Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Eliminators (1986)

Two scientists create a time machine and test it out on a Mandroid (part man, part android...all grandson of a tobacco tycoon RJ Reynolds). When their machine proves to be a success, the murderous scientist has no more use for the Mandroid. The other scientist is friends with the cyborg and refuses to dismantle him. When the scientist is killed for his act of defiance, the Mandroid escapes.

Legs? Where we're going, I won't need legs.

He finds a friend of the now-dead scientist buddy who is working on a little scouting robot that can turn into light and bounce around.

Yes, the scientist is Tasha Yar.

And this little ball of light is far less annoying than you would probably guess.

They find an Indiana Jones knock-off who will guide them through the swamps of South America to find the murderous scientist.

Clearly, he's far too manly for sleeves.
Then, they run across a Ninja in the jungles along the way (like you do).

South America: Come for the cocaine and cartels...stay for the Ninja!

After this merry band of 80s tropes has been gathered, the only thing left to do is defeat the murderous scientist who plans to travel back in time and rule the Roman Empire.

Obviously, he plans to rely on his superior technology, NOT his situational awareness.

Along with the hilariously strange awesomeness of teaming up Tasha Yar, her robot Orco, a cyborg who sometimes rides around with a tank as his legs, an Indiana Jones knock-off adventurer, and a Ninja, this film does a pretty damn good job of keeping things moving. Don't get me wrong, the plot is basically nothing but an excuse to get this group together to team up against this guy:

But there are definitely worse plots. And for an 80s B-movie, this one keeps things rolling.

Rolling. See what I did there?

Recommended for those who enjoy a cheesy 80s sci-fi flick. Not nearly groan-worthy enough to be outright hilarious, but a good representative of the species.

Friday, April 1, 2016

B-Book E-Book Double Feature: Vol. 1

It's finally happened. My love of B-movies has spilled over from this blog and into an e-book.

These two novella-length stories were born from the complete lack of B-movie level stories in the e-book marketplace. I mean, what's a guy got to do to see some Public Domain characters duke it out cross-genre style! Where's the flashy dialogue, B-movie tropes, and hilariously cheesy stories told in the fashion of the so-bad-they're-good movies that I enjoy so much? (Answer: in this book!)

Here's the description straight from the Amazon page:

Do you fondly recall watching movies made with a tiny amount of money and in about a week's time? Have you ever wished for the days when you could find those direct-to-video releases featuring your favorite stars before they were stars? Is your idea of fun gathering your friends together and showing them the strangest movie you can just to watch the look on their faces?

If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions, then this B-Book E-Book is for you!

Within these (electronic) pages, you'll find:

*Two complete stories told in the style of films you (might) know and (probably don't) love! 
*Inexplicable shifts in tone!
*Plot-holes! ("Isn't that just bad writing?" you ask. NO! It's purposeful homage!!)
*Public Domain Characters! (Because copyright is stupid and broken!)
*Gratuitous gore and nudity! (In word-form, of course. So it's still safe for the kids!!)

This double-feature um...features? two separate novella-length stories:

Space Nebula Destroyer Alcolon - A space opera following the adventures and exploits of the crew of the starboat Alcolon as they are captured by the terrible, reptilian Weems. The crew must combine their cunning and bravery to form - an escape! Told in the style of Message from Space, Starcrash, and Battle Beyond the Stars.

Frankenstein's Re-Animator! - This Gothic horror story brings Mary Shelley's creature and creator together with a mummy, zombies, and even Hitler! When Hitler wants Frankenstein to create an undead army, only one man can stop him: Frankenstein! Told in the style of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Hammer Horror Films, and Plan 9 From Outer Space.

So, if you love the kinds of movies that I tend to review on this blog, if you like a bit of light-hearted reading, and if you are just curious about what a B-movie in story-form would look like, then THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!!

Buy now at Amazon  or check out a preview below...

Friday, February 12, 2016

Millennium Godzilla Era (1999-2004)

This final entry in the series/remembrance of my late friend, Zachary Hill, examines the last complete era of Godzilla films. The previous entries have been divided differently from the established criteria of naming them after Emperors (Showa and Heisei), and instead categorizes them by common characteristics and production cycles (Early, Middle, and Late). The Millennium Era matches with established norms for the last six Godzilla films.

