This movie is almost as mixed a bag for me as "The Return of Godzilla."
To start off with the big criticisms, there's the whole time-travel thing, obviously.
To be so central to the plot, it's just a freaking disaster. Yes, it makes sense when explained by such a dedicated fan as Keith Aiken (whose efforts did increase my respect for the film), but watching the movie on one's own, it's incredibly difficult to make heads or tails of it. Of course, there are some pretty terrible effects, though I also find a good number of them to be quite impressive. The sequence with the Godzillasaurus killing the American soldiers is wretchedly executed, though I have to admit that the acting in said sequence always manages to get a hearty laugh or two out of me.
As far as the characters are concerned, while there's really nothing to them, I find them more tolerable than the majority of the characters in the other Heisei films. In this regard especially, it really helps to see this one in Japanese with subtitles, as the dubbing destroys anything about the picture that could make me want to watch it, much less care about the human characters. It's great seeing Yoshio Tsuchiya again, even though I think the material he's given doesn't give him nearly the opportunity to flex his acting muscles as it should.
While King Ghidorah is a letdown, Mecha-King Ghidorah fares noticeably better, and Godzilla looks just about as good as he's ever looked. I love
this suit. It's got a very powerful build and an expression that makes it look genuinely ferocious. The animatronic work is quite nice as well.
I know there are a lot of grievances about the score, and I'll be the first to admit being disappointed that there's very little new material, but even so, it's great to have Ifukube back. The new arrangements of his classic themes, while as always repetitive, give the movie a much grander feel than it would have had otherwise. Hearing the pieces rearranged and pumped up to such an epic level, especially Ghidorah's theme, gives the film quite a bit of weight (of which it could use every bit).
To conclude, I do find quite a few aspects of this film to be frustrating and embarrassing, but there's also a lot that draws me to it. I find myself watching this more often than most of the other movies from this period.