Also known as: Léon (original title), The Professional (alternative title) Release Date: September 14th, 1994 (France, Mexico) Directed by: Luc Besson Written by: Luc Besson Music by: Eric Serra Cast: Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman, Danny Aiello, Michael Badalucco
Gaumont, Les Films du Dauphin, Columbia Pictures, 110 Minutes
“I don’t wanna lose you, Léon.” – Matilda, “You’re not going to lose me. You’ve given me a taste for life. I wanna be happy. Sleep in a bed, have roots. And you’ll never be alone again, Matilda. Please, go now, baby, go. Calm down, I’ll meet you at Tony’s in an hour, I love you, now go, go now.” – Léon
While I need to rewatch The Fifth Element in the very near future because I surprisingly haven’t reviewed it yet, I’d have to say that Léon: The Professional is probably my favorite Luc Besson movie.
I first saw this when it came out to rent on VHS and upon seeing it, I had wished that I actually got to experience it on the big screen.
The four main actors in this are phenomenal. Jean Reno is perfectly cast and this is still the greatest thing that I’ve seen him do. Natalie Portman proved, at a very young age, that she had what it took to carve out a pretty stellar career, which she has. Gary Oldman absolutely shined as the movie’s antagonist and came across as a legitimately intimidating, psychotic, piece of shit. Danny Aiello wasn’t in the picture for more than a few scenes but he came across as the real veteran, making those who shared scenes with him even better. I especially liked the exchange between Aiello and Portman.
What’s really odd for me, at least, is that I’ve never been a big Portman fan and I think a lot of that stems from what felt like disinterest in some of the roles she’s played like in the Star Wars and Thor movies she’s done. But here, she is impressive and fully displayed her talent and how good she can be when she cares about the material she has to work with.
This is a violent but tender movie and the fact that it is able to balance the two things so perfectly is what makes it really damn good.
Additionally, the hitman stuff comes across as authentic and genuine. I love the opening of the movie, which shows you how great Léon is at his job. The action is intense and, at times, over the top and stylized for a greater cinematic effect but everything in the movie still feels real and plausible.
I also like the coming of age stuff and how Matilda is entering her teen years, having to deal with that, while also having to survive her family being murdered and essentially being on the run from a very dangerous madman with a police force at his disposal.
There are just a lot of layers to this movie but everything comes together so wonderfully. The fact that it’s so well acted and meticulously directed also makes it a film worthy of its strong cult status.
Release Date: September 10th, 1994 (Toronto International Film Festival) Directed by: Frank Darabont Written by: Frank Darabont Based on:Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King Music by: Thomas Newman Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, James Whitmore, Mark Rolston, Jeffrey DeMunn, Ned Bellamy, Don McManus
Castle Rock Entertainment, 142 Minutes
“[to Red] I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dying.” – Andy Dufresne
I’ll admit that I had put off reviewing this for quite awhile. The reason being is that it’s just too good. In fact, it’s almost always ranked as the number one movie of all-time, according to the public, on IMDb. Every now and then The Godfather edges it out but usually just for a little moment in time.
Honestly, I can’t really dispute it being number one, even if it isn’t my favorite movie. It’s definitely high up on my list but I also tend to like a lot of things that aren’t what normal people and critics would consider great. And my favorite films are ones I like to watch a lot. The Shawshank Redemption isn’t a film that I want to watch a lot. It’s something I have to savor about once per decade because none of us are really worthy of its greatness and I don’t see it as a motion picture, as much as I see it as a spiritual experience. It transcends its medium, fully, and it shows us how great art can be and how it can speak to us on a deeper level than we can actually quantify or truly understand.
Am I overselling it for those who haven’t seen it? Absolutely not. This movie doesn’t have a single flaw. I really looked for one this time around, even against my better judgment, as I didn’t want to nitpick it, as it doesn’t deserve to be ripped apart and scrutinized. It deserves to be exactly what it is.
As a real lover of cinema but an atheist, I guess this is as close as I can get to feeling like God is living inside of me. And while this review may come across as cheesy and ridiculous to some, I honestly don’t know how anyone can watch this film and not be profoundly touched by it.
The thing is, reviewing The Shawshank Redemption is really hard because what the hell can anyone say about it other than it is legitimately perfect and doesn’t have a single flaw?
