With a new Godzilla movie coming out May 16th, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have decided to celebrate (or capitalize, depending on your perspective) by issuing The Toho Godzilla Collection, which presents eight of the prior eleven Godzilla films on four two-disc double feature Blu-rays, including this double shot of 1993’s Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II and 1994’s Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla. But while it has these movies looking better than they have in years, they’re not exactly the best Godzilla movies.
In Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II — which isn’t a sequel to 1974’s Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla or 1975’s Terror Of Mechagodzilla, since this series was reset in 1984 with The Return Of Godzilla (a.k.a. 1985’s Godzilla 1985) — Godzilla’s fight with Rodan prompts the Japanese to build a giant, Godzilla-looking robot out of parts they salvaged from Mecha King Ghidorah, who appeared in 1991’s Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah. Which doesn’t piss Godzilla off nearly as much as it does that some scientists have kidnapped his son, Robert Godzilla, Jr.
Then, in Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, the Japanese try to take control of Godzilla by implanting a chip in his brain. (Clearly they never saw the “Dial M For Murder” episode of Archer). But when a similarly gigantic lizard from another planet comes to Earth, and starts to muck up the place after being given the dismissive name “Space Godzilla” instead of something cool like “Chimerius” or “Degas,” guess who has to clean up his mess?
In the pantheon of Godzilla movies, neither Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II nor Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla are as good as the original movie, 1954’s Gojira, or the 1955 sequel Godzilla Raids Again. Or, for that matter, either of the aforementioned movies where Godzilla danced the dance with his mechanical doppelganger.
First off, the producers made the mistake of filming both Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II and Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla on “Bring Your Kid To Work Day.” And while yes, Little Godzilla isn’t as annoyingly adorable as Minilla from 1967’s Son Of Godzilla, 1968’s Destroy All Monsters, 1969’s All Monsters Attack, 1972’s Godzilla Vs. Gigan, or 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, he still brings an unwelcome bit of cuteness that undermines what could’ve been a serious (relatively speaking) sci-fi movie.
Plus, during Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II, they oddly refer to Rodan as “Radon” for some reason, which is like referring to Gojira as…oh, right.
It also doesn’t help that the plot of Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II is a bit convoluted. It’s kind of like how 2007’s Spider-Man 3 has too many bad guys. Much as I love Rodan — yeah, Rodan! — he’s kind of unnecessary here. As is Godzilla’s little brat.
As for Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, besides calling the guy “SpaceGodzilla,” and having him basically be Godzilla with a bunch of crystals stuck in his shoulders and head, the story that sets up the action is rather dull (even if they do result in some epic battles). Plus, by putting a drill on Mechagodzilla’sa face, it makes him look like a giant robot chicken. Like anyone would want to see that.
It also doesn’t help that while Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II and Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla are a bit goofy, like all Godzilla movies, they’re not nearly as outlandish, and thus not as much fun, as the ones from the ’60s and ’70s. Similarly, while the special effects are decidedly better than the ’70s entries, they’re not as good as other movies from the ’90s. Heck, they’re not even as good as other movies from the ’70s, such as the Star Wars films. Which is why neither of these movies have the same goofy, low-budget charm as such classics as 1971’s Godzilla Vs. Hedorah (a.k.a. Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster).
Still, these aren’t the worst Godzilla movies ever made. At the very least, these don’t have Godzilla talking. Or Matthew Broderick. Which is why, despite all their problems, serious Gojira fans should check them out, at least once.
Though if you are into either or both films, the Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla Blu-ray is a great way to see them. For starters, the picture on both has been digitally remastered, and is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. Sure, they don’t look as good here as the new movie will when it comes out on Blu-ray, or even as good as Criterion’s Gojira Blu-ray (relatively speaking), but they do look better than on their respective DVDs.
Similarly, the sound has also been cleaned up, and presents the original Japanese audio on both in 5.1 surround sound on both, as is the English dub on Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, while the English track on Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II is stereo.
Oh, and for those keeping score at home, this is the Japanese version of Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla, which has the scene at the end of Godzilla walking off in the water while some horrible Japanese ballad plays over the credits.
As for the extras, the Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla Blu-ray only has codes for digital copies of the films, as well as the original teaser and theatrical trailers for these movies. Which may not seem like much, but it’s more than was on the Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla DVD, which was paired with 1995’s Godzilla Vs. Destroyah (another Godzilla film in this reissue series) and had no extras, while the Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II DVD only had trailers for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. and some other movies in which there were no people walking around in rubber suits. Like anyone would want to see that, either.
In fact, now that I think about it, they should’ve included a trailer for the new Godzilla movie as well. Which would never happen — since it’s not a Sony movie — but a man can dream, can’t he?
Still, while the Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II/Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla Blu-ray is the best way to see and hear these movies, having them look and sound good (relatively speaking) doesn’t make up for the fact that these are not the best movies Godzilla ever made. Which is what happens when you bring your cute kid to work.
To read my review of the Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla Vs. Mothra Blu-ray, click here.
To read my review of the Godzilla Vs. Destroyah/Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus Blu-ray, click here.
To read my review of the Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S./Godzilla: Final Wars Blu-ray, click here starting Thursday May 8th.