Monday, June 23, 2014

The Litany of Godzilla: Heisei Series Part Four- Reimagining Legacies

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (II)

In 1992 the world wises up and founds the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center.  Miki is a member, obviously.

Side note:  I realize I tend to mostly name only the Kaiju, and use descriptions for the human characters. This comes from where I place everyone’s importance to the story.  A key exception is Miki Saegusa.  This is for two reasons.

A)  Megumi Odaka plays the same character in six, count ‘em six, consecutive Godzilla films.  There’s a couple of G-Force Brass who have bit parts like Akira Nakao as General Aso in several Heisei films (and returned in other ways in the last three Millennium films), but there are no humans with her kind of reappearance schedule in a major role.  Her closest competition is Takashi Shimura as Doctor Yamane, who was only in the first two.  After that it’s Raymond Burr as Steve Martin, and Momoko Kōchi as Emiko Yamane.  Both of them had DECADES between their two appearances. Other actors have appeared multiple times but in different roles. Science Dad was Ichinose and returned to travel in time with Dorats.  The inventor of the Lady Alarm came back as a parachuting reporter and a lunar rocket captain, and  Dr. Serizawawa was Dr. Mifune along with several others in between, including a pipe building Scientist  who worked with a Professor that looked a lot like Doctor Chujo from Mothra.

While we’re talking about multiple appearances, we should probably salute two others

Akira Takarada, aka Ogata, good hearted altruistic reporter, Astronaut Fuji, bank robber with a heart of gold, Sub Sub-commander, plus appearances in both the Heisei, and Millennium Eras.  He was supposed to have a cameo in Godzilla (2014) but the scene was deleted, to preserve their track record of no good decisions.


Kenji Sahara, who started as "man in boat" in the 1954 original, played lead in Rodan, was also in the first appearances of Mothra (and showed up when she met Godzilla as the evil amusement park building business man) and King Ghidorah.  He kept showing up (Ichiro's dad, etc) and went on to appear in more Godzilla films than anyone else, including playing a Government Minister in several Heisei films (including this one) and finally ascientist in the Millennium Series Final Wars, along side Akira Takarada and Kumi "Miss Namikawa" Mizuno.

Again, this is humans, the important roles have staggering return rates.
Tsutomu Kitagawa played Godzilla in five of the six Millennium films.
Kenpachiro Satsuma played Godzilla in all seven Heisei films, after appearing previously as Gigan and Hedorah.
And lets not forget Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla who had a twelve film run, plus playing the original Rodan, Mothra, Baragon and a few more.
Is there any doubt which the critical roles are?
[Later note- Oh, this is where I put all the actor references. I knew they were somewhere]

The more important reason to respect Miki:

B) She’s a psychic who only connects with giant radioactive monsters, plants and fairies.
That’s just too big a pile of crazy awesome to ignore.

The first thing the anti-Godzilla gang does is to salvage the broken bits of Mecha King Ghidorah from beneath the ocean.  He worked really well…that’s why he’s in bits beneath the ocean.

Using the future technology, and the Super-X Anti Godzilla Breath Reflective Coating that didn’t work either, they build two weapons.  First comes, Garuda – named after a mythical Hindu bird for reasons that are never quite clear.  They don’t look like they even tried that plane out.  Maybe they figured that it was just another Super-X with twin Laser Tank guns on it. Its pilot, Pteranodon Fetish Guy, refuses to give up, and continues fiddling with it when he’s supposed to be working tech support for the second weapon: Mechagodzilla – named after: well, duh.

For some reason, they call Garuda and Mechagodzilla “Robot One” and “Robot Two.”  This is odd, not only because the designers do not come from a dark planet hiding behind Jupiter, but because unlike the Super-X2, both require internal pilots. In fact, Mechagodzilla requires four of them, in a Power Rangery/Voltrony kind of way.

Pteranodon Fetish Guy gets selected to join the elite squad of Mechagodzilla drivers: G-Force. (For that is their name.)  His training is a combination of standard movie Special Forces bits, standard movie astronaut bits, and Godzilla specific theoretical bits.  Part of his classwork is learning the “safety areas” when in close proximity to Godzilla. I hope they didn’t pay too much for that instructor.

On yet another island irreparably harmed by nuclear waste, yet another expedition finds a big egg, a broken shell of a big egg, and pteranodon fossils.  What a coincidence!

The egg glows, and Rodan shows up, yet another giant mutation from radioactivity. Even in the English version they call him by his proper Japanese “Radon,” which is nice.  [Except in the subtitles, which is not.] He flies around for a while, and destroys the expedition’s tents. A step down from Tokyo for sure, but it is nifty to have him back. Godzilla executes yet another impressive entrance from under the water, and starts something with his old enemy/ally.  Rodan does quite well with hit and run (or fly) tactics, landing many a “peck of doom.”  At least until Godzilla grows impatient and strangles, breathes, and stomps his winged adversary to death(ish).

