Probably the best thing about “Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla” is its title. It promises a terrific new monster, and it has a nice ring to it. Too bad the actual movie is an inept looking and confusing entry, making it one of the low points in the Godzilla series.
Godzilla’s enemy has its origins from Godzilla himself. Godzilla cells were somehow carried into outer space, where they were sucked into a black hole and mutated into an evil looking creature with crystals on its back. Space Godzilla instinctively heads to Earth, and Godzilla and the anti-monster team G-Force must stop it before it reduces the world to rubble.
The monster suits for Godzilla and Space Godzilla look really good, especially Space Godzilla. Special effects director Koichi Kawakita and his crew do a terrific job of letting their imaginations run wild, coming up with a wickedly malevolent incarnation of Godzilla. Blue with a reddish stomach and huge crystals jutting from his back, Space Godzilla looks like he could be the creature to finally take out the king of the monsters. And if he was in a better film, he might just have done that and more.
But while the key monsters look great, the rest of “Space Godzilla” is a disappointment. The script is relatively disjointed and frequently can be a bit hard to follow. Promising subplots, like a group hijacking G-Force’s technology, a rift in the G-Force ranks, a soldier out for revenge against Godzilla, and a romance between a G-Force member and the team’s psychic, are all introduced only to become lost in the movie. Fan favorite Mothra shows up to warn about the impending arrival of Space Godzilla, but she quickly disappears from the film.
The special effects leave a lot to be desired. An outer space battle between Space Godzilla and G-Force is pathetic, looking obviously like it was done on a sound stage with models and foam boulders doubling for asteroids. MOGERA, the new G-Force super robot, is unimpressive and doesn’t seem terribly threatening. Its only saving grace is that it resembles the robot in “The Mysterians”, hence allowing fans to reminisce about a better movie.
Baby Godzilla has taken a turn for the worse in this movie; with a rounder body and big eyes, he looks like a bad manga version of Godzilla. Probably meant to appeal to viewers as being cute, Baby Godzilla just looks ridiculous and it probably crossed Godzilla’s mind to put him up for adoption. On a positive note, there is an excellent live action/special effects integration shot with Godzilla entering the beach on Birth Island. But while breathtaking, it’s too short to overcome the faults of the film.
The music by Takayuki Hattori is bland and nondescript. There are no stirring monster themes and for the most part the music seems to get drowned out by the action onscreen. Instead of accentuating the film, the score seems content to underachieve and contribute as little as possible to the movie experience. First time Godzilla director Kensho Yamashita allows the film to drag and become tedious; this is especially noticeable during what should have been exciting battle scenes. Yamashita lets the cast skate by with uninteresting performances, and at times seems like he’d rather focus on the human cast than the monsters. That might normally work, but this is a Godzilla movie and people pay to see monsters.
“Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla”, besides wasting a potentially good idea, also has the distinction of being one of the worst Godzilla films since the mid-70’s. Boring, confusing, and featuring some laughably bad special effects, this film is for die-hard Godzilla fans only. Anyone else inclined to see this should just read the title, then sit back and dream of the film that could have been.
Kensho Yamashita (director) / Hiroshi Kashiwabara (screenplay)
CAST: Megumi Odaka …. Miki Saegusa
Jun Hashizume …. Lt. Koji Shinjo
Zenkichi Yoneyama …. Lt. Kiyoshi Sato