|Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (Region 3)|
News & Updates
|Japanese Title: Gojira x MekaGojira (“Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla”)
Director: Masaaki Tezuka (Godzilla vs. Megaguirus)
Original Release Year: 2002
Running Time: 88 minutes
DVD Released By: Universe Laser & Video (Hong Kong)
Audio: Japanese 2.0, Cantonese 5.1, Cantonese DTS
Extras: Trailers for Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Closed Captions: None
MSRP: $55 HK
UPC #: 4895024942773
Catalog #: 6485
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|Reviewed by: Zillamon51|
|The Film: In 1954, Japan suffered its first monster attack. Godzilla demolished Tokyo, and was eventually killed by Dr. Serizawa’s Oxygen Destroyer. Since then, monsters such as Mothra and Gaira have invaded Japan. Unable to replicate the deadly Oxygen Destroyer, Japan instead developed Maser Cannons to use against these creatures.
Akane Yashiro is a Maser Tank operator with Japan’s Anti-Megalosaurus (?!) Force. This team was established to defend the nation against giant monsters. In 1999, another Godzilla comes ashore near Tateyama during a typhoon. The Masers prove ineffective against the monster. While trying to maneuver her Maser on a narrow mountain road, Akane pushes a jeep carrying her commanding officer over a cliff. Godzilla crushes the vehicle, killing the occupants.
After the attack, Akane is demoted to a desk job. Meanwhile, the Japanese government scrambles to come up with a way to defeat Godzilla. They approach the greatest scientific experts in the nation with a radical proposal: Create a bio-robot in Godzilla’s own image. While its body will be mechanical, its control system will be a DNA computer programmed with genetic material extracted from the bones of the 1954 Godzilla.
Dr. Yuhara, an expert in bio-robotics, agrees to work on the project. His young daughter Sara, who still mourns her mother’s death, is given free run of the facility. The robot (dubbed “Kiryu," meaning "machine dragon") is completed in 2003, and Akane is chosen to pilot it. Kiryu’s ultimate weapon is the Absolute Zero Cannon, which has the power to freeze and disintegrate any target. However, something goes awry when Godzilla reappears and is confronted by Kiryu. Godzilla’s roar awakens some primal memory within Kiryu and the robot goes berserk! Can it be brought back under control? Even if it can, does this metal doppelganger have the power to rid Japan of Godzilla once and for all?
The first twelve minutes of Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (GxMG for short) are incredible. Godzilla makes a grand entrance, and the Maser battle is very reminiscent of the one from War Of The Gargantuas. Then, the history of monsters is detailed by two familiar faces: Kumi Mizuno and Akira Nakao (Miss Namikawa from Godzilla vs. Monster Zero and General Aso from the Heisei series, here playing the current and future Prime Ministers of Japan respectively). The film is great up until the first monster battle. Then the problems begin, in the form of uneven effects work. While Kiryu (nicknamed “MechaGodzilla” by Sara) may be the best incarnation of the character yet, Godzilla himself leaves something to be desired. This Godzilla design is a reworking of the “Millennium” Godzilla that appeared in Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. While the color scheme and skin texture on this version look good, the head is too small and overall the suit is very immobile. When Kiryu begins its first assault on Godzilla, Godzilla doesn’t even react. Could Toho only afford to pay one suit actor that day? The final fight has some good moments, again negated by cheesy ones. There are no less than FIVE instances of one of the monsters getting hit or thrown, then being shown flying along with its body parallel to the ground. While director Masaaki Tezuka (GxM) has a better script with deeper characters for his second G-film, he is saddled with poor special-effects direction. On the plus side, there are some great shots, like Godzilla roaring into the rainy night sky as lightning hits his spines, Kiryu standing lifeless at sunset after its rampage, and Akane standing on Kiryu's shoulder.
The main characters are well portrayed. Yumiko Shaku (The Princess Blade), one of Japan’s most popular ‘idols,’ stars as Akane. She invests the character with a sense of melancholy and loneliness, despite her supermodel looks. She’s much more than just a pretty face. In many ways, Akane and Sara are kindred spirits. The two share some brief philosophical musings on life and death, in between Dr. Yuhara’s amorous advances towards the pilot. (His first line to her is a real howler.) The film is also peppered with cameos and in-jokes that add another layer of enjoyment for long-time fans. Look for a down-and-out Takehiro Murata (Shinoda from G2K), Misato Tanaka (Kiriko from GxM), baseball star Hideki “Godzilla” Matsui, and a girl (who looks just like Laura from Hamtaro) with a hamster. While GxMG is not the accomplishment that GMK was, it’s better than the very similar GxM. It’s a fun and exciting film that should please most kaiju fans. Grade: B
Video: The widescreen image is reasonably sharp and clear throughout. The colors should be more vibrant, though. There is also a frequent bluish-green tint to the image. There is no apparent grain or print damage. One thing that’s missing is anamorphic enhancement. It’s extremely disappointing when new releases of recent films aren’t anamorphic. There really is no good reason for it. Whether the lack of 16x9 enhancement on these region 3 Godzilla disks is the fault of Universe or Toho is unknown. Either way, many G-fans wish they would wake up and join the 21st century. In any case, this transfer pales in comparison to the region 1 version. Grade: B-
Audio: The original Japanese language track is presented in 2.0. It sounds sharp and clear. All of the music, dialogue, and sound effects are well reproduced. A Cantonese dub is available in both Dolby and DTS 5.1. The Dolby 5.1 track sounds good. It’s louder than the Japanese track, and the voices are obviously dubbed. Most of them sound appropriate, except that Sara is given the voice of an adult woman! I don’t yet have a DTS system, so I can’t comment on that option. It’s disappointing that there isn’t a Japanese 5.1 option. Grade: B
Extras / Menus: The only extras are the Japanese theatrical trailers for two previous Godzilla films: Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Both are identical to the ones presented on the Universe DVD releases of those films, except that the G2K trailer lacks the theater toy promos at the end. G2K is in Japanese only, while GxM has (poor) English subtitles. Both are widescreen. The inclusion of trailers for GxMG and GMK would have been nice.
Most of the menus are still images without music or sound. Only the chapter select menu has animated film clips in the selection windows. Grade: C
Final Analysis: With each new Godzilla film receiving timely release on widescreen, subtitled region 3 DVD’s, it bears repeating that every kaiju eiga fan should have a region-free DVD player. However, the superior audio / video quality of the region 1 version makes this disk hard to recommend. Final Grade: B+
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