Direction: Masaaki Tezuka
Screenplay: Wataru Mimura and Hiroshi Kashiwabara
Music: Michiru Oshima
Special Effects: Kenji Suzuki
Monster Suits: Shinichi Wakasa
Producer: Shogo Tomiyama
not the best of the post-Showa Godzilla movies, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
is one of the most entertaining. As with most of the Millennium Godzilla entries,
this particular kaiju epic posits a “parallel earth” history for Godzilla’s
rampages. He attacks Tokyo in 1954, a Tokai nuclear power plant in 1966, and Osaka in 1996.
Radiation attracts Godzilla, so the generation of nuclear power comes to a
swift halt in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Nevertheless, the Japanese government creates the G-graspers, a military unit specifically
designed to combat Godzilla. In tandem with the Dimension Tide, a miniature
black hole weapon, the Japanese government hopes to do away with Godzilla
altogether. However, a test of the Dimension Tide inadvertently allows a
prehistoric Meganeura (a giant dragonfly) to buzz into our world.
The creature lays an egg that multiplies in Tokyo’s
Shibuya sewers and gives birth to a whole host of larva that transform into Maganeura,
adult dragonflies. After a swarm of Meganeura attack Godzilla on an
uninhabited island, the insect survivors return to Shibuya and impart G energy into
a gigantic larva that gives birth to the formidable Megaguirus. Before long,
Godzilla clashes with Megaguirus in Tokyo. But after the battle, will the Dimension Tide
eliminate the Big G via a miniature black hole?
Filled with bright colors and swift action, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus wastes
little time getting down to business – monster business that is. The film’s
opening “newsreel” is clever, depicting the Millennium Godzilla trashing Tokyo in a
mixture of new footage incorporated with scenes from the original Godzilla.
Especially nice is a quick scene of the Millennium Godzilla crushing a train
car in its mouth.
The giant prehistoric dragonflies are a refreshing change of pace as opponents for
the Big G. Especially interesting is Godzilla’s battle against a Meganeura
swarm. The monster king has to resort to a number of creative strategies to
rid himself of the pesky insects, such as using his tail as a flyswatter.
The larval Meganeuron, which we never see clearly, introduce an element of horror
into the proceedings, especially in a nocturnal scene in which one of the
prehistoric insects attacks and dispatches a hapless young couple. The adult
dragonflies are handled quite well in a skillful combination of CGI and
However, though the huge Megaguirus looks fearsome, it
sometimes glides through the air sporting only minimal wing movement, a less
than convincing effect recalling Koichi Kawakita’s problems with articulation
of flying kaiju in the Heisei series. Yes, Megaguirus is much more effective
when its wings are moving in fast motion via SPFX blurring, but its wings
should move in a more insect-like manner during it regular flight maneuvers.
Still, its sonic wave destruction of flooded Shibuya is impressive, somewhat
reminiscent of the original Rodan’s and Mothra’s hurricane-force
winds blasting brightly colored miniatures to scattered smithereens.
The monster battle between the Big G and Megaguirus is well-staged. One novelty is
the fact that Megaguirus can flit about faster than Godzilla can often react,
resulting in frequent confusion and mistimed attacks on the part of the Big G.
Godzilla’s “flying leap” – reminiscent of his “flying tackle” of Ghidorah on
Planet X in Monster Zero – is an apparent nod to some of the
kiddie-oriented “monster comedy” of the Showa series. Fortunately, it matches
up well with the rest of the monster battle.
The special effects are generally skillful, but budget strains are readily
apparent. Not all the miniatures are of the same caliber. Nevertheless, the
majority of the effects do work. One particularly effective scene features an
overhead shot of Godzilla stomping down a street in Tokyo – here
the composite work is perfect. The tornadic Dimension Tide effects are also
quite nice, especially during the finale.
The “human” plot is better and more involving than usual. Mostly, it deals with a
young G-Grasper’s determination to help destroy Godzilla because her commanding
officer died saving her life during Godzilla’s 1996 Osaka raid.
Misato Tanaka handles the role quite well. It’s also heartening to see the
return of Toho “old-timer” Yuriko Hoshi to the G series; she brings both
professionalism and class to her role as Dr. Yoshizawa, creator of the
Dimension Tide weapon. (Hoshi appeared in both Godzilla vs. The Thing
and Ghidrah, The Three-Headed Monster.)
Also notable is Michiru Oshima’s music score. She provides the best Big G theme since
the Akira Ifubuke original. Indeed, her music cues in general are right on the
mark. Especially effective is the simple “sighing strings” theme for the
sinister giant dragonflies.
Of course, credit for Godzilla vs. Megaguirus’s success also goes to
director Masaaki Tezuka, who would go on to direct two more G Millennium
entries. The script by Wataru Mimura and Hiroshi Kashiwabara is likewise
Unfortunately, the film didn’t do well in Japan, causing Toho to once again resort to the Big G’s
older foes from the Showa and Heisei series for its next three Millennium
entries. Said kaiju included Mechagodzilla, King Ghidorah, and Mothra. (I’m
not counting the as-of-this-writing uncompleted Godzilla: Final Wars,
though it sounds as though this alleged “last Godzilla film” will literally
overflow with classic Toho titans.)
Although it may not have raked in the yen and didn’t even merit a Western theatrical
release, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus nevertheless provides 106
minutes of action-packed fun for every giant monster fan.
Sony/TriStar’s DVD widescreen transfer is crystal clear, and viewers may choose between
English dubbed or Japanese with English subtitles tracks. The dubbing is less
than stellar, but it is far better than the Heisei series dubbing.
Unfortunately, the original Japanese theatrical trailers are not included.