After many months, my slow journey through the Godzilla offerings on Filmstruck is nearly over, but there’s a few more to go. And it wouldn’t be a Godzilla marathon if we didn’t watch a movie with Mechagodzilla.
The story in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla feels a bit similar to Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla vs Megalon; some kind of alien is in control of a giant Kaiju and bent on destroying Earth. The big difference is that this Kaiju is a giant robot. Pacific Rim would later reverse this idea and have robots fighting the invading alien monsters, but that is a review for another day.
This starts off with a priestess prophesying that two Kaiju saviors would come along and save the world from a third. Specifically, a black mountain would appear in the sky, and after that, a monster would come to destroy the world. The saviors would appear when the red moon sets and the sun rises in the west. The visions start to come true, but I don’t recall if the black mountain amounted to anything more than a plot point. I feel like there were random things tossed in that, included in a modern film, might be explored a bit more and have more value to the overall story.
Later, an archaeologist and a spelunker come across a mysterious substance. They bring the find to a scientist, who dubs it “space metal.” Looking back at a film that is over forty years old can be difficult, but a lot of things can be forgiven. Lazily calling some unknown metal “space metal” is pretty bad, though. We laugh at modern films calling something unobtanium, but at least there was a legitimate effort at creating a name for the mystery item. Anyway, it turns out that the aliens are trying to get this chunk of metal back for reasons that aren’t clear.
Back in monster land, Godzilla bursts on the scene and goes on the attack. Anguirus steps up to stop the big guy; we haven’t really been shown that Anguirus and Godzilla became chummy in any of the previous entries, but our human cast tell us that they are friends and it’s odd that the two would fight. This battle ends in a bloody jaw-breaking scene and Anguirus has to flee. As the battle rages though, Anguirus knocks off some of Godzilla’s skin, revealing something shiny beneath it.
Godzilla continues his rampage until confronted by a second Godzilla. As they battle, it is revealed that the first is really the robot in disguise. The humans watching the battle call him Mechagodzilla, which is odd because they have never met the aliens who also dubbed him Mechagodzilla and stamped a giant MG on his shell. The battle ends with both Kaiju damaged and forced to retreat.
As the story continues, we learn that the aliens are really ape-like creatures in disguise and that the second defender of Earth is called Seesar, which sounded like seesaw whenever it was spoken. Apparently his real title is King Caesar, which makes a lot more sense. He’s got a more traditional Japanese monster look than some of the other dinosaur and dragon looking creatures we’ve seen so far.
Caesar and Godzilla fight off the big robot baddy in a pretty spectacular battle. The giant mech has weapons everywhere. He’s got eye lasers, rockets that launch from his fingers and toes, and I’m pretty sure there is even a wiener cannon in there somewhere. The thing is a giant tank that can even generate a shield.
Up until now, there has been very little actual blood shown in the Godzilla series. If memory serves, there was a scene of someone getting shot at one point, but no Kaiju has ever really taken damage. They just absorb major hits from tank shells and each other without actually showing anything. That all changes here. We’ve already seen Anguirus get his jaw ripped open, but Godzilla bleeds here, too. He has some atomic healing abilities, however, and goes into rage mode like a wrestler would back in the era of Hulk Hogan.
The story winds up with the Earth safe once again and our one-time destroyer coming to our aid. I still find it pretty amazing that the whole series started off with Godzilla being a symbol for the horrors of the atomic bomb, only for him to become humanity’s savior. I’d also add that I love how visceral the battles are becoming. I’m hoping for some more bloody battles in future installments.