Tag Archives: Momoko Kochi

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995, Okawara Takao)

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah does a lot. It mixes an Aliens rip-off into a Godzilla movie, then tries new things for the giant monster fight, all while finishing off the series. Destoroyah is meant to close off the franchise, giving director Okawara plenty of opportunities to tug at heart strings. Okawara’s attempts at homage and reference matter more for sincerity’s sake than success’s. There’s a lot going on in the film and it tries a lot of things. Not all of the spaghetti sticks.

Major missteps include all the ties to the 1954 Godzilla, including Kôchi Momoko’s pointlessly contrived cameo. None of the new characters this entry have much to do. Ever returning Odaka Megumi gets a good part. Tatsumi Takurô is weak as the scientist. There’s always a scientist. Tatsumi isn’t the worst scientist, but he’s pretty weak.

The human interest stuff this outing, besides all the references to the original, has very little to do with the film. This time, Godzilla is in danger of melting down. It’s a global disaster. Oddly enough, a monster created when the original Godzilla was destroyed is also attacking. And the little Godzilla is missing. There’s a lot going on.

The big monster fight is a bit of a bust. The miniature sets are fantastic, but the other monster is really dumb looking. It’s like a giant crab mixed with an Alien and a demon’s head. It’s really dumb looking, especially when it gets bigger than Godzilla. So it’s even more impressive how well Okawara does on the finish with the lame bad monster.

Destoroyah’s relatively successful.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Okawara Takao; written by Ohmori Kazuki; directors of photography, Kishimoto Masahiro and Sekiguchi Yoshinori; edited by Osada Chizuko; music by Ifukube Akira; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Tatsumi Takurô (Dr. Ijuin Kensaku), Ishino Yôko (Yamane Yukari), Hayashi Yasufumi (Yamane Kenichi), Odaka Megumi (Saegusa Miki), Osawa Sayaka (Ozawa Meru), Shinoda Saburô (Professor Fukazawa), Nakao Akira (Commander Aso), Takashima Masahiro (Major Kuroki) and Kôchi Momoko (Yamane Emiko).


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Godzilla (1954, Honda Ishirô)

Godzilla is a peculiar picture. It’s intensely serious, with director Honda never letting the viewer get a moment’s relief. This approach is all throughout the film, which opens with a documentary feel. Honda and co-screenwriter Murata Takeo set up their main characters quickly and without a lot of fanfare–Takarada Akira and Kôchi Momoko’s first scene sets up their relationship before sending them away–she actually just disappears for a while, while he becomes a background player during the first act.

Their romance is the best character work in the film, with the possible exception of Suzuki Toyoaki’s grieving orphan. Takarada and Kôchi’s romance is never quite star-crossed but it’s always difficult. They’re both excellent. All of the film’s emotions play out through Kôchi; it’s like the film has greater need of her than to just have a difficult romance.

Honda moves Godzilla through a few phases–mystery, exploration, devastation–always ratcheting the tension a little tighter. The creature’s destruction of Tokyo is exhausting and relentless. The film implies subtext to those scenes–the creature discovering man’s world–but Honda doesn’t explore them. He presents them matter of fact, the documentary style returning.

The last act is where the film stumbles; Hirata Akihiko gives a histrionic performance. Some of it is the writing, most of it is Hirata. The film already has problems with Shimura Takashi, in a similarly poorly written role. There’s way too much strained symbolism in the finish.

The music, photography and editing are all exceptional.

The film is thoughtful, intricate and affecting.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Honda Ishirô; screenplay by Murata Takeo and Honda, based on a story by Kayama Shigeru; director of photography, Tamai Masao; edited by Taira Kazuji; music by Ifukube Akira; production designers, Chûko Satoru and Kita Takeo; produced by Tanaka Tomoyuki; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Takarada Akira (Ogata), Kôchi Momoko (Emiko), Hirata Akihiko (Dr. Serizawa), Shimura Takashi (Dr. Yamane), Suzuki Toyoaki (Shinkichi), Murakami Fuyuki (Professor Tanabe) and Sakai Sachio (Newspaper Reporter Hagiwara).


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THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED IN SUM UP | GODZILLA, PART ONE: SHOWA.