Monday, 25 May 2015

Godzilla va Megaguirus (2000)

Having done a hard reboot of the franchise in 1994, and a soft reset in 1999 (Godzilla 2000 didn't explicitly wipe the earlier 90s films out of continuity, but it notably dropped the characters and themes they'd all shared), Toho did another reboot in 2000, with this turkey of a film.

To be clear, being a reboot is not what makes this film a turkey.  What makes it a turkey is the ham-handed script, uniformly punchable human characters, and badly executed monster sequences.

All of which is a great shame because, unlike some of the other execrable entries in the franchise - All Monsters Attack, I am looking at you - this film does actually seem to be trying to be good.  It just misfires in pretty much every way imaginable.

The film begins with a potted summary of the new continuity it establishes: Big G appeared in 1954 and trashed Tokyo, then again in 1966 and 1996.  In the last rampage, it attacked Osaka, which had become the capital of Japan after Tokyo got flattened.  In each case after the first attack, the lure was nuclear energy.  The 1966 attack targeted Japan's first nuclear plant, while the 1996 attack focused on a 'plasma reactor', which the Japanese government had believed would not be detected by Godzilla's radiation-sensing nose.

No, no-one actually says that Godzilla literally smells radiation, but he's clearly able to detect it somehow.  Anyway, the authorities decide to deal with the big lizard by shooting it with a miniature black hole.

... and if your immediate reaction to that is "That's gonna go horribly wrong", then congratulations, you are smarter than literally every character in this film.  In fact, the first test of the device opens a rift in space-time, allowing a giant prehistoric dragonfly to enter the present day and leave behind an egg cluster before it returns to the past.

Because the egg is found by a young boy who is especially stupid, even by the standards of this film, Tokyo is soon overrun by thousands of human-sized insects.  Which ought to be a cool sequence, and yet utterly fails to be.  The swarm later tangles with Big G.  They come off distinctly second best, but some of them survive and spawn a Godzilla-sized super dragonfly with a sonic attack.

So a re-skin of Mothra, basically, that gets its in-universe justification by what amounts to "Oh yeah, eighty foot long dragonflies were totally a thing in the carboniferous period".

The emergence of this "Megaguirus form" of the dragonfly is of course the signal for the film's climactic act.  And on paper, the kaiju battle probably read like a good idea.  In execution, alas, this is not the case.  Again and again it sets up big set piece moments that ought to be cool, and again and again they misfire.  It's pretty much twenty straight minutes of flailing wildly with the bat and never once connecting with the ball.

Alas, poor movie, you're kind of naff.

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