Godzilla: Final Wars 2004 Movie Review

Written by Barney Buckley

Email Address – bbuckley@triad.rr.com


g2004poster

Movie Information 

  • Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
  • Producer: Shogo Tomiyama
  • Japanese Release Date: November 29, 2004 (World Premiere), December 4, 2004, by the Toho Motion Picture Company. Running Time 125 minutes.
  • US Release Date: December 13, 2005, released by Sony Pictures. Running Time 125 Minutes.
  • Taglines: “Earth: Out-numbered, Out-monstered, Out-done.” “The 50-Year History Comes to an End.” “Saraba, Gojira! (Farewell, Godzilla!)”
  • Alternate Titles: Godzilla: Final Wars

Synopsis

Godzilla Final Wars received mixed reviews from fans. It was intended to be a “monster mash” to celebrate Godzilla’s long history, but due to the large cast of monsters, each was only allowed limited screen time. Furthermore, the movie departed from previous films in the series by introducing elements of human-focused action — an addition that was variously praised and condemned. The film makes a number of obvious references to The Matrix, X-Men, and Star Wars, which attracted some criticism from audiences.

Godzilla Final Wars would be a movie that is set apart from all the other movies that Godzilla has starred in. It would make this the final closing of the Godzilla genre to be the most exciting of all. This movie captures the familiarities of most of the Godzilla films in the past. The movie was built on alot of anticipation and hype which is pretty much true, but it lacks alot things where it makes up in action.

Let me start with the scene where the Gotengo runs into Manda. This scene to me was catchy in computer generated imagery. Manda looked like a serpent should look like. They did a nice job on the movements of Manda. The next thing is Anguirus arriving in Shanghai. The negative side to Anguirus is his looks. Angurius seems a little too fat looking. The design of Angurius could have been more detailed. He should have been streamline. Now his movements the rolling ball effect were sweet the way he was bounce around, and no he does not befriend Godzilla. All the monsters are controlled by the aliens called the Xilliens in this movie, except Mothra and Minya.

Zilla is the name of the American Godzilla that is transported down from the alien ship to Sidney, Australia where he does destroy most of the main street in Sidney. This Zilla is more tenacious then its predecessor. This Godzilla looks very much like the Godzilla in 1998. I am sure that they could possibly be the same creature, but are they really the same. First if you notice they have different statistics in a height and probably in mass also. In my opinion I think this is a completely different creature from the one that died on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1998. It may be an off spring of this creature but again that really don’t make too much sense because of the height of the two creatures are to different. The one in Godzilla Final Wars is 90 meters tall and Gino is only 60 meters which is an extreme difference. Anyway they did a nice job on the monster, but when he comes down a second time to battle Godzilla well it is a short fight. He dies quickly.

I will describe the negative and positive points in the rest of the monsters. Rodan, his flying is really cool and swift. He sweeps through the city with his supersonic speed destroying everything. They did a nice job on this monster. Rodan all in all was positive you will like this Rodan it’s true to the original Rodan, but makes brief appearance in the movie. He even attacks Godzilla along with King Caesar and Angurius. Rodan crashes in the earth dying.

King Caesar, the suit was ok his neck was a bit long. The cool thing is his ears pop up like they did in the original Godzilla vs the Cosmic Monster. His martial arts movie art pretty nice too, but he gets a big headache in the end. Ebirah makes an appearance that lasts longer than it should. The super soldiers or the Earth Defense Force take Ebirah for a nice ride they keep shooting at him eventually killing him. The detail of this monster suit was almost perfect sometimes he seems a little blurry, but that could be because of the graininess of the film. The fight scenes were something you have to see. He loses his mandibles. They kick his ass. All through the movie is an all-out bash or clash of all titans. Mothra is the only monster not controlled by the Xilliens other than Minya who is in the movie just to be in it.

