Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kaiju Reviews #24 - Godzilla vs. Biollante [Written by skull902]

Hey there, that one person who reads this blog! This is skull902 again (What? I couldn't get a fucking break before reviewing another movie for this site? Just joking) for the next Heisei review, "Godzilla VS Biollante". This movie was released to Japanese audiences in 1989 and to the United States direct-to-video/television in 1992.

So before I get to the actual movie itself I must go over the recent DVD of this really quick. The language options might be a little confusing at first. You've got Japanese in surround sound, Japanese in stereo, and English in mono. Selecting a spoken language isn't confusing, but the subtitles are a bit. First, you've got an option for English subtitles whenever Japanese text appears during the movie. I recommend this option. Secondly, you've got an English subtitled translation of the Japanese-spoken script for those snobs that just can't accept the icky, yucky English dub or the script of it *cough*Toho Kingdom reviewers*cough*. Then you've got subtitles for the English-scripted version, and lastly, no subtitles at all. Speaking of subtitles, I guess in the original movie they had Japanese subtitles for when something was being spoken or presented in English or another language, and for the first few good minutes of the movie that becomes kind of distracting. I wish that the "English on Japanese text" subtitles got rid of the Japanese ones but they become less apparent as the movie goes on. Also, the English dub of the movie is pretty low quality with the audio as far as the voice-overs are concerned. It sounds like they recorded the dub with cheap computer microphones sometimes and makes a few lines nearly inaudible. Lastly, there are a couple special features on the DVD about the making of the movie, but they're spoken in Japanese with English subtitles. If you can read through the features it's fine, but that's not really my cup of tea. However, this isn't a product review, so let's get on to the actual movie.

We begin in the distant future of 1990 (I've always wondered why the Heisei films are set a year after they're released) when Godzilla decides to take a peaceful stroll through Japan. A peaceful stroll that involves killing people and wrecking buildings, like usual. After the rampage, scientists find Godzilla cells who are working with an American company. They evade the Japanese military but are taken out by someone who I'm calling Shooty Guy. Shooty Guy takes the Godzilla cells and we cut to Dr. Genshiro Shiragami (who I swear in some shots looks very slightly like professional wrestler Bret Hart) and his daughter Erika, looking forward to returning to Japan after a project in the Middle East is done. While at their laboratory, a terrorist bombing happens and Erika is killed.

Five years later, Dr. Shiragami is now doing psychic research on plants, specifically roses. And it is here where we see the debut of the longest-running character in kaiju film history, Miki Saegusa. Give her a round of applause everybody! Anyway, Miki is helping Dr. Shiragami with his project when Other Woman enters the scene and...evaluates it I guess. The American group and Shooty Guy are keeping a watchful eye on Shiragami, believing him to be involved with the research of Godzilla DNA. Shiragami's employers eventually convince him to work on Godzilla cells for a project to create a bacteria which eats nuclear particles, which they plan to use on the monster. Shiragami at the same time is using the Godzilla cells to create his own project. One night, the American group and Shooty Guy find each other in Shiragami's lab and have a nice little battle...until plant-like tentacles interfere (no, I'm not making that joke). The tentacles kill two men (both of which are from the American team) and one, along with Shooty Guy escapes. It's revealed the next day to be a giant flower in the lake which is named Biollante. Turns out Shiragami somehow mixed together cells of his daughter, Godzilla, and roses to create this thingamabobble. Sounds weird, but that's only because it is (sorry James).

The Diet of Japan gets a letter from the American group saying they'll blow a volcano where which Godzilla is residing to wake him up if the bacteria isn't given to them. The Diet decides to comply with the threat, for the safety of the people. The trade starts off well but Shooty Guy interferes (stealing the bacteria in the process) and due to a roll-over accident with the American's truck, the bomb detonates, waking Godzilla up. Biollante starts to open up and calls Godzilla out, so Godzilla takes time out of his busy schedule to pay Biollante a visit. Meanwhile, since the Japanese military knows where he's going, decide to use the Super X II on him with minimal results. Godzilla makes it to Biollante and the fight is short. Biollante is presumed killed and Godzilla carries on. The military assumes that since he's low on nuclear energy (I didn't know Godzilla was a machine that needed re-fueling) that he'll go to a nuclear reactor which is in Tsuruga on the other side of the country. They decide to meet him mid-way but they're mistaken. Godzilla goes to Osaka instead and Miki tries to distract him while he's there. After a staredown, Godzilla's will power is too much for Miki, causing her to faint and be hospitalized.

The military decides to go and use the bacteria to infect Godzilla and send the Super X II to battle. Unfortunately, the SX2 is destroyed in the fight and Godzilla goes to Osaka's business district after the city is evacuated. There, he is infected with the bacteria with three doses of it, one going directly in his mouth. Ouch. It doesn't seem to be working after a few hours, and Shiragami suggests that it's possibly because Godzilla's body temperature is too low. The military and scientists agree to try and raise his temperature so the bacteria can work better. Godzilla screws up the plan after it's used on him, so they theorize that maybe Godzilla is immune to the bacteria. Biollante then reappears from the sky and does battle with Godzilla. After grabbing him with her tentacles and trying to swallow him whole (STILL not doing the joke you fucking perverts), she gets a face-full of atomic breath, but the bacteria starts to work on Godzilla, sending him in to the ocean. Biollante has had too much damage done to her though and can't survive, breaking up and going back into the sky. The military and scientist group is of course watching this, and Dr. Shiragami is killed by Shooty Guy for some reason. One of his associates takes the fight to Shooty Guy and wins after the assassin is...deleted from existence I guess by a military guy seen in the group. Meeting back up with Other Woman, the two see that Godzilla re-emerges from the sea, figuring that the freezing water helped against the bacteria. Godzilla goes back home and we zoom out to a shot of Biollante in the form of a rose, now orbiting Earth.

This movie is...okay. It takes a while for any monster action to happen, and when it does it's kind of brief. Military confrontations with Godzilla tend to go on longer than his actual battles and that's not a good thing. I can see Toho tried with the story but at times it gets to be a little bit of a bore. It's not a bad story either, but it definitely could've used more. I think the conflicting organizations plot could've been amped up a bit more and as I said before, the monster battles were definitely too short. You can tell that they did put effort in to this and I like the movie for that, but it could've been better than what it was.

Score: 3.2/5.0

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