Godzilla X Mechagodzilla (2002)

gxmg1
Image moviecovers.com

If you are keeping track, this is the third movie in the series with the title “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla”.  After the success of “GMK”, Toho decided to bring back another classic monster.  Mechagodzilla was chosen, and he was refined even further from his last appearance in 1993.  Throughout the movie, Mechagodzilla is referred to as “Kiryu”, a sort of nickname.  This was to help differentiate this version from the previous two.  This version is just as heavily armed as its predecessors, and has an interesting new origin.  This movie would also continue the trend set by “Godzilla X Megaguirus” by featuring a female lead.

Godzilla attacked Japan in 1954 and was defeated by the Oxygen Destroyer (notably leaving the bones behind in this continuity).  Since that time, Japan was attacked by a variety of monsters, including Mothra and Gaira the Gargantua.  Both were repelled using maser weapons, which became the military standard due to their effectiveness.  In 1999, another Godzilla rises from the ocean to attack Japan, and it is found that maser fire is ineffective against it.  During Godzilla’s attack, a young maser cannon operator named Akane Yashiro is unable to stop the monster and her entire squadron is wiped out.  She is made into a scapegoat and is reassigned to a desk job.  The military takes interest in the inventions of Tokumitsu Yuhara, a single father who has created a “DNA Computer” which is able to mimic the mental patterns of a once-living creature when powered by that creature’s DNA, creating a sort of cyborg.  The military reveals it has located the original Godzilla’s skeleton, and wants to use the DNA Computer to create an anti-Godzilla weapon.  Four years later, the military unveils Mechagodzilla, codenamed “Kiryu”, a giant cyborg powered by the skeleton of the original Godzilla.  Kiryu is armed with numerous missiles and lasers, as well as the devastating “Absolute Zero Cannon”, a freezing laser that could freeze Godzilla solid.  Akane is chosen to pilot Kiryu, and faces much opposition from her fellow soldiers due to what happened to her previous squadron.  Tokumitsu and his young daughter attempt to make friends with her, and Tokumitsu even offers to buy her dinner if Godzilla is defeated.

gxmg2
Image godzilla.wikia.com

The mutant reappears and Kiryu is dispatched.  The battle is going well, until Godzilla lets out a loud roar and something stirs deep within Kiryu’s bones.  The cyborg’s eyes turn red and it begins attacking the city.  The military is unable to do anything until Kiryu’s power runs out after an hour.  The Kiryu program comes under heavy scrutiny afterward and the cyborg is mothballed.  Akane is distraught at this turn of events, and talks with Tokumitsu’s daughter, Sara, while waiting to hear about the fate of the Kiryu program.  Tokumitsu’s wife died in childbirth, losing the baby as well, and Sara has been sensitive to the subject of life and death ever since.  She disagrees with the use of Kiryu, believing the cyborg to be a living being and arguing that all life should be preserved.  Akane counters that her life is expendable, and would happily die to take down Godzilla.  One cue, the radioactive beast returns, and the director of the Kiryu program defies orders and launches the cyborg to attack Godzilla.  A massive battle erupts between the two, and Kiryu’s control is severed.  Akane manages to get inside Kiryu and pilot it manually.  She tries to blast Godzilla with the Absolute Zero Cannon, but Godzilla trips up Kiryu and the blast misses.  All the power in Tokyo is redirected to give Akane another shot.  Godzilla attempts to attack while the cannon is charging, but one of Akane’s wingmen who belittled her earlier flies into Godzilla to distract him while begging Akane to finish Godzilla.  Instead, Akane uses Kiryu to wrench the wingman’s plane from Godzilla’s grasp, then grabs Godzilla and flies him into the ocean, firing the Absolute Zero Cannon.  A large plume of ice is created, but Godzilla emerges alive and leaves.  Kiryu is still operational, though damaged.  The leaders of Japan celebrate the victory, as it gives them hope that Godzilla can be killed someday.  In a post credit sequence, Akane tells Tokumitsu that the battle was a draw, and she would buy dinner for him and his daughter.

gxmg3
Image beyondhollywood.com

Kiryu is the real star of the movie, being presented as the protagonist while Godzilla is most definitely a villain.  The cyborgs interesting design and origin led to it becoming very popular with the Godzilla fandom.  The human drama is also interesting, and the musings of Akane and Sara on the concept of life and death present a nice parallel to the decision to power Kiryu with the body of a formerly living creature.  The fight scenes between the two giants tend to be more physical than the previous movie, at times feeling similar to the old wrestling style battles of the Showa series.  While the plotline of Kiryu losing control presents many possibilities, it is sadly underused in this movie barring the first battle scene with Godzilla (this plot thread, however, would be addressed in the sequel).  Despite a few nitpicks, “Godzilla X Mechagodzilla” is a solid film, and is probably the best overall movie in the Millenium series.  It was also the most financially successful, and was followed the next year by a direct sequel, the only film in the Millenium series to receive one.

Trivia

At one point, Sara is shown to have a pet hamster.  This is probably a reference to Hamtaro, an anime hamster who was very popular in Japan at the time.  Often, his movies would be on a double bill with Godzilla’s.

Professional baseball player Hideki Matsui appears in the movie as a cameo in a few scenes.  His professional nickname is “Godzilla”.

While the original Mechagodzilla preferred missile weapons, and the Heisei Mechagodzilla preferred laser weapons, Kiryu seems to have an even mix of both.

It is stated in the dub that Mothra was killed by the maser weapon, but the next movie would prove that that isn’t the case.

gxmg4
Image godzilla.wikia.com

Advertisements

~ by Chris on May 15, 2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: