So, continuing my rewatch of the Millennium movies...
Coming after Godzilla 2000, this one felt...like a step backward, I suppose.
Okay, on the plus side Tezuka seems to be a fan of Alternate History, so as a fan of the genre I really enjoy the first 10 to 15 minutes when the movie lays out the backstory. It's a neat set-up and something that wasn't done before in a Godzilla movie before now.
Unfortunately, the main film isn't nearly as well-done or interesting as the set up.
Whereas I appreciated G2K's return to believability and realism, elements sorely lacking in the '90s movies, this movie is an immediate jump back to lazy fantasy and bland characters. Other than Tsujimori, the only characters even notable are Kudo - the (apparently brilliant) self-taught engineer they recruit; the chief scientist, and an absolutely annoying kid who is at least 75% responsible for everything that goes wrong. Tsujimori could be interesting, but instead she's just brooding and generally silent - we never really get a chance to look into her character, as the film is too busy focusing on the ridiculous black hole gun idea and the Meganula/Megaguirus. Kudo is given a little spotlight and is a bit fun to watch, but even though I suspect we're supposed to view Tsujimori and Kudo as a couple it NEVER happens and is never directly addressed beyond Kudo's apparent crush and one line at the end. Basically, this movie looks and feels a lot like it could have fit anywhere post-Mothra in the Heisei series, just replace the "G-Graspers" with "G-Force" and find a bit part to stick Miki Saegusa in.
On the monster front, things are a bit better. They recycled the suit from G2K, which I'm fine with because this is probably my favorite design. The FX never reach the heights of G2K's opening sequence, but are generally more consistent and never get as bad as G2K's worst. The film shies away from CGI almost entirely, which further reinforces the "pseudo Heisei Godzilla" impression. That being said, the miniatures are decent and about on par with the '90s movies (meaning, not bad but not as good as G2K or Heisei Gamera). Godzilla himself is actually a delight here: G2K introduced us to a new suit actor, Tsutomu Kitagawa, and while he was all right there it's here that he starts to really get comfortable with the character. Godzilla himself is probably the biggest redeeming factor for the movie.
Megaguirus on the other hand is...not quite so good. She looks cool, but she's 100% portrayed by a puppet...in a film made in 2000. She should have been CGI, or at least CGI-enhanced as Gyaos was in 1995/1999 or Mothra in GMK. Her wings are what really distracted me, flapping lazily when they should've been practically buzzing. The only time we get a real CGI effect for her is when she's supposed to be doing some sort of "super flapping" attack...which THEN is CG-enhanced to show her wings flapping at what, to me, seems like a more realistic speed! -_- The fight is a nice long one and has a pretty catchy music theme, but unfortunately isn't really all that memorable. This is probably due to it taking place in what amounted to a big open field - easier and cheaper to shoot, but interesting it is not. Probably the worst offense when it comes to Megaguirus is how pointless she seems. It's not a good sign when you could cut the opponent out of your versus movie and it wouldn't really change a thing. Despite having cool designs for Meganuron and the Meganula fliers, they barely get any screentime. You could have had a whole horror movie-esque subplot involving them killing people in Shibuya and the police/army having to hunt them down (just as in Rodan) but instead they're given one "horror" scene, a scene to establish the swarm, a scene where they attack Godzilla, and then are promptly written out of the movie. -_-
It's disappointing, because I feel a much better movie could have been made just with the elements at play here. Ah well.
Ultimately, I guess I'm Meh on this one. >_>
(Also, I'm going to side with Jelly and MFW: GxMG is a MUCH better movie than this!)