Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Godzillapalooza #22: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: In its final form, Destoroyah is 394 feet tall.
-MASS: 88,000 tons (final form)
-SPECIAL POWERS: In its final two forms, Destoroyah can fly. Its most powerful weapons are an explosive micro-oxygen beam and a laser from its horn. In its final form, it can also discharge energy from its tail. At any time, Destoroyah can morph into its aggregate form (more on this later) which has the ability to inject victims with lethal micro-oxygen.
-BACKGROUND: Destoroyah's background is a bit complicated to explain, especially to someone not familiar with the series, but in my opinion he is one of the coolest of all of Godzilla's enemies. The Oxygen Destroyer, the only successful weapon in actually killing Godzilla, created anaerobic conditions in Tokyo Bay, and after 40 years these conditions in essence revived a colony of microscopic Precambrian crustaceans with bad attitudes. They continued to grow and evolve until they became an army of human-sized, crab-like spiders. Ultimately they amalgamated into a giant version of this same beast, which swiftly evolved to a flying form to cope with military attacks. For its battles with Godzilla and his son, Destoroyah evolved into its final form, a ferocious, winged anti-Godzilla. In another ironic twist, the only thing that could killed the monster spawned by the first Godzilla's death, was the melt-down and death of the modern Godzilla.


-HEIGHT: 131 feet
-MASS: 16,500 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Thermo-nuclear atomic ray breath. Godzilla Jr is beginning to gain his father's power of cell regeneration.
-BACKGROUND: Little Godzilla is now almost totally grown up and looking more like old dad everyday (notice his dorsal fins haven't quite come in yet, I guess that's like nuclear monster puberty). He even gets into a fight with Destoroyah and is defeated, but the radioactivity from his father's meltdown revives him and turns him into a full blown Godzilla all his own.

The movie begins with a red glowing Godzilla attacking Hong Kong of all places. It's an awesome scene to open the last movie of the Heisei series (originally intended to be the last Godzilla movie altogether) and features one of the most awesome title screens ever conceived! More on that later. G-Force brings on the grandson of Dr. Yamane (remember him from the first movie?), Kenichi, who is a college student and Godzilla expert. Kenichi concludes that Godzilla's nuclear heart is like a reactor and in meltdown, thus it is only a matter of time until Godzilla blows up and destroys half the world. So that's the first problem on everyone's hands. But that's not all. Back in Tokyo, some construction around Tokyo Bay (where the first Godzilla was killed) keeps getting interrupted and there is no trace of oxygen in the soil. Turns out the Oxygen Destroyer's effects revived some organisms that eventually become Destoroyah (explanation above). The scene in which these microscopic Destoroyahs reveal themselves is creepy and awesome as they attack some fish in a public aquarium in a cool, updated version of when Dr. Serizawa demonstrates his weapon on fish in the first movie. Anyway, moving forward quite a bit, the Destoroyahs eventually become an army of giant crustaceans and attack people around the construction site. Before long Godzilla's son shows up, looking more like his dad than ever before, and fights Destoroyah in its amalgamated, giant spider-like form. Junior wins this round just before his dad shows up on the scene, but before they can celebrate, Destoroyah rises from the ashes in its final adult form. Destoroyah kills Junior and an enraged Godzilla seems to kill Destroyoah out of revenge. But as Godzilla tries to revive his lifeless son, Destoroyah comes back for more. Godzilla is weak, but with the help of the Super X III, destroys Destoroyah... ironic. At this point, Godzilla begins to meltdown. The army freezes him to contain the disastrous effects, but it is a sad moment when the crying Godzilla melts away and dies. However, all of the excess radiation revives and further mutates Junior. A new Godzilla is truly born.

This is a great potential ending and fantastic entry in the series, one of my favorites. Throughout the film there are countless references and homages to the first film that are really well done and enjoyable. The Yamane family and house is well represented from the first film including Momoko Kochi reprising her role as a now older Emiko. Destoroyah itself is a great way of tying-in the first movie with the last one. The movie's great on so many levels: the plot is cool, special effects are awesome, and the score could be the best of Ifukube's Godzilla career.

Godzilla looks absolutely awesome in this movie. Possibly his coolest look of all time. Most of his body is throbbing and glowing red due to the meltdown and steam pours out of his skin. It's awesome. Destoroyah looks about as evil as a monster can in his final form and is a formidable opponent. In his smaller forms though, I feel more like I'm watching an Alien movie... it's different, but it works. The movie's finale is action-packed and actually very moving. When Godzilla finally dies, it's an extremely sad and sentimental moment. Maybe it's just my lifelong fandom speaking, because watching one of my childhood heroes painfully melt-away was very striking the first time around. And then after we see Juniors revived and fully grown silhouette, clips from the original Godzilla flash over Ifukube's classic Godzilla march. Nostalgic and awesome. This movie is absolutely worth a look. A must see for every G-fan. Thank the Lord there were more G-movies to come, but the American entry to follow this one is the definition of the verb "to butcher".

Best Part:
The whole last part of this movie, starting when Junior arrives in Tokyo, is absolutely top-notch. The Godzilla action is everything you could hope for. Two awesome battles with an ever-changing Destoroyah and some surprisingly emotional dramatic moments. The ending is simply to die for, pun slightly intended. I've also already mentioned the films awesome beginning. I don't have the whole scene to show you, but I can give you this clip of possibly the greatest title screen of all-time! Notice the incorporation of the original Oxygen Destroyer. Simply awesome and easy for any G-fan to appreciate!

My Ranking: #7

Up next, the Godzilla takes a turn for the worst in the only film not made by Toho (go figure). Sometimes American filmakers do nothing but screw up... "Godzilla" (1998)


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