It’s fabulously directed, superbly written, stupendously acted, has incredible cinematography, features an absolutely amazing score, is perfectly paced and it makes you feel every single scene on a visceral level, causing you to look inside yourself and search for your own purpose and sense of real freedom in a world that often times can feel dark, bleak and hopeless.
The film shows you that there is more out there and it gives you hope that you can obtain it.
Release Date: August 26th, 1994 Directed by: Oliver Stone Written by: Quentin Tarantino, Richard Rutowski, Oliver Stone, David Veloz Music by: various Cast: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield, Edie McClurg, Russell Means, Evan Handler, Balthazar Getty, Steven Wright, Marshall Bell, O-Lan Jones, Mark Harmon (uncredited), Adrien Brody (uncredited), Arliss Howard (uncredited), Ashley Judd (Director’s Cut), Rachel Ticotin (Director’s Cut), Denis Leary (Director’s Cut), Bret Hart (Director’s Cut)
Alcor Films, New Regency Productions, Warner Bros., 118 Minutes (theatrical), 122 minutes (Director’s Cut)
“Once upon a time, a woman was picking up firewood. She came upon a poisonous snake frozen in the snow. She took the snake home and nursed it back to health. One day the snake bit her on the cheek. As she lay dying, she asked the snake, “Why have you done this to me?” And the snake answered, “Look, bitch, you knew I was a snake.”” – Old Indian
Quentin Tarantino wrote the script for this film and sold it just like he sold the script for True Romance. At the time, he wasn’t an established filmmaker and he was initially trying to get money to make Reservoir Dogs. That money eventually came from a producer and he was able to obtain more for that film than just what he had selling some scripts for the bare minimum.
However, once this movie came out, Tarantino disowned it for various reasons and it’s been a pretty sore subject for him, ever since.
I’m not a big fan of it either, even though the vast majority of my friends in 1994 (and many today) seem to love this motion picture. Since I hadn’t watched it in at least fifteen years, I wanted to revisit it and try to look at it as objectively as possible, since I only remembered a few key scenes.
Overall, this isn’t a bad movie but it’s certainly not as good as many people have made it out to be. It’s kind of a mess, narratively. It has a broken, Tourette’s-like pace and it relies so much on wacky visuals that it looks more like a mish-mash of unrelated ’90s music videos trying to tell a coherent story.
I guess you could look at the film as being from the point-of-view of the two insane characters it features. So things may look wacky to them but that doesn’t mean that it can just be dismissed if it has more of a negative impact on the total package than a positive one.
I take Tarantino’s side in regards to him hating the sequence with Rodney Dangerfield. In that sequence, the movie turns into a sitcom with a laugh track. But it deals with the fact that Dangerfield’s character rapes his own daughter. It’s not edgy or cool, it’s actually quite distasteful and I say that as a guy that has loved exploitation movies since he was a kid. I know that it’s supposed to be unsettling but it makes the movie jump the shark and it never really comes back. Sadly, for the picture, this happens really early on.
The only sequence in the movie that I really liked was the one with the Native American. I also think it’s the most important scene in the film and ultimately, it leads to their arrest, after betraying the only figure in the story that potentially could’ve helped save them from themselves.
The film is really split into two very different hours. The first sees the characters meet, get married, go on a spree of murderous violence and come to the Native American that could’ve possibly given them a different path to walk in life. The second, sees these two in prison, now beloved by the violence-hungry media and with millions of fans that see them as some sort of fucked up folk heroes. With that, the television journalist that interviews them for his program, has a severely unhealthy obsession with them and ultimately joins their cause when a prison riot starts.
The movie was trying to paint a picture about the state of America and the media at the time. It was trying to show the media and the public’s obsession with violence and love of terrible people. While this is possibly true to some degree, the picture is so over the top with it that it’s not remotely believable. I grew up in this time, I was the most impressionable then too. I was a ’90s edge lord trying to say and do edgy, stupid shit because it’s what we did back then. And while many were fascinated by serial killers and violent crime, I still can’t believe that these characters would’ve been worshipped by millions. Sure, I could see some shitheads embracing them like the shitheads that embraced the Columbine shooters a few years later. However, these type of people are a very, very small minority in society and don’t necessarily reflect a widespread problem.
I guess I can look at the movie as more of a warning against these things because nothing in this film is presented in a way that should be taken literally. However, I think that Oliver Stone’s impression of the human race was extremely flawed and he was pretty fucking paranoid. In fact, by making this film, he contributed to that very problem, as it was something that the Columbine shooters looked at for inspiration. I’m not blaming Stone, though, as there’s no way he could’ve known this and he’s not responsible for the acts of other people.