This era is characterized by re-starts, re-boots, and ret-cons. Only two of the films in this series are connected to each other. 

#23 Godzilla 2000 (1999) *****

The last complete era of Godzilla films (as of the time of this writing, at least) starts off with action from the get-go. In a reaction to the American Godzilla film that Toho rightly saw as a disaster that contained neither the spirit of the character nor the basic elements that make a Godzilla film a Godzilla film, they ramped-up production and created one of their best Godzilla films.

Godzilla 2000 begins with a scientist and his daughter, along with a photographer, attempting to predict Godzilla's next appearance. It's unclear whether this is the Godzilla that matured at the end of the Late Godzilla Era, or if it is another re-boot that only connects to the original Godzilla film (1954).

Godzilla's radically different appearance doesn't help us figure it out either.

When he does show up (and it doesn't take long), the head of a corporation/Minister of the Interior is busy raising a meteor from the bottom of the ocean. This Minister wishes to destroy Godzilla while the scientist sees the creature as an opportunity to increase scientific knowledge. This duality of interests (to destroy/to study) reaches back all the way to the original and remains an important element of any successful, serious Godzilla film.

As the Minister enacts his plan to destroy Godzilla, he brings in the army with their highly specialized weapons. One of which, the General promises, will "go through Godzilla like crap through a goose."

A line from Patton, but no less hilarious because of it.

Turns out, the Minister's asteroid is a space creature that absorbs the DNA structure of other living creatures, and this one settles on copying Godzilla. But at first, it's just a larger Flight of the Navigator ship.

Then, it evolves (in the style of Hedorah) into a tentacled alien creature.

Eventually, it turns into an unnamed, but cool looking creature that tries to eat Godzilla.

Spoilers: this is ultimately a bad plan.

This first entry in the Millennium Godzilla is tightly-paced. The human story is interesting as the "little-guy" scientist works with his daughter against the "big-guy" Minister who has endless resources at his disposal. The Giant Monster action is entertaining, with a foe that actually seems to go toe-to-toe with Godzilla until its ultimate defeat. That foe brings an aspect of the aliens vs. Godzilla theme that was prevalent in the Middle Godzilla Era, giving Godzilla the chance to be both destructive force and the defender of Earth. There are even a few funny lines so the film doesn't take itself too seriously throughout. Every element of a good Godzilla film can be found here. Highly recommended.

#24 Godzilla vs. Megaguiras (2000) ***

This Godzilla film makes the interesting choice to begin by ret-conning Godzilla's original appearance in 1954 (and at least one other in 1966) with images of the newer design that debuted in Godzilla 2000 (yet this film isn't connected to that one since no one mentions Godzilla fighting off an alien creature).

The idea was that this iteration of Godzilla had it out for nuclear energy. To avoid Godzilla's wrath and make sure he never returns to destroy again, Japanese scientists develop a new source of power and an Anti-Godzilla Task Force. This Task Force (called G-Graspers because this is a Godzilla movie) develops a miniature black-hole that will capture Godzilla and keep him prisoner for eternity.

Godzilla movies are basically written by throwing darts at a "plot dart board."

Unfortunately, the black-hole weapon swallows a bug (just like Marlon Brando in the Apocalypse Now deleted scenes) and that bug is mutated (eventually) into Megaguirus.

Not completely unlike Battra in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)

Along with the crazy Godzilla science-stuff, there are a lot of elements from previous movies shoe-horned in here. Yet another Space-X type flying vehicle to combat Godzilla (this time called the Griffon). A member of G-Grasper has a personal vendetta against Godzilla for killing a friend. Godzilla as the force of destruction that ends up saving humanity. A creature with a few forms before the final Giant Monster (like Hedorah), and one acts a lot like the Destroyah creatures. The best throw-back though, is the "wrestling move" that Godzilla pulls on Megaguirus.

