Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Chiharu Nîyama - Yuri Tachibana
Ryudo Uzaki - Adm. Taizo Tachibana
Masahiro Kobayashi - Teruaki Takeda
Shirô Sano - Haruki Kadokura
Takashi Nishina - Aki Maruo
Kaho Minami - Intelligence Capt. Kumi Emori
Shinya Owada - Lt. Gen. Katsumasa Mikumo
Kunio Murai - Secretary Masato Hinogaki
Hiroyuki Watanabe - Yutaka Hirose
Mizuho Yoshida - Godzilla/Gojira
Akira Ohashi - King Gidorah/Kingu Gidora
Rie Ôta - Baragon
9/10 Godzilla has mysteriously returned to life and begins destroying Japan. Three ancient guardian beasts awaken to protect Japan from him. This is the best Godzilla movie I've seen in a long time. It has everything, a good human story, good actors, and of course..Awesome monsters! One of the things I really liked about this film was the fact that Godzilla is actually scary, especially one scene where a woman in a hospital is killed by him. This is my favorite movie in the millenium series, and also one of my favorites in the entire series! Definetly one everyone should see.
In 1954, Gojira was born; a dark and allegorical monster film which spawned the longest running film franchise in history. However, while many of its sequels were excellent films in their own right, it was not until the year 2001 that a Godzilla film was made that rivalled the original, and that film was Shusuke Kaneko’s Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah, Giant monsters all-out attack, known to fans as GMK. Not only is it the most polished Godzilla film to date, but it’s also one of the most thought-provoking.
The plot is complex, well structured, rich in allegory and smoothly paced. The character development is some of the strongest in the entire Godzilla series, with well-rounded leads in Yuri Tachibana and her father, and the acting is excellent. Kaneko’s direction is confident and creative, with several parts of film deliberately left open to the viewer’s interpretation, and a number of subtle nuances sprinkled throughout. Like Gojira, GMK addresses important contemporary political issues, such as the legacy of World War II in 21st century Japan, the generation gap, Japan’s ambivalence towards military power, and the unstable relationship between the traditional and the modern. However, while Ishiro Honda made his own point of view quite clear in Gojira, Kaneko doesn’t offer the viewer such an easy way out, and presents both sides of each argument. Rather than preaching a specific point of view, Kaneko merely presents the information, gives his own opinion, then leaves the viewer to formulate their own. This ambiguity is one of the many things that makes GMK so fascinating, as any two viewers may form totally different interpretations of its fundamental message, as well as several of its plot points.
Moving on, the kaiju are handled with skill, style and more than a little daring. While many conservative fans dislike their treatment, particularly in regard to Godzilla and King Ghidorah, Kaneko still shows respect for the kaiju, and merely puts his own highly imaginative spin on them. His version of Godzilla is the most awe-inspiring and symbolic since the original film, and while the political issue the creature represents has been changed to one more relevant to the Japan of 2001, his nuclear side is thankfully retained. His intimidating, dinosaurian design and ruthless personality put his bland incarnations of the last two movies to shame.
Mothra is also handled very well; her more insect-like design and the absence of the Shobijin allows her to finally abandon her ‘cuteness factor’ and become a more mysterious, no-nonsense kaiju.
King Ghidorah, though not his usual villainous self, fits his new role as a mystical guardian surprisingly well, and in truth, since he is defending the land and couldn’t care less about the people, he’s not exactly a ‘heroic’ monster. Both he and Mothra have been weakened to highlight Godzilla’s strength, and while some fans may cry foul, the intention was to give an impression of the guardians struggling against an overwhelming foe, in which regard the film succeeds completely.
Last of all, Baragon is given a nicely rugged design, and his valiant, determined character is very memorable.
The action sequences are among the most brutal and well choreographed the series has yet seen, and Kaneko portrays them very realistically, vividly showing the massive collateral damage they cause, and frequently filming them from the perspective of the human observers. With no cheesiness whatsoever, these expertly staged battles can make all but the most cynical viewer accept that they are watching giant monsters fighting.
The special effects are some of the best ever to grace a Godzilla film, and are both technically excellent and artistically beautiful. Certain scenes, such as Mothra unfurling its wings over a moonlit lake, are works of art in themselves. The monsters are possibly the most lifelike to date, rivalled only by those Godzilla vs Biollante, (1989) and the special effects scenes merge seamlessly with their life action counterparts. The miniature sets and pyrotechnics are also superb, creating a convincing sense of size. Even the CGI is mostly very impressive, and the few times when it appears unrealistic are the only real visual blemishes in what is overall a visual feast of a movie.
Ko Otani’s musical score is yet another triumph, providing a rich and memorable accompaniment to the film’s luscious imagery, and evoking an atmosphere of power and mystery. The combination of traditional and electronic instrumentation plays into the film’s recurring theme of the relationship between the ancient and the contemporary, with the two styles used both separately to provide contrast, or together as a seamless fusion. Overall, this is easily one of the best scores of the entire Godzilla series, Akira Ifukube’s work included.
Another thing that makes GMK so impressive is its sheer cinematic polish. While most Godzilla movies look and feel like B-movies, GMK has class. The cinematography, editing and sound are on par with Hollywood films made with over five times GMK’s budget, and being able to enjoy the fun of a Godzilla film with the flash of high-quality filmmaking is truly an amazing experience.
GMK is everything a Godzilla film should be; it’s well made, action-packed, allegorical, and incredibly enjoyable. It is, quite simply, the best Godzilla movie yet made, surpassing even the brooding masterpiece that is Gojira. This film has set the bar high for future entries in the series, and none of the three films made since have come close to matching its brilliance. If there is ever a Godzilla film to top this one, then that film will have to be spectacular indeed. But until that happens, GMK will remain the pinnacle of the Godzilla series.
Max’s verdict: 9.5/10
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (A.K.A GMK) was directed by Shusuke Kaneko (The Director of the excellent Gamera trilogy) and released in 2001.
GMK is a Excellent Kaiju film, the film's plot, characters, Monsters, Music and Special Effects are done well, Godzilla here look purely evil and acts evil, Baragon looks good and fights even though he is out-matched by Godzilla, Both of Mothra's forms are well designed, main the Last Form, which is a welcome change to Mothra's usual look and that her two singing fairy's don't take up screen time and sing (In the Rebirth of Mothra films its alright in a Godzilla film it gets annoying), King Ghidorah here looks good and is not a Space Monster or something created to destroy Japan, but is here as a guardian, people complain that he shouldn't been a good guy, but to me it is something new and suits the film well.
The characters are acted out well and don't make the film boring, The Music is a welcome change and is good for the ears, GMK has also got a good plot and makes sense to why Godzilla attacks Japan, there are in my view two jabs (one which I think is a jab to the American Remake) at the American Godzilla remake, which offers a laugh to the fans who really dislike the remake, the special effects are great, the atomic ray's effect is really good as well as the other effects, however there are two things which I didn't like all that much, one is that is some scene's Godzilla's stomach makes he look really fat (Not as annoying as Godzilla's wobbly lip in Mothra vs Godzilla 1964) and second after Mothra has been hit by Godzilla's atomic ray and crashes down on a building, she looks a bit like a toy, these two things doesn't hurt the film that badly.
GMK is the 2nd best Godzilla film to date in my opinion, its new ideas are something new to the franchise and that Shusuke Kaneko really knows how to handle a camera and keep the story looking good as well as the monsters, I think seeing a sequel to GMK done by Shusuke Kaneko would be pleasant to see.