Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

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Image monstermoviekid.wordpress.com

“Maybe it began when Man first stepped out of the Garden of Eden, and left his innocence behind.”

While “Godzilla 1985” was successful, Toho was in no rush to create another Godzilla movie.  It was 5 years before another movie was created.  Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka didn’t want to rush into another movie, and he also decided that Godzilla would fight a new opponent.  A contest was held to determine what the new monster would be like.  The winner, a dentist named Shinichiro Kobayashi, had submitted a story about a mutant plant named Biollante, and that was the basis for the story of this film.  This film also introduced Miki Segusa, a psychic character who would go on to appear in every movie in the Heisei series.

Immediately after Godzilla’s attack in 1985, a group of soldiers working for the American engineering firm Bio-Major were scouring Tokyo looking for Godzilla cells.  They find some, and after a battle with Japanese soldiers, attempt to flee Japan.  They are gunned down by a mysterious mercenary, who then takes the cells.  He takes them to the (fictional) Middle East country of Saradia, where a Japanese expatriate named Shiragami and his daughter Erika work with a large bio-engineering company attempting to create a new species of wheat that can grow in the desert.  Shiragami is thrilled to work with the Godzilla cells, but a bombing at the lab destroys the cells and kills Erika.  Five years pass, and Shiragami has returned to Japan and become a recluse, endlessly tending to his roses.  He has contacted a psychic, Miki Segusa, in an attempt to study the psychic energy in plants.  Activity is found in Mt. Mihara, where Godzilla was sealed, and there is a rush to create an anti-nuclear weapon to fight him should he reappear.  Shiragami is contacted and told that the Japanese government has hidden away a stash of Godzilla cells to use in the project, but he refuses to be a part of it.  However, he changes his mind when a storm breaks part of his greenhouse and his roses begin dying.  Shiragami begins working with the cells, combining them with his roses, while secretly being watched by Bio-Major agents as well as the Saradian assassin.  Both groups attempt to break into his lab to steal his notes, but they are attacked by a large vine.

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Image wdyms.com

The Bio-Major agents threaten to bomb Mt. Mihara and release Godzilla unless the Anti-Nuclear Bacteria is handed over to them.  Meanwhile, a large plant monster appears in the lake by Shiragami’s lab.  Shiragami reveals that he has been trying to keep Erika alive for years by combining her cells with plant cells.  When he added the regenerating Godzilla cells to the mixture, it ended up creating a large plant monster, which he dubs Biollante.  The ransom with the Bio-Major agents is botched by the Saradian assassin, and Godzilla escapes Mt. Mihara.  The new Super X2 is sent to repel him, but Godzilla chases it off and heads toward Biollante.  There is a short battle that ends with Godzilla burning Biollante with his radioactive breath, and the plant monster seems to die, despite Shiragami’s claim that the plant monster is immortal.  The Japanese military regain the Anti-Nuclear bacteria and inject it into Godzilla, but it doesn’t seem to affect him.  It is theorized that Godzilla’s internal temperature is too low for it to take effect, so Super X2 is deployed along with a series of heat mines.  Godzilla defeats Super X2, but the ground opens up and Biollante returns, larger and deadlier than before.  The two monsters battle until Godzilla is affected by the bacteria and he collapses.  Biollante then breaks apart into individual cells and disappears into the sky.  Miki Segusa says that Biollante had Erika’s soul and she is saying goodbye to her father.  Shiragami revels in this, but is shot and killed by the Saradian assassin.  AFter a chase, the assassin steps on a heat mine and is incinerated.  Godzilla wakes up from the encounter, and returns to the sea.

“Godzilla vs. Biollante” continues the darker tone of its predecessor, with a tragic story of a lost daughter at its core.  While the concept of Godzilla fighting a giant rosebush might sound absurd on paper, the movie plays it completely straight and the story is well-crafted enough that the concept doesn’t seem too far-fetched for a Godzilla movie (though the scene where Miki repels Godzilla using ESP is a bit much).  While the monster is created with genetic engineering rather than atomic energy, the theme that humans cannot conquer nature despite our technology remains the same.  Biollante is an impressive creation, realized by a large prop that required several people to operate.  It is probably the largest monster to appear in a Godzilla movie.  It also introduced traits that would be found in the rest of the monsters in the Heisei series.  Specifically, Biollante changes form during the movie, changing from a slightly silly-looking mass of vines with a rose on top, to a horrifying creature composed of vines and a visible, beating heart, and topped by a frightening head with a large mouth filled with rows and rows of teeth.  Biollante also has a beam weapon in the form of acidic sap.  Long ranged beam weapons are a staple of the Heisei series.  The action is quite visceral in this movie, and this is probably the goriest movie in the series.  Biollante has a visible heart that explodes at one point during its first battle, and Godzilla is impaled with a vine at one point.  While “Godzilla vs. Biollante” performed well, it wasn’t quite as  well received as Toho would like.  Tomoyuki Tanaka decided that for the next movie, Godzilla would battle a more familiar monster, and the next installment saw the return of Godzilla’s greatest enemy…

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Image benjaminherman.wordpress.com

Trivia

This movie features the first use of Godzilla’s Nuclear Pulse ability.  Godzilla will hold his radioactive breath in and fire radioactive beams from his body that serve to repel objects around him.  He would use this ability at least once in every Heisei move, and occasionally during the Millenium series as well.

The orignal script had Godzilla fighting a small rat-like monster before Biollante, and Biollante’s first death would cover the countryside in flowers.

Toho had legal troubles with Miramax, who had originally wanted to distribute the movie then backed out.  Eventually, Miramax agreed to release the movie, and considered a theatrical release, but ultimately the film was released direct to video.

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Image monstermoviekid.wordpress.com

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~ by Chris on May 4, 2014.

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