Sure, you could argue that in such a long-running series, it's difficult not to start cannibalizing the prior films in the series. Thankfully, this movie doesn't turn that cannibalism into a bad film, necessarily. It's just not particularly good either. The human story isn't interesting, even with the inclusion of a strong female lead and a kooky inventor (just like the one in Monster Zero!). And while the Giant Monster fights are engaging, they take place really deep into the film. This one ends up as a mediocre entry, but if you must watch it, be sure to drink for the first hour. That'll make the last 45 minutes far more enjoyable for having done something more useful leading up to it than actually watching the movie.

#25 Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) *****

Not only does this entry sport the longest title of any film in the series, it's also one of the best. Yet again, the film ignores all previous Godzilla movies except for the original Godzilla (1954). The basic premise here is simple. Godzilla is coming back, and Japan needs some protection. That's where the Guardian Monsters (Baragon, Mothra, and King Ghidorah) come in.

After they have a few scenes where the Guardians kill or terrorize some misbehaving kids, people start mistaking Baragon for Godzilla because they've only seen one Giant Monster prior. Then, Godzilla shows up...

And he is terrifying...

This Godzilla has been created by nuclear experimentation, but he also embodies the souls of Japanese soldiers who fought in WWII because the nation has moved on and forgotten the sacrifices they made. If nothing else, All-Out Monster Attack should be given credit for not shying away from the roots of Godzilla's origins.

In addition to the serious tone, some of the best Giant Monster fights of the series can be found in this film. The first of which is fast and brutal, showing that Godzilla is a beast to be reckoned with, even against Guardian Monster Baragon.

Then, the other Guardian Monsters are put in their place. Godzilla is the true King of Monsters in this movie. And with each encounter, the movie further solidifies itself as a sight to behold for fans of Giant Monster fights.

Sure, the human story is lackluster and mostly here as the glue to hold the Giant Monster battles together, but it all works. On top of that, the pacing moves quickly from one plot point to the next. Ultimately, Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All-Out Attack made Godzilla a formidable foe to be feared, not just for the destruction he could wreak on civilization, but also for what he represented. He's more than a force of nature; the Godzilla of this film symbolizes Japan's past and the nuclear science that created him both wrapped into one. With the addition of the Guardian Monsters (one of which has been traditionally a "bad-guy") this film creates something from what has come before, yet adds an entertaining film to the series with a few thought-provoking elements for good measure. Highly recommended.

#26 Godzilla against MechaGodzilla (2002) ***

Yet again, this film only connects to the original Godzilla (1954), but also references two non-Godzilla Toho films (1961's Mothra and 1966's War of the Gargantuas). Essentially, this is both the fourth film and fourth re-boot in this Millennium Godzilla Era.

Another Godzilla rampages through Japan in 1999. That "another" part is important because the government/scientists develop a plan to use the first Godzilla's skeleton to build a bio-mechanical MechaGodzilla. Meanwhile, a Mazer operator who screwed up and got her buddies killed trains to join the team piloting MechaGodzilla. Unfortunately, when they fire up MechaGodzilla, the skeleton inside hears Godzilla's roars and "awakens." MechaGodzilla rampages, but after a few adjustments, he's an effective weapon again.

The appeal of this film is the anime-inspired Giant Monster action. There's a sweet new MechaGodzilla.

And while it's nice to see this MechaGodzilla tearing up some miniatures like the original did, Godzilla gets in on the action too.

The human story here, about the Mazer operator turned MechaGodzilla pilot, tries to be emotionally weighty but falls flat. Godzilla against MechaGodzilla is not a great entry in the series, but it avoids being terrible with decent special effects and some good Giant Monster fighting.

#27 Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) ***1/2

This movie is a direct sequel to Godzilla against MechaGodzilla and picks up immediately after. MechaGodzilla is in need of repairs and a pair of miniature twins from the Mothra movie reveal that Godzilla keeps coming back to destroy Japan because the old Godzilla's bones were used in the MechaGodzilla. If those bones are returned to the sea, Mothra will be Japan's protector. Of course, the government/scientists don't agree to this and Godzilla returns.

The human story of this entry is centered around the pilots and ground crew piloting and working on MechaGodzilla, one of which was visited by the miniature twins and struggles with what they've revealed. It's an attempt to give a "ground's eye view" of these Giant Monsters, but with unrelatable anime-looking stars, it all just feels like the CW's version of a Godzilla cast.

