Godzilla: Final Wars
March 2, 2006
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) not only celebrated the 50th anniversary of the legendary lizard but has also been touted by the studio that created it as the monster’s swan song. Of course, this has been said in the past and impressive world-wide box office receipts have brought back Godzilla time and time again. Hell, a truly awful Hollywood incarnation in 1998 didn’t kill him off, so there’s no reason to believe that this will be the last time we see a Godzilla movie.
This time out wars and pollution plague the world, reawakening many of Godzilla’s old sparring partners: Rodan, Gigan and Mothra amongst others. In response, the countries of the world have gotten together and formed the Earth Defense Force. A new strain of humanity with special abilities, known as mutants, were discovered and quickly recruited for this new organization. We get a montage of giant monsters happily stomping through all of the major cities in the world: Rodan surfaces in New York City, Anquirus appears in Shanghai, King Caesar pops up in Okinawa and so on. In short, it is a veritable orgy of mass destruction on a scale never seen before.
The EDF, however, is no better, vapourizing many buildings in an attempt to neutralize these creatures. To make matters worse, a huge UFO starts beaming up the monsters. A few key humans are beamed up also by beings that look like rejects from The Matrix movies. The Xilians (as they are known) tell them that a small planet will crash into the Earth in 11 hours.
A handful of resourceful human and mutants figure out that the Xilians are lying and that the Earth is in danger but not from a rogue planet but these supposedly benign aliens. Once they are exposed, the aliens release all of the monsters so that they can resume trashing the Earth with the aid of hundreds of alien spacecraft. With most of the EDF wiped out our heroes decide to wake up Godzilla who they (literally) put on ice at the South Pole many years ago.
Herein lies the one minor quibble I have with this movie. It takes almost an hour to properly introduce Godzilla but once his trademark yell sounds and he kicks Gigan’s ass (vapourizing his head no less!), everything is right with the world. First stop is Sydney where he deals with Minilla. This is only the beginning of a world tour where Godzilla, in fine form, stomps all of his old foes.
There’s something so wonderful about seeing rubber-suited monsters trashing models. It’s the unabashed low-tech approach flying in the face of an over reliance on CGI that is so refreshing. That being said, a certain amount of CGI is used but the key here is sparingly. Final Wars has everything you’d expect from a Godzilla movie: broad humour and wonderfully cliched dialogue that’s spoken as if it were Shakespeare. If this is to be Godzilla’s final film it is certainly a fitting way to go out.
The only extra is “Godzilla B-Roll,” behind-the-scenes footage of Godzilla in action, filming a scene take after take until it’s done right. This is then juxtaposed with actual footage from the finished movie.