A scene from GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH, directed by Ohmori Kazuki for Toho Company Ltd.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991, Ohmori Kazuki)

Not much goes right in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Director Ohmori has a strange way of being boastful about really lame ideas and even worse technical executions. He spends a lot of time–and the film’s not short, it runs an hour and forty-three–trying to show off the film’s big ideas. It’s a bunch of time travel nonsense involving a bunch of white dorks from the 23rd century who travel back in time to tell the Japanese how it’s going to be.

Seriously, it really is about white people being so jealous of Japan’s success they don’t just travel back in time, they create a giant monster to destroy Japan. It’s a film made under the assumption children are dumb, which is different than the assumption children like dumb things. What’s so strange about it is how vested Ohmori gets into the time travel nonsense since it’s terribly handled, both in the script and his direction. It’s not like there are any gem moments in Ghidorah; the monster fight scene is technically marvelous but dramatically inert–Ohmori blows through any goodwill on the nerd Terminator (Robert Scott Field) who terrorizes the good guys.

There’s a slight subplot about ostensible protagonist Toyohara Kosuke figuring out the true origin of Godzilla and investigating it. The time travel thing then directly effects everyone already involved in that subplot, which makes things real contrived. It’s one of the worst time travel movies. There’s nothing smart about it, it’s mostly all profoundly idiotic. And Ohmori does it to delay Godzilla’s appearance in a movie called Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

Is it worth it?

No, not at all. Technical competency aside, that third act is a fail. It’s not like Ohmori asks much from his cast but he even short-changes them with the finale. Anna Nakagawa does okay as the sympathetic future person, but it’s all on goodwill Ohmori never delivers. Okada Megumi has nothing to do. She doesn’t even get to spout exposition. Still, just standing around, she’s better than Sasaki Katsuhiko. He’s the scientist advising the good guys. He’s comically bad. It’s a bad part and Ohmori doesn’t direct his cast well, but Sasaki’s still a weak link.

Occasionally, Nakagawa or Toyohara will have a good delivery and the movie won’t be in the middle of dumb exposition and Ghidorah will be all right. For a while, it seems like the film will coast through. It can’t make it through that disastrous third act though.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Written and directed by Ohmori Kazuki; director of photography, Sekiguchi Yoshinori; edited by Ikeda Michiko; music by Ifukube Akira; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Toyohara Kosuke (Terasawa), Nakagawa Anna (Emmy), Odaka Megumi (Saegusa Miki), Sasaki Katsuhiko (Professor Mazaki), Robert Scott Field (Android M-11), Kobayashi Akiji (Tsuchiashi Yuzo), Nishioka Tokuma (Fujio), Tsuchiya Yoshio (Shindo), Chuck Wilson (Chuck Wilson), Richard Berger (Grenchiko) and Ueda Kôichi (Ikehata).


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