Cast and Crew: Ryuhuei Kitamura (Director, Co-Writer); Keith Emerson (Score Co-Writer); Kenji Sahara, Kumi Mizuno
What It’s About: Due to pollution and atomic tests, monsters began appearing in the early 1950s. The nations of the world united against this threat and created armed groups that defend against the monsters. The most powerful monster, Godzilla, was imprisoned in an icy grave years earlier by a flying/submersible/burrowing battle ship. Mutants begin appearing in the population, people who are faster, stronger, tougher and more prone to wire work than normal humans. They’ve grouped into a unit who fights the monsters, in an almost separate society. The latest flying/burrowing submarine battleship, the Gotengo, battles Manda, the giant serpent . The commander, Douglas Gordon (UFC champion Don Frye) beats Manda, but is placed in prison for breaking rules in the process. A fossilized monster is found and the M-Facility Soldier Shin’ichi Ozaki (Masahiro Matsuoka) is assigned to protect UN molecular biologist Miyuki Otonashi (Rei Kikukawa). Meanwhile, UN Secretary Daigo (Akira Takarada), disappears on a flight to New York and monsters begin attacking all over the world. The mutant soldiers fight off Ebirah, and aliens, the Xilieans, appear and suck all the monsters up into their ships. They explain that planet Gorath is going to strike the Earth, but they will help us. Naturally they don’t mean it, naturally our heroes must foil them, and naturally Godzilla fights every other monster that appears (Ebirah, Hedorah, King Caesar, Rodan, Gigan, Monster X, Kaiser Ghidorah, Kamikuras, Spigas, Anguias) excepting Minya and Mothra. Just about every Godzilla film made gets a reference or two, along with many other Toho Kaiju films. Many of the monsters that don’t appear in the actual film (Gahilah, Baragon, Varan, Titanosaurus, Mechagodzilla, the 90s and 00s monsters) appear in the stock footage at the beginning of the film.
Why Watch it Today?: We’re doing Godzilla movies the rest of the week in honor of Friday’s premier of the latest Godzilla movie. Final Wars was the last Godzilla movie made, and the last one I saw in a theater. Fans were pretty divided on this one; some felt it was too hyperactive, spent too much time referencing the past and ripping off recent American hits (chiefly X-Men and The Matrix) but if you don’t mind that it is very, very silly, Final Wars is a fun, action filled tribute to the Godzilla film series.