Gigan is the mummified monster that is hanging from the ceiling of the building. The Xilliens set him free to wreak havoc on Godzilla. Gigan fights the good fight, but dies by getting his head blown off. The Xilliens later bring him back to battle Mothra. Gigan trashes her ass. Mothra ends up dodging blades that were shooting out of Gigan this is a new weapon of Gigan’s, but the blades make a return trip back to Gigan cutting his head completely off killing him twice. The final monster is Monster X from space. This monster has some pretty cool moves, but is overcome by Godzilla thus turning into Kaiser Ghidorah. Kaiser Ghidorah eventually subdues Godzilla to almost killing him, but with the help of the Gotengo and mutant powers from the soldier aboard Gotengo. Godzilla comes back full force tearing off the heads of Kaiser Ghidorah throwing him up into space. Godzilla blasted him with a special orange and more power atomic breath burning Kaiser Ghidorah to dust.

Now how do I feel about this movie all together? I am little apprehensive about the story line of this movie it’s all action and it moves to quick. It goes from one extreme to another the fight scenes between the monsters are way to short and they are killed off to quick. You take Hedorah the monster is stabbed by Ebirah and both of them are then destroyed by Godzilla. Hedorah personally would have made cool comeback in another Godzilla movie. Gigan as alot of you already know is my favorite enemy of Godzilla. He should have been more sinister or powerful in this movie instead of getting his head lopped off. I must say though the design of this suit is pretty awesome they kick ass on Gigan’s suit and his weapons are pretty unique giving Gigan a new arsenal.

The special effects help this movie alot. The story, and the way it was progressing it was too quick, but I guess it has to be this way to cram all the monsters, and the story into a movie less the hour and half. Definitely it will be worth it to some people to wait for it to come to the states.

