Controversy and Godzilla in … Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991)
Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991) was produced in the modern era, but I was curious if the weaknesses that plagued the 60s sequels would continue to give me even more headaches. Unfortunately, this movie is littered with weaknesses and may have some of the worst scenes put to film, in my opinion, but it brings something new to a series 18 sequels in, something that harkens back to Godzilla’s origins, which makes it notable. This is why I watched it.
I can’t understand Japanese, so the American dubbing really makes the dialogue sound horrible, but English actors are just as bad, if not worse than everyone else. Painful, painful stuff. Who knows what I would think of this movie if I lived in Japan, because this movie earned tons of money at the box office, even after its predecessor failed to reach new highs. Godzilla vs King Ghidorah has great action and the monster designs are top notch. The Godzilla suit is the same one from the last sequel, but still looks pretty good. They even make him blink his eyes at one point in the movie, so the suit design is of the highest quality in any of the sequels.
This movie uses time travel. We travel back in time with the aliens to see young Godzilla on Lagos Island. Somehow there’s a giant dinosaur wandering around the island that nobody’s ever seen before and it looks as if both countries have been fighting over the island for some time. These guys add some horrendous dialogue to describe some aliens they catch a glimpse of:
I believe they really shouldn’t have added the Terminator cyborg guy to this movie. He is just way too over-the-top silly for me. The way he is presented is odd. He runs through the streets like Speedy Gonzales at one point. Maybe people like this character, but I don’t get it. He smiles at a car he runs by and that was humor I suppose.
This movie stirred some controversy upon its release in Japan. This controversy was even covered by CNN, which is shown in the clip below. Basically, people time travel back to the past and witness Godzilla’s origins as a dinosaur. There, Godzilla is a protector of the Japanese army during World War II, and steps on the American army, killing them. The Japanese army later salute Godzilla for helping them out.
Godzilla Feels Sad
Perhaps the most talked about scene in this movie is when one of the surviving Japanese soldiers encounters Godzilla. He appears to be emotional, as if he really cares about Godzilla, or finds it sadly ironic that the monster is now destroying Tokyo, when he used to be a World War II hero. Godzilla also seems emotional for some reason and closes his eyes in pain, as if embarrassed about what he has become, a destructive force that must kill the man. The man nods his head, as if acknowledging his kinship to Godzilla and also his fate. It is really strange, but at least it’s something new I’ve never seen before.
If that were not enough, there is social commentary in Godzilla vs King Ghidorah. Some people have noted that Godzilla destroys the large downtown city hall building nicknamed “tax tower”. This costly building was a humorous way of having Godzilla put an end to spending.
All in all, this movie probably has a few more weaknesses than most, but has good action and effects. Many of the quality things in this movie are in the irony and the social commentary. Everything else really struck me as very poor. The dialogue is especially embarrassing from the English actors, so I’m not sure what that says. Also, the use of time travel creates more problems than it solves and I’m not even going to get into the paradoxes that go unmentioned. I did like getting a short Godzilla history lesson for what it’s worth, but this sequel was disappointing. In my opinion, it delivers something better than Destroy All Monsters though, which I saw as simplistic, with very few deep themes.
I apologize if readers think I’ve been too harsh to Godzilla movies. I do like some Godzilla movies, but others are just too campy or look too silly for me. That’s not to say that these movies should be disregarded. I respect these films for their presentation and style, plus the thematic content is a good bonus, for me. However, let’s be honest, they are B-Movies, but like the Universal horror movies I watch all the time, I can respect them.
Godzilla movies (click movie title for review)
1. Godzilla (1954) – 9/10
2. Godzilla vs King Kong (1962) – 4/10
3. Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (1974) – 5/10
4. Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) – 6/10
5. Destroy All Monsters (1968) – 3/10
6. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) – 4/10
7. Godzilla against Mechagodzilla (2002) – 8/10