MIDNIGHT MOVIE: Godzilla Vs. Biollante


There are few Godzilla movies I haven't seen, and as such I'd like to think I understand the structure of a Godzilla movie by now. Basically, each film boils down to setting up some target, human or otherwise, for the ol' God Lizard to beat on for a while and, defeat or not, he just walks back into the sea by the end. Occasionally you might need to watch another movie to fully grasp whats going on or why the military hasn't fully blown the crap out of a city destroying super-monster, such as the last few titles in the Heisei era movies (which had a somewhat interconnected series of plots), but even with that in mind the general plot rarely changes. Though truly, what happens in-between is usually inconsequential for your enjoyment when it comes to the action -but there for those who do like a story and are more tolerant when it comes to the series shortcomings in terms of writing. What's truly interesting is that, at one point, there were so many Godzilla movies being made that Toho actually had a contest in which they asked fans to send in their stories. The winner, as you probably suspect, got to have a somewhat familiar version of their entry made into the next movie. This is how Godzilla Vs. Biollante came to be, and began a steady trend of 'evolving' monsters for Godzilla to battle.

As menacing as a giant flower can get.
Before you jump into this movie, realize that Toho did a lot of hopping around when it came to if
Godzilla was truly evil, good, or a neutral force. The first film saw him as a simple mutation that simply wrecked havoc, a metaphor for nuclear warfare but not truly evil. Sometimes he consciously attacked humanity, like with the earlier Heisei films, while at other times, he was a natural defender of earth and, thus, humanity was just in the way when it came to him walking about. One film even had him possessed by the spirits of the dead! Continuity is really not important here, and when Toho tried it, things just got more confusing - especially when the plots start to rely on the existence of multiple Godzilla monsters. Luckily, Godzilla Vs. Biollante really has little ties to any other movie - despite resting in the middle of the Heisei era. Oh, and the reason I mentioned all this is because, when it comes to this particular film, Godzilla is the villain whilst Biollante is technically the hero.

The film begins with a series of plants being developed by a scientist (name: Shiragami) alongside all of them, look fantastic - even when she's little more then a rose growing in the water.
his daughter in which are capable of growing in harsh conditions such as deserts, but mega-corporate baddies decide to try and take it for themselves - killing poor Shiragami's daughter. Naturally, he takes a side-ways approach to his grief and implants a rose with his dead daughters cells. This traps her soul, which is genuinely interesting as it adds a supernatural edge to the whole move; a wildly fresh approach compared to what came before. In-between there is something about developing a bacteria to repel, or kill, Godzilla but that only serves as a way to get Shiragami Godzilla's cells after the rose is almost destroyed during a tremor. Basically, he's a super-scientist and they need him, despite his work being with plants and not bacteria. Corporate baddies, from ultra-generic 'Bio-Major', come to take his research but the Godzilla cells make the plants mutate and they attack back. It takes off into the lake, and there you go, the film's newest monster is rather neatly setup. Plus the practical effects for Biollante,

Now at this point, Godzilla has been sunken into a volcano and had been worrying the JSDF (Japanese Self-Defense Forces). This has lead them to start developing the clearly-going-to-be-useless bacteria to defeat Godzilla. When Bio-Major can't get their super-plants from Shiragami, they plant bombs at the base of the volcano and threaten to awaken Godzilla if they don't get them. To me, it's probably the best use of Godzilla I've seen in one of these movies. Without treading old territory, it connects the human element properly - rather then having humanity sitting there and watching, always inexplicably explaining things they can't possibly have the information to know, like they do in almost every movie. Oddly, GvB does try to remedy just how the human element knows anything about Biolantte as well by including a psychic character that sort of connects with the creature at times. Clever.

Biollante absolutely wrecks Godzilla...
When Godzilla does make his appearance in this, he is straight up evil. He destroys just to destroy and the film tries desperately to make you root for it's semi-hero monster. But, this makes way for one of the film's biggest flaws: Biollante is too much of a force. She comes and she absolutely wrecks Godzilla -spitting acid, attacking him with tentacles, biting him to absorb is cells. It gets to the point that Godzilla literally decides to turn and run. Of course, Biollante's exit is just as confusing since she just poofs into spores for no apparent reason (they try to tie this into the plot to Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla but that movie's plot is... a review for another day). It's as if the creators realized what they were doing and went 'whoa, um, we might have gotten a little too excited about this new monster.' It also marks itself as one of the weaker endings during the Heisei era of films, as GvB proves to be very anti-climactic when it comes to monster battling. And, my god, they really tried to make Godzilla look less-then-bad in the final moments but failed miserably.

So, oddly, the human element is strong in this title - not something you usually get with these films. The effects are fantastic and the story is initially, but it has a lot of trouble finding a good place for it's monster battling and instead puts it secondary to the plot of evil corporations and super-plants. Regardless, it's one of the better Godzilla films and I highly recommend it for those who are fans or looking for a good B-movie fix.