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.