Trivia

  • Whereas regular monsters Mothra and King Ghidorah (this time as Kaisâ-Gidorâ) appear once again, this film marks the long-awaited return of Toho Monsters that have not been seen in decades, including Angirasu (last seen in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)), Radon (last seen in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993)), and Gigan (not seen since Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)). Kumonga (Spiga) and Manda were last seen in Destroy All Monsters (1968), and Kamakiras (Gimantis) and Godzilla’s son Minira were last seen in Godzilla’s Revenge (1969). There are also returns from monsters not seen since their first appearances, such as Ebirâ (from Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster (1966), not counting his stock-footage appearance in Godzilla’s Revenge (1969)!), Hedorah (from Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971) ) and King Shisâ (from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)).
  • Director Ryûhei Kitamura and the Tôhô Company hired veteran British music artist Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake, & Palmer) to provide the film’s score, and tracks from popular North American punk-rock groups. Sum 41 and Zebrahead contribute to the film’s soundtrack since those groups were really popular in Japan. (Sum 41′s song “We Are To Blame” will be used, and Zebrahead provides an instrumental rock-metal piece, “Godzilla Vs. Tokyo”) This marks the first time in a Japanese-produced Godzilla film (in its original Japanese version) of popular music artists outside Japan contributing to a Gojira film’s soundtrack.
  • To This 28th Godzilla film marked the final use of Toho’s Big Pool water tank, which was used for the water scenes for all Tôhô special effects-related films since Hawai Middowei daikaikûsen: Taiheiyô no arashi (1960), for which it was constructed. The Big Pool was 88 meters wide and 72 meters long. It was given one final performance when it was last used for this film on September 7th and was demolished on October 13th. Toho’s decision to destroy the pool was due to “progress of special-effects technology such as CG, and a large-scale reconstruction plan of the studio.” This was considered by many to be the end of an era.
  • For the first time ever in a Tôhô-produced Godzilla film, there is an actual location shoot in the USA, mostly in New York City, thanks to Zazou Productions, a Japanese media company based there. However, principal scenes with the policeman and the pimp were shot in Sydney, Australia. Actual NYC sequences were shot at an undisclosed location. Scenes that are supposed to take place in Arizona, however, were shot in Broken Hill, another part of Australia.
  • This is the first time that Mothra was Godzilla’s ally since _Destroy All Monsters (1968)_.
  • Veteran actor Akira Takarada makes his sixth appearance in a Godzilla film, playing UN Secretary General Naotaro Daigo. His first was in the original Godzilla (1954), in which he played Hideto Ogata when he was 19. This is a fitting tribute to the first film from 50 years earlier. He was previously in Gojira vs. Mosura (1992) as Jôji Minamino.
  • Ever since playing Godzilla in Godzilla 2000 (1999), the suits that stuntman Tsutomu Kitagawa wore weighed 100 kilograms, and he compared it to “dragging a tire and giving a piggy-back ride to a fat man while walking.” For this film, however, director Ryûhei Kitamura required greater flexibility out of Godzilla. Thus, the new, slimmed-down Godzilla suit weighs 30 kilograms. Kitagawa compared wearing the new suit to “dragging something light with a child on my back.”
  • On 29 November 2004, on the same day that Godzilla got his highly publicized star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (#2270), this film made its world premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, making this the first time that a Japanese-made Godzilla film made its premiere outside Japan (where the film was released on 4 December 2004).
  • Tôhô continued its practice of casting actors from the original Godzilla series into roles in films for this latest series. For this film, they brought back Akira Takarada, Kenji Sahara, and Kumi Mizuno. In addition, at least four actors from the Heisei Godzilla series appear in this film, and at least one different actor that starred in each of the preceding Millennium Godzilla films makes an appearance in this movie.
  • In one scene, Godzilla takes on Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar at once. These three monsters were allies of Godzilla in the Showa era (1954-1975) of the Godzilla series.
  • The two operatives at the Antarctic Area-G base listen to a record that is playing the battle music from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974).
  • The film makes a reference to Gamera, the giant turtle monster from a competing film series, when the child playing with the monster toys yells “You loser!” at a turtle doll and throws it into the fireplace.
  • When picking the monsters for the film, Kitamura originally had Gorosaurus from King Kong Escapes (1967) and Kiriyu (Mekagojira) from Godzilla against MechaGodzilla (2002) to appear in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).
  • This is the last film in the third movie series (the “Millennium Series”), which started in 1999 (with Godzilla 2000 (1999)). Toho also widely reported that this would be the last Godzilla film for at least a decade (because of the weak box office performances of the previous two films).
  • Executive Producer Shogo Tomiyama decided to extend the film’s production schedule beyond the regular time allowed by Toho for Godzilla films, so that the film will be finished before the general release date of 11 December. As a result, this will be the only Godzilla film (as of 2004) that will not have a sneak preview at the Tokyo International Film Festival, which has shown all Godzilla movies every year since Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), a month before their general releases.
  • The concept of this movie is a mix of elements from the movie _Destroy All Monsters (1968)_, and the games “Godzilla: Monster Of Monsters” and “Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee”. It uses the idea of alien invaders coming to earth with an army of monsters at their disposal, having Godzilla being able to avoid control and fight the army of monsters in various cities and areas across the world comes from “Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee”, and Mothra being his only real ally was used in “Godzilla: Monster Of Monsters”.
  • Some other Tôhô monsters appear via stock footage during the voice over for the film. Those monsters are Varan (from Varan the Unbelievable (1962)), Baragon (from Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)), Gaira (from The War of the Gargantuas (1966)), Gezora (from Yog: Monster from Space (1970)), Titanosaurus (from Mekagojira no gyakushu (1975)), Megaguirus (from Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)), Mechagodzilla (in fake Godzilla form – from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)), and Godzilla Junior (Minira) (from Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)).
  • One of the attendees at the film’s Los Angeles premiere was Patrick Tatopoulos, the creature designer and supervisor for Godzilla (1998). Tatopoulos said that he felt honored that the creature he designed was featured, albeit in a rather inglorious role, in an official Toho Godzilla film.
