Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II DVD Review

Toho's idea to not only resurrect Godzilla but his foes as well was working. The previous two entries in the Hesei series were huge hits. Not one to miss a gold mine, Mechagodzilla was then brought back for his third attempt at demolishing Toho's icon. Many fans consider this to be the best of the second round of Godzilla films, though that's up for some serious debate.

Using technology from the mechanical head of King Ghidorah from Godzilla's previous rampage, the UN creates a robotic version of Godzilla, the final hope of stopping the beast. Before the first test can begin, scientists find a mysterious egg and Rodan on an island. In that egg is Baby Godzilla, one that the adult version wants back. The main problem is that Rodan feels a connection to the human sized creature too. Everything spirals out of control for the final melee involving all of the destructive monsters.

This is one of the longest movies in the series, if not THE longest coming is at over a 100-minutes. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much to build any characters. Instead of aliens bringing Mechagodzilla, humans now control the monster internally. You have absolutely no connection to anyone inside as they fight an excruciatingly long battle.

Only one character returns, one of the few joining parts of the second string of films, Megumi Odaka. Her character has limited value and only seems to be included for the finale to try and give the film much needed tension. The addition of American actors is a nice touch. Unfortunately, their performances are absolutely hilarious. In the end, it still boils down to the monsters fighting it out, and that's usually fine. Here, it's not very effective.

It has little to do with the special effects. The Godzilla suit is the usual Hesei one and it remains the best. Rodan's makeover gives him a sleeker, more realistic look. Mechagodzilla has underwent serious changes, ditching the angular and much more robotic look of the original for a softer, almost gentler looking monstrosity (which doesn't make much sense). Miniature work is unfortunately minimal, most of it being saved for the final confrontation. If a scene is required to show some destruction, it's usually a well-done matte shot.

All of the flashy beams the monsters are known for are used constantly. They look great, a testament to the special effects teams dedication, but it's not fun to watch after a while. In fact, it's boring. Once Rodan finally changes into Fire Rodan and adds another bright beam into the mix (the only thing that the change really seems to give him), you know it's all too much. There's little if any contact during the fight scenes, save for the excellent brawl early on that pits Godzilla and Rodan against each other.

Yes, the main complaint is something that hindered almost the entire Hesei series. That doesn't mean it's ok to use it as an excuse. It starts to show here why tickets didn't sell as well as they had been. Ingenuity seems to have completely been lost on the writers who just went with the flow. It does offer up some brief fun and plenty of flashy effects, but that doesn't give a movie entertainment value. (** out of *****)

Not even a dozen years old yet, it doesn't make any sense as to why this 1.85:1 transfer looks so bad. The print is heavily damaged throughout and dirty. Grain is overbearing for almost the entire running time. Colors seem faded and lifeless. Edge enhancement is really bad in a few scenes, though it does seem to let up as the movie moves on. Compression artifacts are the only things not to be found. How something like "Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster" can look so clean while being nearly 40 years old and this can't doesn't make a lick of sense. (**)

Dolby 2.0 stereo leads the way and it's a disappointing step down from the 5.1 mix of the official Toho disc. There is some decent separation between the two channels and that's about the only compliment that can be given to the audio. The volume fluctuates constantly from one scene to the next making dialogue hard to hear and action sequences overbearing. That's an issue that plagues the entire movie, not just a few scenes. Losing the 5.1 track is almost forgivable (almost), but ruining what we have been given is not. (**)

No extras again other than outdated trailers that list this disc as coming soon. Other than the Godzilla trailers, we get previews for various anime. Why do they think Godzilla fans automatically like anime? Bad stereotype. (No stars)

To see just how far reaching Toho went for this series, one only needs to view the next entry, "Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla." It's unbearable, worse than some of the Godzilla films that hit in the 60's and 70's. After that, they would make one last film to put the creature into retirement in order to make room for the Americanized version. We all know how that turned out.

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