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Godzilla versus Space Godzilla:
The Best of the Worst of the Best
It's been a while since I indulged in my love for all things Kaiju. And by "Kaiju," I mean sweaty Japanese men in rubber suits wrestling with one another. Giant monster movies have always been something I've enjoyed despite their effective rarity in the cinematic world of all things monster. It all comes back to the king of them all, Godzilla. Sure, King Kong's a heck of a lot older but King Kong couldn't shoot lasers out of his tonsils. Mouths full of nuclear energy get the swing vote, every time. And yet, I can't say there are many "good" Godzilla films out there. The ones made after the year 2000 are generally on that list, but the dozens of films before that? Infinitely full of suck. But that's all part of their charm.
Months ago, someone asked me to review the "worst" Godzilla film out there. Talk about hard decisions. From environmentally friendly hippy Godzilla to the bastard Son of Godzilla to talking Godzilla to dancing Godzilla....there are a lot of shameful moments in the epic series. So why did I choose Godzilla versus Space Godzilla? It was made in 1994 and had one of the larger budgets for a Godzilla film. There are five monsters in this one, so it's not like you have to twiddle your thumbs for an hour before the monsters start throwing buildings at one another. So what was my reason? Simply put, Godzilla versus Space Godzilla is what I would call the epitome of everything that sucks about giant monster movies. It's full of pointless stupid humans, the most insane scientific explanations, and a lot of giant reptiles yelling at one another. Plus there's a giant shape-changing robot. That's why I call this one the "Best of the Worst of the Best." It's a damn entertaining movie, but sweet Jesus is it awful at the same time. Before we get into the specifics, let's lay one big fat ugly truth on the table.
This film features Baby Godzilla.
If you're into kaiju films, chances are you have to choke back vomit whenever this guy makes an appearance. I'm exaggerating, but truth be told, Baby Godzilla has NEVER done anything but suck in these movies. He's either befriending children like a green Barney or quivering in fear behind his very embarrassed father. Little Godzilla plays a decent role in this film that's a little bit of fan service (you'll understand later), but the fact that the first monster on the screen is "Precious Moments Godzilla" just hits a sour note with me. (It also raises confusing issues with Godzilla's gender that I'd rather not go into.)
So let's get started. Suspense is one of the best ways to grab an audience's attention, so the first part of this flick involves the potential death of one of the characters. Which one?
You've got to wonder what they were thinking. One of the puny humans on what I will from here on out call "Godzilla Island" has devised a brilliant way of killing Godzilla once and for all. He's got a magic bullet filled with anticoagulant that he's certain will destroy the King of the Monsters. Even worse, the film wants you to think that it could work. The pace of the film turns into a suspenseful "will he fire the deadly bullet" show with the pro-Godzilla characters begging him not to hurt Godzilla. I know hearing this from me makes it sound like a joke, but if you watch this movie you can tell they honestly wanted some suspense here. Which is, quite frankly, batshit retarded. If dropping a nuclear bomb, peppering him with missiles, and setting giant laser-blasting robots onto Godzilla can't kill him, it's very hard to pretend the magic bullet has a chance. So a big chunk of the film is what I like to call a "styrofoam peanut." It just takes up space and time until it's time for giant monsters to get their groove on. There's also a subplot about evil communists trying to use psychics to control Godzilla's brain, but screw that. Let's fast forward until something worthwhile happens.
Apparently, a space station has been destroyed (in space) and the UN is having a meeting about it. Here's the quote from one of the military generals:
"We've lost contact with the Space Station. We can only assume it was destroyed by a giant monster."
Sweet Lord. That's like saying, "I've lost my keys, so I can only assume they were eaten by shoe gnomes." As ridiculous as this logic might sound, it might be intentional. The military has to justify some psychotic budget expenditures which are mostly in the shape of a rather dumpy looking giant robot. Before we give him some time in the spotlight, let's get one more bit of Kaiju Science out of the way.
Later on the UN finds out that the monster in space is apparently a twisted version of Godzilla. Their explanation is freaking fantastic. So fantastic I'm not even going to talk about it. I'm just going to share (more or less): Apparently one of Godzilla's cells that was attached to one of the other giant monsters that went into space got sucked into a black hole and came out on the other end in a corresponding white hole. There the cells assimilated the dominant crystal-based life forms of the area and made Space Godzilla who is coming back to planet Earth to kill Godzilla.
Space Godzilla isn't that terrible a monster as long as you can get over the fact that he looks like a fancy Ikea lamp whenever he flies around. Besides adding a touch of class to the lighting of any living room, Space Godzilla has a few powers Version 1.0 doesn't have. He flies around, wears shoulder pads big enough to make a quarterback jealous, has telekinesis, and is a bit like Johnny Appleseed, only instead of planting apples, he plants these giant energy-draining crystals wherever he goes.
So......yeah. Remember that huge military expenditure? Say hello to Mogera:
Mogera is the UN-sanctioned anti-Godzilla weapon. It's a stubby-armed transforming robot with child-bearing hips. Besides lots of lasers, they apparently thought it would be a good design feature to put an attack drill on its face. Not at the end of those arms, but on that short little head of his. I'm not one to question the Department of Futile Robots, so I'll move on.
