Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Synopsis of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Godzilla has returned, for the first time since 1954. Admiral Taizô Tachibana remembers first-hand his first attack, and tries to prepare the Japan Self-Defense Force for his return. Meanwhile, his daughter tries to capture the monster’s rampage on video as a reporter. However, Godzilla is more vicious than ever. Only the legendary Guardian Monsters (Mothra, Baragon and King Ghidora) stand between him and the destruction of Japan … they, and a few brave human beings.
movie review of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is a very different entry in the Godzilla franchise. Not bad, but different. For example, unlike most of the other movies, Godzilla does not defend Japan against another monster; Godzilla is the threat in this movie, causing enormous damage, intentionally causing death and destruction on a massive scale. Also, there is a mystical element to the movie. It is suggested that Godzilla is not only a unstoppable force of nature. More than that, he is driven by the spirits of those who died during World War II. Accordingly, three legendary “guardian monsters” are awoken prematurely to deal with the threat–Baragon, Mothra and King Ghidorah. For the first time, King Ghidorah is cast in a heroic role. He is the last of the three guardian monsters to attempt to stand against Godzilla’s rampage.
In addition to the three guardian monsters, there’s a small cast of humans fighting as well. Primarily it’s Admiral Tachinaba, who lost his parents during the original 1954 attack by Godzilla. He is one of the few in the military who has been on the lookout for Godzilla’s return. Another central character is his daughter, Yuri, who works for a small cable channel, “the bargain basement.” She typically makes schlocky X-files style “documentaries.” Here she is actually critical to the discovery of the “guardian monsters.” She risks her life to covering the story. In the process she brings some reconciliation to her relationship with her father as well.
In all, I have to admit that I enjoyed Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. I recommend it for fans of the Godzilla movies. I rate it 3 stars out of 5.
Editorial review of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, courtesy of Amazon.com
This 2001 Godzilla feature from Japan’s Toho Studios, released as part of the mighty monster’s 50th anniversary, is a visually impressive and action-packed entry in the long-running franchise, but also one with a fast and loose re-interpretation of its history that may displease some stalwart fans. Writer-director Shusuke Kaneko (who previously revitalized the Gamera series) erases everything that occurred after 1954’s Godzilla and re-imagines the beast as a mythical creature harboring the souls of the Japanese victims of World War II; its attack is challenged by three “Guardian Monsters”: Mothra, perennial villain King Ghidorah (here reinvented as hero) and B-list player Baragon (from Frankenstein Challenges the World).
The retooling, while imaginative, is supported by spectacular special effects, but the monsters’ brawls (a core reason for enjoying these films) seem abbreviated, and Kaneko’s script experiences awkward seismic shifts from comedy to grim drama that may befuddle longtime G-fans. Columbia-Tri-Star’s DVD is widescreen and offers Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and a Japanese language track (with English subtitles) that should please viewers with an aversion to dubbing. Trailers for other Sony/Columbia sci-fi titles like the American Godzilla feature are also included. —Paul Gaita
Movie quotes from Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
[Yuri tries to convince her boss on doing a story about the possible return of Godzilla]
Yuri: You don’t sound interested.
Kadokura: …Godzilla is passe.
[recalling his encounter as a child with Godzilla in 1954]
Adm. Tachinaba: The sky was blood red and filled with smoke. And through it a devil appeared, its face was twisted with rage and hatred. When it was over my parents were gone. I will never forget the wretched cries of the dead …
Store Manager: [into bullhorn] : Attention, Godzilla is approaching. Everyone evacuate this store at once.
Woman Shopper: Godzilla — who cares.
[Baragon is approaching in the distance]
Husband: It’s the red Godzilla.
Wife: He may be frightening, but he’s cute.
Husband: Quick, take a picture before we run.
Yuri: The 1000 Year Dragon”… King Ghidorah.
Yuri: Father … don’t give up.
[Yuri is saluting her father who has just defeated Godzilla]
Adm. Tachinaba: Yuri — stop it. You’re embarrassing me. Don’t salute me; instead salute my comrades … and the guardian monsters.
Trivia for Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack is the first film where King Ghidorah is a “hero” character; also the first film where King Ghidorah is actually smaller than Godzilla.
- Director Shusuke Kaneko cast Hideyo Amamoto as the prophet Isayama because of his guest appearance in the final episode (#28) of the TV series “Urutora Q” (1965), which Kaneko wanted to do a sequel to since the ‘80s.
