We’re up to the 23rd Godzilla film, and Godzilla fights a crystalline monster that is larger than he. The Heisei era is shaping up to be as enjoyably crazy as the late Showa era. #23: Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.
Mothra got Godzilla cells on her legs, and flew into space. Those cells dropped off and floated freely through the vacuum, where they eventually merged with a semi-living crystalline entity. Then, powered by the nuclear energy in nearby supernovas, the crystalline Godzilla cells mutated into a half crystal, half Godzilla being. It looks like Godzilla, but is taller, thicker, and has two giant crystals growing out of its back. This is SpaceGodzilla, and he is the antagonist monster in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. And to think I was once worried that the Godzilla movies would become too somber. I guess those fears were assuaged once I saw Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
The Godzilla fights are getting longer. The patterns for most Godzilla films – typically only about 90 minutes – is that the first 30 minutes are setup, the second 30 minutes involve the appearance of the G-Man, and his subsequent stomping of something, and the final third is a giant monster fight between Godzilla and the monster of the week. By 1994, the monster fights had become to elaborate that they took about 45 minutes to complete. The fight between Godzilla and SpaceGodzilla is the second longest in the Godzilla series, and will only be outstripped by his battle with Destroyah. Godzilla’s fighting tactic is similar to that of Rocky Balboa: Just let your opponent wail on you until they get tired, then spring back to life and breathe your nuclear breath on him. Rocky could do that, right?
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla also features a retooled version of Mechagodzilla called Moguera. Moguera (an acronym meaning Mobile Operation Godzilla Universal Expert Robot, Aero-Type) is actually a giant robot monster that has been repurposed from a 1957 Toho film called The Mysterians. In this film, Moguera serves the same function that Mechagodzilla did in the last film; i.e. a fancy tank used for fighting giant monsters. Moguera is controlled by a mysterious UN-like organization, and there is an international rainbow coalition – very much like the Thunderbirds – calling the shots. Moguera is pretty cool, but is no Mechagodzilla. The deep-cut Toho fans, however, were probably thrilled to see it again.
Baby Godzilla has now grown into Little Godzilla, which is much taller but way cuter than he was in the last film. This Little Godzilla is still more tolerable than Minilla. I can see how some might hate Little Godzilla; his cuteness stands in contrast to the toughness of SpaceGodzilla. I think he’s fine.
Miki (Meguma Odaka) is also back, and has been drafted into helping with a psychic mind-control antenna that the government wishes to install in Godzilla’s brain so that they may control him and use him as a weapon. Fools! Do they not know that controlling monsters is the purview of evil aliens?
And, if the three monsters weren’t enough, there’s also a cameo from Mothra, who appears to Miki in a psychic vision to warn Earth that SpaceGodzilla is coming. SpaceGodzilla can make giant crystals grow out of the ground, and can really whip G’s ass. Don’t worry. Our favorite monster will prevail, but Godzilla will ultimately be injured in his battle with SpaceGodzilla. His injury is, I think, the reason he will behave so strangely in the following film.
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is fun and crazy, although the battle goes on for perhaps too long. SpaceGodzilla is clearly not the be-all and end-all of Godzilla’s career, so it’s just a matter of time before Godzilla puts the stomp down and moves on. The next film, however, will feature a true challenge for Godzilla, and will prove to be the final film in an era.
Next up: Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995)