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Gojira: Fainaru uozu

Godzilla: Final Wars

Japan 2004
produced by
Shogo Tomiyama for Toho
directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
starring Masahiro Matsuoka, Rei Kikukawa, Kazuki Kitamura, Don Frye, Akira Takarada, Kane Kosugi, Maki Mizuno, Masami Nagasawa, Chihiro Otsuka, Kenji Sahara, Kumi Mizuno, Masakatsu Funaki, Masato Ibu, Masanobu Takashima, Mick Preston, Darren Schnase, Shigeru Izumiya, Kenta Suga, Jun Kunimura, Shelley Sweeney, Ryuhei Kitamura, Kenji Kohashi
screenplay by Isao Kiriyama, Ryuhei Kitamura, based on a story by Wataru Mimura, Shogo Tomiyama, monsters designed by Yasushi Nirasawa, Shinji Nishikawa, Yoji Shinkawa, Katsuya Terada, special effects by Eiichi Asada, CGI effects by Nobuhiro Kondo, music by Keith Emerson, Nobuhiko Morino, Daisuke Yano, theme by Akira Ifukube

Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Gigan, Rodan, Ebirah, Anguirus, Son of Godzilla, Hedorah, Spigas, Manda, Gimantis, Atragon, King Sheesar

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somehow, the warship Atragon (a ship that can swim over & under water as well as fly & drill its way through solid matter, as seen in 1963's movie Atragon) manages to defeat Godzilla at the South Pole, bury him under tons of ice & contain him in some forcefield ...

But with Godzilla gone, Atragon has rendered itself useless, & its elite crew, consisting solely of mutants, is consigned to other tasks. So first mate Ozaki (Masahiro Matsuoka) suddenly has the non-challenging (or so he thinks) task to be bodyguard to molecular scientist Miyuki Otonashi (Rei Kikukawa), who is a real good looker, but at first spurns all his avances, being more interested in the  giant petrified (?) monster her team has just found ...

But with Godzilla gone, earth's other monsters - Rodan, Gimantis, Spigas, Anguilus, King Sheesar, Ebirah, even something looking like the crappy American CGI-Godzilla, ... - have a field day, & destroy cities around the globe as only giant Japanese monsters can ...

& all of a sudden, all the monsters disappear, instead an UFO from planet X appears, & the X-ian controller (Kazuki Kitamura) assures earth the X-ians have come in peace. & the UN secretary general (Akira Takarada) & the commander of earth's armed forces (Kumi Mizuno), who curiously have been saved from an airplanecrash by the X-ians, agree with the X-ians all too hastily.

Only a small group - Ozaki, Miyuki & Miyuki's sister Anna (Maki Mizuno) among them - notice there's something wrong, & soon enough come to the conclusion that

a) the secretary general & the commander are really X-ians in disguise, &

b) the only one who can save the earth now is ... Godzilla of course !

So they persuade Atragon's captain Gordon (Don Frye) & his crew to go to the South Pole & free Godzilla, then lure him back to Japan to take care of the X-ians (like all proper invaders, the X-ians have picked Japan as their main target).

The X-ian soon throws monster after monster at Godzilla, but Godzilla has little problems disposing of them, even if they sometimes go three-on-one, & eventually, even Mothra - always on the side of good - shows up to help him. Soon of course, Godzilla has arrived at his destination, & Tokyo is laid to waste, when the X-ians throw their ultimate monster, Monster X at him. & Monster X proves to be a tough cookie ...

Meanwhile, Atragon has somehow made it inside the X-ian UFO, but the whole crew is taken prisoner ... which is when mutant Ozaki learns his origin (& probably his destiny ? ): All the mutants are in fact a result of X-ian gene manipulation, to bring some earthlings to X-ian level to help the X-ians harvest on the earthlings. But Ozaki is something more, a Kaiser, some sort of extra-superbeing, & there are very few Kaisers even among the X-ians. Needless to say, the controller is a Kaiser, & he offers Ozaki to rule the earthlings with him. Naturally, Ozaki refuses, & the 2 fight it out violently. Only eventually can Ozaki defeat the Controller, & he & the Atragon crew can not only fight their way through hordes of X-ians back to the ship, but also free the real UN secretary general & the real commander of earth's armed forces.

Upon leaving, the Atragon destroys the UFO.

At the same time, down on terry firma, Godzilla finally defeats Monster X ... or so he thinks, because Monster X suddenly transforms into King Gidorah, & as usual King Gidorah puts up quite a fight before being finally defeated. Then Godzilla wants to destroy the Atragon too, but his cute little son can stop his dad & calm him down just in time, & the 2 take to the water & leave.

To Monster Island ?, one is left wondering.

 

To celebrate their 20th monster film in 1968, production company Toho made the silly bu enjoyable Destroy All Monsters, where almost all of Toho's monsters were trown into one single film. In 2004, to celebrate Godzilla's 50th birthday, someone at Toho must have remembered that film & thought "it did work once, there's no reason it shouldn't work again" ...

The result is somewhat ambiguous: It's of course great to see al the monsters (especially the crappy ones like King Sheesar or Gigan) turn up again, destroy cities like nobody's business & fight each other, & even the decidedly badly made, cheesy son of Godzilla does work in the context of the film. Furthermore most of the battlescenes are really imaginatively done, & ever so often self-conscious irony takes over.

On the other hand though, the human subplot is working less well (admittedly, always a weak spot with Godzilla movies), on one hand the story about the aliens & the mutants is rather clichéd, on the other hand it is not given enough room to develop, & finally, who cares about mutants & aliens when there are giant monsters about ? Probably the whole subplot would have made a good seperate film (& the human on human fightsce4nes the film features are excellent), but it makes little sense in the context of a monstermovie.

Still of course, if you are into giant monster battles & meaningless destruction, this is your film.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.

 

There's No Such Thing as Zombies
starring
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry

 

directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke

 

now streaming at

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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screenwriter and film reviewer
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Tales to Chill
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