I recently ordered this t-shirt from TeePublic, and I gotta say, it reinvigorated some desire to delve back into the cheesy goodness that is the Godzilla franchise. Bonkers as it may be, I always find myself enjoying the theatrics in a way that’s rare from any film franchise.
So, apparently, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is “the worst” of the “Heisei series” (films developed after the rise of the Heisei political era in Japan), which spanned seven films between 1984 and 1995. Conveniently enough, three of the now-five films I’ve seen from the Godzilla franchise as an adult took place during this era. With this insight, I can confirm from my perspective that this is highly debatable, but I can understand the frustration from hardcore Godzilla fanatics.
I’ve seen Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and now this. I’ve also seen the original Godzilla along with Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (wording is important). The conclusion I’ve come to after watching all of these is that they’re all different levels of dumb, but most are pretty fucking dumb. Things like character development, motivation, personal grudges and all that are good and fine, but it’s not something I necessarily expect nor desire from these films. I want to see Godzilla blow shit up or get blown up itself.
Enter Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. Prior to anything, I would like to mention a personal bias in stating that I think SpaceGodzilla looks cooler than any opponent Godzilla has ever faced ever, which may have been a major proponent in my watching this (I’ve also seen portions of this film as a child). With that over with, I’d like to both defend and attack this movie by believing in the priorities I abide by when watching these and simultaneously contradicting them. Got that?
I don’t care about character development in Godzilla movies. This film doesn’t have much—understandable that people find it weak. Frankly, I don’t think the amount of character development here was all that much less from the other films I’ve seen, except for perhaps Against Mechagodzilla. In some twisted way, I feel like every subsequent Godzilla film is almost an extended version of the previous, with the human characters popping up every so often (sometimes recurring) with varied intervals of importance. In that vein, it’s easy to rate these all at 6/10 or similar (which I actually have) because it feels like I’m watching different episodes of the same show. The quality doesn’t really dip nor heighten, perhaps because all I really prioritize is seeing kaiju fights and great practical effects, while guffawing at the cheesy characters and dialogue.
Many of these films are pretty similar. It’s a monster-of-the-week formula that spans individual movies. Whatever they try to incorporate on the side, the bulk of the institution of the Godzilla film consists of battles and practical effects. That’s all I ever really ask for, and they generally deliver, so I’m never put off. This isn’t to say that I don’t care for the human elements, either. If they somehow managed to achieve a Godzilla film that’s both captivating in its effects as it is with its human drama, I may finally find something to grace with a 7/10 or above.
What this all really amounts to is that I didn’t find Vs. SpaceGodzilla to be “the worst.” Its homogeneous nature is like that of any Godzilla film before or after it, at least from the films I’ve seen. It has good special effects for its budget and the practical effects are incredibly charming, and SpaceGodzilla, as I expressed above, looks fucking awesome. It delivered where I wanted it to, and for that, I can’t complain. Sure, the characters are kind of lacking and the story is super cheesy and dumb, but most of these films have similar qualities. The original Godzilla was super grim and serious, which was different; unfortunately, it also made it fairly dull. Was it because I expected more Godzilla? Because I wanted to see more special effects? Hard to say. A thinker’s Godzilla film doesn’t mean it’s worse, but it doesn’t mean it’s better, either.
I had fun with it, as I normally do with Godzilla. It’s a passable monster flick that delves a little more into the action sequences than the personal ventures of humankind. For a more symbolic presence, the original Godzilla will be more appealing, while a more emotional experience comes in the form of Against Mechagodzilla, which is the most recent Godzilla film I’ve seen (not counting Shin Godzilla, which I didn’t count anywhere here because I forgot about it until this very moment). Vs. SpaceGodzilla won’t satisfy any need for deeper connotations of story or character. However, it does show quite a bit of Godzilla… perhaps a little too much. Space Godzilla is still rad, overall.
Final Score: 6/10
The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.
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Thank you for your time. Have a great day.