Much angst. So conflict.

Much like it predecessor, this Godzilla movie isn't great. Sure, it's better than Godzilla against MechaGodzilla because of the weirdness of including the miniature twins and Mothra, along with the fact that it's about 75% Giant Monsters fighting. But even with that, it's still not quite enough to be great.

Even though it's only a good, not great, Godzilla movie, there are a few redeeming scenes. Like when Godzilla tail-sweeps MechGodzilla and then blasts it as it falls forward.

#28 Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) ****1/2 
As Toho wound-down the Millennium Godzilla Era in Godzilla's 50th anniversary year, they put together a "reunion" film of sorts. Almost all of Toho's monsters make an appearance (they even include the Non-Zilla from the American Godzilla film), and the plot is reminiscent of Godzilla's bygone times. Essentially, this is a "greatest hits" movie for the fans. And as silly as it is, with some extraneous elements (Matrix-style fighting? Check. Running on the side of a wall? Check.), it's a fun movie that works as what it is meant to be: a throwback, fan-service movie.

Giant Monsters begin to appear in cities all over the world. The Earth Defense Force is dispatched to take them down, but they are "beamed away." Aliens, of course. They've come to explain that a planet is going to hit Earth and destroy it unless Earth blows that planet up. Turns out, that whole story is bullshit, and the aliens plan to replace Earth's leaders with their own. The aliens also control the giant monsters. All except for Godzilla, that is.

These guy, untrustworthy? Shocking, I know.

The human plot is purely in place here to build towards Godzilla facing every single Giant Monster the filmmakers could possibly squeeze into the movie. It's ridiculous and doesn't try to be too emotionally weighty. Sure, it takes itself barely seriously enough. But no more than necessary to get to the next action scene. In other words, it's gloriously and self-indulgently over-the-top for most of the film.

Like when two guys fight on a motorcycle.

And those Giant Monster fights truly pay off for fans. Not only is there a plethora of monsters included in this movie, but seeing Godzilla beat all of them is satisfyingly fun. Especially, but not limited to this quick work he makes of Non-Zilla.

Not even an appearance by Baby Godzilla (called Minilla this time) can ruin this movie. Highly recommended for fans. Just plain recommended fun for everyone else.

This concludes my review/remembrance of all 28 Toho Godzilla films in remembrance of my friend, Zach. We spent a lot of time watching, making fun of, and making reference to these films in the years I knew him. He'll be missed for much more than his love of Godzilla films, but this was a way to pay tribute to a great friend and all-around good guy.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Late Godzilla Era (1984-1995)

This review series is a continuation of the remembrance of my late friend Zach. I've argued previously that it makes little sense to divide the Godzilla films by the Emperor in power at the time of production. Instead, I have divided them into Early Era (1945-1955), Middle Era (1962-1975), Late Era (1984-1995), and Millennium Era (1999-2004). These divisions align more with aesthetic, thematic, and production characteristics of the films within each group.

This Late Era is characterized by re-boots and re-shuffles of the existing mythos and previous films. Some are closely connected to one another, but all seemingly include disparate elements from other sci-fi films. In my opinion, this era is the toughest to watch as a whole.

#16 Godzilla 1985 (1984) **1/2

Ignoring all previous films in the series with the exception of the original Godzilla (1954), this first in the Late Godzilla Era is basically a re-boot. Where Godzilla had been transformed into protector of the world, and of Japan in particular, during the Middle Godzilla Era, this film returns him to his antagonistic roots. The King of all Monsters is again a force of nature, of destruction, and a symbol of nuclear power.

When a ship's crew is killed except for a single person, rumors of a new Godzilla circulate around Japan. Then, already tenuous relations between America and Russia escalate when a Russian submarine is destroyed (echoing the Cold War tensions of the day), but Japan steps in to save the day by admitting that Godzilla destroyed the sub and stopping both Superpowers from using nuclear weapons on the Giant Monster. This Godzilla seeks out nuclear power (which is why it destroyed the submarine), and ends up at a nuclear power plant. Thankfully, Japanese scientists have developed a special craft, the Super X, that will help defend against his attacks.

