Godzilla X Megaguirus

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Image starscafe.com

“Godzilla 2000” was mildly successful, so Toho decided to bring back the beast the following year with “Godzilla X Megaguirus” (the “X” in the title is just a stylized way of writing “vs.” or “against”).  In a lot of ways, this movie set the style for the Millenium series by establishing a few things that would become consistent throughout the 2000’s.  The movie opens with a brief history of Godzilla’s presence in this particular timeline, since none of the movies are related by continuity barring the two Mechagodzilla movies.  The movie also features a strong female protagonist, something that wasn’t as common in the older movies.  Finally, the movie contains a post-credits sequence that helps wrap up small plot threads from earlier in the movie.  The titular monster, Megaguirus, is a new creation, but is based on the Meganulon; large insects from the original “Rodan”.  In fact, the Meganulon appears as a younger version of Megaguirus.

The film begins with a newsreel-style montage of Godzilla’s history.  He first appeared in 1954, but survived and left after Tokyo was destroyed.  The capital was moved to Osaka and alternatives to nuclear energy were found.  Godzilla would return every time mankind tried to re-use nuclear energy, and the group G-Graspers was formed to study and learn to combat the monster.  During one of Godzilla’s rampages in 1996, Kiriko Tsujimori’s commanding officer is killed and she swears revenge on the beast.  Five years later, the G-Graspers recruit a young inventor named Hajime Kuro to perfect a new anti-Godzilla weapon; the Dimension Tide.  The Dimension Tide is a large cannon that creates and fires small black holes.  During a test firing, a small wormhole is opened up by the weapon.  Only a curious young boy sees that a large dragonfly-like creature has come through the wormhole and laid an egg, which the boy steals away.  The next day, he dumps the egg into the sewer in an attempt to hide it.  The egg hatches into a large insect, Meganulon, and begins attacking people throughout the city.  The Meganulon molts into a winged Meganula and flies away.  As sightings of the monsters increase, a section of G-Graspers set out to study the insects while Kuro perfects Dimension Tide.  The G-Graspers find that the egg was actually a swarm of eggs that have hatched into hundreds of Meganula, who proceed to flood the city to increase their spawning area.  The Meganula become attracted to Godzilla’s heat energy, and a battle between them seems inevitable.

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Image godzilla.wikia.com

The swarm attack Godzilla, who manages to destroy many of them, but not before some of the insects draw energy from him with their stingers.  Kiriko attempts to blast Godzilla with the Dimension Tide, but the Meganula disrupt the targeting system and the shot misses.  The Meganula head off to sea to transplant the energy they have stolen from Godzilla into their queen, Megaguirus.  Godzilla and Megaguirus both head toward Tokyo, the former capital.  The two battle as Kiriko watches from her jet.  Dimension Tide is charged up to fire, but the high frequency created by Megaguirus beating it’s wings shorts the system, along with the systems of every other device in the area.  Kiriko is stranded while Kuro attempts to fix Dimension Tide with a backup program.  After a long battle, Godzilla defeats Megaguirus and reveals the reason for heading toward Tokyo; one of the professors in the G-Graspers had been in charge of a secret nuclear project in the city in violation of the nuclear energy ban.  Dimension Tide begins to fall from orbit and is unable to lock onto Godzilla, but Kiriko pilots her jet toward the beast in order for the black hole gun to lock on to a target.  She ejects as Dimension Tide fires, and Godzilla is seemingly buried by the blast.  Later, Kuro has returned to his old ways as Kiriko finds him.  She tells him that several tremors have been recorded, and Godzilla may be the center of them.  In a post-credit scene, the boy who found the Meganulon egg is tending to his insect collection, while a familiar roar is heard…

“Godzilla X Megaguirus” isn’t one of the more memorable Godzilla movies, but it does have a few noteworthy things going for it.  Kiriko may be the first female action hero in a Godzilla movie.  She is single-minded in her quest to defeat Godzilla, and isn’t presented as a damsel to be saved or as a major love interest for another male character.  Godzilla is also at what is probably his most cunning.  During his battle with Megaguirus, he is obviously devising battle strategies to fight the insect, and comes up with some smart moves such as cutting Megaguirus with his back spines and catching the insect’s stinger in his mouth.  However, the movie has plenty of faults.  Megaguirus is poorly animated.  The monster is mostly static as it is dragged around by (often visible) strings while computer animation is used to give the monster expression and some action with the wings.  While the design of the monster is good, Megaguirus doesn’t have as much personality as Mothra or even Kamacuras from the Showa era.  The movie is also undeniably goofy.  The Dimension Tide is probably the silliest weapon ever devised to attack Godzilla (it shoots black holes, let that sink in), and the battle with Megaguirus feels like slapstick at times with the insect zipping past Godzilla and grinning as it drops buildings on him.  In the end, “Godzilla X Megaguirus” is sort of in the middle when it comes to Godzilla movies.  It isn’t the best, but it isn’t the worst either.

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Image godzilla.wikia.com

Trivia

There was a conscious decision to have Godzilla use his atomic breath more in this movie since he used it so sparingly in “Godzilla 2000”.

The director, Masaaki Tezuka, is an admitted fan of the Tokusatsu genre (like “Ultraman” and “Power Rangers”).  The scene where Godzilla leaps high into the air and crashes onto Megaguirus is an homage to similar scenes from Tokusatsu shows.  There are also many Tokusatsu-like touches with the variety of vehicles driven by the G-Graspers.

The new Godzilla suit (from the previous movie) was digitally inserted into scenes from the original “Godzilla” for the opening segment.

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Image godzilla.wikia.com

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~ by Chris on May 15, 2014.

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