Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all-Out Attack (2001)
By: Trist Jones on March 8, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 5.1, English DD 5.1. English Subtitles. 115 minutes
The Movie
Director: Shusuke Kaneko
Starring: Chiharu Miyama, Ryudo Uzaki, Masahiro Kobayashi, Shiroi Sano, Takashi Nishina
Screenplay: Kei'ichi Hasegawa, Shusuke Kaneko, Masahiro Yokotani
Country: Japan
AKA: Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidorâ: Daikaijû sôkôgeki;
Many people, even seasoned genre enthusiasts, believe that 'good' is never a word associated with a Godzilla movie. This problem tends to stem from the fact that Australia really only got the chance to know Godzilla through the terrible sixties and seventies rubber suit battles that were campier than an old episodes of Batman. Had anyone been exposed to the Godzilla that stemmed from (the severely edited) Godzilla 1985, then this problem would not exist, and fans of the big guy would never need justify themselves to the general masses. Godzilla took a severe turn as a bad arse in the late eighties and never really looked back. Sometimes his role was ambiguous, being the lesser of two evils when the world faced attack from a giant monster or alien invasion, but in 2001 Godzilla truly became the destructive force of nature he was always meant to be.

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack was an out of continuity monster mash that put an interesting new spin on four of the G-World's most well known monsters. Godzilla returns nastier than ever (signified this time by the lack of pupils in his eyes), and the Japanese government is at a total loss as to how to stop him. Weapons aren't affecting him and no one seems to know why, except for a Pacific War veteran who believes that Godzilla, while being a result of Nuclear war, is also the amalgamation of vengeful souls that died in the Pacific War. Interesting little spin. Initially it's kind of hard to swallow, given the amount of disbelief we're already suspending in these films. So in essence, because he's a spiritual force now, man-made weapons are useless. However, the old man decides to awaken three elemental Guardian Beasts to combat the big guy. Enter King Ghidorah, Mothra and Baragon.

I've been a big fan of Godzilla movies since I was exposed to (what was then) the surprisingly brutal Godzilla 1985, and for the most part, these films have always managed to balance seriousness and ridiculousness that allowed these films to work. But Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack put me on the fence for a little while. There was more wanton destruction than any other that came before it, and the monster effects, for the most part, were great. It was the terrible little bits and pieces that involved humans that kept swaying my balance. It's kind of like the recent Star Wars movies, Attack of the Clones would have been completely awesome if it weren't for those terrible bits with Anakin and Padme. I found myself constantly feeling the same inner disgust at the main woman in All-Out Attack. But then something outrageous would happen and all would be very quickly forgiven. There's a great little sequence where Godzilla passes a woman and her young children who are trapped in their apartment block, praying that they'll be spared. Godzilla passes them, and it looks as though they're in the clear, but then the big guy comes back and deliberately smashes their apartment with his tail. It was so needlessly callous and did nothing at all for the progression of the film, but I swear I went back and watched that moment a few times, laughing histerically and shocked by how decidedly nasty this little scene was, before continuing on with the film.

There are a number of other very cold-hearted moments that are played out so normally, you really have to wonder what the writer or director were thinking when they wrote it. There's a scene where a group of teenagers decide it'd be hilarious to put a dog in a box and drown it in a lake. It's a really bizarre thing to watch, and it's made even more so when one of the Guardian Beasts rises from the lake and the old man who summons it sets it upon the teens. Oh, and anyone who hates Baragon is in for a treat. He gets his arse well and truly served to him by Godzilla in a massive and hilarious battle where the big guy uses just about every dirty fighting move in the book before pinning him up against a cliff face and blasting him to nothing with the signature heat blast. Aside from the final conflict between the four, the other monster fights aren't quite as entertaining as the Baragon fight (think about it, Mothra's never been a very scary adversary).
The transfer is perfect, and everything looks fantastic. I'm not quite sure how they get away with it, but even the computer generated effects blend seamlessly with the big rubber monster suits. The film is presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen and looks amazing up on a big, widescreen television. These big monsters need big TV's! Surprisingly too, this film makes it through uncut, as most Godzilla movies lose a few bits here and there once they leave Japan.
You get a 5.1 Japanese track and a dubbed 5.1 English track. It's better to watch the film with the Japanese language track, because the dubbing is horrendous, but the problem with this is that the subtitles are actually 'dubtitles', meaning that they're simply the subtitles for the dubbed version, and not exact translations of what's being said in Japanese. However, hook up the surround and turn it up loud and you're in for a real treat! You'll probably never hear more people screaming, things being obliterated or deafening monsters than you will in this.
Extra Features
Here's the biggest problem with the DVD. Everything is fine until you realise that there are no extras whatsoever, outside of a couple of Godzilla trailers. Still, the only release this film has seen with any extras has been the Japanese 3 disc set, but there are no English subtitle options, so it's really only worth getting if you can understand Japanese.
The Verdict
In spite of the lack of extras and the sappy human moments that attempt to progress the story, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters all-Out Attack is a balls-out bit of fun. If Godzilla were the bad guy in more of his films then they probably wouldn't have had to kill him off on his 50th anniversary, because he truly is an awesome force to be reckoned with in this one. Definitely worth a look into, and just remember, if you find yourself thinking during some moments how truly terrible the film is, something is guaranteed to happen in the next scene to make you forgive and forget immediately.
Movie Score
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