A BLTN Review
U.S. Theatrical Release Date: November 29, 2004
U.S. DVD Release Date: December 13, 2005
Tagline: "Earth: Out-Numbered, Out-Monstered, Out-Done!"
English Dubbed Version
This reviewer believes it is fair to state that with perhaps the exception of the 'original' (with it's dark underlying themes), no one has ever sat down to watch a 'Godzilla' movie for it's solid storytelling.
Whether as a young child on a lazy Saturday afternoon or as an adult enjoying a late night 'movie-mega-riff-session', acting and plot are not one's foremost criteria for this 'genre'.
All you ever wanted to view were 'Kaiju'. Big monsters. And lots of them. Kicking each others butt. With a whole bunch of property damage and a resulting sudden drop in local real estate values.
And that is what 'Toho Company, LTD' delivers with "Godzilla: Final Wars". The 28th installment in the film franchise that started in 1954. It is also rumored to be the last 'Giant Monster Film' that the studio will produce for at least the next decade.
The story goes something like this...
After decades of being terrorized, the nations of Earth have created an 'Earth Defense Force' consisting of 'mutant' humans whose duty is to protect the planet against the Kaiju.
An alien race named 'The Xillians' led by an obnoxious Commander, 'The Controller of Planet X' (Kazuki Kitamura
), intends to harvest the human race to be used as the Xillians' food source. (The aliens require human 'mitochondria' for their sustained existence.!?) The aliens control the monster 'Gigan' and have influence over other Earthbound giant creatures as well. They unleash them on Earth's major cities to wreak havok, as the first step towards mankind's domination.
Captain Gordon (Don Frye
), a Red, White and Blue to the core American, commanding the 'EDF' submarine 'Gotengo', realizes that the Human/Alien/Monster conflict will not turn to mankind's favor. He decides to release Godzilla from it's icy South Pole containment (in which Gordon trapped Godzilla many years ago) in an effort to aid in the battle. Along with a young warrior named Ozaki (Masahiro Matsuoka
) who has yet to realize his 'destiny', the EDF along with Godzilla begin possibly their final stand against the Kaiju and aliens.
Aside from those story elements there are sub-themes dealing with 'abduction by aliens, mind control and M-based protein mutation(?). Also, the film borrows liberally (and un-ashamedly) from such other productions as 'Independence Day
', 'The Matrix
' and 'Star Wars
'. There are so many threads flying around that protective eyeware is highly advised.
The DVD is presented in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with English 5.1 Dolby Digital and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. English and French subtitles are also available.
'Special Features' include...
~ 'Godzilla: B-Roll to Film' Featurette
~ Movie trailer
~ TV Spots
~ Promotional Reel
If this is truly farewell, the studio and director (Ryuhei Kitamura
) decided that they had better use 'every toy in the toybox'. Toho breaks out '14' of it's 'Classic Monster' stable, some friend, some foe. Rodan, Mothra, Ghidrah, Anguirus, Manda, Hedorah, Mamakuras, King Caesar and even the 'big guy's' son Minilla, make this look like a Kaiju class reunion. Shucks, even the miniature twin girls from the original 'Mothra' make an appearance.
It's loud, it's eye-popping, it's even got a rock music score with at least one song by 'Sum 41', as well as bits of musical themes and sounds from 50 years of 'monster madness'.
But most of all, it's FUN!
Not so much a 'retirement party', but an 'I'll see ya later' hug with a knowing wink. (God, I love the smell of plastic, burning miniatures).
RATING: 3-1/2 'Sweaty, Rubber Costumes' out of 5
TITLE: 'Godzilla: Final Wars' (2004) ~ STUDIO: Toho Company LTD/ Sony Pictures Home Entertainment ~ MPAA RATING: PG13 (for Intense Sequences of Violence) ~ RUNNING TIME: 125 Minutes ~ STARRING: Masahiro Matsuoka, Rei Kikukawa, Don Frye, Akira Takarada ~ DIRECTED BY: Ryuhei Kitamura
The opinions expressed herein are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of 'jonja.net' nor it's owner.
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