Sunday, September 4, 2011

Godzillapalooza #17: Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

"Godzilla vs. Biollante" (1989)
Monster Profile:


-HEIGHT: 394 feet
-MASS: 220,000 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Besides being covered in thorns and having a fearsome, crocodilian mouth, Biollante also has multiple tentacle-like vines with Venus fly traps on the ends. Biollante can also spray a sort of acidic, radioactive sap from its mouth.
-BACKGROUND: Biollante is the result of a science project gone wrong. A geneticist, named Dr. Shiragami, combined the DNA of his dead daughter, her favorite rose, and Godzilla in order to ensure the eternal life of his beloved child. You can guess how that turned out. Biollante goes through two forms, including the fanged monster that fights Godzilla and eventually dissolves into millions of spores.

The film begins following Godzilla's 1984 attack on Japan. A biological team recovering Godzilla's cells and tissue from the wreckage is attacked by a group of mercenaries (from an evil cmpany called Biomajor) who are then attacked by a lone secret agent (who looks mysteriously like one of the gang leaders from the "Beat It" music video) from a Middle Eastern country who takes the cells. Long story short, the cells are eventually given to Dr. Shiragami by a Middle Eastern government in the hope that he can engineer a grain plant that can grow in the dessert. But the plans fall through and Shiragami's beloved daughter gets killed. 5 years pass and Shiragami grafts some of his daughter's DNA to a rosebush so that her soul can live on in the plant. When psychics warn that Godzilla will soon arise from the volcano he is incased in, the Japanese government enlists Shiragami to help create an anti-nuclear bio weapon to defend against Godzilla. He agrees so that he can have access to Godzilla cells, which he can combine with his daughter's dying rose bush to make sure it lives forever (because Godzilla's cells are self-regenerative, hence his basic invincibility). Complicated, I know. Well, as you might guess, involving G-cells creates a monster, which actually defends Shiragami's lab from the Biomajor employees and the lone gunman we met earlier (actually named SSS9) who break in trying to steal G-cells. The plant continues to grow until it becomes a monstrously sized rose thing in the middle of Lake Ashino.  Since Biomajor still hasn't gotten their hands on any G-cells, they threaten to blow up the volcano holding Godzilla captive, thus releasing him from his prison, if no one gives them any cells. But then good ole' SSS9 disrupts the trade and the volcano blows up anyway, releasing Godzilla. After a short rampage, Godzilla is attracted to Biollante. He torches the towering rose and then leaves. But later in Osaka, Biollante's pollen falls and creates the fearsome, fanged stage of the monster. Godzilla is defeated by a combination of Biollante and anti-nuclear bacteria that the military infects him with. SSS9 shows up one more time to try and kill Shiragami and take the cells for his country, but he gets killed. Godzilla retreats and Biollante dissolves into pollen that floats into space, freeing Shiragami's daughter's soul.

Biollante is a very unique and interesting foe, making this a very entertaining Godzilla movie combined with some good special effects and great Godzilla scenes. The whole topic of cells and cell division is also new and interesting. The plot for this movie and idea for Biollante were actually the result of a sweepstakes and thus were written by a random fan. This is the first G-movie featuring a heavy influence of characters with ESP. One psychic character in particular appears in every movie in the 90's, in addition to this one, and is played by Megumi Odaka. This movie also receives big points from me for including pieces of Ifukube's original score as well as some new numbers, including an updated and VERY 80's sounding version of the original "Godzilla March".

The Godzilla suit looks absolutely awesome and is a fan favorite design. As a result, the suit barely changes throughout the next four movies. Close-ups and animatronics of the face are also top-notch. The tail is also longer and more whip-like which is a nice feature. Thanks to modern technology, this is the first movie were the special effects really start to get good. It's a great Godzilla movie, and while I can't say it's one of my favorites, I definitely enjoy watching it. It's almost poetic in its delivery and in so many ways is very different than any other movie in the series. Heck, there's even some good action scenes involving the people. I would certainly recommend it to any Godzilla fan.

Best Part:
I have a few favorite parts. First, I totally love Godzilla's first appearance out of the volcano. He just walks out slowly in front of an innumerable amount of explosions set to Ifukube's classic score. Simply awesome. I also really love the tidbit right after Godzilla gets tagged with the anti-nuclear bacteria. One of the gunmen is feeling all good about himself and Godzilla walks up to his window looking pissed. Then when the gunman makes sum snide comment, Godzilla knocks the whole building down. Finally, of course I love the final battle. It starts out very serenely, with everyone (including Godzilla) watching Biollante's spores fall slowly from the sky. Then the monster appears and the ass-kicking begins. Biollante shows off its full arsenal and Godzilla fights hard until he is too weakened. Overall, it's a pretty sweet and unique fight.

My Ranking: #18

Up next, the series revisits Godzilla's most classic and famous foe with a bit of a twist. It's one of my all-time favorites of the series... "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah"

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