Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah (2001)
ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃- -
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001): Three ancient guardian beasts awaken to protect Japan against Godzilla. 大怪獣総攻撃 公開日：2001年12月15日 生き残るのは誰だ！ゴジラを倒して半世紀が経とうとした頃、一隻の原子力潜水艦が巨大な生物と遭遇し、消息を絶つ。防衛軍はこれをゴジラであると推察、その出現を警戒する。その頃、日本各地で次々と怪事件が勃発、調査に向かった報道陣は謎の老人に遭遇し、“護国三聖獣”の存在を知らされる。ついにゴジラが日本に上陸。それに呼応するかのように聖獣たちも目を覚ますのであった。
Godzilla Mothra King Ghidrah All Out Attack: Who will survey?! A century has lapsed trying to take Godzilla down, an encounter of a nuclear submarine with a gigantic monster is suppressed in the news. The defense suspect Godzilla and take precautionary measures. All over Japan there are mysterious case one after the other. The press investigates a mysterious old man and learn of the “Three Sacred Guardians.” Finally, Godzilla appears in Japan. The sacred beasts wake up and work together. (Released December 15, 2001)
The prologue of the film acknowledges the events of the first Godzilla film, while inventing its own timeline, explaining that the capital of Japan was moved from Tokyo to Osaka. The film takes place in an alternate universe with advanced technology, explaining that in 1966, Godzilla attacks the first Japanese nuclear plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. After this, a section of Japanese Self Defence Force was dedicated to fight Godzilla, and was called G-Graspers. In 1996, clean plasma energy replaced nuclear energy, however this did not deter Godzilla from attacking.
In 2001, an experimental satellite-based weapon that fires miniature black holes, called the Dimension Tide, opens a wormhole through which a prehistoric dragonfly enters the present and deposits a single egg before exiting through the wormhole. A boy finds the egg and takes it with him when he moves to Tokyo. The egg starts oozing a strange liquid, so the boy throws the egg in the sewer. The egg, actually a mass of hundreds of eggs, splits up and starts growing when exposed to water, hatching into large dragonfly larva called Meganulon that come out of the sewer to feed. They flood a portion of the city and moult on the sides of buildings, becoming adult Meganula.
Meanwhile, the atomic dinosaur Godzilla appears, in search of a source of nuclear energy, despite the edict shutting down all such attractants after his three previous appearances. While Godzilla is fighting the G-Graspers, who are assisted by rebellious scientist Hajime Kudo, the swarm of Meganula are attracted in turn to Godzilla’s energy, and attack him. Most Meganula are killed, but a few drain some of Godzilla’s energy and return to the sewer. With the last of their strength, the Meganula inject Godzilla’s energy into a huge, sleeping larva that is in a giant, pulsating cocoon. It molts and appears from the water as Megaguirus, the queen of the Meganula.
After destroying part of the city with shock waves generated by her beating wings, Megaguirus heads to the waterfront and faces Godzilla. Being territorial, Megaguirus considers the city to be her hunting ground. As they engage in a lengthy battle, she uses her speed to avoid Godzilla’s attacks, but Godzilla eventually uses her speed against her. As she flies toward Godzilla, he lunges forward with his dorsal fins in her path. She flies into the fins, and one of her arms is severed.
During the battle, a special ability of Megaguirus is revealed: Having been mutated by Godzilla’s energy, she can generate a blast similar to his atomic breath. She fires a huge ball of radiation, knocking Godzilla down. He gets back up, and Megaguirus goes in for the kill. She speeds forward with the stinger on her long tail lowered, trying to stab Godzilla between the eyes. In a climactic moment, Godzilla catches the stinger in his mouth. He bites down, crushing the stinger. Megaguirus rears up in pain, and Godzilla takes the chance to finally blast her with his atomic breath. She bursts into flames and Godzilla blasts her a second time and destroys her.
It is revealed that Godzilla was attracted to the energy of a secret nuclear project housed at the Science Institute, in violation of the ban, by Professor Yoshino Yoshizawa. The G-Graspers continue their mission to destroy Godzilla, but with the Dimension Tide falling out of orbit they are unable to get a lock on Godzilla, until the vengeful Major Kiriko Tsujimori pilots a ship called Gryphon towards Godzilla, ejecting only at the last second. The Dimension Tide is able to lock on to the craft and fires just before burning up on reentry; Godzilla vanishes and everyone celebrates. In a postlude, however, Major Tsujimori again enlists Kudo to investigate suspicious seismic activity; then in an after-credits scene, Godzilla’s roar is heard again as an earthquake strikes Tokyo.
GMK is an ancronym for Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah.
Like its predecessors Godzilla Millennium and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, GMK wipes the slate clean and starts a whole new story timeline. Godzilla has not been seen since 1954 when the oxygen destroyer killed him. General Tachibana (Ryudo Uzaki) of the Japanese Self-Defense Force is starting to suspect that Godzilla is back and responsible for the destruction of a submarine off the coast of Guam.
Tachibana’s daughter Yuri (Chiharu Nîyama), with whom he has a strained relationship, works for a Reality TV show called Digital Q. The show specializes in stories on Blair Witch and Bigfoot type legends which contain a lot of made up details to get ratings. That is, until Yuri and her crew stumble upon the real thing. Yuri meets a mysterious old man (Toho kaiju veteran Eisei Amamoto) who explains that the Guardian Monsters of Japan (Mothra, Baragon and King Ghidorah) are re-awakening to defend the homeland from Godzilla. Yuri decides to report the story at any cost, while her father simultaneously tries to destroy Godzilla.
Expectations were very high for GMK as it was the first Godzilla film to be directed by Shusuke Kaneko, who redfined the genre with his Heisei Gamera trilogy. Unfortunately, the film does not live up expectations in some areas. In the Gamera series, Kaneko was often criticized for having too much story and not enough monsters. Sadly, GMK suffers from the exact opposite ailment. The story is full of holes and the character development is nonexistent. The difficult relationship between Tachibana and Yuri is supposed to be dramatic, but the attempt fails miserably, and the resolution is completely cold. The film lacks the necessary quiet moments and plows through the last forty minutes with non-stop monster action. Also lacking is the musical score by Kaneko regular Ko Otani. There are a few good cues (such as the theme when Mothra breaks forth from her cocoon) but most of the score strays a little too deep into John Barry territory, and loses its own identity. The classic Godzilla theme by Akira Ifukube is only used once, but is as powerful as ever.
Still, the fights are staged very well, and contain lots of nods and winks to great kaiju battles of the past fifty years. A daylight stand-off between Baragon and Godzilla is pleasantly reminiscent of the Ishiro Honda’s work in such films as Monster Zero and Destroy All Monsters. The special effects and suit designs in GMK are also some of the best ever, with the final battle between Mothra, Godzilla and King Ghidorah being particularly ambitious.
Is GMK better than the last two Godzilla films? You bet it is. Still, if the expectations hadn’t been so high, it would have been even better.
Cast & Characters
立花泰三：宇崎竜童 / 5歳：春山幹介
ゴジラ / モスラを見上げる男（鹿児島）：吉田瑞穂
キングギドラ / 漁協職員：大橋明
バラゴン / 漁協職員：太田理愛
Director: Shūsuke Kaneko
Producors: Shogo Tomiyama
Writers: Keiichi Hasengawa
Starring: Chiharu Niiyama
Music: Kow Otani
Cinematography: Masahiro Kishimoto
Editing: Isao Tomita