Godzilla vs. Biollante Reviews
Let's start with what works with this movie, and that is the special effects. The Godzilla suit being used in this film is even better than the one in "1985" and there is a decent amount of destruction and pyrotechnics too. Most spectacular is the inclusion of Biollante. The plant creature has two forms in the film, one that resembles a giant rose with carnivorous vines and the second, a monstrous creature that towers over even Godzilla, has a maw filled to the brim with razor-sharp teeth, is able to spit acid and has dozens of vine-tentacles for arms. This is not only one of the most original creatures in the franchise, but one of the most impressive. There are at one time dozens of pieces moving and it really is a technical feat as Biollante entangles Godzilla in its "arms" and the King of the Monsters struggles to set himself free. Despite the limited screen time that both forms have, it's a really memorable monster and a foe that legitimately is a good match for Godzilla. It begins as a delicate creature, one that is not looking for anything more than a couple of rays of sunshine and some nourishment when it is attacked by Godzilla. Devastated, it returns later in the film as a grotesque monster, even more alien to the world than Godzilla. Who would have thought that a giant plant/dinosaur hybrid could be a match for a fire-breathing mutation? It's this big contrast that grabs you and makes you want to see what comes up next. When Biollante rears its ugly head again, it's back with a vengeance. Now it looks like Godzilla is the one that doesn't stand a chance. The scenes with the monsters battling each other are what makes the movie worth seeing. It's not quite enough to make you forget about the bad stuff, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
For all the praise you have to give to the monster action, there really isn't that much of it. We only get a single battle between Godzilla and the first floral form of Biollante, and a single, very short battle between the villain of this movie and the final form. Between this, we get endless footage of either Godzilla being harassed by Super-X2 or the incoherent plot between the humans. A big problem is that there's very little tension when it comes to the battles between Godzilla and the human ship. Super-X2 is now being piloted by remote control, so even if you could manage to get emotionally attached to the pilot and chief commander of the project, Colonel Sho Koruki (Masanobu Takashima) there's no chance whatsoever that he is going to suffer even minor injuries from his encounters with the kaiju. It doesn't help that he gets about as much character development as the tanks Godzilla steps on casually. You can't even like him because of his military brilliance because towards the end of the movie, he becomes downright idiotic. He gives an order that you think is going to pay off and succeed despite all odds (which would make for a dramatic, tension filled moment for once) but instead it fails and Super-X2 is written out of the movie. I suppose you could give credit to the movie for having a lot going on in terms of the humans, if you don't mind it taking the form of bad dialogue and incoherent stories. Several times throughout it becomes obvious that there are simply way too many characters and too many side plots that aren't nearly as interesting as the two titular monsters. We've got this side story with a school of psychic children, headed by Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka), who is trying to communicate with Godzilla and Biollante several times throughout the movie. That one doesn't really go anywhere and actually only serves to confuse the audience further. Apparently on top of being a Godzilla/rose hybrid Biollante is also somehow possessed by the ghost of Shiragami's daughter (wait, what?) There is also a plot about the radiation-eating bacteria that I could not make or tails of because of the bad dubbing in the movie (and it really is bad). So it's been a recurring theme throughout the series that Godzilla is radioactive and that even if he only stomps the house that's next to yours, the radioactive fallout is going to kill you. Here they explain that they want to create bacteria that feeds on radiation to solve this problem and that it would also be a weapon against Godzilla. That makes sense. They go on further to explain that the bacteria would also negate the destructive power of Nuclear weapons and that for this reason it shouldn't be created and might be an even deadlier weapon than the nuclear warheads in the first place. Wait, what? How is making nuclear devices ineffective a bad thing? They really don't explain it well. They do, however make it clear that someone doesn't want this bacteria to be created so we get a long plot about terrorists wanting to steal the organisms. Not only are they willing to resort to murder to get what they want, but are also willing to release Godzilla from his stone prison! That's where one of my favourite bad lines in the movie comes from. We are told that "They are holding Japan ransom and Godzilla is the hostage". This word hostage... I don't think it means what you think it means script writers!
