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Vulcan Stev family movie review: Godzilla: Final Wars

Starring:
Masahiro Matsuoka …
Earth Defense Force Soldier Shin’ichi Ôzaki
Rei Kikukawa …
UN Molecular Biologist Miyuki Otonashi
Kazuki Kitamura …  The Controller of Planet X
Don Frye … 
Douglas Gordon (Captain of the Gôten)
Akira Takarada … 
UN Secretary General Naotarô Daigo
Kane Kosugi … 
M-Facility Soldier Katsunori Kazama
Maki Mizuno …  Newscaster Anna Otonashi (Miyuki’s older sister)
Masami Nagasawa …  Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Chihiro Ôtsuka …  Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Kenji Sahara …  Paleontologist Hachirô Jingûji
Kumi Mizuno …
Earth Defense Force Commander Akiko Namikawa
Masakatsu Funaki …
M-Unit Commanding Officer Kumasaka
Masatô Ibu …  The Xilian General
Masanobu Takashima …  Major Kita
Mick Preston …  New York Co

Toho Pictures, Inc./Sony * 125 mins * PG * 2004

Synopsis from IMDb: Evil Space Aliens called the Xilians unleashes all the Earth’s monsters to lay waste to most of the world’s major cities, including Tokyo, New York, Sydney, Shanghai and Paris. It is up to Godzilla and the Earth Defense Force to vanquish the monsters and aliens to rescue the world in the ultimate “Save the Earth” battle.

VS: 1.75 pointed ears
I’ll admit that this is only the second Toho Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen.  There is something to be said for the sheer enjoyment of watching the direct ancestor of the Power Rangers.  Guys in rubber suits destroying miniature buildings.  This is pure camp.  To be honest the “story” left me flat.  I didn’t buy this DVD to listen to bunch of Japanese (at least it was subtitled). I bought this movie to watch Godzilla duke it out with every monster in the cannon.

The two biggest complaints I had with this movie were the stereotyped view of New York (pimps and cops) and the fact that the English speakers in the movie seemed to understand Japanese and vice versa.  If it’s an Earth Defense Force, the unit all needs to be speaking the same language.

The mutant sub-plot is not a complaint but rather a distraction from the true purpose of the movie.

I know that I’m going to anger Godzilla purists but I actually prefer the American version of Godzilla over the Toho series.  I’m not taking anything away from the studio that gave birth to this worldwide phenomena but I just cannot take the rubber suit version “seriously”.  It’s pure fun.

PIT #2: 1.2 pointed ears
This movie followed the plot of Godzilla: Destroy all Monsters for the Gamecube.  If it hadn’t been for the game I wouldn’t have been able to understand what was going on at all.  It was very hard to follow the dialogue from subtitles.  Nice effects in cheap sort of way but nothing to rush out and see.

PIT #3: 1.75 pointed ears
I love the whole concept of the movie.  It reminds me of the GameCube game Godzilla: Destroy all Monsters.  That’s one of my favorite games to hog the TV set with.  I like the fact that Godzilla is the hero of this movie.  It would’ve been nicer if the producers had done all the monsters as either people in costumes of CGI.  The mixing of the two just didn’t work.  It als would have been nice if the DVD had included an English language dub of the whole movie.

I found it VERY difficult to believe that if the characters could understand both English and Japanese that they would not use the same language when talking to each other.

Overall 4.7 pointed ears out of 6.
Unless you’re a serious devotee of Godzilla or there’s nothing else to rent or watch then by all means enjoy yourself.  If you have trouble following subtitled movies than leave this one on the shelf.

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March 22, 2010 - Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. This is probably my favorite Godzilla movie, but yes, it’s a lot to absorb if you’re new to the franchise because there’s a lot going on. It was made for the 50th anniversary of the original Godzilla (1954) and has cameos from a lot of monsters that have appeared over the years. It’s a movie made for fans, which is why there’s not a lot of explanation; it’s assumed fans will know who these characters are.

    It’s common in Japanese movies for American or “Western” actors to deliver their lines in English while the Japanese cast speaks Japanese. Many Japanese understand both languages.

    My DVD copy is available both subtitled and dubbed into English. It defaults to subbed, but there is an option to switch to dubbed. The dialogue on the dubbed version does have more exposition that explains the plot a little bit better.

    Comment by Berin Kinsman | March 22, 2010

  2. Berin glad to see you over this direction. I guess this movie was not the best one to start out with. 8-)

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 24, 2010

  3. Of the recent Godzilla films (Millennium series), Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) is pretty good, Tokyo S.O.S. ok (and something of a sequel), and Godzilla 2000 was very camp in its American release. It went well with movie popcorn and Mr. Pibb.

    The “vs.” or Heisei series (1984-2000) wasn’t bad, but it tended to feature gadgets and long range attacks over stomping and brawling.

    If you want more destruction, the modern Gamera trilogy of films beat Godzilla at her own game so much so that Toho bought out the film studio! The boxed set should be dirt cheap, great stuff. Came a loooong way from the films shown on MST3K.

    The 60s future that never was of Destroy All Monsters (1968) is my personal favorite Godzilla movie and a prime example of the Toho ‘verse. Final Wars seemed like an update of that movie mixed with a Sentai supers movie and yes too much talking. Atragon (also an anime), Mysterions, and Battle in Outer Space are all good older more scifi Toho films.

    As for gaming in the Toho ‘Verse, GURPS Godzilla is a wonderful freebie (http://www.io.com/~woodward/d7/ggodzilla.html) and GURPS Atomic Horror is excellent. There were at least two giant monster wargame rules in recent years and plenty of toys made.

    Finally, G-Fan is *the* English language fanzine for all things giant and stompy.

    Comment by Clan Mum | March 24, 2010

  4. @Clan Mum Thanks for the link. I appreciate the insights in the Godzilla-verse.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 25, 2010

  5. […] Vulcan Stev family movie review: Godzilla: Final Wars « Vulcan Stev's Database […]

    Pingback by My LEGO Creations: Gigan (Large Scale) | Hot Legos | March 27, 2010


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