Friday, February 17, 2023

Godzilla Final Wars

I feel as overwhelmed and blown away as if I just watched a Sega Genesis commercial.

Where do I begin? I know for a fact I would have sold some fuck's internal organs to see this movie when it came out. 2004, prime 9 year old Godzilla fan, it would have been like seeing Nirvana! The literal paradise not the band, though I still like the band but anyway! Uh, wow this movie was a trip man. To try to put this plot into basic terms, it's essentially a remake of Destroy All Monsters but turned up to 11, with of course an alien race that controls all the kaiju looking to turn humanity into the largest meat factory in the cosmos and when all else fails it is time to call in the big guns. Would you believe me if I said I legitimately forgot Godzilla was in this Godzilla movie because of the constant action explosion being thrown at me? Cause I would not be lying to you. Like this movie only takes brief breaks in action scene after action scene just enough so that your head doesn't explode. It really is blast processing for a Godzilla movie! Now I am an individual who is a huge Godzilla fan, I can respect and indeed love both sides of a story greatly, kaiju action and human story alike, yet I'm actually more split on the reception this movie got upon release. Apparently it's a greatly divisive movie for fans, now on one hand it is an action extravaganza with monster brawls and martial arts fighting people and I can understand why that would be a lot to digest and make even the Michael Bay Transformers movies seem peaceful in comparison, but also Godzilla fans love to see the kaiju throw down and if I had a dollar everytime I heard someone say they just want all fighting I'd have a good retirement fund. But the beauty of this series of films is that there is tons of variety, you want grim and serious allegory of nuclear weapons watch the 1954 movie or Shin Godzilla, you want ample sci-fi with your kaiju there's Invasion Of Astro-Monster and Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah, you want some whacked out bizzare stuff take a hit of Godzilla Vs. Hedorah or All Monsters Attack. There is as much a valid place for total non-stop action here as well as any other tweak to the formula. True the editing is a bit quick and we swap from conflicts in quick succession, but the choreography and effects don't feel shoddy or rushed nor do you have much trouble keeping track of who's who. Now is there clear and definite inspiration from films such as The Matrix movies and Star Wars? Oh hell yeah there is! But it doesn't dilute the movie or the reference, it's just a stylistic choice for the plot. It certainly doesn't turn it's back on the history of the series, the abundance of monsters, returning actors like Akira Takarada, the choice selection of stock footage from previous Toho films, it feels like a big fuck off celebratory bash for the 50th anniversary of the King Of The Monsters. They went out with the biggest bang they could muster, and it really did seem like the true end. It's very odd to think but I was born just one year after the death of Godzilla in the Heisei series and wasn't even a decade old when Toho decided to call it a wrap at least for a good few years. And how fitting that the final Godzilla film I've seen is Final Wars. I'll believe it when I see it if we get a new Godzilla movie from Japan this year. Christ I'm not even sure if I should or even could rank all the movies, that would take some thought! It's just a lot to process man, as a movie and as the end of an era for me. Almost too much to talk about throughout so I'll just highlight some things. The monster designs are much more sleek and look fantastic, with easily the lightest Godzilla suit yet. The main controller alien played by Kazuki Kitamura is having the time of his life going friggin' nuts and over the top, but with the exaggerated nature of the film it never feels out of place or too much. I would like to express my joy to Toho for buying the rights to Zilla and giving an extra special fuck yourself to the 1998 movie, shove it up your ugly ass by the way Emmerich. Also beautiful work presenting a fully accurate potrayal of New York City Toho, gold star for you. And if you honestly can't laugh at someone taking the piss out of America for once, you're not living to the max. God bless these american dubbers though, I mean to be perfectly on the level here dub work is pretty involved and hard work to get right but they tried and did not succeed in these pronunciations, my absolute favorite being they pronounce Minilla (I always said it 'mean-yuh') as Milla as in Milla Jovovich. Greatness. Really neat to actually see a great deal of different cities and nationalities, it does make this seem like a global attack so props to the director for that sense of scale. Don Frye as, to take a note out of Cinemassacre's book, this Sgt. Slaughter looking dude was great, I mean this man has zero shits to give maybe to his detriment in this modern world, when he gently smacks an alien woman on the cheek which knocks her clean out as if she got decked by the Hulk, it's ridiculous and unrealistic but that's why it made me laugh. Everything is over the top, the kaiju body count puts Jason Voorhees to shame, there's mutant soldiers, and Godzilla's power levels jumped over 9000 by taking a nap. This movie's wild. If you want sheer action pornography it's a 9 or a 10/10, but for me as a whole and as a Godzilla movie I give it 4 stars, 8.5/10! And with that my journey is complete, my only wish is that I hope both the Heisei and Millenium series can also get the special treatment here in the States of a Criterion Collection boxset and preferrably before I kick the bucket. For a series turning 70 years old next year, the thunderous steps and triumphant roar of Godzilla hasn't faltered through the decades and I'm sure generation after generation will follow in his destructive wake as loving fans just like me.

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