I went into this movie with really high hopes, based mostly on the lukewarm results we got with "Godzilla 1985" and the excitement of seeing a brand-new monster, one that's really original and cool. Unfortunately, I sat awkwardly through really bad dialogue and a plot that's downright nutty at times. It's still enjoyable, mostly because of the really impressive monster action, but I'm telling you this now: if you want to watch this movie and have a good time, make fun of it. The human plot is bad and there are actually some terrible lines that are very quotable here so just start riffing on it and it'll be one of those "so bad it's good" Godzilla movies. As a straightforward movie (that's the way I watched this time) it's just ok. To be honest I didn't even list all of the problems I had with it but I really didn't want to rag on this one any harder than I already did because it really is enjoyable, if only for the parts featuring the titular creatures. (English Dub on Blu-ray, May 1, 2014)
Godzilla has awakened, and some of his cells (spawn from his return to Tokyo in the previous film) have been fused by a scientist with a plant...what a dumb idea. This of course, causes the birth of Biollante. It all comes down to a fight between the two monsters, the struggle of the humans to stop Godzilla, and a decent reflection on wither is it the monsters or the humans the ones that cause all this. Since the first movie in 1954, a reflection was never addressed, and while this one isn't as touching, it is still pretty satisfying to see them giving it a shot. We also have the requisite monster fights and action, and needless to say (but I'm still going to anyway) the special effects of this movie are so far the best in the entire Godzilla's existence. The miniatures look great, the Godzilla suit looks great, the final form of the monster Biollante is also pretty cool (and even fascinatedly strange) and the special effects such as powers and other stuff is also well done. This is the first time I felt they wanted this to have the quality of a blockbuster, and I love it. The first movie is still the king, but this one comes in a close second.
I really had fun watching Godzilla vs Biollante. This is Godzilla's 17th film, but only the second in the Heisei series. In that case, this might be an example of a superior sequel, because this movie is a hell of a lot better than 1984's Godzilla. Faster, more entertaining and more carefully done, Godzilla vs Biollante is a movie that even those not familiar at all with Godzilla can enjoy. A entertaining and satisfying kaiju film.
It starts out with some promise, showing a shoot-out between two military forces fighting over samples of Godzilla's skin during the clean-up after the events of the previous film. But instead of a movie about the international intrigue, backstabbing and espionage that would happen after a giant monster attack, we get a story about a scientist whose dead daughter's soul has become trapped in an evil plant monster that was made with Godzilla's DNA. I wish I was making this up.
There are a lot of random shoot-outs in the movie between forces of unknown origin with unexplained motivations. It's almost like the makers were thinking that there is too much talking in between monster scenes, but they couldn't afford more monster scenes, so they wrote in action scenes without bothering with things like sense or relevance.
There is an fun bit where terrorists threaten to release Godzilla if the heroes don't turn over vital research, but I'm not sure how risking the complete destruction of Japan helps their goals.
I know this movie gets a lot of love from the Godzilla fandom, but I just don't get it. I found the movie's attempt at a serious tone to be completely undercut by the silliness of the whole Plant Wisperer concept. There is a character in this film who can psychically communicate with plants, and everyone reacts as if this is normal. I'm not opposed to the premise; only the presentation. Just because you've sold me on a giant radioactive monster doesn't mean you can dump other fantasy concepts on me without context or explanation.
In other entries that come out of the gate with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, the rules are a bit different. But if you try to be serious, you have to follow through on that and go out of your way to justify things that are inherently silly.
The basic idea of Godzilla vs Little Shop of Horrors is loaded with potential, especially if it were to take a similar satirical edge as the famous musical, but this poe-faced effort fails at both drama and comedy.
That said, there are positives. The acting is decent and the effects work is pretty solid for a man-in-suit affair. Biollante's final form is an amazing design that doesn't get enough screen-time. It is one of the most imaginative monsters that Godzilla has fought, which may be why fans seem to like it.
Yet the big fight itself is all too brief, has no clear winner, and ends with one of the biggest WTF moments of the series when the dead daughter's face appears in the sky above Biollante as it...dies? Dematerializes? Teleports? I really have no idea what hell was supposed to have happened during the last ten minutes, and this ain't exactly my first rodeo.
Some might say, "Yeah, but that fight is really sweet while it lasts!" Yes, the fight is cool, but much like almost all of Godzilla's fights with other giant monsters, it is filmed in a way that destroys all sense of weight and scale. I'm never able to suspend disbelief that the monsters are supposed to be hundreds of feet tall.
So after a promising reboot, the series nose-dives straight back into please-make-it-stop territory, where it will remain for quite some time.