Okay, first things first. I took one look at the Filmstruck thumbnail, saw some kid, read the description, and thought this would suck. The kid is getting bullied and goes off to dreamland to visit Godzilla’s dopey looking kid and get lessons on dealing with the bully. It sounds and actually plays out, like a GI Joe episode in a lot of ways. And knowing is half the battle! Fortunately for me, I was actually wrong about this film! Maybe it was my low expectations, but this was pretty decent.
We start off with this lonely kid whose mother and father both work long hours. His dad works at the rail yard and his mom looks to work at a “massage” parlor? It’s not quite explained, but I’d wager her late night shift had a happy ending. Maybe she was a waitress. You kind of wonder these things when the movie seems to spend the effort to show her at her job instead of just a muted conversation on the other end of the phone.
Anyway, the kid gets bullied on his way home, and we start the tale. He gets home and pulls out this mass of electronic junk that is his radio and plays for a bit, daydreaming, until he actually does fall asleep and starts to dream about flying to the monster island and meeting Godzilla’s kid, Mini-Me, Minya, whatever. The bland looking spawn of the big guy we had in Son of Godzilla. Eventually, the kid wakes up, and it’s all a big dream. At this point in the film, I was surprisingly pretty engaged. This was well told and as needless as seeing the mom at work was, it actually added a bit of life to this film and fleshed out the kids typical day spent alone. As we continue on, there are news announcements of some criminals that pulled a heist nearby.
Periodically we run into the police looking for them. Turns out they’re hiding in the old warehouse the kids all play in. So these guys definitely figure into the story. In the meantime, the kid visits dreamland again and sees Godzilla spank some other Kaiju, and while he’s distracted, Minilla gets bullied by a cat looking Kaiju. He feebly tries to fight back, but it takes daddy to drive this bully off. Godzilla tries to spend some quality time with his kid to teach him fighting. At this point, the thieves bust in and kidnap the little kid which wakes him up and ends the dream.
We spend most of the rest of the film at the warehouse where the kid falls asleep again and sees little Minilla defeat his bully nemesis which gives him the courage and ability to fight back against not only these thieves, but also the bullies. What’s interesting is this kind of takes on a Home Alone quality. The kid isn’t quite as capable as Macaulay Culkin’s character, and it’s really not that involved of a scene really, but the hint of the later film was present.
This was a quite short film really. It only clocks in at about 70 minutes or so. There was also some reused footage from past movies. For instance, one of the praying mantis battles from Son of Godzilla was shown again. I would also guess that many of the battles in this were retreads of prior films that had introduced a new monster along the way and to either get this out the door or cut costs, maybe both. Either way, this should have been a disappointment with its reused footage, short runtime, and kind of dumb premise, but I found the whole thing to be a pleasant effort. There are definite issues with this film, but the parts focusing on the kid being bullied were what really sets this apart.
My one and only gripe about this film was the ending. The kid ends up befriending the bully and pulling a prank on someone else pretty much becoming the little monster that he just defeated. I think if they had left that part out, it would have improved things. It wouldn’t make the overall movie any better, but that part is the final moment and instead of letting the kid go with his head held high, we end up with him pretty much becoming what he was frightened of and fighting the whole movie. So with that, I give this one a 3/5 score which might be slightly high but considering this turned out much better than I expected, I’ll toss that half a star in for free.