Also, I’m not sure how much of this paranoia was due to Tarantino’s original story or how Stone interpreted it and pushed the envelope. But based off of how Tarantino felt about the finished film and specifically about the incestuous rape stuff, I’d have to lean towards Stone on this one.
Getting back to the television journalist, played by Robert Downey Jr., the moment that he so quickly flipped his switch to bonkers and joined the murderous duo in their prison escape, I mentally checked out, completely.
From that point on, it was hard to reel my brain back in and it jumped the shark a second time and even higher than the first. There should be a term for that. Maybe I’ll invent a new one in honor of Downey Jr.’s character and say they “pulled a Wayne Gale.”
Yeah, that probably won’t stick but whatever.
Anyway, I do think that the movie really is superbly acted from top-to-bottom. One person that I haven’t mentioned yet that really turned it up to eleven was Tommy Lee Jones. Fuck, he was intense in this movie and I believed his character, every step of the way. What a performance, man.
And with that, I have to tip my hat to Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Means, Tom Sizemore and even Rodney Dangerfield, who was exceptional in a sequence that was severely off-putting and cringe.
In the end, it’s the acting that really salvages the picture.
Release Date: June 17th, 1994 Directed by: Mike Nichols Written by: Jim Harrison, Wesley Strick Music by: Ennio Morricone Cast: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Kate Nelligan, Richard Jenkins, Christopher Plummer, Eileen Atkins, David Hyde Pierce, Ron Rifkin, Prunella Scales, David Schwimmer, Allison Janney
Columbia Pictures, 125 Minutes
“I’ve never loved anybody this way. Never looked at a woman and thought, if civilization fails, if the world ends, I’ll still understand what God meant.” – Will Randall
Back when this came out, I initially wanted to see it. However, everyone that did really trashed it and since I was still a young teen and my time and funds were limited, I passed on it. But over the years, I did wonder why people seemed to dislike it so much.
I saw it streaming on one of my many services, so I figured that I’d check it out to see what people took issue with. However, I really couldn’t find anything glaringly negative and thought that Wolf was rather good. And I guess the opinion of the public has changed over the years, at it seems to be viewed fairly favorably these days.
I mean, how bad could a film be with this cast?
You’ve got Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer and James Spader and all three give good performances. As does the talented supporting cast that includes Christopher Plummer, Richard Jenkins, Prunella Scales and Ron Rifkin. You’ve also got smaller roles for up and coming actors like David Schwimmer, David Hyde Pierce and Allison Janney. Between all of them, there isn’t a weak link in the bunch.
Plus, this is a werewolf movie! And not just that, it is a werewolf movie featuring Jack f’n Nicholson and James f’n Spader as feuding werewolves! Granted, they start as friends but as the story rolls on, you learn that the young, opportunistic Spader is willing to crush his friends for his own personal benefit. James Spader has always made a great bad guy and it’s kind of refreshing seeing Jack Nicholson playing a very good, moral character that is victimized by his own power hungry protégé.
Speaking of werewolves, the practical special effects here are handled by Rick Baker, who is the greatest werewolf effects guy of his generation after working on both An American Werewolf In London, as well as the original Howling. He also crafted effects for other werewolf related projects like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video and the Fox television show Werewolf, which scared the bejesus out of me when I was too young to watch it.
Baker’s effects in this are top notch and he really takes the best of what he’s learned from his other werewolf projects and utilizes them to great effect, here.
I also liked the story, as it focuses on the rivalry of two literal alpha dogs in the corporate world. However, even the romance stuff was pretty decent. The love story isn’t by any means the greatest ever told onscreen but Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer, despite their age difference, felt like they had a natural connection and it just works.
Now I thought the ending was a bit strange but it doesn’t wreck the film. The actual finale was pretty well done but the the closing moments, after the awesome werewolf fight, were presented oddly. It’s like this went from a pretty straightforward werewolf movie to something overly stylized and artistic in it’s closing sequence. It just felt weird and out of place and I audibly muttered, “Huh?”
Release Date: January, 1994 (Sundance) Directed by: Steve James Written by: Steve James, Frederick Marx Music by: Ben Sidran Cast: William Gates, Arthur Agee, various
KTCA Minneapolis, Kartemquin Films, Fine Line Features, 170 Minutes
“That’s why when somebody say, “when you get to the NBA, don’t forget about me”, and that stuff. Well, I should’ve said to them, “if I don’t make it, don’t you forget about me.”” – William Gates
Hoop Dreams was filmed over years, following two Chicago area high school basketball players that were trying to achieve their dream of someday playing in the NBA.
