[box cover]

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

He's new, he's mean, he's created from Godzilla's DNA … he's Mechagodzilla! One of the new wave of updated, "reimagined" Gojira flicks, 2002's Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla opens with a typhoon hitting the coast of Japan some 45 years after Godzilla's one-and-only attack. The 4,000-strong Anti-Megalosaurus Force (AMF) have done a dandy job of protecting Japan from monsters over the years — fending off attacks by Mothra and others — but when a brand-new Godzilla hits town, the AMF's tanks, troops, and state-of-the-art weapons are handily trounced. So, naturally, they develop a Super-Duper-Killer-Robot-Godzilla, dubbed "Kirya," combining DNA from the original, long-dead King of All Monsters with high-tech gadgetry to create a remote-controlled Botzilla that shoots something called an "absolute zero cannon." At first the plan works well, with Organic Godzilla proving no match for Mechagodzilla. But the new creation is created from 'zilla's DNA, and the monster's mighty yowl triggers a primal instinct in the 'bot — so now Godzilla and Mechagodzilla are both on the rampage, as the scientists scramble to reprogram the monster they created. Beginning strong, with a classic kick-ass Godzilla-rising-from-the-sea opener, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is a solid entry in the pantheon of Godzilla flicks — terrifically presented background exposition, solid secondary plotting, and terrific monster battles with plenty of floods, fire, missiles, and great Godzilla screams. Unfortunately, Godzilla himself is occasionally less than impressive in this outing — sometimes the monster just seems to stand in one place while action takes place around him, and a redesign has given him an oddly foreshortened head — but overall, the film is a great reminder of what was so swell about the original films, while offering a little more meat in the plot and slightly (but only slightly, thank goodness) better special effects. Columbia TriStar's bare-bones DVD offers a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with bright, clean Dolby Digital 5.1 audio in the original Japanese or an English dub, with optional English or French subtitles. Trailers, keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor



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