Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)

Beyond watching the movie marathons every summer on the local television stations as a child, I never really considered myself a fan of the Godzilla movies. Granted, I love the character of Godzilla, but I never actually cared about the mythos, the supporting characters, or any of the spin offs. But at one time I really cared for characters like Gamera, and Ghidorah, and Jet Jaguar, so the endless recommendations on the part of movie geeks insisting this was a very different Godzilla movie swayed me enough to want to see what “GMKG” was actually about, and surely enough it’s a very good Godzilla movie that takes all of the monsters and makes them villainous threats once again.

Gone is the camp, gone are spiritual themes behind Godzilla, gone is the once heroic protector known as Gojira, and he’s no longer the doting father. In this movie, Godzilla is a horrible beast rising from the ocean that Japan simply isn’t prepared to deal with, and he’s bringing along friends. One aspect of this film that I quite enjoyed was that the writers refer back to “Gojira” where Godzilla is still just a product of Nuclear radiation thanks to irresponsibility during the war, and seeks pure bloodlust and vindication. Director Kaneko properly draws suspense and terror keeping his monsters cloaked in the shadows and fragmented enough to keep them mysterious and horrendous to behold.

The first thirty minutes of “GMKG” present our monsters as valid threats, and it’s up to the three guardians of Japan to put a stop to the mayhem. Godzilla is the main baddie in this go around with a menacing gleam with blank pearl white eyes, and a powerful proportion that manages to sadly outweigh Japan’s true protectors in the first half. “GMKG” is surprisingly engaging with both characters and action as our heroine reporter chases Godzilla around the city to chronicle his reign of havoc, while Godzilla stomps around the city anxiously battling any monsters that try to challenge it and hopefully save what’s left of Japan.

The first fight between the protector and Godzilla is rather fantastic, as the two engage in a knockdown drag out that’s wonderfully edited, along with some excellent choreography that creates this sense of omnipresent chaos among the King of all Monsters. Even people who truly dislike the series may be compelled to give this one a shot since the focus is on story and stopping Godzilla. The battles between Mothra, Ghidora and Godzilla are truly fantastic especially when Kaneko aims to display the special effects at their height and the visuals on display, while low tech, are rather incredible. Ghidora and Mothra are now valient heroes of Japan who seeks to destroy the bitter monster and really do draw sympathies from an audience conditioned to believe them nemeses of the giant lizard at one time.

The retcon that ensues is rather slick as characters explain Japan’s insistence on hiding all the nuclear testing that spawned Godzilla and turn the tables conveying Godzilla’s role in the entire arc as purely evil. “GMKG” is a fun and exciting monster flick and one I suggest you watch just to see the Godzilla that was meant to exist, the snarling, evil, menacing giant beast who was lost in the hail of camp and rubber over the decades finally reclaimed with such a wonderful vision. All Kaiju fans probably know this entry by now, and if they don’t they’d do best to acknowledge this and give it a sporting chance. Even a cynic like me found a lot of entertainment value from it with great special effects, dazzling monster battles, and an interesting new take on Godzilla.