tezuka – Japan
Now, two movies into the third established era in Godzilla’s film history, Toho churns out Godzilla Vs Megaguirus, and in all honesty, this feels like one of the least noteworthy entries in Godzilla’s entire cannon. It doesn’t possess extreme highs or lows, I’d call this one Godzilla at his most monotone. Oh well… At least there aren’t any aliens. Here we go.
THE PLOT~ Toho again rewrites the history of it’s most beloved franchise with Godzilla VS Megaguirus; this time around the events of 1954’s Gojira played out a little differently. Apparently, the Oxygen Destroyer; the machine which was used to kill Big Green back in his first big screen appearance, was never invented, and so in this timeline, the original Godzilla is still around, stomping, smashing, and generally causing a ruckus. Luckily, his raids on Japan appear to be very few and far between, and are concentrated only on areas where nuclear, or other mass power operations, are being conducted. Japan is therefore able to minimize Godzilla’s rampaging by doing away with it’s more dangerous energy based projects, which it does begrudgingly. Anyway. Whatever. Moving on;
So, still not happy with the situation, Japan mounts numerous efforts to kill Godzilla; the most recent of which is the G-GRASPER unit. Yes, G-Grasper. It sounds, to me, somehow creepily sexual, but I’m not really sure why. No matter what, it’s a stupid name, although it might suck less in Japanese. Couldn’t tell you. Anyhow. So, these folks develop a new weapon meant to destroy Godzilla forever, essentially, they create a miniature black hole, into which Godzilla can be pulled, never to return, hooray. I guess the black hole then disappears? There’s conflicting information on that, so I’m not really sure, but it freaking better disapear, if the damn G-Graspers that it was totally cool to just have a friggin’ Black Hole in the middle of Tokyo then they all should be thrown in jail. But again, I digress;
Logically, the first time they test this new weapon, they instantly create a swarm of horrible, giant dragonflies completely by accident. Wonderful! many people are killed. These dragonflies are a huge problem, and they couldn’t have come at a worse time, because check it out, Godzilla’s active again! So, of course, the kaiju big bugs attack Godzilla and like, suck his radioactive dino blood or something, and then return to feed that blood into the gnarled carapace of their even more horrible monarch insect; which then mutates into Megaguirus, an even bigger, even worse dragonfly. I wonder where this is going?
Why, to a giant monster battle, of course! Godzilla and Megaguirus meet up and slug it out, as is their custom, in the middle of the city, and the G-Graspers bumble about making almost no contribution to the situation at all, until the eleventh hour. You see, the damn G-Graspers still seem to think that a black hole launcher is a fine thing to use, even though the only time they have ever tested it they created a race of giant, man-killing dragonflies. “I’m sure that was a one time thing,” the G-Graspers think, as they race to kill Godzilla forever, by using this terrible weapon they have created, but first, they wait for him to save all of their assess by killing Megaguirus, who you may remember they stupidly created themselves by using that exact same weapon a few days ago. Honestly, the G-Graspers are all stupid dicks.
Godzilla VS Megaguirus continues the ‘Zilla tradition of wagging a stern finger at the folly of man’s arrogance by further criticizing our lust for power and violence. This message is not subtle, in fact, it’s painfully overt- the last time we created a monster, it was because we, as humans, dared to use atomic weapons, which were, at that time, the most powerful weapons on Earth. Now, we’ve created a weapon even more powerful than that to try and clean up our mess, and what happens? Boom, more monsters. The statement is pretty cut and dry; we can’t solve our problems by introducing more problems. No more horrible weapons. They further push this message with Godzilla’s zest for attacking Nuclear, and plasma energy reactors, making Godzilla VS Megaguirus a straightforward sermon on the evils of hubris, and that is literally the first lesson these movies ever tried to hammer through our skulls. I suppose that isn’t a problem, really, but Godzilla VS Megaguirus’ retreading of such well worn territory feels like a mark against it because it also fails to do it in a way that feels new or interesting, and it doesn’t really go anywhere else, thematically, either. There are other Godzilla films which are even less dimensional than this one, but most of the time they still managed to have more heart, and remain more likable. Godzilla Vs Megaguirus is hurting for likability. It’s hurting bad.
Firstly, the human characters in Megaguirus are nothing special. They bored me, they’ll bore you, and honestly, I don’t like them. The romance the film offers up feels unnecessary, and I absolutely don’t care about it. Most of the G-Grapsers remain underdeveloped, which is a missed opportunity and the bad guy is never really bad enough, he just kinda made a bad call. I really don’t think it’s fair for the G-Grapsers to hold that against him, considering the fact that this entire movie happened because the G-Graspers themselves are so incompetent that they accidentally created a species of giant, man eating dragonflies. That’s a real “He who without sin cast the first stone” type situation right there. Also lame; Megaguirus himself. For sure, he’s nothing special, he comes off as sort of a B-Squad Battra, which, damn- a step DOWN from Battra? How undignified.This film is just so disappointingly lukewarm.
Easily, the worst problem with Godzilla Vs Megaguirus is the shittiness of the special effects. Most of the practical effects are fine, the suits look decent enough (Although I hate the Godzilla redesign- especially his purple-for-no-reason spikes) but there is a lot of unbelievably bad CG in this thing. Like, horrible CG. And there’s so much! It’s a real shame to see such inadequate, cheap effects used on what could be called Japan’s most cherished cinematic export. Godzilla deserves better, and the digital effects in this film are not worthy of any movie, let alone a Godzilla film that was made in the year 2000! It’s really disappointing to see him treated so poorly, and for me, this shitty CGI just kills the picture completely.
Of the things Megaguirus actually does well, perhaps its finest accomplishment is that it somehow manages to briefly recapture the spirit of Godzilla’s Showa days, albeit in sporadic, all-too-brief segments, and those scenes are genuinely enjoyable. I felt some of this when the dragonfly swarms made their first assault on Godzilla, but it’s felt nowhere more than during the final battle between Godzilla and Megaguirus. This final confrontation is both brutal, and at the same time, somewhat playful, and even humorous. To me, that felt very reminiscent of Godzilla’s Hero-Phase in the later Showa films, which is awesome. There are parts of the fight that lose me, but overall, it’s easiest to look at Godzilla during those sequences and imagine that this is the same monster you saw clobber Gigan decades ago, which is absolutely the best praise I can give to Godzilla VS Megaguirus. Even so, this is but one positive attribute, and it doesn’t save the picture.
The last thing I want to mention; I think MAYBE they were trying to be funny, but the end of this movie is amazing, in a bad way. It’s a freeze frame cut, and in my opinion, it’s tied with George Romero’s Bruiser for the title of “most lame and akward ending/last frame of a movie ever.” Go watch it, it is puzzling, and it sucks real, real bad. So, whoever directed this; don’t do that, dude. It’s bad. You did a bad job.