Godzilla vs. Megaguirus DVD Review

As the hype from the first Godzilla film to hit US theaters in nearly 15 years had died down, Godzilla 2000 became a rather forgotten entry. It's lagging pace, dull final battle, and occasionally spotty special effects left it behind. With the follow up, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, the series returned to fine form.

This is a true classic in the series. Director Masaaki Tezuka stages the final battle between the beasts as fast paced, fun, and as serious as possible. This is where memories of the film will stem from, and it's the spot where you'll begin watching the movie for repeat viewings.

That's not to say the segments leading up to the finale are bad. It's still well paced; creating the characters that will make a difference by the films end. Godzilla is awarded ample screen time, the thing Godzilla 2000 lacked. That means the action is constant.

The latest creation from Toho is an odd one. Supposedly based on the Meganuron on from the 1953 classic Rodan these small, swarming insects don't seem like much of a threat. When their purpose is revealed, to feed one giant specimen, the decently constructed marionette makes its first appearance. The colors are bright and oddly beautiful, and show through nicely. This is proven during the final battle, staged entirely during the day, a rare feat, and one that would usually kill any of the illusion in the miniatures. Not here.

Any complaints originate from the special effects, especially those CG shots of Megaguirus. It's not that any of us would ever know how a giant monster would fly, but this creature manages to break every known law of physics multiple times. Few other effects go significantly wrong, a great upgrade over the previous entry.

One thing Tezuka does is direct his suit actors to show some character, and have fun with the genre. Godzilla's face is rather immobile, especially when compared to other suits in the series. Still, the movements show genuine frustration, anger, taunting, and comedy. There's even a great moment of pure camp thrown in just because.

If you've failed to keep up this iconic Japanese series since it was all but destroyed 30 years ago, this movie will bring you back. It's impossible not to be entertained somewhat, whether you're looking for camp value or serious giant monster action. This one has everything that is required of the genre, and this mish-mash of styles becomes one awesome flick. (**** out of *****)

This transfer is one of the best of the Millennium series releases by Sony. The print is the only real annoyance, showing some extreme damage for a film barely a year old at the time of the DVD release. It's something you would expect from an older film, but not here. Compression is kept under control, grain is non-existent, and clarity is gorgeous. It may even been too clean, showing wires suspending Megaguirus in a few shots, which were likely invisible on a theater screen. (****)

A brief scene involving Godzilla fending off hundreds of baby Meganuron is the best moment in the film for audio fans. It uses everything. The bass is powerful, and you'll truly feel when the monsters collapse to the ground. Separation in the front speakers rival that of films budgeted at twice this one. This is arguably the best sounding Godzilla released in the US, assuming you stick with the Japanese 5.1. The English mix loses some of the punch. (*****)

The disc is barren aside from a few trailers. The subtitles are not accurate, but are captions from the dubbed version. There's plenty of extra material out there on the Japanese disc that, obviously, isn't included here. (No stars)

The soundtrack for this film is notable for a few reasons (including how outstanding it is). It's done by Michiru Oshima, the first female to compose in the series. She was deemed suitable enough to follow up with the back-to-back Godzilla X Mechagodzilla entries. She'll also be the orchestrator for Nintendo's upcoming blockbuster video game, Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess.

Comments (3)

We all have those nightmares. You know, the stuff you don't want to do but someday you know you'll eventually do it? Well, that's just happened:

I already reviewed this DVD.

I figured this would happen eventually, but with a game, considering I've written double the amount of reviews for those than movies. Yet, here we are. I didn't catch it until I was about 80% done, and I wasn't about to just ditch the work. How did it happen?

I reviewed this disc in conjunction with another. The title didn't appear when I searched (I had a gut feeling I already done this one) either on Blogcritics or my blog when I searched for "Godzilla." Why I didn't type the movie's name exactly, well, I'll never know. I had no listing for a review at IMDB, and everything goes into their external links, but not for this one. I even searched my reviews in .txt (for back-up reasons) on my hard drive.

Nothing, all because of the title.

I still can live this one down, considering this is more in-depth than my previous one. But damn was this one of the dumber things I've done.

You could have just replaced the old one... or not told anyone about it and not posted it at all.

So where is the dupe?

You just love Godzilla too much and have come to the conclusion that there are not enough movies with Godzilla in them... so you are now re-reviewing everything. Its like Matt, with his very own split personality.

God help us all.

http://www.breakingwindows.com/new/2004/01/new_godzilla_dv.php

That's the old one. I didn't want to replace it because it's two reviews in one.

Also, I wasn't going to lose this one since I already (almost at least) done with it when it hit me that I did it already. I also figured it would be safer to make the comment before someone pointed it out for me. Might as well get the embarrasment out of the way.

You just love Godzilla too much and have come to the conclusion that there are not enough movies with Godzilla in them

Plenty more to do... =;)

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