After the relative box office disappointment of Godzilla’s previous attempt at levelling Tokyo into something resembling the Arizona Flats, Toho Studios reasoned that updating some of the King Of The Monster’s old sparring partners for modern audiences was the way to go; so here we are with the ubiquitous King Ghidorah first in line for revamp duties.
It’s proved to be a savvy choice as the massive, triple headed, golden dragon had been Joker to Godzilla’s Batman since the mid-60’s but also a final reel upgrade and a plot that’s sheer lunacy, result in the Heisei series of movies nailing it’s tone and finding it’s feet.
One of the previous movie’s flaws was an over complicated plot told with too straight a face (cos if you can’t smile at a giant plant monster, what CAN you smile at) and while GVKG’s story is admittedly even more complicated, it’s told with such hysterical energy it’s hard not to be charmed by the gold standard of ridiculous that this movie expects you to chew on.
Time travel is the order of the day here so buckle up and try to cling on. Ready?
Visitors from the year 2204 who call themselves “Futurians” arrive to warn us that in the near future Godzilla will rise and finally destroy Japan once and for all. Meanwhile an author of books about Psychic phenomena has finally figured out Godzilla’s origin based on a story of a giant dinosaur saving a group of Japanese soldiers stationed on Lagos Island during World War II. As the same island was destroyed by a hydrogen bomb test in 1954, it’s reasoned that the “Godzillasaurus” was mutated by the radiation into the super-sized lizard that first attacked Tokyo months later.
Still with me?
A deal is struck with the Futurians to go back in time and remove Godzillasaurus from the island before the blast but after he saves the soldiers from American troops as one of them eventually becomes a powerful businessman who helps immensely with the rebuilding of the country. With the aid of The Futurian’s cyborg operative, the mission is successful and Godzilla is never created (who everyone somehow still remembers) but due to a double cross by the time travelers who have been lying about the future all along, the blast instead creates King Ghidorah who WILL in fact bring about the destruction the Futurians actually desire.
Ok, deep breath. Nearly there…
To combat King Ghidorah’s rampage, a counter plan us formed to use a nuclear submarine to bombard the still living Godzillasaurus to recreate the King Of The Monsters anew but nuclear waste in the area has already resulted in a bigger and more violent Godzilla who not only takes out the Futurians AND King Ghidorah, but threatens to destroy Tokyo too. So it’s all on the line as a Futurian turn-coat and the good guys decide to use technology in the future to upgrade King Ghidorah’s corpse into Mecha-King Ghidorah in an effort to halt this new Godzilla’s brutal attack.
See what I mean?… Fucking mental.
And yet despite featuring some of the worst science ever seen in cinema, GVKG rockets by on sheer hyperactivity alone resulting in an entertainingly uneven ride that veers wildly from cool to ludicrous and back again. Another thing that the 90’s era of Godzilla movies excelled in was keeping their monstrous challengers visually interesting so like Biollante in the previous film, all the contenders to Godzilla’s title change form at least once as the film progresses.
Finally, Godzilla’s look and temperament are undoubtedly a franchise best, too cool to be an out and out villain but way too much of a spiteful butthole to be on the side of the angels, this jacked up version looks phenomenal. Sweet-ass Schwarzenegger pecs and thighs that scream that, for Godzilla, EVERY day is leg day, he is an utter beast blasting everything in sight with his radioactive breath, even his teary eyed supporters.
Dumb it very may well be, but Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah is tremendously entertaining, recklessly ambitious and a metric ton of hyperactive fun.
To paraphrase: it’s good to beat the king…