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Review: Terror of Mechagodzilla
by steelcorpfilms (steelcorpfilms)
at October 7th, 2007 (07:59 am)
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Terror of Mechagodzilla
-1975

Reviewer: Indy McDaniel
Rating: 8
Director: Ishiro Honda
Writer: Yukiko Takayama
Cast: Katsuhiko Sasaki
Tomoko Ai
Akihiko Hirata
Katsumasa Uchida
Goro Mutsumi
Run Time: 83 minutes
MPAA Rating: G
Date Reviewed: October 7th, 2007

Plot: Aliens rebuild Mechagodzilla with the help of a demented scientist who has discovered a creature called Titanosaurus, which they intend to team up to defeat Godzilla.

Comments: This was the last movie of the original Godzilla series. Fitting that it was directed by the guy who helmed the original. This one is actually really well done, too, managing to sidestep a fair amount of the silliness that Godzilla had managed to stumble into over the years and actually put out a pretty well constructed plot. The whole series more or less followed a timeline, but this is really one of the few that was a direct sequel of the previous film. All the other 'versus' series could pretty much be taken as stand-alone films, but Terror of Mechagodzilla is really a companion piece to its predecessor, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla. The plots tie into each other, and even Godzilla's actions are directly influenced by the previous encounter he had with Mechagodzilla.

Adding in a new baddie for the movie was another slick move to make, and Titanosaurus is actually pretty cool. He's fairly good at kicking some ass and taking a pounding, too. That's a good thing, considering that the first half of the movie has Godzilla totally absent and Mechagodzilla in a secret base being repaired. So it's up to Titanosaurus to keep the kaiju action going along. Even then, the first half of the movie really has virtually no giant monster action. Instead, it focuses a whole lot on plot and character development, and it actually works really well. It helps to sympathize with the characters and understand where they're coming from, and the time taken to develop them over the first half of the movie really works out.

All that being said, there's still quite a bit of cheese factor to the movie, as well as plot information that makes little, if any, sense. When the monster fighting actually does get going, it doesn't actually get all that cheesy, though. Instead, the fighting is actually pretty brutal and it definitely makes up for the severe lack of monster action during the first half. The cheesiness comes in with the evil aliens trying to take over the world. First off, their grand scheme is to use Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus to destroy Tokyo and then rebuild their own alien city over top of it. Somehow, they figure this'll make them undisputed rulers of Earth. It seems like they didn't really think through it too well to count on Godzilla showing up to wreck their plans, so they come up with a half-assed plan on using Titanosaurus to weaken Big G before sending Mechagodzilla in to finish the job. That doesn't work out either, so then they just have both monster attack Godzilla at the same time.

Also, apparently, the aliens like to kidnap random humans, lock them up in their base and cut out their vocal chordes. I think this might have something to do with the fact that the aliens' true faces look like something outta Planet of the Apes, but aside from that, there's no actual explanation of why they have these prisoners or why they cut out their vocal chordes. The aliens aren't all dumb, though. They've seemed to master the ability to repair wounded and/or dead humans by turning them into either partial or whole cyborgs (it's never really determined which). This fact is shown in detail (in the original Japanese version), in a scene depicting the female lead topless with the alien scientists poking around in her mechanical guts. Gratuitous female nudity aside, it's actually a pretty cool special effect scene, although a bit creepy since the girl's father is standing by watching the procedure on his half-naked daughter.

Overall: A nice end to the original Godzilla series. There's nothing overtly final about it, but there does seem to be a kind of feeling towards the end that this is it, at least for the next 9 years.