Until last year’s Shin Godzilla, Godzilla: Final Wars was the last Godzilla movie produced by Toho Studios. That seems to have been the plan all along, so they tossed out everything they could from a couple decades of Godzilla movies for a final treat for fans of campy schlock everywhere.
Actually, this may have been the most fun of the various Japanese Godzilla flicks I’ve watched for this week. I won’t say it’s a good movie, but it does an everything-but-the-kitchen sink approach to Godzilla. There’s a short prologue explaining that after Godzilla first appeared in 1954, the nations of the world more or less united to take on giant monsters. That means that although most of the characters and cast are still Japanese, there is a single American on hand in a major heroic role. Yes, Captain Gordon, played my MMA athlete Don Frye, is here to be just as forgettable as the various Japanese human characters on hand for the movie. The only real thing that makes him stand out is with his fake military costume, I thought he looked like a Stalin cosplayer.
But we’re also told there are mutants, humans with unusual powers (mostly they’re just faster and stronger than normal people), and after Godzilla was buried in Antarctica, things settle down. Then one day the other monsters come back, and it looks like a greatest hits catalogue of Godzilla’s old foes, plus his goofy son Manilla. Next aliens show up pretending to be friendly. I know they were pretending because aliens in a Godzilla movie look human and act friendly but then turn out to not be friendly and have a giant monster of their own. That happens here, with the added twist that they can control most of the human mutants and the monsters and they’re looking to harvest the human race for food. And when humans fight back, they release all the monsters.
The only thing for the humans to do is wake up Godzilla and watch him plow through the aliens’ monster pets. And, as a bit of added fun, one of the first and the one to go down fastest is the only monster in the movie not done with the usual practical effects. The CGI isn’t all that good, but Godzilla beats this sucker inside of ninety seconds or so, and even the evil alien leader says he didn’t that this particular “tuna-headed monster” really stood a chance anyway. Who was this particular monster?
With all kinds of weird fights, campy (hopefully intentional) humor, and Godzilla stomping on other monsters for most of the last hour of the movie, with only a minor assist from Mothra, well, I actually dug this one more than the previous three for this week. There are probably better Godzilla movies, but this one worked out just fine for what it was. Eight out of ten flaming moths.