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Awfully Good: Godzilla: Final Wars

May. 14, 2014by: Jason Adams

I made a vow to myself in 1998 to never watch Roland Emmerich's GODZILLA. I intend to keep that promise, so please enjoy this much more entertaining entry in the man-in-suit franchise…

Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)

Director: Ryûhei Kitamura
Stars: Masahiro Matsuoka, Rei Kikukawa, Don Frye

When aliens attack earth using giant kaiju as weapons (oh c'mon, that's not fair!), the only thing that can save the world—another big ass monster.

The best way to describe GODZILLA: FINAL WARS is a classic Toho movie crossed with an insane Japanese anime adaptation. Released as part of the kaiju king's 50th anniversary in 2004, this truly feels like a greatest hits compilation. There are cameos from former series stars, tons of franchise favorites (from Baby Godzilla to tiny twin Mothra fangirls Shobijin ), and of course the return of some of Godzilla's biggest foes. All this is shoehorned in to some crazed story featuring mutants, aliens and physics-defying action. The results are both completely bonkers and highly entertaining, avoiding any dull moments despite crossing the two-hour mark.


Well, at least three out of four people like the new Batman suit.

In 2044, decades after Godzilla has been frozen in Antarctic ice, giant monsters return and begin methodically destroying Earth's biggest cities once again. These include cranky armadillo Anguirus, winged serpent Rodan, puppy dog monster King Caesar, big ass spider Kumonga, rock lobster Ebirah and Roland Emmerich's 1998 CGI nightmare (renamed "Zilla" here). Luckily, we now employ an army of human and mutant super soldiers called Earth Defense Force. (The entire mutant subplot, which eventually devolves in to them being inbred aliens, makes little to no sense, FYI.) The movie then becomes "indestructible mutants with giant guns fighting skyscraper-sized monsters" for 30 minutes. And there was much rejoicing.


Who knew the "M" in M. Bison stood for Mario?

Eventually, the kaiju are destroyed and the world is saved by a random alien race called Xiliens, who are welcomed by Earth's leaders with open arms at the promise of intergalactic peace. However, the EDF knows something smells fishier than Godzilla's atomic breath, and after finding a mummified mutant monster that’s part cyborg and part human (?!), they realize the politicians have been body snatched, ET-style. Now the only person they can trust to lead them is… Super Mario. No, really. This guy looks more like the Nintendo character than Bob Hoskins on his best day. (In fact, all other characters are completely unmemorable and interchangeable. And I don't mean that in an 'all Asians look alike' way either.) So Mario does the natural thing—walks in to a live TV broadcast of the United Nations and throws a dead alien carcass at the Secretary General's feet. Somehow this exposes the aliens' plan to use humans as cattle for food and they declare all out-war on the entire planet. Now the film turns in to "humans and mutant super soldiers vs. technologically advanced aliens who control kaiju." And there's only one way to succeed: awaken Godzilla!


The enduring legacy of The Jamie Kennedy Experiment knows no cultural boundaries.

The rest of the movie thus features the title chracter fighting his way through all the monsters in his little black book in a series of WWE-style matches full of electrocutions, decapitations, and lizards dropping bows. There may also be a giant robot that shoots razors out of his nipples. The best part of the movie has to be when real Godzilla comes face-to-face with Emmerich's Godzilla In Name Only. It's absolutely hilarious how quickly and easily the G-man destroys his failed American counterpart. (The fact that a horrible SUM 41 song plays in the background makes it even more special.) Even the bad guy who unleashed GINO calls him a Tuna Head.


"I know kung fu!"

On the non-monster side, the hero mutant guy pretty much turns in to Neo from THE MATRIX at the end, realizing his One-ness and growing all-powerful. Hell, he even looks like Keanu Reeves. (The bad guy guy looks like Japanese Billy Zane for some reason.) Super Mario, meanwhile, puts down his intergalactic katana and decides to fistfight an alien to prove he's a real man. He then gleefully slaps a woman and calls her sweetheart. All this in time for Godzilla to save the day by creating the world's largest fireball, which takes up an entire quarter of the Earth when seen from space.


"I enjoy our time together!"

Needless to say, if you were bothered by the amount of collateral damage in MAN OF STEEL, avert your eyes because I'm pretty sure the aliens and monsters wipe out 97% of the planet's population. Obviously, the tone is less realistic, or at least more schizophrenic. With quick cuts and spinning cameras, big chunks of FINAL WARS feel like Michael Bay directing a Man In Suit movie while aping the success of THE MATRIX. There's plenty of random, unnecessary superhuman fighting, as well as bullet time, giant aerial battles and kung fu motorcycle duels—all of which has zero to do with the Godzilla franchise. The wacky subplot between Baby Godzilla, a young boy and his crotchety old grandfather almost seems like a relief from all the ADD action.


"Stay away from us Matthew Broderick!"

I will give credit to the script for how completely unapologetic it is. There are so many hilarious human lines in response to the action like "Damn that armadillo!" or "We're gonna fry that lobster!" Or my favorite: a guy climbs atop the giant crustacean and is about to blow its head off, which he justifies by saying "Sorry, I'm a vegetarian." Then there are the multiple philosophical speeches about the downfall of humanity and why Godzilla will never be able to forgive society for their wrongs. (This culminates in the end when Baby Godzilla and the little boy throw themselves between the warring monster and the human resistance, teaching both sides a 30-second lesson about peace.)


