Godzilla X MechaGodzilla 2003

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FZeroOne
Posts: 419
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2002 1:42 pm

Godzilla X MechaGodzilla 2003

Postby FZeroOne » Tue Aug 19, 2003 8:24 pm

Those who know me will probably know about my fondness for giant robots. It will therefore not surprise those people that my favourite Godzilla villain is MechaGodzilla, a bionic robot 'Zilla that was one of the last great additions to the canon before Toho put the Big G into storage in the mid 70s. A little while ago, I found out about some of the developments in the Godzilla world ( ignoring that US, er, thing... ). Apparently, Toho has decided to reset Godzilla continuity no less than three times, the only generally continious element being the original 1954 Godzilla attack on Tokyo. Intrigued, and having fallen in love with the 2003 MechaGodzilla design, I decided to order a DVD copy of Godzilla X MechaGodzilla 2003, from CDJapan. It arrived, along with a Godzilla-sized customs charge, yesterday. So, how does the Worlds longest running movie franchise keep up in the post-Jurassic Park world? Answer: By doing what it does best: men in monster suits, trashing Tokyo. The plot: Godzilla fights MechaGodzilla. Oh, theres [/I]something about the pilot of MechaGodzilla having had her maser tank crew wiped out by old radioactive breath, and her relationship with the JSDFs anti-Godzilla force ( who regard her as bad luck ), and the kindly scientist who builds the MG itself. But is anyone really interested in a Godzilla film for the plot?! It would appear that the production crew share my love for Godzillas robotic cousin, as I'm pretty sure MG gets at least twice the screen time - apparently this film is the beginning of a trilogy starring MG, and it does feel like its setting up a franchise - just like the first X-Men movie. Its really interesting to see how modern effects are being used in what has traditionally been seen as a rather cheap & cheerful approach to special effects production ( which is, for quite a few Godzilla films, something of a misconception ). CGI is used to enhance traditional Toho monster movie production; Godzillas breath weapon is now an awesome stream of superheated plasma, and is used to show the US Godzilla just how to deal with pesky fighter jets. However, its something of a mixed bag. The blue-screen work is pretty inferior to the latest techniques used even in TV, theres no getting away from the fact that the protagonists are men in rubber suits, and a number of effects are a bit rough. Having said that, some of the other effects are truly great. There are a couple of flying sequences, including an aircraft crash, which are really top notch and actually better than I've seen done in Hollywood productions. Other standouts are MGs launch sequence, a scene where MG walks straight through a tower-block, and MGs missile attacks, the closest I've ever seen in live-action to an anime-style missile shower. And no more control consoles built from doorbells and antenna-spoked helmets; control rooms, cockpits, and interiors are all very well done and full of high-tech computer displays. I especially like MGs control joysticks. Its perhaps telling that the "Making Of" featurette has perhaps 5 minutes of actors and 25 minutes footage of SFX filming ( which highlight just how much post-production work must be done for the final product ). Verdict: was it worth what I paid for it? Probably not. Its a bit short, theres no English subtitles, and the story is not going to win a screenwriting Oscar anytime soon. However, if you've long had a fondness for the Big G, and can get it cheaper, its worth looking into ( and one can hope a US anime company may one day pick up the rights - are you listening, ADV? ). Its certainly more entertaining than the US attempt, which had a much bigger budget. I'm intrigued enough to consider getting the other films as they're released. Also, the other reason I've posted this is that the Godzilla films are probably the very last place where one can still see what skilled model-workers can do. For those who watched Thunderbirds, or indeed, Star Fleet, to see things blow up in new and interesting ways each week, the new Godzilla series may just restore your faith in the old methods...
"The power of bakers, the power of artists; even the power of witches! It must be a power given by God... sometimes we suffer for it."- Ursula, Kikis Delivery Service.

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