In 1998, when the American remake of Godzilla was being hyped to death,
Tri-Star released a slew of Japanese Godzilla movies that had never been
available before in the United States. While most of the hardcore Godzilla
fans had already seen them, those without a connection to the kaiju underground
were finally able to see the 1990s Godzilla films for the first time.
Following the box-office failure of the U.S. theatrical release of Godzilla
2000, it seemed unlikely that any of the Japanese Godzilla movies made
since would make it to the States. However, in early 2004, Tri-Star released
two more Godzilla films on DVD: 2000's Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and 2001's
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Starring: Chiharu Niyama, Ryudo Uzaki, and
Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (or
GMK for short) takes place in a different reality from all of the previous
Japanese films aside from the original 1954 Godzilla. (Similar to what
happened in Godzilla 2000.) As a result, there's no need to know anything
other than the fact that a giant monster named Godzilla attacked and destroyed
Japan in 1954 before being repelled by a scientist's invention. Now, in
the present day, Godzilla seems to be gearing up for another attack.
An American submarine has disappeared off the coast of Guam. When a rescue
team tries to find it, they discover the remains of the sub and catch
a glimpse of what appears to be Godzilla skulking back into the dark depths
of the ocean. The Japanese military begins to mull their options if Godzilla
were to attack Japan again. Commander Tachibana (Ryudo Uzaki) seems especially
concerned but rallies his troops with a history lesson about the first
The commander's daughter, a
reporter named Yuri (Chiharu Niyama), is working on a documentary for
her company BS Digital Q, who specialize
in questionable programming about ghosts and UFOs, when an earthquake
occurs. Several hours later and only a few miles away, another earthquake
hits. This "moving epicenter" -- which is not detected by the
usual instruments -- intrigues her and leads her to a strange old man
(Hideyo Amamoto) who tells her the legend of "the Guardian Monsters." He
also tells her why Godzilla is attacking again. He says that Godzilla
has been possessed with the spirits of people that Japan killed during
World War II. They are returning to make Japan pay for its crimes against
Soon enough, Godzilla attacks,
but a new monster appears. Baragon, a red, four legged creature, emerges
and fights Godzilla. It appears that
the legend of the "Guardian Monsters" is true. It's up to Yuri
to convince her father that the Guardian Monsters are here to help Japan
and not to fear them.
The two other "Guardian Monsters" are,
of course, Mothra and King Ghidorah, and they appear later in the movie.
I won't try to summarize
the entire plot because, frankly, this is a Godzilla movie and it will
ask you to make leaps of faith that other films would never dare to ask
of a viewer. Just sit back and enjoy the ridiculous hodge-podge of science
This film marks the first time
that Godzilla has been completely evil since his first appearance in
1954. He's been a "villain" before,
but there was always some sort of explanation involved and he would usually
do something to make himself seem like a misguided force of nature rather
than pure evil. Not this time. Godzilla is bent on destroying Japan and,
if his actions weren't enough to convince you, his pupil-less white eyes
might clue you in on his possessed nature. He simply looks evil.
Director Shusuke Kaneko, who was responsible for the successful rebirth
of the Gamera series, works his magic here by making the whole shebang
gel into the most cohesive Godzilla film in a long time. Usually Godzilla
films feature two sides: the boring human story and the monster story.
Here both sides are entertaining.
Kaneko, who also co-wrote the script, brought the man responsible for
the great effects in the last two Gamera films, Makoto Kamiya, to this
project. The result is a wonderful blend of the traditional suitmation
as well as some CGI work that makes this the pinnacle of the Japanese
Godzilla films in terms of special effects. Some may complain about the
look of Godzilla in this outing, which is a bit on the paunchy side, but
I felt the positives of his newfound speed and more animated facial features
outweigh the negativity of a slightly larger belly. Mothra, Baragon and
King Ghidorah also look slightly different than they have in previous
incarnations. All of them benefit from their upgrades.
If you're a Godzilla fan, GMK is really worth searching out and renting
(or preferably buying) as it's really a treat. It's nice to see the series
add a new dimension to the Big G and allow someone with some enthusiasm
for the series give it a kick in the butt when it really needed it.
submersible "Satsuma" is named after actor Kenpachiro Satsuma,
who stared as Gojira in seven films (from 1984 to 1995). (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)