This was also pretty influential on how sports documentaries were made and presented going forward. This had a very direct, intimate approach and the time that it took to film these boys’ lives is pretty remarkable and impressive. If anything, the filmmakers deserved an award just for their dedication on this story.
It’s a very long documentary, however, and with that, it drags in some points. Although, they had to take hundreds of hours of footage over four years and edit it down to just under three hours. Had this been made today, it probably would’ve been released as a documentary miniseries with multiple episodes.
I like the film quite a bit, though, even if I hadn’t seen it since the ’90s. It’s a passionate human story that has its fair share of heartbreak, success and perseverance.
Also known as: Black Mask (working title) Release Date: May 21st, 1994 (Cannes) Directed by: Quentin Tarantino Written by: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avery Music by: various Cast: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken, Bruce Willis, Phil LaMarr, Frank Whaley, Joseph Pilato, Steve Buscemi, Kathy Griffin, Alexis Arquette, Quentin Tarantino, Julia Sweeney, Lawrence Bender
Jersey Films, A Band Apart, Miramax, 154 Minutes, 178 Minutes (original cut)
“What now? Let me tell you what now. I’ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin’ niggers, who’ll go to work on the homes here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin’, hillbilly boy? I ain’t through with you by a damn sight. I’ma get medieval on your ass.” – Marsellus
Where the success of Reservoir Dogs opened the doors of Hollywood to Quentin Tarantino, it was Pulp Fiction, only his second film, that took him mainstream and made him one of the hottest, young directors of the ’90s. With that, he was able to make movies the way that he wanted with minimal interference from the studio system and he’s still considered an absolute maestro today.
From 1994 till about ten or so years ago, this was a picture I watched at least once per year. Hell, in the ’90s, I probably watched this, Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown almost monthly. I had them on VHS until the tapes either snapped or got warped to shit.
However, it’s now been several years since I’ve watched this. At least five, as that’s about how long it’s been since I first started Talking Pulp under its original name, Cinespiria. Seeing this again, though, was like coming home after a really, really long absence.
Everything about this film still feels right and man, it’s aged tremendously well and makes me yearn for a time where 99 percent of the films coming out weren’t dog shit.
Pulp Fiction is also a movie that birthed its own subgenre of of crime film. Many imitators emerged and dialogue in film changed around the mid-’90s due to this picture and Reservoir Dogs’ influence. For a film to really have that sort of impact on the entire American film industry is astounding but this did and dialogue is one of those things that really drives Tarantino’s work and many directors that followed and were inspired by it, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
The film is sort of an anthology but not fully. It has multiple stories going on but there is so much overlap with common characters that I can’t see it as a true anthology. It’s also told out of sequence, which isn’t a bad thing but I do remember the older generation being confused by the story when the movie came out. But ultimately, I like that there are these multiple plot threads, all of them very good, and none of them really being the main story.
Tarantino also pulled the very best performances out of his cast. This is incredibly well acted, so much so, that it revitalized John Travolta’s crumbling career and established Samuel Jackson as a long-term mainstay in Hollywood. Hell, that guy has been in so many damn pictures since Pulp Fiction, I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to reviewing them all and I review movies, sometimes multiple, daily.
The real breakout star for me in this movie was Uma Thurman, as she was able to show how skilled of an actress she is and thus, cemented herself as one of the top leading ladies of the ’90s and beyond.
The film also did great things for Ving Rhames’ career. He had some notable roles before this but it really opened a lot of doors for him too. Had he not done this film, he might not have gotten to be a big part of the Mission: Impossible film franchise alongside Tom Cruise and later, Simon Pegg.
Pulp Fiction is just a great film and one of the best of the ’90s, hands down. For Tarantino’s work, this along with the Kill Bill films are my favorites. It’s hard to choose between them but then again, the man’s worst work is still lightyears ahead of most directors’ best. He doesn’t have a bad movie, even if some of them don’t resonate for me on the same level as Pulp Fiction.
Anyway, you’ve probably already seen this movie and love it, so I’m not stating much of what you don’t already know. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m not sure what sort of rock you live under and if you have seen it and don’t love it, you need to see a veterinarian because you’re not human.
