Godzilla is back, and this time he’s not alone! While scouting the seas for schools of fish, young pilots Tsukioka and Kobayashi encounter Godzilla and the spiny monster Anguirus in heated battle on a small Japanese island. The two beasts tumble into the ocean and soon resurface in Osaka, laying waste to the city in a fight to the death. As the threat of destruction mounts, the two heroes muster their courage for the final showdown with Godzilla.
Gojira no gyakushū 6.0
eyelights: the make-do approach of the filmmakers.
eyesores: the cheap visual effects. the bare and illogical screenplay.
It’s been a really long time since I last watched a Gojira movie. I initially planned to watch them all back-to-back, or at least close together, but, despite the quality of the original, the drive simply isn’t there: kaiju movies are simply not a draw for me, given how cheap they usually look, how creatively bankrupt the writing frequently is and how interchangeable they all seem to be.
‘Gojira no gyakushu’ is no different: it looks crummy, the script shows no signs of effort from the writers whatsoever, and there’s really nothing special about this particular outing. It feels like a throw-away.
Mind you, this film was produced in quick haste, following the surprise success of its predecessor, in order to cash in on its popularity. This may explain why it’s as slip-shod as it is (and why it would take a further seven years for another sequel to be made). Sadly, the tactic worked, and ‘Gojira no gyakushu’ remains the third biggest ticket selling Gojira movie in Japan to this day.
Well, needless to say, I think that this one’s a tosser.
Right from the onset, we are treated to the most mundane of stories about a pair of pilots who are scouring the waters for schools of fish. Inexplicably, one of the two crashes and finds himself on a deserted island. When the other comes to get him, they find themselves witness to a fight between Gojira and another monster, soon to be named Anguirus. And, as soon as they see the creatures, they plunge into the sea and disappear.
We have no idea where they came from, we have no idea where they’re going, but there they are… fighting. For no apparent reason.
This is pretty much how the movie plays out from start to finish: people are doing random, unexceptional things and then Gojira pops in, creates a little havoc, and then disappears again. No one ever sees him coming, and no one ever sees him leave – it’s as though the inhabitants of this version of Japan are utterly clueless. Goodammit! Just invest in a radar, a sonar, a guy with binoculars… anything, for crying out loud!
Anyway, Gojira interrupts the film fro…
Dammit! See how he does that? Grrr…
As I was saying, Gojira interrupts the film from time to time, no doubt to stimulate the audience, which is by then under the soporific effects of the film’s anemic drama. But it’s not even worth waking up for: watching Gojira and Anguirus duel was like watching grown men play-wrestle in rubber suits in fast-forward. Fast-forward! No joke. Plus which this version of Gojira looks like a big turd with twisted teeth in his maw. Le sigh…
This is hardly surprising, given how el cheapo ‘Gojira no gyakushu’ is: most of the visual effects were way worse than the original film’s were – and they were already low budget! It extends to the model kits that these films frequently use in lieu of actual buildings and vehicles. Amusingly enough, the real vehicles looked as dinky as the tinker toys used in other scenes – you could only tell them apart due to the crappy sets the toys were on.
I will give the filmmakers credit for one thing, though, and it’s for making the most out of very little; I’ll give them a B+ for effort. I’m a huge fan of DIY, and normally the cheapness of the movie wouldn’t bother me one bit – so long as there’s a good script and excellent performances to sustain the piece. Sadly, this movie is as dressed up in a big rubber as the guys who play the monster: it doesn’t look real, feel real and it trudges onward awkwardly.
Stripped of the original’s socio-political overtones and removed from the post-war setting, ‘Gojira no gyakushu’ is just a shell of a movie. Having lost its initial purpose, having very little story to speak of, and saddled with a relatively uninspiring cast of characters, it’s just a big dumb monster movie with dumb-looking monsters in it.
Date of viewing: February 19, 2013