[Warning! Spoilers ahead!]
Godzilla vs. Biollante is about Godzilla fighting a mutant rose.
Let me repeat that: Godzilla vs. Biollante is about Godzilla fighting a mutant rose. Twice. They have two battles.
Just let that sink in for a minute.
Has it sunk in, yet?
This movie is all kinds of bizarre. But, it’s-
It should be just fun and bizarre, but it’s weirdly compelling.
The movie starts off with the fakest Godzilla I’ve ever seen battling the fakest hovercraft I’ve ever seen on the fakest of sets imaginable. Godzilla is then swallowed alive by a volcano while a spliced-in-the-film-at-the-last-minute American reporter speaks like a alien robot.
Already, you should probably know what kind of movie this is.
Can you spot the bad special effects? I know I can…
Just skip ahead to the spiritual section. Seriously, you’re wasting your time hanging around here expecting something.
Nothing to do here….
Where, oh where, to begin?
Let’s start with the plot. Or plots. You see, this professor who’s been trying to develop a wheat that can grow in the desert for a Saudi Arabia stand-in, loses his daughter, Erica, in a bomb attack on his lab. This lab had roses and Godzilla cells.
So, several years later, in an effort to “resurrect” his daughter, he splices Godzilla cells with a rose.
Did I mention that before this he had a psychic girl try to talk to the roses in his garden because plants have their own “mental field.”
If you came to this post looking for sanity, you came to the wrong neighbourhood, friend. Turn around and don’t stop moving until you reach the closest psych ward.
Did I mention that I picked this movie while I was adjusting to some new medication?
And back to the movie:
There’s another plot involving a Saradian (read: Saudi Arabian) agent and some American corporate agents trying to steal Godzilla cells so they can make an anti-nuclear bacteria.
Don’t worry, the plot will become clearer when the rose mutates into a horrible monster that is technically possessed by Erica’s spirit, but then, not, just possessed by Godzilla-
Sorry, did I lose you? Let me try this again. Where was I-
Then, Biollante calls to Godzilla and the two fight, and it’s a battle for the ages, until Godzilla kills Biollante.
(Fun fact: head to around the 54 minute mark for some very fake underwater action during this sequence.)
Now, at this point in time, I want to talk about the music for this movie. At one point, the film’s soundrack rips off the psycho theme.
But the blockbuster plagiarism doesn’t stop there. When the Saradian agent I mentioned earlier is introduced, he looks exactly like Kyle Reese from The Terminator.
But it gets worse, halfway through the movie, a pilot character cosplays at Lt. Colonel Hogan. You know, from Hogan’s Heroes. He even puts his hat on like Colonel Hogan at the end. Shenanigans! I call Shenanigans!!
Another issue in the film are the times when they do try to speak English, because said English is clearly done by actors who are speaking English for the first time and it’s terrible. Seriously, while I recognize and give props to the time and effort it took to have the actors’ practice as well as the “omedetougozaimasu” I need to give to the actors’ efforts, nobody should have greenlit this.
In addition, I wasn’t kidding when I said the opening of the movie pretty much sets the tone: the sets in this movie are clearly not-even-trying fake and I’ve seen better Godzilla suits. The point of the spikes on his back are to stand up, not flop to the side like limp noodles.
This film is also recognizable for actions sequences that attempt to be epic, but are just badly choreographed and seem to fail… Really. Like, when this character Gondo and a scientist beat up an unnamed Saudi-Arabian (I’m sorry, I MEAN, Saradian agent). Seriously, I know Japan can do better. I’ve watched several Taiga drama episodes to know they can do better action scenes.
Another non-point is awarded to this movie for the character of Gondo. Every time he tries to be suave and cool on camera, a kitten cries.
Though, the movie contains one redeeming scene, around 1:16:54 of the movie’s running time; when Godzilla sneaks up in the most hilarious way possible behind Gondo. Only to have Gondo fire a missle into Godzilla’s mouth whilst giving a snappy comeback, only to have Godzilla shrug it off and collapse the building that Gondo’s in.
It’s…wonderful. *Cries due to overwhelming feels.*
This film is also guilty for having the last-minute weapon, the TC system, that is supposed to save the day and was never mentioned until the very end, because plot convenience, my dear Watson!
The only reason they bring this weapon up, is because…
…wait for it…
…they have only now figured out…
…that Godzilla is cold-blooded. Literally.
I mean, a giant reptile…
What were the odds….
Hey, wait a minute…
You mean to tell me in all the decades Godzilla’s been stomping Tokyo. AND with an entire force dedicated to stopping him -equipped with the latest science and technology, I might add- nobody figured out this cold-blooded thing before…or tried to do research on it.