Super X - pretty much just a flying tank.

With a darker, meaner Godzilla (both in character and in creature design) and a return to his nuclear connections, this film is a stark contrast to many years' worth of films in the series.

There's a little bit of silliness as Godzilla is apparently led around by the sounds of flocks of birds, but the film attempts to take itself and the idea of a Giant Monster very straight-faced.

Well, mostly straight-faced.

More interesting than the film's slow-moving plot is the fact that there are two versions, just like there were of the original 1954 film. The American versions of both films have edited in Raymond Burr as reporter Steve Martin. This film has Burr called upon by the US government as an expert on the creature, despite the fact that the Americans are not involved at all in dealing with Godzilla.

While I've stated (at length) that the 1954 film's inclusion of an American main character was designed to change the movie's rhetoric, this time it's different. Ultimately, this appears to be more of a move made to create a film that is more palatable to American audiences by including "one of their own." It also appears to be a way to draw a direct line for the viewer from Godzilla: King of the Monsters (the American version of the 1954 film) to this one. Regardless, it amounts to a smattering of scenes where Burr stands in a room with a bunch of military types watching Godzilla rampage on a television screen.

At the time of this writing, this is the only Godzilla film (of a total of 27) that has not been released on DVD or Blu-Ray. By some accounts, the rights to the American version are in question, possibly with Toho (the owners of the Godzilla copyright) waiting for a licensing agreement to expire.

Pictured: Lawyer running from Toho.

For the casual Godzilla fan, this is no great loss. Godzilla 1985 (or Godzilla Reborn, as it is sometimes called) is not a great film, and cannot be described even as a decent Godzilla film. The human story is not nearly as compelling as the 1954 original that it hopes to emulate (with a scientist hoping to find a way to rid Japan of Godzilla and a bit of political drama between the US and Russia with Japan in the middle). And the Giant Monster action, coming after so many films where Godzilla has some other Giant Monster to battle, is relegated to the King of Monsters stomping on a few parked cars, destroying buildings, and picking up a commuter train as the Super X does its best to drive him away. This film simply doesn't have the emotional resonance or the historical weight of 1954's Godzilla to carry it.

#17 Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) ***

Picking up immediately after the events of Gozilla 1985, a few of Godzilla's cells have been recovered following his battle with Space X. Unfortunately, the daughter of the scientist studying those cells is killed, and five years later he wants to know if a girl with ESP can communicate with his roses. Yes, you read that right. Turns out, the scientist has been splicing his daughter's DNA (and eventually G-cells) into his roses, giving them sentience and the ability to grow into a Giant Monster.

Yet again, we have a Godzilla that is a feared force of nature, a destructive monster who feeds on nuclear energy. And scientists are once again pursuing science because they can, without asking if they should. That question of scientific morality connects this film to Godzilla 1954. But this time, as in Godzilla 1985, the world is not caught off-guard when Godzilla appears. Even children know the fearsome King of all Monsters.

This film uses Extra Sensory Perception peripherally, which seems a little wonky, especially when it's utilized in the film to show that a classroom full of children can predict the coming of Godzilla (shown above) and to have a girl attempt to talk to flowers. More important to the overall plot of the film is a new, unmanned Space X, the Space X-2.

Basically, if you've ever wanted to see Godzilla fight a giant plant monster, this is your movie.

For the rest of us, it's not the worst in this Late Godzilla Era (that's coming up soon). Gozilla looks mean and does plenty of damage to buildings and giant plant-life alike. The special effects here have solidly moved away from campyness and into a more realistic realm.

While it takes a long while to get going, this is a solid entry in this Era of films. Yes, Biollante is a flower come to life, but it puts up a good fight and has a few different forms, a la Hedorah. The Giant Monsters fight each other and humanity. That three-way battle, with a little scientific morality tossed into the mix, make for a fairly entertaining movie.