I wonder if the crew of the first tank had to wear matching helmets with the letter "T" (for Tank) on them. If so, then the M-Squad is only following regulations.
Mogera is a transforming robot, like Voltron or any of those Mighty Morphin Power Rangers things (I'm pretending I don't know they're called Zords because admitting I knew that would be far too embarrassing). The problem? Half of Mogera transforms into a Cock Rocket.
During transformation, the groin of Mogera lifts up, not unlike.....I don't know how else to say it...an erection. That first picture there is his lower half...those circular parts are his hips. Which makes that big phallic jet nose jutting out from between them all the more phallic. And then it flies around, groin first. Thank you Toho Studios. I always wanted to see Godzilla fight a giant metal rock-powered wang.
Trivia Time: This isn't really trivia, but there's a running gag involving why Mogera sucks, that pops up whenever Godzilla fanboys get together. The line: "Mogera sucks; he looks like freaking Woody Woodpecker!" I have no idea who coined this joke first but sweet Jesus I've heard/read it regurgitated dozens and dozens of times on Kaiju tribute sites. Let me just point out one thing here. If you're going to call any giant monster Woody Woodpecker, I propose that the giant bird Rhodan might be a little more apt. You know, because they're both....birds.
Now scroll up and compare Woody to Mogera. There. I've said my piece. If you've never heard that joke before, I apologize and I thank you for tolerating this fanboy retaliatory moment.
By the by, did you know that this isn't Mogera's first film? He was originally featured in the greatest Science Fiction picture ever conceived by the mind of man. Well, at least that's what it says on the poster.
The Mysterians is a corny "invaders from another world" film from a few decades earlier. Mogera is apparently the giant monster the Mysterians unleash to destroy mankind.
While the 1994 Mogera had child-bearing hips, the original was apparently in its 3rd trimester. And, of course, Mogera sucked back then too. As far as I know, he's the first giant monster to be killed by the military collapsing a bridge. Toho likes to resurrect their forgotten monsters in movies like these. Why they chose Mogera, we may never know.
Say hello to Miki. She's the Godzilla-loving psychic who appears in the six Godzilla movies made between 1989 and 1995. While she usually has something important to do, in Space Godzilla she's pretty much tripping balls the whole time. Tiny women twins appear to her and tell her that she's destined to do something great and visions of golden moths tell her secrets not meant for the ears of others. Miki doesn't do anything great in the movie (besides using her psychic powers to loosen a rope) so...you really can only assume Miki ate a lot of shrooms just before appearing on camera. The twins and the Moth are a reference to Mothra who showed up in previous Godzilla films. I think they only gave Miki the hallucinations so they could justify putting a picture of Mothra on the poster for this movie. You know, because the more monsters the better. Curse you, Cover-fu, for your treachery.
So Space Godzilla lands on Godzilla Island and promptly meets Little Godzilla. The Fan Service kicks in right away. Here's the scene, this time with dialogue.
Space Godzilla: "Hey Little Godzilla, I'm totally your Dad. Why don't you come a little closer? I'll give you rock candy. It grows on my back!"
Little Godzilla: "As much as I like candy, I can't help but notice you look nothing like my Dad. I'm going to stand over here and whimper at you though. I'm good at that."
"Get in mah Belly!"
"My Dad has a zero tolerance policy to Austin Powers quotes. When he shows up, you're in for a world of hurt."
"What, you mean your Dad here who I'm going to knock unconscious with one blast?"
Space Godzilla: "Behold how I pick you up with the power of my minty green tractor beam! It's Shagadelic baby!"
And then Space Godzilla puts Little Godzilla into a smoking crystal-surrounded hole. Godzilla wakes up, is extremely pissed off about this, and chases after Space Godzilla for the rest of the movie. So what's the fan service? Little Godzilla is dead. That's not true but up until the last 2 minutes of the movie, that's what you're meant to assume. It's hard not to like a monster who kills all that you hate within one minute of his first appearance on the planet. Baby Godzilla shows up again after Space Godzilla is defeated, only so that the kids at home know that he didn't really die. Reminds me of the koala from that Andrew Dice Clay movie. If you know which one I'm talking about, shame on you.
Space Godzilla takes over one city, planting his Ikea Novelty Crystal Candles all over the place. Apparently he's using these to steal energy from....one building in the center. So a big chunk of the final conflict involves both Godzilla and Mogera trying their best to destroy it so that Space Godzilla is less powerful. The weird thing? It turns out to be super-difficult. Which is surreal in a genre where giant monsters are USED to being able to destroy buildings. Anyway, Space Godzilla ends up being destroyed in a glorious fireworks display, Mogera ends up being pretty useless against Godzilla and gets destroyed (again), and freaking Baby Godzilla turns out to be alive.
Godzilla versus Space Godzilla isn't the worst film featuring a giant lizard. But it is the only one that I think features every single thing that can possibly suck in a Kaiju film. If you're into those, I can't recommend it enough. If you can, show it to someone who knows nothing about the Godzilla series. I promise you their brains will explode during the first scene featuring the psychic & the talking moth hallucination. And brains exploding is what makes films like Space Godzilla great.
Copyright 2007 Jared von Hindman or maybe just Jared Hindman. It depends. Any images used that are not Jared's are used via Fair Use review purposes and belong to their respective owners....who are nice people that don't want to sue me.
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