- The classic Toho monsters Anguirus and Varan were originally considered by writer/director Shusuke Kaneko besides Baragon, but Toho asked Kaneko to replace the two with King Ghidorah and Mothra because Anguirus and Varan were not considered marketable (Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon are among the most popular of the Toho monsters next to Godzilla). However, before this change, concept maquettes of Anguirus and Varan as they would’ve appeared in this film, were made by the film’s monster designer, Fuyuki Shinada.
- In addition to having the monsters Anguirus and Varan (instead of King Ghidorah and Mothra), the original story for the film featured rather outlandish military hardware, including batallions of Maser Tanks and a new version of the super-submarine Atragon (from Atragon (1963)).
- Originally scheduled for a March 2002 release, upon the request of director Shusuke Kaneko, Toho pushed it ahead for the usual release date for Godzilla films (December of 2001) because March already belongs to their Doraemon anime films (According to Toho, they take a seasonal formula for their films: Spring is for Doraemon, Summer is for Pokemon, and Winter is for Godzilla, so they didn’t want any schedule conflict with their films).
- During the scene where Godzilla first appears rising from Yaizu Harbor in Shizuoka, three people in a nearby office witness the incident (before Godzilla’s thundering roar shatters glass on the office windows). Next to one of the three people, the camera focuses on a black and white poster of an old ship, the Lucky Dragon, which was the real life Japanese fishing boat that was contaminated by radioactivity in mid-1954. That incident became a direct inspiration for the original Godzilla (1954).
- Cameo: [Mizuho Yoshida] The pink-shirted young man (wearing a black baseball cap) standing behind the twin teenage girls in Yokohama when Mothra flies over the area. Yoshida is also the stuntman playing Godzilla.
- Cameo: [’Rie ‘ta’] The blonde woman in the Yaizu Harbor office who witnesses Godzilla rising out of the harbor (See also Akira Ohashi). ‘ta is also the stuntwoman playing Baragon.
- Cameo: [Akira Ohashi] The thin, short-haired man in the Yaizu Harbor office who witnesses Godzilla rising out of the harbor (See also ‘Rie ‘ta’). Ohashi is also the stuntman playing King Ghidorah.
- The submersible “Satsuma” is named after actor Kenpachiro Satsuma, who stared as Godzilla in seven films (from 1984 to 1995).
- Despite fan rumors, director Shusuke Kaneko did not make a cameo in this film (he is said to hate doing cameos).
- Some of the miniature city sets from this film were used in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill – Volume One (2003). They were supplied for him by art director Toshio Miike.
- This was the first film since Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) to portray Godzilla as truly evil. Director Shusuke Kaneko preferred the original “evil” Godzilla for his film, and comes up with an unusual motivation (Godzilla, a monster brought to life by nuclear weapons, is a “specter of war”).
- Only Godzilla film of the six-film “Millennium” series (1999-2004) in which stuntman Tsutomu Kitagawa does not play Godzilla. Instead Godzilla is played by another stuntman, Mizuho Yoshida (best known as the title creature from the Zeiram movies), mostly for his height (Godzilla was to be the tallest monster in the movie).
- Disappointed that Varan, one of his favorite monsters, was scrapped from the project, monster designer Fuyuki Shinada compromised by putting Varan’s facial features on King Ghidorah’s three heads.
- In the opening scene, Admiral Tachibana lectures his troops on the incident from Godzilla (1954), and notes that “a monster similar to Godzilla ravaged New York at the end of the last century.” This was a reference (and jab) to Godzilla (1998), the oft-disparaged Hollywood remake. Audiences in Japan both laughed and cheered at this scene.
- As a departure from the established Mothra mythos, the diminutive and singing Shobijin Twins (aka Cosmos Twins) seem to be absent. In fact, the twins Ai Maeda and Aki Maeda make a small cameo as two identically-dressed twins, seen during the scene where Mothra flies over Yokohama. Their roles are not related to Mothra in the movie, but that bit is a clear nod to the classic Shobijin.
- Actor Hideyo Amamoto’s last film.
- Cameo: [Ai Maeda] in the scene when Mothra appears in Tokyo, we can see the twins sisters, who are in fact Ai Maeda, who plays Ayana in Gamera 3: revenge of iris (also directed by Shusuke Kaneko). Her sister, Aki Maeda is also in Gamera 3, she plays Ayana in the opening scene, which takes places in 1995, she’s credited as “young Ayana”.
- Cameo: [Takehiro Murata] Jet fighter pilot. Murata has had roles in numerous Godzilla films, including the lead role in Godzilla 2000 (1999).
- The casting of Yukijirô Hotaru in a cameo as the suicidal man who discovers Ghidorah is a nod to his character of the beleaguered Inspector Osaka in all three of director Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera films.