A scene from GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA, directed by Okawara Takao for Toho Company Ltd.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993, Okawara Takao)

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is outrageous spectacle. The film has the perfect combination of story, director and special effects. The film allows its giant monsters limited personalities, feasible motivations. It even manages to raise questions of morality as this version’s Mechagodzilla is piloted by the anti-Godzilla task force. They’re blowing up just as much as the giant monsters, they’re torturing the monsters. It’s simultaneously heavy and not.

Director Okawara gets to that weightlessness through some disarming, yet empowering moves–it’s a serious movie, but it’s also not a serious movie so don’t dwell–you can acknowledge, but don’t dwell. The result is a Godzilla movie where the viewer has an intense investment in the fight scene. Okawara then proceeds to play with every expectation. He draws things out–those disarming yet empowering moves–showing the viewer what to expect.

The movie rewards the viewer for paying attention, for patience. It’s often delightful, with something for everyone–including an adorable “baby” Godzilla. Mimura Wataru’s script really pulls all these threads together into something cohesive and affecting. He gives the characters just enough depth the actors can imply even further layers. It doesn’t hurt Okawara excels at the saccharine flirtation between leads Takashima Masahiro and Sano Ryoko.

And Odaka Megumi finally does get something to do this Godzilla installment. She gets a significant personal subplot and everything. Odaka nails it, of course. She makes her unlikely character (telepathic Godzilla hunting consultant) the most human part of the film. She, just like the viewer, is jaded by Godzilla movies.

Excellent editing from Yoneda Miho, excellent photography from Sekiguchi Yoshinori. The effects in Mechagodzilla are outstanding. A lot of thought goes into everything, like how Okawara gradually prepares the viewer for miniature sequences. Mechagodzilla is a welcoming Godzilla movie. It’s enthusiastic about its genre and itself.

Nice score from Ifukube Akira. It’s just a nice, solid Godzilla movie.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Okawara Takao; written by Mimura Wataru; director of photography, Sekiguchi Yoshinori; edited by Yoneda Miho; music by Ifukube Akira; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Takashima Masahiro (Aoki Kazuma), Sano Ryoko (Gojo Azusa), Odaka Megumi (Saegusa Miki), Kawazu Yûsuke (Professor Omae), Harada Daijirô (Sasaki Takuya), Nakao Akira (Commander Aso) and Ueda Kôichi (General Hyodo).


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