Rating: 9.5/10 Pairs well with: Quentin Tarantino’s other crime films.
Original Run: November 19th, 1994 – January 31st, 1998 Created by: John Semper, Bob Richardson, Avi Arad, Stan Lee Directed by: Bob Richardson Written by: John Semper, various Based on:Spider-Man by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko Music by: Kussa Mahchi, Jeremy Sweet, Shuki Levy, Joe Perry, Shuki Levy, Kussa Mahchi, Udi Harpaz Cast: Christopher Daniel Barnes, Ed Asner, Jennifer Hale, Roscoe Lee Brown, Mark Hamill, Hank Azaria, Joseph Campanella, Martin Landau, Richard Moll, Don Stark, Dawnn Lewis, Majel Barrett, David Warner, Earl Boen
New World Entertainment Films, Genesis Entertainment, Marvel Enterprises, Fox, 65 Episodes, 23 Minutes (per episode)
After the success of the early ’90s X-Men cartoon on Fox, it was natural for the network to ask for more Marvel properties to adapt for their Saturday morning audience. The Spider-Man series was the longest running and most successful of these animated spinoffs.
While the X-Men show still stands as my favorite of these animated Marvel series, Spider-Man is a very, very close second and nearly as good.
The stories are generally well written and even if they have to take some liberties and alter the plots from the comics. This was due to time constraints and by trying to wedge in the debut of Venom really early in the series, which changes the overall timeline of events in Spider-Man’s life, greatly. Also, the showrunners probably wanted to get as many villains added into the mix, early on, so that each new episode felt fresh.
Spider-Man has a massive rogues gallery and this show utilized the core villains really damn well.
The tone of the cartoon is pretty perfect. Sure, there are cheesy and hokey bits in every episode because this is a kid’s cartoon but it does stay pretty true to the tone and style of the source material. Most importantly, it’s true to the characters and the writers obviously knew the Spider-Man mythos well.
I love this show and it’s still fun to have minimarathons of episodes. Honestly, to me, it’s one of the highlights of Disney+.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with: the other animated Marvel television series from the ’90s.
Also known as: Double Dragon: The Movie (alternative title) Release Date: November 4th, 1994 Directed by: James Yukich (as James Nickson) Written by: Paul Dini, Neal Shusterman, Michael Davis, Peter Gould Based on:Double Dragon by Technos Japan Music by: Jay Ferguson, Tolga Katas Cast: Robert Patrick, Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf, Julia Nickson, Alyssa Milano, Leon Russom, Kristina Wagner, George Hamilton, Vanna White, Andy Dick, Cory Milano, Al Leong, Jeff Imada
Greenleaf Productions, Imperial Entertainment, Les Films du Scarabée, 96 Minutes
“I just want total domination of one major American City! Is that too much to ask for? Is it? Is it? Huh?” – Guisman
So out of all the “terrible” video game movies of the ’90s, this is one I hadn’t seen until now. While I loved the Double Dragon video game franchise, I never wanted to see this after the trailer for it dropped back in 1994. It looked horrendously bad, poorly adapted and like a hokey, steaming pile of shit.
That being said, I did enjoy the hell out of this even if it’s a pretty shitty movie. I know that I would’ve hated it when it was current, however. Especially, because I loved the tone of the Double Dragon games and in that regard, this didn’t just miss the mark, it wasn’t even aiming in the first place.
The film is bad from top-to-bottom but some of the big action sequences are actually kind of impressive in regards to how well this made the most of a moderate budget. It was able to give us a cool boat chase scene with good pyrotechnics and action. Plus, some of the sets, as corny as they are, were fairly large and well designed for the bizarre world that this film takes place in.
Sadly, the special effects took somewhat of a budgetary hit in the poor use of obvious matte paintings and the giant rubber suit the Abobo actor was forced to wear.
Additionally, the acting is pretty damn bad but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy how over-the-top and hammy Robert Patrick was in his role as the villain.
To put it bluntly, this is a bad movie but it’s weird as fuck. I really enjoy weird movies and because of that, I liked this. That doesn’t mean that I’ll ever watch it again or give it a positive rating but I’ve enjoyed other films that were far worse than this.
Granted, I would watch a RiffTrax version of this movie if one exists.
Rating: 4.5/10 Pairs well with: other ’90s video game film adaptations.
