This is the third entry in Godzilla’s Heisei series, which I figure I'll review from start to finish just to knock it out of the way. If we lived in a just world, I’d be reviewing Godzilla v. Biollante right now, but unfortunately, we live in a world where Miramax is sitting on the distribution rights, hasn’t reprinted the film in ages, and a used copy goes for nearly $100. But that’s alright, we can’t always have it all.
I gotta be honest right off the bat. This is my least favorite Godzilla film ever (not counting the Netflix Trilogy cause I've only seen the first two to know I don't even want to bother finishing that storyline). This film kind of has an interesting mini back story. Biollante apparently didn’t due too hot in theaters, so Toho decided for their next film, Godzilla needed to face off against a familiar face. A real character to draw in the crowds. Hence, the decision to include Ghidorah. Interestingly enough, in the Millennium Era, after Godzilla v. Megagurius didn’t due too hot, Toho resorted to the same tactic. But that’s another story for a different time. Additionally, every film in this era tries a different type of story angle to add to the main story. Godzilla Returns had a bit of political drama mixed into it, Godzilla v. Biollante has a bit of a James Bond-esque spy story mixed into it, and from what I understand, seeing how well Back to the Future did Toho decided maybe a little time travel wouldn’t hurt. On paper the idea of bringing back Ghidorah and throwing in a time travel plot sounds good, but in reality this film is a bit of a mess and I’ve always struggled to see why people like it so much.
Every time I watch it, I can’t help but think the time travel mechanics seem completely shoddy. If changes are being made to the past, why aren’t those changes affecting present time? It wasn’t until I saw the Wikizilla Explainer on this movie that things made sense, it’s all part of a time loop. Then the real question becomes, is that what the writers originally intended and they just never bothered to explain in their own movie that there’s a time loop, or was this time travel story so poorly written that all it took was a single fan theory to make perfect sense out of it?
I want to be positive about this film, I really do, because I know that the people at Toho worked hard on it, I know that it’s a favorite of many Godzilla fans, and Godzilla films in general seem to be a bit of an underdog franchise so sometimes I feel compelled to go out of my way to give them a fair shake. But for this film, it’s pretty hard. The non-suitmation special effects can be pretty rough, from the green screens to the wire work to the android who is in no way, shape, or form inspired by The Terminator.
The acting in general is okayish but the American actors in the WWII scenes are just awful and the dialog they have to work with just makes things worse. You know how some people think some movies are so bad that they’re good? I honestly don’t know if this one counts. I just think it’s bad.
The whole film is not a total loss though. Weird time travel story aside, the characters are pretty likable and the story is at least enough to keep viewers engaged. King Ghidorah and Godzilla both look amazing. By this point, Toho has dialed in Godzilla’s look for this generation and when you think of iconic ‘90s Godzilla, this suit and the suits in the films to follow are what you’re thinking about. As far as suitmation and kaiju special effects go, with a few exceptions in this film, I think this is one of the better films of the Heisei era.
Overall though, it’s a hard film to watch. Others might enjoy and recommend this film, but I really can’t. I personally would only recommend it if you want to be a completionist and see every Godzilla film or if you want to see the whole Heisei story from start to finish.
This one gets a one out of five for me.
P.S. Emmy is like, the worse mech pilot I’ve ever seen.