  • Actress Tomoe Shinohara, who played the girl in the hostel and hospital scenes in “Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidorâ: Daikaijû sôkôgeki” appears in this film portraying herself in the TV talk show scene. She’s identified by a name tag on the table.
  • According to producer Shogo Tomiyama in a “G-Fan” magazine interview, he intended to revive Godzilla Junior for the 50th anniversary film. In the first draft screenplay he and Wataru Mimura wrote, this Godzilla was Godzilla Junior from the Heisei series (which is why everything is on the 100 meter scale again) and Godzilla was imprisoned in the ice at the South Pole in the late 90s. The main action of the film was to have taken place in 2032. When Ryuhei Kitamura and his writer rewrote the script to their liking, this plot device was pretty much removed, making the specifics of the action of the film unknown.
  • Most of Hedorah’s scenes were deleted, and in the final cut the monster only makes a brief cameo appearance. A portion of Hedorah’s deleted scenes can be seen briefly in the closing credits montage.
  • Mick Preston and Darren Dupree Washington (the police offer and the pimp) originally auditioned for each other’s role.
  • Mothra and Gigan begin their battle in front of a fallen Tokyo Tower. In Mothra (1961), Mothra (in her Larva form) destroys this famous landmark to turn herself into her adult form.
  • Destroyer (from “Godzilla vs. Destroyah”) was considered to appear. The significance of his role is unknown, whether or not he’d have been a quick kill like the majority of the other monsters Godzilla fought, or be an equal challenge like Monster X/Kaizer Ghidorah, if his role wasn’t originally going to be of that.
  • Despite being a Japanese film, the child playing with the monster toys refers to Anguirus as “Angilas,” the name given to the monster in the English language dubs of several previous Godzilla films.
  • In Destroy All Monsters (1968), Mothra appears only in her larvae stage, never shown as a fully-grown moth. In this film the opposite is true, with Mothra only appearing as a fully-grown moth, never seen in her larvae stage.
  • Despite being one of Toho’s most popular monsters, Mechagodzilla did not appear in the film, having been the focus of the two immediately preceding films: Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla (2002) and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003).
  • The eyepiece occasionally worn by the Controller of Planet X is a reference to the eyepieces worn by the original X aliens from Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965).
  • Aside from Godzilla Junior appearing in stock footage during the opening credits, none of the original monsters from the “Heisei” Godzilla film series are featured in this movie.
  • As a treat to die-hard Godzilla fans, Zilla, appears in this film. The creature, other than bearing a striking resemblance to the American interpretation of Godzilla, is conceived to directly reference it. This because, according to director Ryûhei Kitamura the 1998 film “has taken the ‘God’ out of Godzilla.” Since the release of the film, Zilla has been accepted as a canonization of the American Godzilla, whereas they are different characters.
  • This is billed as Godzilla’s 50th Anniversary Commemoration Project.
  • This is the last film in the 3rd movie series (the “Millennium Series”), which started in 1999 (with Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (1999)). Toho also widely reported that this would be the last Godzilla film for at least a decade (because of the weak box office performances of the previous two films)
  • Executive Producer Shogo Tomiyama decided to extend the film’s production schedule beyond the regular time allowed by Toho for Godzilla films, so that the film will be finished before the general release date of 11 December. As a result, this will be the only Godzilla film (as of 2004) that will not have a sneak preview at the Tokyo International Film Festival, which has shown all Godzilla movies every year since Gojira VS Kingugidora (1991), a month before their general releases.
  • For the first time ever in a Toho Godzilla film, there is an actual location shoot in America, mostly in New York City (thanks to Zazou Productions, a Japanese media company based in NYC). However, principal scenes (with a policeman and a pimp) are shot in Sydney, Australia (actual NYC sequences were shot at an undisclosed location). Scenes in Arizona were shot in Broken Hill, another part of Australia.
  • Whereas regular monsters Mothra and King Ghidorah (this time as Kaiser-Ghidorah) appear once again, this film marks the long-awaited return of Toho Monsters that have not been seen in decades, including Angilas (last seen in Gojira tai Mekagojira (1974)), Rodan (last seen in Gojira VS Mekagojira (1993)), and Gigan (not seen since Gojira tai Megaro (1973)). Kumonga (Spiga) and Manda were last seen in Kaijû sôshingeki (1968)), and Kamakiras (Gimantis) and Godzilla’s son Minilla were last seen in Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaijû daishingeki (1969). There are also returns from monsters not seen since their first appearances, such as Ebirah (from Gojira-Ebira-Mosura: Nankai no daiketto (1966), not counting his stock-footage appearance in Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru kaijû daishingeki (1969)!), Hedorah (from Gojira tai Hedora (1971)) and King Shisâ (from Gojira tai Mekagojira (1974)).
  • Veteran actor Akira Takarada makes his sixth appearance in a Godzilla film, playing UN Secretary General Naotaro Daigo. His first was in the original Gojira (1954), in which he played Hideto Ogata (he was 19 at the time). This is a fitting tribute to the first film from 50 years earlier. He was previously in Gojira VS Mosura (1992) as Joji Minamino.
  • Ever since playing Godzilla in Gojira ni-sen mireniamu (1999), the suits that stuntman Tsutomu Kitagawa wore weighed 100 kilograms, and he compared it to “dragging a tire and giving a piggy-back ride to a fat man while walking”. For this film, however, director Ryuhei Kitamura required greater flexibility out of Godzilla. Thus, the new, slimmed-down Godzilla suit weighs 30 kilograms. Kitagawa compared wearing the new suit to “dragging something light with a child on my back”.
  • As a treat to die-hard Godzilla fans, the namesake title monster from the much-maligned Hollywood box-office fiasco, Godzilla (1998), makes an appearance in this film as “Jira” (short for Godzilla’s Japanese name “Gojira”), an “assassin monster” engineered by the aliens from Planet X to kill Godzilla. The fight between Godzilla and Jira (in reality the Hollywood Godzilla) takes place in Sydney.
  • In late August,Ryuhei Kitamura announced that Ronald Emmerich’s Godzilla (from Godzilla (1998)) would also be making an appearance.
  • Director Ryuhei Kitamura and the Toho Company have hired the popular American punk rock group Sum 41 to contribute to the film’s soundtrack (their song “We Are To Blame” will be used), as the group was really popular in Japan. This marks the first submission in a Japanese Godzilla film (in its original Japanese version) by a popular American artist.
  • Godzilla is the most popular movie monster of all time. He was at first 164 feet. Then depending on which series you’re watching the 2nd Godzilla is different heights. He’s radioactive, and this gives him many super natural powers. He’s 2 footed, and he’s stared in 23 movies; 22 Japanese, 1 American.

