Final Wars on DVD
Godzilla has a had spotty career over the past 50 years, but the
big critter’s movies have usually been entertaining at the
very least. And while we couldn’t find much to like about
the Americanized Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin version, our last experience
(Godzilla 2000) was highly enjoyable.
Then there’s Godzilla Final Wars.
The best thing about this supposedly 50th anniversary feature is
that we get to see more than just Tokyo laid waste by the monsters
– and isn’t such destruction why we watch Godzilla movies?
- we get to see other locations dumped upon as well.
The problem here is that the film doesn’t seem to have a
focus, to know what it wants to be. It’s part Godzilla film,
part martial arts epic, part alien invasion flick, etc. etc. And
in the process it fails at being any of these genres, ending up
instead as a mishmash.
But it looks and sounds great!
Nearly every major and minor classic Godzilla enemy puts in an
appearance in this film, though not usually for very long. In fact,
Godzilla himself isn’t in most of the movie! Mostly, it’s
the alien invasion plotline – which admittedly has its good
points but which certainly contributes to keeping the Big Critter
off the screen (and isn’t that why we’re watching?).
Things start off promisingly enough, with Godzilla on hand, but
nearly right off the bat he gets buried in Antarctica, as it turns
out being held in reserve by the producers so they can bring him
back as humanity's last weapon to help beat off the alien invasion.
When Godzilla is finally back in the saddle, he quickly takes out
every enemy in the film in short and sometimes cheesy (in the best
tradition) order – but there’s so little of it!
To make a long review short, and save you time you could be spending
looking up other Godzilla movies to watch, this movie is interesting
to see if you’re a Godzilla fan, but it comes off as overly
pretentious when a Godzilla movie should be merely fun. Instead,
we get rip-off stuff from the Matrix trilogy, Independence Day (which
may be appropriate considering the ID4 guys’ Godzilla), Aliens,
X-Men, Star Wars, etc.
The movie’s pacing is bad and it almost seems as if some
scenes were just thrown together – kind of like the script!
Alas, unlike some Japanese monster movies, this one doesn’t
even qualify as one of those “it’s so bad it’s
And if you’re going to put together a 50th anniversary homage
to the big lizard, don’t you think he should be in the movie
a little more than he is?
Still, the DVD is well done, though sparse. The picture is featured
in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 TV compatible, and in Dolby Digital
5.1 surround. Audio and video are first rate, far better than the
The only extra is a “Godzilla: B-roll to Film” featurette
where you can see the man in the Gozilla suit being shot on a soundstage.
Gee, and we had thought Godzilla was real!
Godzilla – Final Wars, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
125 min, anamorphic widescreen (2.40:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby
Starring Mashiro Matsuoka, Rei Kikukawa, Don Frye, Akira Takarada
Produced by Shogo Tomiyama
Written by Wataru Mimura and Isao Kiriyama, directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
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