Sometime in the indefinite future, the world's major cities are suddenly attacked by 10 monsters at once; panic reigns until Earth is visited by benign aliens who put an end to the monster plague. On the verge of signing a peace treaty, the aliens and the humans have forgotten Godzilla, who sleeps under the ice of Antarctica.
Directed by: Ryûhei Kitamura
. Starring: Masahiro Matsuoka
, Rei Kikukawa
, Don Frye
, Maki Mizuno
, Kazuki Kitamura
, Kane Kosugi
, Kumi Mizuno
, Akira Takarada
, Kenji Sahara
, Masakatsu Funaki
, Masami Nagasawa
, Chihiro Ohtsuka
, Wataru Shihôdô
. Music by: Keith Emerson
, Nobuhiko Morino
, Daisuke Yano
When Ryuhei Kitamura began working on Final Wars he wanted to make a Godzilla film unlike all the previous twenty-seven films. A film that would stand out from it's predecessors as not only a unique monster film, but a film that would cross over as an entire entertainment package. Kitamura wanted to return Godzilla to the throne of monster king while at the same time return him to the throne as entertainment king as well. I have one thing to say to Mr. Kitamura. Mission accomplished.
Godzilla: Final Wars is just as Kitamura stated before the film " a roller coaster ride." Brace yourself. Don't drink a lot of caffeine before the movie starts or you may have a seizure of some kind. This movie gets started quick and doesn't slow down. If you love action there is plenty of it. Monster fighting monsters, people fighting aliens and people fighting monsters it continues like this through the entire film. One almost gets the idea that Kitamura inserted scenes of personal interaction and dialogue to keep the viewer from suffering sensory overload. Not to say that those personal interaction scenes take away from the film in any way just that they are necessary to keep you from having a stroke. The film has that much action in it.
The film itself is a virtual homage to the entire Godzilla series with more than a handful of asides to the genres of sci-fi and Hong Kong action cinema. I would be safe in saying that Final Wars has the most sci-fi based elements of all the prior Godzilla films. Kitamura stated in an interview that I had with him recently that the film wouldn't draw from the prior series, but be a original unique film. That is not entirely true. The film is littered with both homages to scenes from the other films as well as cameos from actors from those films. One of the true joys of watching this film is picking out what scene comes from what movie and catching all the guest appearances. True Kitamura has put his own twists and style into those scenes, but they are still there and can be easily spotted by fans. In this way Godzilla: Final Wars truly succeeds as a anniversary film. The film is however more than just a "Godzilla's Greatest Hits" package. It doesn't use these elements as a crutch or dwell on them to the point stagnation. Although the basic plot may be rooted in the prior alien invasion based Godzilla epics there is enough new material and concepts that keeps the story fresh and different from those films. Final Wars works because there is that delicate balance between an original film and an anniversary film. This concept rarely works, but Kitamura pulled it off marvelously. A true testament to a dedicated director.
The film begins with a battle between the Atragon and Godzilla at the South Pole. Godzilla falls through the ice and becomes trapped when the Atragon causes an avalanche that buries him. (See Godzilla Raids Again) (See...OK I'll try to keep this to a minimum.) Then begin the opening credits. A really cool montage of clips that zoom past a record speed combined with neat graphics and credits. Then the action starts. A new anti-monster force has been created to fight against monsters created from the continued wars and nuclear accidents. The group is comprised of mutant humans who have genetically arisen from this altered environment. Their superior skills are now used to keep mankind safe from monsters.
Suddenly monsters begin to appear all over the world. Manda in the ocean off the United Kingdom, Angilas in Shanghai, King Seesar in Okinawa, Zilla in Sydney, Rodan in New York monsters upon monsters all over the world. What follows is a really cool sequence where the mutant soldiers fight Ebirah on the streets of Tokyo with shoulder mounted laser cannons. Again suddenly the monsters vanish just as quickly as they appeared. Enter the X-Aliens who appear soon after with news that the Earth is in danger from a rogue planet that is on a collision course. Only by combining forces can Earth be saved. Can our new friends be trusted? (I won't spoil any more of the story....trust me you'll love it.)
To most fans delight Angilas steals the show. Also very cool is the supersonic Rodan and two evil versions of Gigan. I have to admit it, although silly, that I loved the ultra-cute (almost too cute) Minya scenes. On the human side Don Frye as the Captain of the Atragon (See the Godzilla comic book series....sorry) and Kazuki Kitamura as the temper tantrum throwing leader of the X-Aliens really did an excellent job. Overall Kitamura delivered as promised with faster and more powerful kaiju. When Godzilla finally gets set free from his icy tomb he tears through monsters with such speed it will make your chest ache. Another truly awesome scene is the four way fight between Godzilla, Rodan, Angilas, and King Seesar. The motorcycle fight scene rivals the Matrix in speed and fighting. Mothra kicks some butt. Finally the ending is very heart felt and a fitting end to this anniversary tribute.
Wew!......Enough to keep you wanting more? Trust me. If you go into this film looking to have fun and be entertained you will not be disappointed. If you go in looking for something to pick apart you will find some ammo. The film is not perfect. It is however a triumph in my opinion and a fitting 50th birthday film for the King of the Monsters.
Review by Ken Hulsey from the Internet Movie Database.