Pteranodon Fetish Guy is understandably wicked excited about the egg, and starts hanging around it, and Lab Girl in charge of it.  He steals a prehistoric fern sample found with the egg to use it as an excuse to come back.  That’ll endear him to her.  The Professor in charge of the lab figures out that the egg’s repeated color changes are emotion based, because he has some kind of scientific feeling-o-meter, I suppose.  He tells Lab Girl that the sedan sized egg is imprinting on her. To her credit, she does not run screaming from the room.

While having lunch in the G-Force cafeteria with Pteranodon Fetish Guy, Miki senses something from the prehistoric fern.  Because she’s a PLANT PSYCHIC.  She brings it to the Psychic School and gets all the kids to help her make a tape of the music they can sense coming from the fern.

No, really, that’s what happens.

When they play the tape, the egg blows up its incubator and hatches.  It’s not a pteranodon though, it’s a baby Gojirasaurus.  Apparently, Gojirasauruses are nest parasites that lay eggs in other animals' clutches, like Coo-Coos. Speaking of coo-coo…

Because he hasn’t been exposed to radiation (if we discount whatever was on the island that made Rodan, of course) “Baby” is not aggressive and is herbivorous, unlike every other theropod dinosaur that he resembles.  Well, Godzilla himself technically doesn’t eat meat. I suppose eating Nuclear Plants kinda counts?

Miki suddenly senses Godzilla coming.  Good thing she’s around, although my guess is everyone in the coastal town he bashed though also sensed it.   Pteranodon Fetish Guy is busy flirting with Lab Girl and being excited over the egg, making him miss the Mechagodzilla scramble and the super shiny slow motion launch.  Besides being flown in a Power Rangery/Voltrony kind of way, Mechagodzilla also has its weapons named in a similar Power Rangery/Voltrony kind of way.  Because this is the Heisei Series, they’re almost all beam weapons. 

The new economy sized Godzilla is no match for his mechanical duplicate’s mix of rays, and the belly button mounted Plasma “Grenade” beam knocks him down.  G-Force tries to finish the Big G off with the “Shock Anchor,” wrist fired barbed cables that bury into Godzilla’s hide and deliver electricity.

Yeah.  I don’t think G-Force watched the other movies either.

Godzilla reverses the electrical flow along the “Shock Anchor,” shorts out Mechagodzilla, and disdainfully shoves him over as he trudges off toward Kyoto, where Baby is. A mix of tanks, laser tanks, and flying laser tanks explode for entertainment value at this point.

Miki, Lab Girl and company get the panicked dinosaur into the shielded basement to stop whatever magic Godzilla summoning energy he’s giving off from reaching you know who.  Lab Girl effectively mothers the little guy to keep him calm. Awwwwww.

Pteranodon Fetish Guy gets busted down to parking lot attendant for missing the butt kicking, but he still finds time to fiddle about with Garuda.  Unlike some builders of giant cybernetic Godzillas, the G-Force gang can fix their own.  The lead technical guy, who is American (as is one of the pilots in a new showing of cultural friendliness), gets trapped by Pteranodon Fetish Guy on a rotating car parking thingy.  There he is convinced that allowing Garuda to merge with Mechagodzilla in a Power Rangery/Voltrony kind of way would get the added maneuverability and speed he wants.  Pteranodon Fetish Guy is back on the team.

After studying Baby, the BIG PLAN is to use Mechagodzilla’s new “G-Crusher” to destroy Godzilla's secondary sacral brain in his hips, since his head is too hard.  As the sacral brain idea went out of paleontology in the mid Seventies, either they’re still using the How and Why Book of Dinosaurs as a primary reference, or it’s not just Godzilla's head that’s too hard. 

Pteranodon Fetish Guy stops by to brag about his return and flirt some more with Lab Girl in the new park like location she’s taking care of Baby in.  He also shows her an ultra light hover plane based on a pteranodon that he’s constructed.  He insists on calling it a “robot” as well.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

After they crash land in Baby’s nest, Miki brings in an ESP School class trip to see him. They’ve all learned the Prehistoric Fern song, and sing it for Baby.  It energizes the young Gojirasaurus again, and also, in a way I can’t fully explain but definitely didn’t make up, raises Rodan from the dead miles away.
Not only that, but it turns the giant mutant pterodactyl red and grants him a heat ray breath weapon. He soars off to join the Heisei Era fun, leaving a trail of Magic Dust in his wake.  While flying over Japan, a great many things explode beneath him for no visible reason. 

