The Toho Godzilla films were meant to take a break back in 1998, when the first American installment was attempted. When Roland Emmerich’s film was a massive failure and insult to the franchise, Toho responded with Godzilla 2000, confusingly released in 1999. It was released theatrically in both
and in the ,
with a slightly altered edit. Both versions are available on the new Blu-ray
release, along with a filmmaker and crew commentary track, a behind-the-scenes
featurette and the original theatrical trailer. United States
The film features a beefed-up Godzilla, who fights against an alien that hacks into humanity and creates the monster called Orga. The strange thing about this Godzilla film is its attempt to create a whole new timeline. The timeline had been restarted in the past, but it usually continued from film to film after that. The Millennium Godzilla films often seem to only acknowledge the original 1954 in their timeline. What this film does have is plenty of action, in an obvious attempt to show up the CGI failure that came out of
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack/ Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Double Feature
Along with featuring one of the longest titles imaginable, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) takes away Godzilla’s role as the savior against other monsters. This time around Godzilla is the only bad guy, with three guardian monsters all that can save
Millennium Godzilla feature also begins as if the first film was the only to
exist, and this is only Godzilla’s second appearance. When Godzilla reappears
suddenly, it sparks an all-our fight between the dinosaur and his enemies. The
first to attack him is Baragon, a burrowing creature of some sort, who was the
only odd man left out of the film’s enormous title. As ridiculous as the title
is, this is easily one of the best Godzilla films in the Millenium era, mostly due
to the limited amount of computer graphics utilized. As the film franchise wore
on in this decade, they began to over-indulge in this effect. The theatrical
trailer is included in the special features. Japan
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) is another standalone film, with only the original film in consideration. Not only did it recognize the first film, this one even utilizes it in the narrative. This was a plot that had been done before, but it is no less entertaining this time around. Godzilla’s bones from the 1950s are recovered and scientific experiments are done until they can be grafted to a machine shell that can be operated. Mechagodzilla is the latest in defense for Godzilla, who appears to pick a fight as soon as the project is completed. You can see an increase in the use of CGI in this film, though it hasn’t yet reached the ridiculous level of having an entire character computerized. The special features include a theatrical trailer.
Rebirth of Mothra Trilogy
Although there is no Godzilla to be found in any of these Mothra films, they are still released under the Toho Godzilla Collection as spin-off films. Mothra seems an easy contender for the most popular monster in the franchise, other than Godzilla. Just like Godzilla, there were several incarnations of Mothra, and this trilogy in the late 1990s brought him back again to fill the void of Godzilla after the close of the Heisei era.
The Rebirth of Mothra (1996) immediately shows why the Mothra films are a bit goofier than Godzilla. There are three battling sister fairies, one of which rides on a mechanical dragon while the other two ride around on a miniature Mothra named Fairy. This actually baffles me more than anything else. If Mothra is a giant moth, wouldn’t that make a miniature Mothra just a moth? The narrative attempts to engage the human element through a couple of kids, which continues the milder tone to this franchise. The biggest problem is how little the children actually impact the plot, mostly just sitting on a hillside watching the same monster battle as the audience.
Rebirth of Mothra II (1997) is even more bizarre than the first film, with annoying children returning to help the story along, mostly by getting in the way. A new monster named Dagahra emerges from the ocean for Mothra to battle, and at the same time the children encounter a magical creature called a Ghogo, which has wound-healing urine. There is an underwater city that emerges, providing a battle ground against Dagahra, with the usual plot devices to drag out the fight for as much screen time as possible.
Rebirth of Mothra III (1998) closes out the trilogy by upping the stakes even more. While there are more children than ever before, they are also the victims of a giant monster kidnapping scheme that inspires Mothra to time travel. If that sounds too ridiculous to be true, wait until you see the giant sack-like structure used to hold all of the children stolen by King Ghidorah. And if that isn’t enough, there is also a dramatic resolution between the fairies who have battled through the trilogy.
Entertainment Value: 8/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10
Historical Significance: 8.5/10