#18 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) ****1/2

In this movie (the Late Era's best imitation of a Middle Era film), a Japanese soldier is saved by a dinosaur during WWII. Then, people from the future have come back in time (with an android!) to change the past so that Godzilla is never created from that WWII dinosaur by nuclear experimentation. Instead, King Ghidorah replaces Godzilla in the present...or, well, doesn't replace at all, actually. Turns out, Godzilla is inevitable, so he appears to battle King Ghidorah.

With some kooky aliens (who turn out be people from the future), time travel (obviously), an android (not exactly like a Terminator, but kinda), and general plot insanity, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is about as campy as a Godzilla film can get. In comparison to the previous two films, this is a tonal shift so hard that you could get whiplash if you're not ready for it.

This is absolutely not stolen from anywhere.

Dorats...because we need something that will become King Ghidorah

Androids pass on the left (in a country that drives on the right).

This movie must have the highest number of plot holes of any movie that's ever even thought to include the time travel trope. The biggest one, which practically smacks you in the face, is that an author of a Godzilla book goes back in time to change the fact that Godzilla exists. Not only does he come back to a present time where everyone still knows what a Godzilla is, but he's also still about to publish said book.

"I'll publish this book, even if time itself rejects it!"

If you're looking for a fun movie to not take seriously at all, sit around with your friends and watch this one. It's goofy, campy, and really cannot be watched with a straight face. It doesn't have deep ruminations on the morals of scientific exploration. It doesn't inhabit deeply symbolic meaning. And, even though it does make direct reference to Godzilla vs. Biollante, it's not terribly connected to the films that came immediately before it. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah's connections to the Middle Era Godzilla films are more concrete, as it seems to want to emulate the feel of those movies. With "aliens" and, eventually, a Mecha-King Ghidorah, this film throws almost everything imaginable at the wall to see what sticks. In my mind, there's nothing wrong with that...and this film mostly succeeds in its campy imitation of a bygone Godzilla era.

Side note: so far, this era of films really loves the Mazer.

#19 Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) ***
It's worth noting that Godzilla gets top billing here, unlike Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). This movie runs for almost twenty minutes with a plagiarized Indiana Jones vibe (barely escaping some kind of a tomb with a golden idol and even a falling rope bridge). Finally, a giant egg is discovered. Since the group discovering the egg doesn't recognize it, we can safely assume this film isn't connected to any previous appearance of Mothra.

Above: Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
Below: Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

The plot revolves around two different insects fighting one another, the evil one of which is the mirror-mirror version of Mothra (called Battra). But then, they both team-up on Godzilla. Just because..I guess.


Watching Godzilla fight one moth isn't very compelling. Watching him fight two (even when one is "evil") doesn't improve things terribly much.

With the miniature twins (here called "the Cosmos"), this movie makes further connections to the Middle Era Godzilla films. It's almost like this era of Godzilla films is in the midst of an identity crisis, possibly too enamored with its history and too afraid to shake things up.

Above: Mothra being tugged along (1992)
Below: Kong being tugged along (1962)

Despite its clear call-backs to the Middle Era films, this one isn't nearly as campy and fun as Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. The Godzilla here is, yet again, a destructive force that needs to be defeated, but the Moths-on-Godzilla battles just aren't very compelling. Add a human story that isn't interesting or engaging, and you've got a lackluster Godzilla film.

#20 Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II (1993) ***1/2

Tying this film to Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, scientists retrieve the mechanical head from the defeated Mecha-King Ghidorah in order to build two separate weapons: the Garuda (a ship in the style of Super-X/Super-X2...despite neither of those getting a mention here) and Mecha-Godzilla.

Don't be confused by the title, this movie has no connections to the Middle Era Mecha-Godzilla. Instead of an alien creation, this one is created by the Japanese specifically to defend against Godzilla. Meanwhile, a radiation-emitting pteranodon egg is discovered and Rodan returns to protect it from the scientists attempting to study it. Turns out, that egg is sending a signal to Godzilla because it's a...wait for it....Baby Godzilla!!

As we have now moved as far away from Godzilla 1985's self-serious tone as possible, the filmmakers have decided to toss every bit of ridiculousness into the movie. Let this be a lesson to anyone making a future Godzilla NEVER go full-on Baby Godzilla.

Just look at it.

