his entry in the popular monster series is a
disappointing and flawed effort unworthy of the "Godzilla" name.
Rampantly anti-Western and entirely unoriginal, "Godzilla vs. King
Ghidorah" also makes the huge mistake of relegating its main star to
the film's third act. Instead of an exciting monster epic, we're given a
dull and mostly pointless exercise in science fiction that is reminiscent
of material done much better by more talented filmmakers.
The movie begins with a UFO buzzing Japan, causing
mystery and panic among the population. The craft reveals itself not to be
a UFO, but rather a time machine from the future piloted by three humans
and an android. The travelers warn that by the 23rd Century, Godzilla will
have completely destroyed Japan and rendered the country uninhabitable.
The time travelers also promise to erase Godzilla from history in order to
save the Japanese people. But the travelers actually have a sinister
agenda: they are actually jealous of Japan's future prosperity and wants
to prevent the country's rise to economic supremacy. With Godzilla gone,
the future travelers unleash King Ghidorah to enslave Japan. Can
scientists recreate Godzilla in time to stop the nefarious plot?
It must have dawned on writer/director Kazuki Omori that a radical
departure from the usual storytelling was needed to make his film stand
out from the pack. The result is that "Godzilla vs. King
Ghidorah" does indeed stand out -- as one of the worst in the series!
Omori's script features few original ideas, and seems to borrow heavily
from the works of James Cameron, Jack Finney, and H.G. Wells. It's also
crassly anti-Western, with the treacherous time travelers almost all
European while the heroes are Japanese. A proto-Godzilla is seen crushing
American troops on a Pacific island during World War II and the soldiers
are seen cowardly fleeing. There is also one massive paradox the film
never explains: if Godzilla is erased from history, which means he never
existed at all, then why does everyone in the present still remember who
The revisionist take on the origins of Godzilla and
King Ghidorah is hardly revolutionary, and the idea that mutating
household pets created King Ghidorah is just silly. The rest of the script
is dull, with its insistence on keeping Godzilla offscreen for over an
hour in favor of a convoluted time travel story and Gaijin bashing. When
the big guy finally does arrive, it lifts the film dramatically, but at
this point it's far too late to save the film. The audience's attention
has long since wandered, and no one cares anymore.
Omori's direction is about as successful as his writing, which is to say
it's not very good. The film plods along aimlessly and seems mainly to be
killing time until Godzilla arrives to add some excitement. Godzilla is
supposed to be reborn as bigger and more powerful, but aside from looking
more annoyed than usual he looks basically the same as ever. King Ghidorah
doesn't look much scarier, even though the cyborg form he sports near the
end looks fantastic.
In the final analysis, "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah" is a
Godzilla film largely missing its main draw. What's the point of putting
his name in the title if Godzilla is absent for most of the film? Even
worse, what's shown onscreen while he's gone is hardly entertaining. This
film is for Godzilla die-hards only, and everyone else should try another
entry in the series instead.