Godzilla Vs Biollante (1989)

Godzilla Vs Biollante (1989)

The most terrifying monster of all time is back in his greatest movie ever

Godzilla remerges from the volcano where everyone thought he had been killed and immediately starts to destroy Tokyo, only this time he looks to be more unstoppable than ever. Meanwhile a scientist has been experimenting with samples of Godzilla’s DNA and mixes it in with those of his dead daughter and a rose. This creation grows to enormous size and eventually becomes big enough to do battle with Godzilla when the army fail to stop him.

 

The long-awaited follow up to The Return of Godzilla sees the return of Godzilla to more familiar territory – instead of taking on just the Japanese army he’s also fighting ludicrously thought-of monsters who want to kill him. The formula worked for nearly twenty years back in the 50s, 60s and 70s and after Godzilla was reborn in 1984, there’s only so many Godzilla versus humans films that you can do before you start pairing him off against other giant monsters.

Biollante is by far the biggest ever opponent created for Godzilla but doesn’t do an awful lot although the make-up and special effects for it are interesting to say the least. It’s the most unique of Godzilla’s opponents and to say that it’s a big, killer flower it certainly poses quite a menacing sight with lots of Venus fly-trap-like tentacles. It would have been hard for the effects team to bring something so complex to life in a believable fashion so the question should be why bother in the first place? Why not try something simpler and easier to animate? Godzilla is also given a meaner, more aggressive look in this one – a far cry from the feeble robot-like monster from the previous film or the superhero version from the late 70s. I’d have preferred to have seen Biollante battle Godzilla a little more but obviously the budget wouldn’t extend to too many fights, especially given the complexity of shooting with Biollante’s multiple tentacles.

The military also get another ass-kicking by Godzilla as tanks, helicopters and other vehicles are dispatched by the almighty monster. Toho has managed to work military stock footage in with the miniatures to create good illusions of the monsters fighting toe-to-toe with the armed forces. They’ve come a long way from the days of cheap plastic miniature tanks and cardboard model cities being destroyed. However the sheer number of failed ways of killing Godzilla that the army employ does get a bit ridiculous. They never learn from their mistakes and come up with all manner of weird and wonderful experimental weapons which all obviously fail.

The film has an underlying theme of ‘don’t do genetic engineering’ which wasn’t really explored much and the human plots to which the majority of the film is based are pretty bland. The problem with most of the Godzilla films is that they are basically two giant monsters fighting it out but this is usually towards the end of the film. So the rest of the film needs filling out with weak human plots to pad out the running time and keep the audience waiting for the fights. This one contains plenty of shoot outs between human characters, lots of silly things like fake countries, terrorist plots and government agencies. It’s all nonsense and quite appalling really.

Koichi Sugiyama’s score lacks the passion and likeability that Akira Ifukube’s scores had. The battle scenes aren’t the same without one of Ifukube’s rousing scores to go alongside the carnage. On the positive side it’s quite violent for a Godzilla film as not only the monsters exchange bloody thrusts but a human character gets electrocuted on screen too. It’s also got continuity with The Return of Godzilla as this one picks up straight after the events of that film. It’s something that the original series lacked and something which this later series of Godzilla films has been keen to stress.

 

I’ll give Godzilla Vs Biollante a bit of credit for trying to be a little different but one of the reasons why Godzilla has become so popular is the repetition factor – people like me watch these films knowing what to expect. And when they don’t deliver the requisite monster battles and little miniature cities in abundance, there is outcry. Just like here. It’s too easy to get lost in the mix of plots, characters and continual barrage of long-winded weapons names that when the fights come, it is all irrelevant.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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