It's really a shame too. Subtracting the Baby Godzilla business, this film has some great Giant Monster action. The battles between Godzilla and Rodan are enjoyable (despite Rodan, and Godzilla's battles with winged-creatures generally, being lame usually). And watching Godzilla fight against a Mechanized version of himself never ceases to be fun.

This Mecha-Godzilla has a great design and puts of a good fight against Godzilla, but also proves that Godzilla is far too formidable without some extra help (in the form of joining with Garuda in Super Sentai style).

Building from previous films in this era, this movie incorporates ESP. Specifically, the psychic who has appeared (and will continue to appear) in every Godzilla film in this era (except Godzilla 1985), communicates with Godzilla and Baby Godzilla both. Eventually, she convinces them to be a family and go away.

Please just step on it...
Sure, Baby Godzilla is really only used as a MacGuffin in this movie, but it still taints the finished film. Ignoring this silly inclusion, we're left with a Godzilla movie that's mostly focused on action with a human story focused on a fighter pilot and (what amounts to) a zoo-keeper. These human characters are interesting enough to be engaging, and the Giant Monster action helps make this one of the better Late Era Godzilla films. You'll wince when Baby Godzilla is on-screen, but watching Godzilla fight against MechaGodzilla balances that out pretty well.

#21 Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994) **1/2

A secret project is underway to allow for psychic control of Godzilla. Meanwhile, an unidentified object is approaching Earth. Project Mogera (a giant robot you might recognize from somewhere) is sent to intercept the approaching object...which turns out to be SpaceGodzilla.

The explanation of SpaceGodzilla is suitably hilarious. Apparently, when Godzilla fought Biollante (or when he fought Mothra, who knows), his cells were attached to the other monster as it dispersed into space. Those cells "must" have been swallowed by a black hole then spit out by a white hole and evolved into SpaceGodzilla. All this because Godzilla films understand less about science than a five year-old yet they inexplicably insist on explaining things.

Sometimes even with "high-tech" computer graphics.

Mogera doesn't quite defeat SpaceGodzilla, and it lands on the island where Godzilla is hanging out with Baby Godzilla.

SpaceGodzilla is immediately angry that there's a Baby Godzilla in his movie.

Yes, yet again, a perfectly decent Godzilla movie is turned sour by the appearance of a Baby Godzilla (presumably the same one from Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II, but called Little Godzilla here). Thankfully, Little Godzilla isn't in the film much, but it's hardly the biggest problem this Late Godzilla Era movie has.

Despite the sheer awesomeness of SpaceGodzilla, this film suffers when the Giant Monsters aren't fighting. The human story of competing plans to control/destroy Godzilla lacks any interesting characters or weight even though the mob is brought in to mix things up. If you can suffer through the boring human parts, this movie does have some pretty great Giant Monster battles. Godzilla and Mogera fighting SpaceGodzilla for most of the final forty minutes is almost worth the hour of movie the viewer has to get through in order to get there. Almost.

#22 Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995) **1/2
In this final film of the Late Godzilla Era, Godzilla is about to go nuclear.

In order to keep this from happening, and basically destroying all life on Earth, the Super X-3 is dispatched to bring Godzilla's core temperature down and avert disaster.

Meanwhile, a number of creatures mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer (the device used in Godzilla 1954 to destroy Godzilla) start causing some havoc.

Much of the film builds up Destroyah as a scary creature and foe of Godzilla. The efforts made to create suspense and "terror" around Godzilla's rival Giant Monster are pretty obvious (and obviously stolen from other films).

No clue which film they might be copying...

Then Little Godzilla shows up as a much larger Godzilla Junior. The three monsters come together for the final battle. In the end, Godzilla does die (as Toho said), but Godzilla Junior emerges as the new Godzilla to take its place.

This era of Godzilla films comes to a *whomp whomp* close with a mediocre film. It's almost as if this movie, and this entire run of movies, never could come up with a soul of its own. Instead it relied heavily on the Middle Era while keeping Godzilla's destructive power and "meanness" from the Early Era. There were a few fun moments along the way, but mostly the Late Godzilla Era ends with a flop and whimper instead of a roar.