“Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” (2000)

After the amazing “Godzilla 2000” brought us a fiercer, spikier, and toothier Godzilla we are cursed with this terrible assault that is one of the worst Godzilla films I’ve seen recently.

It all begins with an ill-conceived and poorly executed opening sequence where for some unknown reason, after all the near-successes of past films like cryo-lasers, and missiles can finally pierce his thick hide, the G-Force, now renamed G-Grapplers, decide to attack Godzilla on the ground using shoulder mounted rocket launchers. The commander is killed, naturally. Flash-forward to modern day, the commander’s mentee has now assumed controlled of the G-Grapplers and recruits a new engineer to help design a miniature black hole to blast Godzilla into nothingness. However, the test firing brings forth a prehistoric insect for Godzilla to battle and wreck havoc on Japan.

Megaguirus itself is like most kaiju and is well designed, save for the fact that it seems like they took Battra’s head and redesigned the rest of the new kaiju around that. The fast wing attack, claw swipe, and energy drain are interesting attacks. The look of the kaiju is equally awe-inspiring and a worthy of addition to the Godzilla gallery of foes. What is problematic is the film in general.

After a series of kaiju combat-worthy craft like Mechagodzilla and Super X-III (among others) we are given the equivalent of a paper airplane with Fighter Griphon. It not only looks extremely frail next to the extremely powerful and super-sized kaiju, but it seems to have little actual functionality. The Major is a cardboard stereotype of the wounded soul. The young engineer might as well be carrying a surfboard. So, basically the human element of this particular film is tragically bad. The fight sequences do not fair any better.

The showdown between Godzilla and Megaguirus is so terrible it might as well have been choreographed by someone fired from professional wrestling. For some unknown reason they unmasterfully tried to use what appears to be slow-motion, but instead comes across as if someone just cut out every other frame in spots. At other times the kaiju change position so dramatically, like with Megaguirus stabs Godzilla in the mouth, he suddenly is over an American football field length in front of Godzilla, instead of behind him which he should be as he was flying at full speed when he stabbed our King of Kaiju!

Also, there are some atrocious decisions, ones I thought mercifully left in the past. In an older film Godzilla actually “flew” through the expulsion of his atomic breath, not one of the films’ finest moments. In this film Godzilla leaps to great heights, as if he were a pro wrestler resulting in a groan-worthy body slam upon Megaguirus. Godzilla is slammed into a building and moments later raises to his feet as if lifted on a plank. And finally in a final moment of ridiculousness he shakes his head in an over-exaggerated manner to clear it of debris. The problem with this minor sequence is the tragic way in which it is handled through camera speed and in conjunction with the other bad decisions made in the fight sequence.

This look of Godzilla is consistent with redesign of Godzilla in “Godzilla 2000” and conveys his fierce awesomeness. It is just too bad that this film fails to live up to the legend and epicness of the King of Kaiju. “Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” ranks down there with the worst of the bunch like “Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster,” “Godzilla vs. Biollante,” and the worst “Son of Godzilla.” Like “Smog Monster” and “Biollante” even though the films weren’t that good, the kaiju Godzilla fights were well designed and worthy of being revisited in later films. They just don’t get the opportunity to live up to their terrible and awe-ful potential in these ones.

Onto the third film in the Millennium era of Godzilla films “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack”!


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