After a rocky start to the 90s, the Godzilla series took a turn for the better with Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth. So I went into the fifth film of the Heisei era with positive thoughts and I wasn’t disappointed. 1993s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (the “II” was added for American audiences) had a lot of good things going for it. We see the return of Rodan and Mechagodzilla while getting some amazing battle sequences. But, there were some shaky parts. Yes, Baby Godzilla is back whether we were ready or not.
For starters, even though the film shares a title with the 1974 entry, it is not a remake. In fact, the plot is quite original, right down to the creators of Mechagodzilla. Our movie opens with a new organization called the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center being tasked to kill Godzilla once and for all. They use the futuristic technology from the remains of Mecha King Ghidorah (last seen in 1991s Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) and create two weapons to fight Godzilla. The first is the airship Garuda while the second is the robotic Mechagodzilla. Two years later, we witness the discovery of a large egg which gives off a telepathic signal to Rodan (described as an irradiated pterandon) and Godzilla. The two collide on the island in what really is the best battle of the two to date. Updated special effects give life to Rodan, who gets quite a few good attacks in on Godzilla. Unfortunately, Rodan is eventually dispatched while the scientists escape with the egg. However, it calls out to Godzilla, who heads to Kyoto, destroying it much as he’s done to the rest of Japan in the past.
The egg eventually hatches to reveal…Baby Godzilla. Two of my biggest problems with this movie are Baby Godzilla and a whacky sub-plot involving a character who keeps bouncing around from scenario to scenario. Baby Godzilla looked rather cheap but at least he was a little better the original Minya and, at least, here he served some purpose. There is an interesting sub-plot about the connection between Baby Godzilla and one of the scientists. Rodan doesn’t get much to do here but, again, his scenes are a big improvement over previous appearances. I particularly enjoyed his return to transfer life energy to the fallen corpse of Godzilla. Now, I enjoyed how they almost destroyed Godzilla but I could have done without knowing Godzilla had a second brain…in his behind. The dubbing did throw me a little as Rodan was called “Radon”, which I initially thought was a mistake. However, that is what he is called in Japan, so I can’t complain too much about their decision. And yes, Megumi Odaka is back as Miki Saegusa since ESP and telepathy continue to play a role in this period of films. By the end, Rodan is dead, Mechagodzilla destroyed and our two Godzillas are headed out to sea once again.
Mechagodzilla is much more mobile than his 1970s predecessor. Originally, it was to be even stronger as it was going to kill Godzilla, allowing Baby Godzilla to grow up to be the new Godzilla. Thankfully, Godzilla would reign supreme and come back for two more films in this era. Reportedly, original Godzilla director Ishiro Honda was asked to direct this film since he had directed the last Mechagodzilla movie in 1975. But, his death in early 1993 prevented that from happening. Despite some flaws, it had moderate box office success and ensured more Godzilla flicks in the future. Solid directing, great visuals and a superior soundtrack from Akira Ifukube made this a solid 20th film in the Godzilla series.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II was released direct to the pay movie channels in 1998 before getting a VHS release in 1999. Unlike the first two 90s flicks, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II would be released on DVD in 2005 in widescreen with a Japanese audio option. The DVD is readily available for less than $15. Check out the trailer and prepare yourself for another fun Godzilla flick.
Next time, we continue our trek through the 90s with Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994)! This will be a revisit for me but I can’t remember much about the first viewing. Not sure if that is a bad sign or not.