Closing Statements

This is not one of my favorite Godzilla movies and there are several reasons why the one I don’t like the looks of the new Godzilla suit. The entire movie seems rushed because you see the monsters and then you don’t that was a fatal flaw. The good things about the movie is all monsters in the movie and I especially like the way they were redesigned. The ones I didn’t really care for the redesign the have their flaws in my opinion Angilas I like the way Angilas jobs into a ball that is one special weapon that he did not have in the past. His design it was okay but he was too fat was a streamlined enough. Rodan looks good that was known improved however I preferred the Heisei Series of Rodan to me he had a better luck. King Caesar’s look deftly improved I don’t have any problems the suit. Kumonga very nice-looking very colorful however I did not like the approach that used for him he straightened out a cargo which is not representation of the original Kumonga he spit out authentic looking web.

Minya was constantly looking and very childlike. Gimantis very cool looking the complaints there, and Ebirah came and went that quick I really couldn’t tell what his detailed are how he looked because the scene was very opaque. Super soldiers’ stupid idea and leave it at that. The most disappointing part about this movie is one of my favorite characters Hedorah your barely see him in the movies and this is because a lot of his scenes were cut out of the movie. Zilla this is supposed to the same one from New York and I am not positively sure it’s the same one because this Zilla stands and 90 m tall and the one in America only stood 60 m tall unless he got irradiated don’t think it’s same one and the design of this one by can imagine about Ebirah you could not see any real serious detail is really hard to say what he really looks like. Now were now running down the monster list let’s talk about Gigan and Mothra. Mothra I believe the same Mothra from Godzilla: Tokyo SOS and it is very resourceful in this movie she does manage to destroy Gigan. Gigan is perhaps the biggest improvements in design however I am find of the original I love the colors in the design of the original as well so I have particular to both of these designs. However this guy again comes off as a little stupid he gets killed twice. Monster X another big improvement I love this design and the colors and he does kick ass and when he transforms into Kaiser Ghidorah now here’s my problem with this one I don’t think even though there are quadrupeds out there King Ghidorah is supposed to have 2 legs not 4.

This one had for so to me is an oversized Desi-Ghidorah. However I do like the color schemes is still pretty much retains his color gold with a hint of black. He comes close to killing Godzilla however our super soldier somehow connects with Godzilla and gives him super energy. Thus Godzilla tears apart this Kaiser Ghidorah and sends them off into space. Blasting him into nothing. The other this movie with Minya and the kid telling both of them to stop well that’s a child friendly part of the whole movie. This movie is the final chapter to the Godzilla series and I have to say it’s not bad it has a little disappointments to, but at the same time we will be seeing more Godzilla and that will be in 2014 as of May. Get ready for this because Gareth Edwards is going to knock your socks off with this new movie.

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