So far, the Millennium series of Godzilla movies has been a mixed bag. There appears to be no continuity from film to film, which is interesting but a little odd at the same time. It’s almost like we’re seeing a daikaiju buffet of alternate Godzilla universes. Going into the next movie, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), I wasn’t sure what I’d see next. As expected, it was yet another universe but this time, I was blown away by the fun.
Our story is set some 50 years after the first appearance of Godzilla. Here, as it was originally told, Godzilla died as a result of Dr. Serizawa’s Oxygen Destroyer. Through flashbacks, we know that other events from other films also happened, such as Mothra and War of the Gargantuas. There is even a casual reference to a giant monster attack in New York City in which the Americans claimed it was Godzilla. This is about as much acknowledgement as Toho will ever give the ill-fated 1998 film that most of us refuse to call a Godzilla movie.
The fear is that Godzilla could return some day. However, time has caused many to forget the destruction the original Godzilla once caused. But when a nuclear submarine goes missing, a rescue team catches a fleeting glimpse of what appears to be Godzilla’s fin. Shortly thereafter, an earthquake precedes the return of Baragon. When Yuri Tachibana (Chiharu Niiyama), the daughter of Admiral Taizo Tachibana (Ryudo Uzaki), is given a book called The Guardian Monsters, the legend begins to come to light. Monsters will come to defend Japan against the menace of Godzilla. Along with Baragon, there is also Mothra and King Ghidorah. They will be awakened by ancient stones and will rise up to battle Godzilla.
Now, here is where things got a little questionable. This Godzilla is really possessed by the dead of World War II who are angry at Japan for forgetting about them. Yeah, pretty out there. However, I really liked this Godzilla. His eyes did not have a pupil, adding to the evil and possessed storyline. Godzilla seems much more mobile in this film and many of the attacks seemed to go back to the first film in style and approach. Images of his peering up over a mountain are classic. The three monsters, usually seen as the bad guys are actually good here. They also went through some changes. For example, Mothra can now shoot stingers and move her spirit into another body. King Ghidorah is also a little shorter here but is sadly missing the original and iconic sound effects. Still, Ghidorah remains one of my favorites.
The movie played out as one big battle with the human cast generally presented more seriously than some other entries. The special effects were really good and a much needed improvement over some of the scenes from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Admiral Tachibana plays a big role in ultimately bringing down Godzilla after all three other monsters were defeated by the big guy. However, in the final moments before the credits, Godzilla’s beating heart is seen on the ocean floor. You just can’t keep Godzilla down for long.
I thoroughly enjoyed Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. I liked some of the subtle homages to the past, such as the cameo of twins witnessing Mothra (since the original island twins were not a part of this movie). I’m okay with the changes to the monsters and while I didn’t really care for the mystical aspects of this Godzilla, it didn’t play that big of a role in the overall plot. This was easily the best film of the Millennium series so far and one of my all-time personal favorites in the entire Godzilla series. The movie is easily found for about $10 and I highly recommend it, especially for someone looking to get into the series.