As an academic, I find their lack of research disturbing.
But before we get to ending the giant lizard once and for all (it is almost the end of the movie), let’s take a moment to pause and reflect and let the young generation take over for the older generation.
I’m not kidding, there’s a moment in the movie that is completely tonally off at around 1:21:36 where this movie dares to get philosophical after 1:21:35 of pure ridiculousness and crummy special effects.
No, movie! Bad movie! Shame on you!
Coming back to the music, near 1:22:19 the movie’s soundtrack legitimately sounds like the Hogan’s Heroes theme is going to start in a few seconds.
I’m not joking!
Another issue, is the psychic girl character, Miki, who does absolutely nothing. If she wasn’t in the movie, she wouldn’t be missed and the other characters wouldn’t be stuck in the dark, either.
Her lines can be summed up, as follows:
“Biollante’s still alive!”
“I had a dream that Godzilla would return. So did all these other, suddenly-psychic children in the area”. (Yep, the movie really goes there. It’s like Stephen King got a hold of the script. SHOUT OUT TO THE NOSTALGIA CRITIC!)
Speaking of character, the characters don’t have well-rounded personalities. They’re not even stock characters. Most of them are so bland that I’m not even sure how to categorize them. They’re just THERE.
The moral at the end of the story, as stated by the character Dr. Kirishima, is that humans are the real monsters who are responsible for the creation of Biollante and Godzilla.
There’s no better way to sum up what this movie is all about. Dear mankind: don’t interfere with God’s creation, otherwise you will wind up perverting it and causing even bigger problems.
Much of the movie’s anxiety revolves around this “Anti-Nuclear Bacteria”. And, quite predictably, the scientists and the Japanese military demonstrate multiple times throughout the movie that they really have no business playing around with this kind of power. They’re a bunch of foolish mortals and this bacteria holds the key to the destruction of everything and can’t be controlled. You do the math.
I love how the movie explores unhealthy methods of grieving; as instead of accepting his daughter’s death and relying on God to get him through her loss, Dr. Kirishima splices a rose with Godzilla cells.
His grief blinds him to rationality and objectivity, instead causing him to -and I CAN say this- go mad and nearly destroy Japan by creating an equally large threat to Godzilla.
The H-bomb, chemical weapons, genetic engineering. How long will it take before we stop and actually think about what it is we’re doing?
I know you came here for a funny review and you want me to tear this movie apart.
But I can’t. Even though it’s Godzilla fighting a giant mutant rose that looks like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, I can’t help but admire this movie.
Even Biollante’s death and disappearance at the end of the movie is quite moving (I actually started to tear up at bit).
It’s a heartfelt ending, but not before the main Saradian agent assassinates Dr. Kirishima which is followed by an inevitable showdown between the agent and one of scientists, (don’t ask me who, he’s not very memorable as a character. Honestly, none of them are, except for maybe Dr. Kirishima and his daughter, and -loathe as I am to admit it- Gondo).
But everything at the end turns to be for naught, as Godzilla rises again and descends into the watery depths of Japan, which is a symbol of the evil of mankind continuing on, despite grace and mercy from heaven.
Normally, I’d call this movie racist and xenophobic (seeing as all the villains are not Japanese), but this line, spoken by one of the scientists, prevents me from doing so: “There’s good and bad in every country”. I’d like to think that maybe the filmmakers realized how their movie could be interpreted and tried to fight against it. Does it work? Eh, that’s a review for another time and by another reviewer.
What’s interesting, is in the final minute of the movie, where we are shown the body of Dr. Kirishima and out of nowhere, a narrator asks where this all began and ponders if it was when the fall happened in the garden of Eden, before asking humans to remember this day.
All in all, I wasn’t expecting such a biblical ending; calling on mankind to reflect on sin and salvation, on good and evil.
The one problem I do have is the emphasis this film puts on psychic abilities. Yet, it almost seems like the filmmakers defeat their own arguments, as Miki’s ESP abilities don’t succeed at all, rather it’s goodness from heaven (literally; Biollante resurrects as fairy dust falling from the heavens to stop Godzilla’s rampage) that defeats evil, at least temporarily.
Sure Miki. You go ahead and defeat Godzilla with your mind. I’ll just…stand…back…here…
And yes, the film should be played for camp. All of it. And yet, this movie has heart. It has charisma. It has that special something that touches you deep down inside, grabbing a hold of your heart and just won’t let go.
I hope you enjoyed the review and learned as much from this movie as I did. Remember, just because it’s a bad film, doesn’t mean God can’t use it to his advantage.
Computer, cue some thematically appropriate music so we can head home.
[Please note all images in this post come from IMDb.]