Release Date: April 8th, 1994 Directed by: Rodman Flender Written by: Turi Meyer, Al Septien Based on: characters by Mark Jones Music by: Jonathan Elias Cast: Warwick Davis, Charlie Heath, Shevonne Durkin, Sandy Baron, Kimmy Robertson, Clint Howard, Tony Cox, Michael McDonald
Planet Productions, Trimark Pictures, 85 Minutes
“Scream as you may! Scream as you might! If you try to escape, you’ll be dead on this night.” – Leprechaun
As I said in my review of the first Leprechaun movie, this is a series that actually increased in quality as it went on. Granted, it did run out of steam after the first three or four movies but this chapter in the series is slightly better than its predecessor.
You don’t really get an explanation on how the Leprechaun survived the first film but also, you never really knew if he died in that one or just got severely fucked up.
Who cares, though, as these movies use magic to do just about anything for the sake of convenience. Like its predecessor, the Leprechaun’s powers aren’t clearly defined and he can pretty much do whatever he wants. So don’t try to analyze the plots of these films or the title character’s choices with any sort of logic.
In this chapter, the Leprechaun shows up in Los Angeles to claim his bride, after cursing the family of an Irishman who outwitted him a thousand years earlier. None of that really matters, anyway. Just know that the Leprechaun wants the movie’s pretty teen girl and her doofus boyfriend wants to protect her.
There are some pretty decent kills in this film but the gore factor should’ve been kicked up a bit. I think the real reason why it wasn’t had more to due with budgetary reasons than anything else. It would’ve been cool seeing the lawnmower kiss of death kill actually happen onscreen and not in silhouette. Also, the pot of gold in the belly kill should have been much more gruesome.
Anyway, Warwick Davis saves this picture from complete mediocrity. He’s much more comfortable in the role and he really turns up the volume in this one. There are also some really good one-liners.
In the end, this is far from my favorite horror franchise but I still enjoy these movies regardless of their faults. However, without Warwick Davis, these films would be just as forgettable and trash as The Wishmaster movies.
Rating: 5.5/10 Pairs well with: the other Leprechaun movies starring Warwick Davis.
Release Date: December 10th, 1994 (Japan) Directed by: Kensho Yamashita Written by: Hiroshi Kashiwabara Music by: Takayuki Hattori Cast: Megumi Odaka, Jun Hashizume, Zenkichi Yoneyama, Akira Emoto, Towako Yoshikawa, Kenji Sahara
Toho Co. Ltd., 108 Minutes
“Godzilla! I still have something to settle with you!” – Lt. Kiyoshi Sato
This was the second to last of the Heisei era Godzilla films and while they tried to up the ante and get really creative, it falls just short of the film before it: Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
The story picks up the plot threads about Godzilla Junior and the psychic chick from the previous movie. However, it mainly focuses on the arrival of SpaceGodzilla, who basically looks like a larger Godzilla with giant crystals protruding from its body. The creature’s origin isn’t clear in the film but it’s been theorized that he was born from Godzilla’s cells that ended up in the cosmos by either Mothra or Biollante’s spores. It’s believed that the cells were mixed with black hole radiation.
Anyway, the film also features the return of Moguera to the big screen. While this giant robot was never used in a Godzilla film before, it first appeared in Toho’s 1957 film The Mysterians. Moguera had then been used in other Godzilla related media. In the US, the giant robot is probably most recognized as an early boss in the original Nintendo Godzilla game.
In this film, Moguera, now spelled M.O.G.U.E.R.A. is created from the left over tech and armor that was salvaged from Mechagodzilla after its defeat in the previous movie. Since Mechagodzilla was created from left over parts of Mecha-King Ghidorah, it ties all these films together. And frankly, I like that Toho was really trying to keep a tight continuity in this era unlike the Millennium era that followed a few years later.
For the most part, the movie is engaging and enjoyable and it fits well within this series. My only real complaint about it is that the effects feel like they’re a step down from the previous few films. Maybe it’s due to the weird environment changes, like seeing the kaiju battle in a city populated with giant crystals and smoke, as opposed to detailed metropolitan miniatures but it does feel like SpaceGodzilla was created just to find a way to cut the budget in regards to effects.
Also, the Godzilla Junior suit is hokey as hell after it looked really good in the previous chapter.
In the end, though, I really like the baddie and seeing Moguera officially enter Godzilla cinematic canon was cool. But really, this is just more of the same when compared to the rest of the Heisei pictures.
Rating: 7/10 Pairs well with: other Godzilla films from the Heisei era.
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