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April 14, 2024

Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla Is About As Good As Its Title

Est. Reading: 4 minutes

They couldn’t come up with a better name for Godzilla’s new foe? Anything would have been better than Spacegodzilla. Call him Harold, or even Harold From Outer Space, but Spacegodzilla is just lazy.

Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is OK. The effects are better than some of its predecessors. They mix green screen effects with miniature models to make it look more like Godzilla and the rest of his kaiju brethren are actually destroying Tokyo. The new Godzilla costume makes him look more menacing. His brow is angled inward so he looks angrier. There is a wide variety of monsters and robots, but the plot is a mess. And the dialogue! Oh my God, the dialogue! Here are the opening lines of the film…

Miki Saegusa: "This “Project T” is a waste. We can’t control Godzilla. It's just impossible.”

Prof. Chinatsu Gondo: “It’s better than Project Moguera which aims to kill Godzilla. We’ll plant a telepathy amplifier on the top of its head and amplify what it responds to. Then we can control it. Then we can save the world. That’s Project Telepathy. In short, known as Project T."

Miki Saegusa: “What the fuck? I already know what Project T is, you moron, I just said it was a waste of time. Why are you talking to me as if I have never heard of any of this?”

Unfortunately, that isn’t what Miki said, but it is what she should have said. Instead, a third character chimes in.

Dr. Susumu Okubo: ”Look, without your cooperation, we’ll have to use one of them." (Looking through a window at a bunch of kids trying to develop their psychic powers)

Miki Saegusa: “Please! You can’t! You see, none of my trainees are skilled enough yet. And using telepathy is very dangerous.”

Dr. Susumu Okubo: “Duh! Obviously I know that already, why else would I have just given you an ultimatum? Who the fuck is writing this drivel?” 

Yeah, he didn’t say that either.

There is Spacegodzilla’s origin story. In a subtle moment of naturalistic exposition, we get to learn about the whole thing from a slide show presented by Miki to a bunch of military types. 

“On the right are Godzilla’s cells, known as G cells, and on the left are the skin cells from the Space Monster. The Space Monster has exactly the same G cells. Therefore we named it Spacegodzilla. There were only two occasions when G cells were sent into outer space. One, a fragment of Biollante, and two, Godzilla’s flesh attached to Mothra. One of these cells must have been swallowed by a black hole and pushed out from a white hole. It grew very quickly in its own evolutionary system. Much faster than expected. It assimilated crystal organisms and was exposed to tremendous energies from the explosions from stars, and finally, the most horrific monster was born.” Yeah, that happened to a guy I knew once. Isn’t it just typical?

The plot doesn’t make much sense. I suspect that Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla is actually three or four scripts chopped up and mashed into one. If we assume that most Godzilla movies are written by six-year-olds, maybe all the kids got in a screaming fight, and the adult producers had to appease them by offering to smoosh all of their scripts into one. It’s the whole Gen Z, "Everyone gets a trophy", thing! That awful Gen Z ruins everything, including movies that were made before they were born!

Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla also features a robot called MOGUERA (Mobile Operations G-Force Universal Expert Robot: Aero-type). It is manned by three men like a Mech or a Zord. The film also has Baby Godzilla in it, and Mothra too. There is also a psychic woman, and the phalanx of generals. It’s just missing the obligatory obnoxious child in painfully tight shorts and a baseball cap. Strange.

Everyone fights everyone, except for Baby Godzilla, who does absolutely nothing. As usual, there are people who want to kill Godzilla and people who want to save him. Characters’ ambivalence toward the iconic monster is often the most interesting part of these films. As a metaphor for the nuclear age, Godzilla is both a savior as well as a terror. 

Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla was directed by Kensho Yamashita in 1994. It was the sixth film made during the Heisei era (1984–1995), a time when Godzilla was being retooled to resemble the original, more frightening incarnation. They tried, but by the end of the Heisei era, he was already drifting back toward being more friend than foe. 

The movie finishes with the classic Western ending, where Godzilla slowly lopes back into the ocean, while a mystified and grateful populace waves goodbye. One of the scientists runs after him, as if Godzilla was Alan Ladd in Shane, but Godzilla the lonesome stranger must mosey on. 

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