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Friday, April 18, 2014

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, released in Japan as Godzilla x Megaguirus: G Shōmetsu Sakusen (ゴジラ×メガギラス G消滅作戦, lit. "Godzilla x Megaguirus: G Annihilation Strategy") is a 2000 science fiction kaiju film directed by Masaaki Tezuka and written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara and Wataru Mimura. It was the twenty-fourth film released in the Godzilla franchise, and the second film in terms of the franchise's Millenium series. It premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival on November 3, 2000. The film shares the suit used in Godzilla 2000, so it will be a direct sequel because Godzilla rampaging the cities though it was separate continuity.

Plot
After Godzilla 2000, Godzilla continues to rampage and destroys the entire cities until dives into the sea and waits to the destruction.

In 2001, an experimental satellite-based weapon that fires miniature black holes, called the Dimension Tide, opens a wormhole through which a prehistoric dragonfly enters the present and deposits a single egg before exiting through the wormhole. A boy finds the egg and takes it with him when he moves to Tokyo. The egg starts oozing a strange liquid, so the boy throws the egg in the sewer. The egg, actually a mass of hundreds of eggs, splits up and starts growing when exposed to water, hatching into large dragonfly larva called Meganulon that come out of the sewer to feed. They flood a portion of the city and moult on the sides of buildings, becoming adult Meganula.

Meanwhile, the atomic dinosaur Godzilla appears, in search of a source of nuclear energy, despite the edict shutting down all such attractants after his three previous appearances. While Godzilla is fighting the G-Graspers (the anti-Godzilla section of the Japan Self Defense Forces) who are assisted by rebellious scientist Hajime Kudo, the swarm of Meganula are attracted in turn to Godzilla's energy, and attack him. Most Meganula are killed, but a few drain some of Godzilla's energy and return to the sewer. With the last of their strength, the Meganula inject Godzilla's energy into a huge, sleeping larva that is in a giant, pulsating cocoon. It molts and appears from the water as Megaguirus, the queen of the Meganula.

After destroying part of the city with shock waves generated by her beating wings, Megaguirus heads to the waterfront and faces Godzilla. Being territorial, Megaguirus considers the city to be her hunting ground. As they engage in a lengthy battle, she uses her speed to avoid Godzilla's attacks, but Godzilla eventually uses her speed against her. As she flies toward Godzilla, he lunges forward with his dorsal fins in her path. She flies into the fins, and one of her arms is severed.

During the battle, a special ability of Megaguirus is revealed: Having been mutated by Godzilla's energy, she can generate a blast similar to his atomic breath. She fires a huge ball of radiation, knocking Godzilla down. He gets back up, and Megaguirus goes in for the kill. She speeds forward with the stinger on her long tail lowered, trying to stab Godzilla between the eyes. In a climactic moment, Godzilla catches the stinger in his mouth. He bites down, crushing the stinger. Megaguirus rears up in pain, and Godzilla takes the chance to finally blast her with his atomic breath. She bursts into flames and Godzilla blasts her a second time and destroys her.


It is revealed that Godzilla was attracted to the energy of a secret nuclear project housed at the Science Institute, in violation of the ban, by Professor Yoshino Yoshizawa. The G-Graspers are now wanting to kill Godzilla (even though he just saved them from Megaguirus), but with the Dimension Tide falling out of orbit they are unable to get a lock on Godzilla, until the vengeful Major Kiriko Tsujimori pilots a ship called Gryphon towards Godzilla, ejecting only at the last second. The Dimension Tide is able to lock on to the craft and fires just before burning up on reentry; Godzilla vanishes and everyone celebrates. In a postlude, however, Major Tsujimori again enlists Kudo to investigate suspicious seismic activity; then in an after-credits scene, Godzilla's roar is heard again as an earthquake strikes Tokyo.



Cast
The cast of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus are predominantly new faces to the Godzilla series, but the film began a tradition in the Millennium series of casting veteran genre cast members, especially from the Shōwa era, in older, authoritarian roles: Yuriko Hoshi, who played photographer Junko in Mothra vs. Godzilla and reporter Naoko in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, cameos as Professor Yoshizawa, director of the Dimension Tide project.
Misato Tanaka as Kiriko Tsujimori
Shosuke Tanihara as Hajime Kudo
Masatoh Eve as Motohiko Sugiura
Yuriko Hoshi as Prof. Yoshino Yoshizawa
Toshiyuki Nagashima as Takuji Miyagawa
Tsutomu Kitagawa as Godzilla, the King of the Monsters, Godzilla is attracted to power plants all over Japan
Minoru Watanabe as Megaguirus, the main villain and a giant, prehistoric dragonfly who reguires Godzilla's energy to survive

Box Office
The budget of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is estimated at $8,300,000. It opened in Japan on December 16, 2000, and during its box office run, it grossed approximately $10,000,000, making it the least popular entry in the Millennium Godzilla series in terms of revenue. Total admissions in Japan were approximately 1,350,000. Special effects director Kenji Suzuki reportedly took the blame for the film's weak box office performances.


English Version
After the film was completed, Toho had their international versions of the movie dubbed in Hong Kong.

Originally Sony had licensed Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack with the hope of giving both films a theatrical release in the United States. Sony's release of Godzilla 2000 proved that traditional Godzilla films failed to attract huge crowds of moviegoers, so plans to give any newer Godzilla films a wide release were scrapped.


Instead, Sony prepared edited television versions of both films. These premiered in the United States on the Sci-Fi Channel on August 31, 2003, during the channel's Labor Day marathon. In February 2004, the uncut international versions of both films were released on DVD with the addition of the original Japanese soundtracks (a first in the US).

Reception
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus was released on December 16, 2000 to mixed reactions. Ed Godziszewski of Monster Zero said, "While not the best example of filmmaking, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus nonetheless succeeds as an entertaining film." Ben Wagner of Toho Kingdom said, "Run-of-the-mill, mediocre, and sterile are the three words that best describe Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. It is a movie that attempts to be creative and edgy, but somehow fails, leaving one wanting with futility to really try to enjoy the film."


Stomp Tokyo said "the music is pretty good" but "this movie isn't a step forward in the ways that it really should be." Mike Bogue of American Kaiju said, "Though not the best of the post-Showa Godzilla movies, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is one of the most entertaining." Ian Jane of DVD Talk said, "While not the best entry in the Godzilla series, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus ... [is] still a really solid entry with some great special effects and a very memorable monster mash finale."

Matt Paprocki of Blog Critics called the film "a true classic in the series," adding: "It's impossible not to be entertained somewhat, whether you're looking for camp value or serious giant monster action. This one has everything that is required of the [kaiju] genre." Andrew Pragasam of The Spinning Image called the film a "flawed, but entertaining comic book extravaganza" that "only partially delivers as a slam-bang monster epic" and suffers from "a lack of likeable characters."


Home Media Releases
Columbia/Tristar Home Entertainment
Released: January 27, 2004
Picture Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic) [NTSC]
Soundtrack(s): Japanese and English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English and French
Extras: Bonus Trailers:
Alien Hunter, Godzilla (1998), The Medallion, Returner, and So Close
Case type: Keep Case
Notes: The English subs are actually "Dubtitles".

Blu-Ray will be coming out May 6, 2014 as a double feature with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.


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