March 22, 2014 · Print This Article

The Mechagodzilla movies have been some of my favorite in the series, so I was very excited for the Millennium Series take on the giant robot in GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA [2002]. Like much with the Millennium Series, its Mechagodzilla installment was very different from past interpretations.

This is a very focused Godzilla movie, one of the most focused I have seen. There are no aliens, no global interactions, just Godzilla, Japan and basically five human characters. This made for a very different feel which I liked. The human actors put in good performances, though the characters seem to be by the numbers Godzilla movie stereotypes. Once again there is a single dad genius scientist, and an outcast but of course pretty female lead. The scientist’s young daughter does give though one of the best child performances in any Godzilla movie and added to the story beyond just showing concern for the parent.

The score was pretty good, although completely absent of the iconic classic Godzilla theme, which I always think is a mistake to leave out. The special effects made up for that some, and even more so the design of Godzilla was fantastic. He has pupils and normal eyes again, and a regular neck and looks very menacing, a much needed change from the horrible eye-less version in GMK.

The movie starts out in 2002 but quickly jumps to 1999 when Godzilla supposedly only returned to attack Japan for the second time (it has no continuity with other Godzilla movies except the first). The original 1954 Godzilla was killed with the oxygen destroyer weapon, leaving only bones. Those bones were found and the genius scientist is called in to extract DNA from those bones and build a bio-robot. This Mechagodzilla will have original Godzilla’s DNA in its coding and “DNA computers.” I liked this connection. It took three years to build Kiryu, as they call it this time rather than Mechagodzilla. Conveniently Godzilla only shows back up again just as Kiryu is completed, including its main new weapon, an absolute zero beam.

The battles are few and far between, with the usual Godzilla showing up in the beginning having a brief skirmish with some hapless self-defense forces, though it did drive the plot at least this time, then a mid-movie battle with Mechagodzilla. This is where the movie took its biggest turn and actually surprised and entertained me. Being made somewhat from Godzilla’s DNA, Mechgodzilla somehow felt the fate of the original Godzilla from whose bones it was constructed. This made it not want to fight Godzilla and go on a rampage of its own on Tokyo. Fortunately, it only has 2 hours battery life so after it ran out of power they took it back to the lab. I thought that was very funny actually, treating a huge mech-bio-robot just like a portable radio running out of juice.

It was disappointing though that this Mechgodzilla had no finger missiles and all its weapons had essentially zero effect on Godzilla. Most of their fighting was hand-to-hand.

Reprogrammed with different DNA computers, Megagodzilla is ready to follow orders again, though the scientist’s daughter points out, why make Mechagodzilla fight Godzilla when it seems they should be and want to be friends instead? This and other moments created a lot more emotional involvement in the movie for me not felt in any previous Millennium Series movie.

The rematch between Godzilla and Mechgodzilla was both a good fight and anticlimactic. It ends in a draw of sorts and left me feeling wanting more.


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