Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
Directed by Kensho Yamashita
Frankly, director Kensho Yamashita’s “Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla”—his second and final directing credit, after a 1987 vampire movie—did not give me much to think about. I wasn’t offended, nor was I blown away. It landed right in the middle of the twenty “Godzilla” movies I’ve seen so far.
After “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II” teased me with a clean and simple story before reintroducing Baby Godzilla to the plot, I was hopeful that a Godzilla movie could come along that didn’t go off the rails too often. It turns out, I didn’t have to wait long. “Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla” is about fighting a new threat, a monster from space that was created when bits of Godzilla’s DNA entered a black hole (by way of Mothra’s trip to space in “Godzilla vs. Mothra, perhaps). This SpaceGodzilla looks super cool, with giant crystals growing from its shoulders and back, but he’s vicious. The still-new Godzilla defense team has two possible plans: option one, to use Miki Saegusa’s (Megumi Odaka, reprising her role) ESP abilities to control Godzilla’s mind; or option two, to use the new defense robot, M.O.G.E.R.A., to fight him. It turns out, they don’t need ESP—Godzilla is happy to fight the new rival.
While the character of Miki, who was introduced in “Godzilla vs. Biollante,” plays a bigger role than ever, the rest of the characters—soldiers in the Godzilla defense force, mostly—are not given the characterization that we had seen in some of the previous films. They were fun enough to watch, but I didn’t know them enough to care if they lived or died. The character of SpaceGodzilla, though, it awesome—an even angrier looking Godzilla with imposing clear crystals growing on him, which he uses to electrocute foes. The final battle, like the one in “Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II,” is something to behold. Not because of the fighting itself, but because of the setting—a city center that SpaceGodzilla has turned into a sort of crystal forest, with large rocks jutting in different directions all over downtown.
“Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla” isn’t a top-tier Godzilla movie, but it also lacks some of the frustrating aspects of the lower-tier movies. Sometimes not being actively sucky is just as important as being actively great.