Baby is being flown by helicopter in a big metal box to act as bait to get Godzilla out of the way Ogasawara Island.  Lab Girl goes with him as her mothering instincts have kicked into overdrive. 
Rodan slams the helicopter, which explodes for a visible reason, and grabs the big metal box.  The military commanders figure out that he was able to respond to Baby because they are “half-brothers.”  Thanks for that insight, guys.

Rodan takes a scenic flight around Japan, unappreciated by Baby and Lab Girl in their windowless big metal box.  G-Force suits up to go to the rescue in Mechagodzilla and Garuda. Pteranodon Fetish Guy sneaks into the pilot seat for Garuda, confirming what we’ve seen all along: G-Force has absolutely zero security.

Rodan lands, and begins to free his half-brother and scare the poop out of Lab Girl.  G-Force shows up to double team the flying Kaiju.  They do get him away from the big metal box, but Garuda goes down in flames.    Rodan survives one Belly Button Beam Blast, and pecks out the cyborg’s eye.  A second point blank Belly Button Beam blows him across town, and he dies…again.

G-Force ground support runs in to blowtorch Baby and Lab Girl out of the box.  Too bad for them that the panicked Baby has also summoned Godzilla.  He arrives in the city at night again, because his darker Heisei look appears much cooler that way.

The Belly Button Beam is busted, and a breath weapon duel wobbles both combatants.  Godzilla’s concern for his own coolness evaporates when his son is threatened, and he shoulder charges in.  

This is followed by a headlock, leading into a toss and then some excessively aggravated foot and tail stomping on Mechagodzilla’s head.

Fortunately for G-Force, Pteranodon Fetish Guy has gotten Garuda working again.  Even the little light up sign behind him that says “BATTLE” is back on.  He flies over and merges Garuda onto Mechagodzilla becoming SuperMechagodzilla. (Yes, really.)  Then they form the blazing sword and…no wait, wrong fictional Japanese universe.

They hover around and blast the snot out of Godzilla with everything. The extra power from Garuda brings the Belly Button Beam back.  The Big G is down, and the assault continues with “Tranquilizer Missiles.”  A Kaiju film is probably the only place you’ll see those two words used together.

Miki very very VERY reluctantly uses her psychic powers to aim the “Shock Anchor” cables directly into Godzilla’s butt brain, and blows it up with the G-Crusher.  Pteranodon Fetish Guy jumps ship, or jumps giant cybernetic mutant dinosaur if you will, and flies his pteranodon “robot” down to help out Lab Girl.  How sweet, except for the whole “abandoning his post again” thing.

There’s a Mortal Kombat-esque, “Finish it!” from the high command, and Miki looks as crushed as Godzilla’s butt brain.  His dad’s cries of pain as Mechagodzilla blasts more of the snot out of the paralyzed Kaiju upsets Baby greatly.  His yells revive Rodan…again, who takes off and gets shot down immediately.  Poor guy can’t catch a break.

Rodan crashes onto Godzilla and turns into Magic Dust. (I'm starting to think the writers were using some “magic dust.”)  The Rodan dust heals and energizes Godzilla because, "Rodan is a spirit like Godzilla." (Thanks for that "clarification" Miki.)  The Big G jumps up contained within a giant lightning filled cloud of Anti-Godzilla Reflective Coating Eating Magic Dust.  He also has a new crazy-explodey-super-energized red breath weapon that makes Mechagodzilla go buh-bye into a flaming heap.

Miraculously, G-Force survives, which comes in handy.  Baby is understandably terrified to go anywhere near Godzilla, since he’s about the size of the King of Monsters’ toe.  Don’t worry, he grows a heck of a lot in two short movies.  Lab Girl asks Miki to use her telepathy to get Godzilla to take Baby with him.
[This makes less sense than usual for these films as Godzilla has been following Baby the whole film. Obviously, another English screw up. In Japanese, Miki tells BABY to not be afraid and go with his Dad. Not only does this match what is seen on the screen, but it also explains Miki's bond with Baby in the next film, and why Godzilla and Miki are fully reconciled after her attack on him.]

Yes really, you should be used to this stuff by now.

He listens, because Butt Brain Busting or no, they have a thing.
[She even lets her hair down to communicate.]

G-Force clambers out of yet another destroyed anti-Godzilla mecha and waves good bye to Baby as he leaves into the sea with his Dad.  Miki emotionally tells them to take care.  With the minimized romance in this series, Miki and Godzilla almost flirt more than any other couple.

G-Force talks about learning that life will always beat artificial life.

I guess that’s excessively true when life is represented by an over three hundred foot tall radioactive dinosaur.


longbow said...

By the time you're done writing about them all they'll be coming out with the next one.

Jeff McGinley said...

That's the plan. So my educational exercise will get them to make a better one. Thanx for reading.