In my quest to watch every Godzilla movie I have just finished Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). It was very good. The movie focused on the action, avoided excess preaching and provided an ending that wrapped things up nicely without upsetting long-time Godzilla fans. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a monster movie.
Like several other later Godzilla movies, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla focuses on the special task force created to combat Godzilla. A skilled pilot with a tortured past manages to get her act together and face the challenge of controlling the new cybernetic combat machine named Kiryu to stop Godzilla’s destructive rampages across Japan. Also in the mix is a science professor who has to let go of the sorrow for his departed wife and get on with his life. The professor puts his fears aside and steps up to the challenge of playing a key role in the design team that constructs Kiryu.
Built around the bones of the first Godzilla that was killed in Tokyo Bay in the 1950’s (see the first Godzilla movie), this cybernetic creation is armed to the teeth – literally, when you consider the maser gun mounted in its mouth – and ready to face Godzilla in one-on-one combat. During its construction the lead designer’s daughter recommends it be named Mechagodzilla but after completion the name Kiryu is chosen. Kiryu is an abbreviation of the Japanese words for “machine dragon”. Kiryu is the third incarnation of Mechagodzilla. This design is my favorite of the three. Unlike the previous two in the Godzilla movie series, this Mechagodzilla is designed for remote control. The operater sits in a jet that hovers near Mechagodzilla. When Godzilla damages Kiryu and upsets the plan, the fiesty young pilot refuses to give in and, keeping with tradition, enters a maintanence booth inside Kiryu and operates it directly.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla provides plenty of great action and was fun to watch. The character drama is there to see but I didn’t feel it took up too much screen time. I never had to wait too long before the real hero, Godzilla, showed up. The Godzilla design for this movie avoided the awful mistake of the previous movie, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack, with its milky white eyes and impersonal face.
If you get a chance to rent it, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is sure to please.