Back in the early 90’s, a friend was talking about seeing a Godzilla movie that had a giant plant monster as his enemy. I was shocked when he told me this as I had never seen this movie before, nor could I find any record of it until one day my dad and I accidentally came across a copy of it for rent in a local video store back in 96. We rented it and I watched it the moment we got home and every day after until it had to be returned to the store (which back then, was only three days). It instantly become one of my favorite Godzilla movies and remains to be so to this very day.
The plot itself is an interesting one, as it starts off hours directly after the events of Godzilla’s attack in 1984. He has just been trapped within the volcano on Mount Mihara and a small battle ensues over some discovered Godzilla cells, which leads an Arabian assassin obtaining them from American soldiers who were stealing them from Japanese soldiers. Then we have an attack on a Saradia laboratory, killing the daughter of a Japanese scientist named Dr. Shiragami. The story then jumps to five years later where the battle over the Godzilla cells continues as Saradia and American agents continue their plans to obtain them. This leads to Godzilla being freed from Mount Mihara, the creation of a monster that is a cross breed between the DNA belonging to Godzilla, a plant, and Shiragami’s daughter The plot seems very confusing but is actually well executed. One of the things I love about the movie’s plot is how there are a lot of subplots that are connected to one another and they are all concluded by the end of the movie. Another great thing in here is how the Japanese are taking a proactive approach to Godzilla’s return as opposed to the reactive one they had in the previous movie. Granted, that has more to do with Godzilla had just shown up unexpectedly the last two times, but it still was nice to see that they had actually put counter measures into fruition with the expectation that he would return this time around.
Another unexpected piece from this movie is how the characters seem quite realistic as no one is safe. In the previous era of Godzilla movies, the main characters were always guaranteed to be alive at the end of the movie. Here, that is not the case. It does not matter if you are an American spy or one of the main characters who is part of the military, your death could happen at any given moment as it can to anyone else in the movie, which really adds to the threat of Godzilla’s existence. Speaking of the characters, this movie is full of them and they are all pretty awesome and have their own dilemmas. Shiragami is dealing with the death of his daughter, but at the same time does not care what he does to the world as long as it is in the name of science. Gondo is a soldier bored of his mind and wishes for something to happen to get him back into action. Kirishima is a scientist who believes that messing the DNA of creatures could cause negative repercussions in the future and hates it despite having no choice but to go along with the plan for the good of Japan. There is Kuroki, a military officer who shows great determination for his job along with coming up with intelligent plans to help better their defenses. Not to mention it is briefly commented that he is part of a newly created unit. Finally, there is Miki Saegusa, a young girl with the abilities of ESP that can detect Godzilla, who may not seem like much now, but she has the potential to becoming something greater later. Even the Saradia agent is a badass character despite not knowing a thing about him.
Of course, when you watch a Godzilla movie you want to see the monsters, and they are nothing short of being spectacular here. First off, this is by far one of the best Godzilla suits ever. Godzilla looks mean and nasty in this one. There is nothing at all to complain about this costume as it just screams terrifying. Not to mention the face and all of its motions appear down right incredible. Complimentary to Godzilla’s look are two different costumes to Biollante, one that resembles a flower and one that resembles what would happen if Godzilla and Swamp Thing somehow had a baby together. The flower version of Biollante is pretty stiff, but suits its purpose. The vines add something unique to the mix, but she pretty much just stands there doing nothing. On the other hand, the final version is just down right gorgeous. Like Godzilla, she looks monstrous and like a true threat to Godzilla’s health. There is so much detail in the design from the vined appendages to the amount of teeth found within her mouth. This suit is truly spectacular and is still the best original monster to come out of the Godzilla series after the Showa era. Toho outdid themselves in the effects department in this movie as there is a not a moment where the effects ever seem to take a dip in quality. The whole movie could have been done cheaply just to make Biollante look incredible, and yet, it did not seem like Toho did such a thing. Even the underwater scenes of the movie look good.
Overall, this movie is so well done, paced extremely well with some great characters and unexpected turns that I cannot give this anything lower than a 9/10. The only thing that the movie is missing is the horror of Godzilla being a walking nuclear weapon, but that hardly takes away from this movie. It is not only one of the best Godzilla movies ever, but may even be the best movie of the Heisei series.