Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack / Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla:
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
As with Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, 2001's GMA presents Godzilla as the evil destroyer of cities he once was. (We still love him, though.) This go-round, it's even more explicit; Godzilla is the vengeful manifestation of those killed in The War of the Pacific. As we know, the best thing vengeful spirits angry about all the killing can do is send an avatar to kill some more. And so comes the Big G, to stomp and stomp and stomp. What's more, we learn that those spirits are actually electricity stored in stone or something. So while this entry in the Godzilla canon is well-paced and fair packed-to-the-walls with action, it's way convoluted, just begging you to turn off your brain and enjoy the action despite the exposition.
And what action it is! Emerging to combat a version of Godzilla with the fattest thighs ever, with the gentle help of a wise old ghost, are not one, not two, but three giant monsters! The lovable Baragon, (who looks something like a fruit-bat crossed with an armadillo) the even more loveable Mothra, and regal Ghidorah - a creature I was brought up to hate, but hey, this is 21st Century Godzilla!
But let's us do away with all the spiritual brouhaha, for the earthly delights of giant suckers crushing everything. First up is Baragon, who can burrow quite nicely through hill and dale on his way to tackle Godzilla. Baragon is obviously outmatched, swung around by the tail and generally treated like the villain in a WWE match. Nonetheless, his bout with G brings mucho awesome destruction, as well as sincere empathy for the cute little guy. I kinda hated watching him get his ass handed to himself on a platter. In the course of the battle, we get a nice nod to the 1954 Godzilla when the villain pokes his head over a hill-top, terrorizing fleeing citizens. Unlike in that first movie, however, this time Godzilla chooses to simply crush the hill by walking straight through it to get at Baragon. Yeah, it's that kind of movie.
More and more battles and destruction ensue, meaning that if you can get through the lengthy bits of exposition, (GMA clocks in at 105 minutes) you'll get more than your share of building stomping, fire breathing, and what have you. All of this is nicely bolstered by the added realism of seeing some of the action via news reports on TV screens, a conceit used liberally in Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla reboot. If Giant Monsters All-Out Attacking is your thing, you'll get it in spades. This one is Recommended, minus a few points for bloated thighs and run-time.
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla
Well I'll be a DNA-Cloned Kaiju! Haven't seen every Godzilla movie ever made, but this 2002 entry from Toho Studios seems to have gotten pretty much everything right. It's as though this simple story of Godzilla crushing things and the Japanese trying to kill it - while our heroes have a cute little love-story with an adorable moppet in tow - has truly taken DNA from the Big G and made something beautifully effective.
A new Godzilla has emerged from the sea to stomp Tokyo. (Since when did Godzilla become such a great swimmer, anyway?) A cute hotshot soldier does her best, but one of her teammates ends up crunched. Cut to three years later, and wouldn't you know Godzilla is back AGAIN! Only this time when the team is assembled to combat the threat, they come up with the bright idea to extract some DNA from the original Godzilla's skeleton, melding it with their spanky new gigantic MechaGodzilla to make the ultimate fighting machine. What could go wrong?
I will not spoil that secret. I will say that this movie has everything a fan could want: A widower scientist with a young daughter, a shamed soldier with something to prove, and some of the best Kaiju fighting this side of Pacific Rim. I'm a big fan of Del Toro's monster mash - a movie about which, in the extras, he opines that he wanted Rim to have the DNA of other Kaiju films, but to neither ape, nor draw direct inspiration from them. Perhaps coincidentally, Rim seems to share plenty of DNA with Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, from the cute Mecha pilot with a past to the totally awesome battle in the streets of Tokyo. Not saying there was any copying going on, but rather just pointing out both movies share attributes that make them freaking awesome.
Great miniatures, brutal fight choreography, a good Godzilla design, a decent plot with a nice emotional component, and action, action, action! Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla has everything a fan could want. I might just have to watch it again right after finishing this review! The Blu-ray transfer looks pretty great too. Except for a total lack of extras, this is Highly Recommended.
Both movies stomp your way in sharp-looking 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentations. Details are clear and sweet looking, while colors are rich and well saturated. Black levels are deep, flesh tones accurate, the prints are obviously in good shape for fairly new movies, with just a nice little bit of film grain, and no damage to be seen. Nor are there any serious problems to report as far as the 1080p HD remasters go. Each movie comes on a single disc in this two-fer package, they're a pleasure to behold.
Both movies also come with robust English 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio tracks, and original Japanese audio tracks in 5.1 DTS-HD MA - which are of course the tracks to which you want to listen, you purists, you! The mixes are truly smashing - pun intended - as the roaring, crashing and destruction envelops you the listener. Bass tones are throaty and deep, dialog is clean and clear, and the musical soundtracks sound strong but non-intrusive. Good presentations, both!
Both discs include both English and English SDH subtitles, and the Original Trailers for each movie. Only thing is, for MechaGodzilla, the original trailer is for Godzilla Versus MechaGodzilla, rather than Against MechaGodzilla. Entirely different movie, folks! You also get an Ultraviolet Download Code for both movies.
Both Godzilla movies are solid-to-fantastic entries into the Toho canon of Kaiju films, featuring brutal monster action that is sure to delight fans. While Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is a bit long and wonky as far as the plot goes, it's got four monsters duking it out! MechaGodzilla represents a truly great monster mash, with a brisk run-time, cute plot points, and really nice smashing. Both discs come from previous single-disc editions, and are packed together in a standard Blu-ray case, so if you already own one or both, there's no need to pick up this double feature. If you don't already own them, what are you waiting for, boyo? These great-looking and sounding Blu-rays are together Highly Recommended for fans of the genre.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com