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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Countdown To Godzilla 2014: Godzilla Vs. SpaceGodzilla

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (ゴジラvsスペースゴジラ Gojira tai SupēsuGojira) is a 1994 Japanese science fiction kaiju film produced by Toho. Directed by Kensho Yamashita and featuring special effects by Koichi Kawakita, the film starred Megumi Odaka, Jun Hashizume, and Akira Emoto. It was the twenty-first film in the Godzilla series. The film featured Godzilla battling an evil doppelgänger from outer space called SpaceGodzilla.

The film was released direct to video in the United States in 1999 by Columbia Tristar Home Video.

Godzilla cells brought into space by Biollante and Mothra are exposed to intense radiation from a black hole. The celestial fission creates a highly aggressive extraterrestrial beast closely resembling Godzilla. This "SpaceGodzilla" quickly makes its way to Earth.

Meanwhile, a group of soldiers and scientists are setting up at Birth Island to try Project T against Godzilla, who has taken up residence on the isle. The plan is to plant a device on Godzilla which will allow the Japan Self Defense Forces to control the mutant dinosaur telepathically. With help from psychic Miki Saegusa, the project is put into action, but it ultimately fails. Afterward, the Cosmos, Mothra's twin priestesses, appear to Miki and warn her of SpaceGodzilla's arrival. With Mothra gone to space, the world will have to rely on Godzilla to stop the invader. SpaceGodzilla gets closer and closer to Earth, destroying a NASA space station along the way, Moguera, a giant penguin-like robot built by the JSDF to replace the Mechagodzilla, is sent in to intercept SpaceGodzilla, but the alien uses a number of psychic attacks to cripple the robot, forcing it to retreat.

Attracted to Godzilla's radiation, SpaceGodzilla lands on Birth Island, where it finds Godzilla's son, Little Godzilla. SpaceGodzilla mercilessly attacks the small creature when he approaches it curiously, and Godzilla comes to his son's rescue. Godzilla puts up a good fight, but finds himself overwhelmed by SpaceGodzilla's power and is knocked out. With Godzilla temporarily subdued, SpaceGodzilla creates a small cage made of crystals and traps Little Godzilla inside of it. It then leaves for Japan, intending to destroy it. Godzilla, after failing to free his son from the cage, follows SpaceGodzilla.

Shortly thereafter, the Yakuza captures Miki and brings her back to their base in Fukuoka in an attempt to use Project T to gain control of Godzilla. Fortunately, a recovery team is successfully dispatched and Miki and the team escape before SpaceGodzilla arrives and destroys the building. SpaceGodzilla lands in central Fukuoka and forms a massive fortress of celestial crystals. Moguera arrives to once again fight SpaceGodzilla, but is still no match for it. Godzilla arrives in Kagoshima Bay and fights SpaceGodzilla, but SpaceGodzilla's cosmic powers easily allow it to gain the upper hand.

The JSDF discovers that SpaceGodzilla is using Fukuoka Tower as a power converter, using it to transform the Earth's core into an energy that SpaceGodzilla can absorb, slowly killing the planet. While Godzilla wrestles with SpaceGodzilla, Moguera splits into two different mechs: the Star Falcon, a flying battleship, and the Land Moguera, a tank. The mechs damage the crystal fortress while Godzilla pushes over Fukuoka Tower, cutting off SpaceGodzilla's energy supply. Moguera quickly reforms and blasts off SpaceGodzilla's crystal-like shoulder formations, weakening it. Enraged, SpaceGodzilla beats Moguera into submission and starts to throttle Godzilla, who further wounds SpaceGodzilla by gouging out his eyes.

With SpaceGodzilla brutally beaten and blinded, Moguera uses up the last of its power supply by ramming into the alien beast, but SpaceGodzilla impales Moguera with his tail and hurls it into the remains of the crystal fortress. Godzilla blasts SpaceGodzilla with his atomic ray, sending him crashing on top of Moguera. With a supercharged atomic blast, Godzilla eradicates SpaceGodzilla including Moguera's remains, and cosmic energy floats from the inferno and vanishes in the atmosphere.

Having won the fight, Godzilla makes his way back to Birth Island. Before he departs, Miki uses her psychic powers to remove the mind control device from Godzilla's neck in which he turns to her and nods. Little Godzilla is then free from the crystal prison and can blow bubbles of fire.

Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa
Jun Hashizume as Lieutenant Koji Shinjo
Zenkichi Yoneyama as Lieutenant Kiyoshi Sato
Akira Emoto as Major Akira Yuki
Towako Yoshikawa as Professor Chinatsu Gondo
Yosuke Saito as Doctor Susumu Okubo
Kenji Sahara as Minister Takayuki Segawa
Akira Nakao as Commander Takaki Aso
Koichi Ueda as Commander Hyodo
Sayako Osawa and Keiko Imamura as the Cosmos
Ronald Hoerr as Professor Alexander Mammilov
Tom Durran as Yokuza Boss McKay
Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla, the King of the Monsters and the main monster protagonist who defeats SpaceGodzilla in order to free his son.
Little Frankie as Little Godzilla, Godzilla's son who's been imprisoned by SpaceGodzilla.
Ryo Hariya as SpaceGodzilla, the main antagonist of the film who was created by Godzilla's cells transported into space by Biollante and Mothra being sent through a black hole and is now bent on killing Godzilla.
Wataru Fukuda as M.O.G.U.E.R.A, a transforming anti-Godzilla mech that aids Godzilla in defeating SpaceGodzilla.

English Version
After the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong company to dub the film into English. In this international version of the movie, an English title card was superimposed over the Japanese title, as had been done with the previous 90s Godzilla films.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah on home video on January 19, 1999. This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States. TriStar used the Toho dubs, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films. Toho's complete international version of Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (sans any onscreen text besides the English title) has been broadcast on several premium movie channels since the early 2000s.

Box Office
Released on December 10, 1994, the film sold approximately 3,200,000 tickets in Japan and grossed around $20,000,000 (U.S) (US$32,000,000 world wide).

Critical Reaction
Critical reaction to Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla has been mostly mixed to negative. Monster Zero called the film "a curiously uninvolving effort" that "disappoints in nearly all aspects of the production"  American Kaiju criticized the "wildly uneven pacing," "uneven special effects," and "exceedingly lumpy story," but added that "most of the special effects are pretty fair" and "the monster battles are mostly fun." DVD Cult said, "It does have some great destruction scenes and monster battles; two things that make these films worthwhile to begin with. The monster SpaceGodzilla is excellently designed, and is certainly far more menacing than anything Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich ever dreamed up." Toho Kingdom said the film is "far from terrible" and "an underrated movie" but felt it suffered from an "overly complicated story," "underdeveloped characters," and "forgettable" music.

Home Media Releases
Columbia/Tristar Home Entertainment
Released: February 1, 2000
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (1.85:1) Anamorphic [NTSC]
Sound: English (2.0)
Case type: Keep Case
Region 1
Note: A double feature with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. On the U.S. DVD release, the final scene in which Godzilla is in the water while Echoes of Love (Date of Birth) plays is cut; however, it is left in the TV, on demand and Japanese DVD versions.

Universe Laser
Released: November 24, 2006
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
Sound: (Japanese, Cantonese) Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles English, Chinese (Traditional/Simplified)
Region 3

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

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