"Dinner time!"

And a special Awfully Good Award for Overacting goes to the guy who plays the villainous Xilian Regulator, who gives one of the hammiest performances I've ever seen. His random temper tantrums, one-liners and sound effects are all amazing. At one point, he actually sums up the entire film for the audience: "Well now, let's enjoy the main event. The last chapter in the Godzilla saga!"


"J/K GUYS! I was feeding the dog dinner!"

Some truly unbelievable one-liners, reactions and moments of over-acting.

Godzilla destroys all monsters (including Emmerich's) and the humans engage in completely ridiculous fights and action sequences.

None of the monsters wear pants. Party Time!


Size does matter! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:
  • A monster is defeated
  • The villain screams or laughs like a madman
  • The camera spins for no reason
  • There's an unnecessary sound effect
  • Baby Godzilla is hilarious
  • Someone's mouth actually matches with the dubbed dialogue
Double shot if:
  • Roland Emmerich's Godzilla gets his ass kicked

Thanks to wonderful Australian Bede for suggesting this week's movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:43PM on 05/15/2014

I really liked this one

It was fun and had almost every other monster in it just like "Destroy All Monsters".

The funniest one has to be Godzilla vs Hedorah (Smog Monster)- That had the best theme song, disco dancing and Godzilla flying!
It was fun and had almost every other monster in it just like "Destroy All Monsters".

The funniest one has to be Godzilla vs Hedorah (Smog Monster)- That had the best theme song, disco dancing and Godzilla flying!
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10:52PM on 05/14/2014
i didn't like this one the first time i watched this back in 2004 then watched it again just last year and like it but i don't get the hate for this one
i didn't like this one the first time i watched this back in 2004 then watched it again just last year and like it but i don't get the hate for this one
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3:44PM on 05/14/2014
i love this one its insane
i love this one its insane
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1:59PM on 05/14/2014

I love this movie!

Yes, I own it. I have 21 Godzilla films, still need the other 8. I love the NYC scene. That was just so ridiculous and hilarious!!
Yes, I own it. I have 21 Godzilla films, still need the other 8. I love the NYC scene. That was just so ridiculous and hilarious!!
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1:51PM on 05/14/2014
I remember renting this on Netflix because I'm a huge Ryuhei Kitamura fan and this was one of the films on my list of his to watch. It's good, camp fun. I've never been a massive Godzilla fan, so I've only seen a couple of the movies (including the original), but I enjoyed the campiness of this one. If there's one thing that Kitamura knows how to do well, it's campy action/horror.
I remember renting this on Netflix because I'm a huge Ryuhei Kitamura fan and this was one of the films on my list of his to watch. It's good, camp fun. I've never been a massive Godzilla fan, so I've only seen a couple of the movies (including the original), but I enjoyed the campiness of this one. If there's one thing that Kitamura knows how to do well, it's campy action/horror.
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12:22PM on 05/14/2014
Hard to believe this was made as recently as ten years ago. And the Japanese say the Americans took Godzilla's dignity away.
Hard to believe this was made as recently as ten years ago. And the Japanese say the Americans took Godzilla's dignity away.
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12:17PM on 05/14/2014
What go me was the rogue planet (gorath from and older toho flic.) first it's claimed to be real, then found to be a hoax by the aliens, then suddenly it becomes real and Godzilla destroy's it! I was really hoping for megalon and jet jaguar to show up in it!
What go me was the rogue planet (gorath from and older toho flic.) first it's claimed to be real, then found to be a hoax by the aliens, then suddenly it becomes real and Godzilla destroy's it! I was really hoping for megalon and jet jaguar to show up in it!
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11:23AM on 05/14/2014
Hahaha, that guy really looks like Keanu Reeves. And I thought the "Joking Guys" caption would be "Let's Gang Nam Style!".
Hahaha, that guy really looks like Keanu Reeves. And I thought the "Joking Guys" caption would be "Let's Gang Nam Style!".
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10:35AM on 05/14/2014
I totally love this movie for its cheesiness. It's also weird that re-watching the movie today makes you realize that this is most likely the movie that Pacific Rim draws most of its inspiration from.
I totally love this movie for its cheesiness. It's also weird that re-watching the movie today makes you realize that this is most likely the movie that Pacific Rim draws most of its inspiration from.
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10:34AM on 05/14/2014

Awfully Good Indeed.....

I actually own this one. It's brutally silly, but there are true moments of fun. My only complaint about the film is the duration of the monster fights. They are simply too short to be any good. I would have loved to have seen 15 minutes less of he dumb human/mutant plot and 15 minutes more of fun monster fighting.

And yeah, Godzilla blowing up the incoming asteroid/planet was just awful......no good.
I actually own this one. It's brutally silly, but there are true moments of fun. My only complaint about the film is the duration of the monster fights. They are simply too short to be any good. I would have loved to have seen 15 minutes less of he dumb human/mutant plot and 15 minutes more of fun monster fighting.

And yeah, Godzilla blowing up the incoming asteroid/planet was just awful......no good.
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