Godzilla vs Space Godzilla (1994)
A supernatural, super powered, intergalactic epic!
Inevitably, the scale of these movies tries to one up itself. Sure, you get the little things - soundtrack changes, upgraded visuals, the normal stuff - but eventually a movie feels as though it consciously decided "Hey, you know what? We need this bigger and better." A lot of times, this can be a bad thing for the movie, but sometimes it's not so. Can a showdown between the king of monsters and a space version of himself prove to be out of this world, or is it a small speck in the skies?
A long while back, we watched as Biollante dissolved into the air, and then more recently than that we witnessed Mothra flying off into space to save the planet after it's own encounter with Godzilla. In Godzilla vs Biollante, we also learned of the power that the G cells can contain, and how it can go seriously bad. Well, unbeknownst at the moment to the humans of Earth, Some G cells that happened to be floating around in space (thanks to the aforementioned events) have hit a once in a lifetime jackpot chance of getting sucked into a black hole and spat out of a white hole, where the very power of space has supercharged their growth acceleration to dynamic proportions - all the while picking up some crystalline space properties along the way.
Back on Earth, Japan is following two approaches to their little Godzilla problem - the first of which is making use of our returning psychic friend Miki to try and control Godzilla, the other the new weapon Moguera. While visiting the island that seems to serve as his home of sorts, Miki and the other G counterforce members there run into "Baby" from the last entry, now grown enough to be called "Little Godzilla." After Godzilla shows up, they try and fail the psychic plan, but things get a little hectic before plan M can be initiated. Space Godzilla shows up to the scene, and trounces Moguera in their outer-space altercation, making landfall on the same island the psychic team is on!
After beating the crap out of poor Little G, big G shows up to defend it's adorable offspring in a giant monster-on-monster battle. The battle wages, and Godzilla does it's best to protect Little G from the laser/breath onslaught, but in the end Godzilla is knocked over and Little G imprisoned in some crystal-cage by Space G. It then decides to fly off to somewhere else, leaving a very upset and angry big G to follow after him via it's normal method of swimming. Can Moguera defend the planet and defeat Space G in a rematch? Can the beast from the east get it's revenge and free it's kid from the clutches of it's intergalactic clone? Can poor Miki convince anyone that killing isn't the answer?
As is usual, the effects work continues to improve. Thanks to the addition of Moguera, we get a lot less segments of tanks and planes getting destroyed, although a brief navy battle is pitched against Godzilla at one point. Toho by now is getting very proficient at the layering of images, destroying cities, and making some more detailed costumes. Moguera itself looks a bit goofy, and Little Godzilla is so cute it's actually obnoxious, but between Space Godzilla's menacing alterations to the Godzilla form and the returning Godzilla suit, things haven't looked much better in this series yet.
Audio wise, the version I watched was english dubbed - and although lip syncing can still be horrendous (and there are a few times when someone talks on screen and no dub happens at all, leaving you to wonder if they forgot to record it), the actual quality of the dub itself isn't that bad. General effect sounds - from roars to explosions - are all slightly improved over others, and I'm starting to notice a bit more of a depth in the audio experience (I wouldn't quite call this surround sound, but at the same time my computer does like to pretend that doesn't exist at times). Regrettably, the classic theme tune seems to be pushed aside in favor of a more diverse soundtrack again - a bit of a double edged sword really. On the one hand, it's nice to hear a wide mix (Mothra's theme makes a short cameo, a couple of sweeping orchestral tunes that set mood), I never tire of that old theme song.
As far as the thus-far rolling themes of the human side of things, this entry borderlines on a romance movie. It is very much "can't we just understand each other" and "why is violence always the answer?" It's nice to see Miki get as much attention in this one as she does, being she's been the biggest recurring character we've seen in this series, and yet at the same time the suited monsters factor in heavily this go-round. In comparison, the human segments actually feel brief - a little bit of a shootout, some character building at the beginning pre-Space G arrival, and some closing shots at the end. I can't say that it's any weaker than the other human segments, and it does rival what I would believe to be most people's reactions to Godzilla vs someone who's psychically been in Godzilla's head, but it doesn't feel nearly as genre-defined as some of the other segments (spy flick, Indiana Jones knock-off).
As is usual, if you like Godzilla, you'll enjoy watching this one. It retains that scientific feel of the other Heisei entries - even if it feels a little far reaching. If your new to Godzilla, this certainly isn't where you are going to want to start. Although it may be one of the best looking entries so far, it has a lot of elements that bank on previous entries as far as the plot goes - if you just want some giant battles however, I guess that wouldn't really matter to you.