Masaaki Tezuka

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000, Tezuka Masaaki)

To say Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is good for a while might be a stretch, but it’s definitely okay for a while. It’s a Godzilla movie with a lot of CG, whether it’s the giant monster itself swimming or the millions of prehistoric dragonflies out to sting him. Director Masaaki tries hard to integrate various effects styles, all with a certain degree of competence. This perceived competence makes it easier to endure the film’s lesser elements, like charmless lead Tanaka Misato.

Megaguirus takes itself–and its characters–way too seriously. Whether it’s Tanaka with her Ahab complex or Ibu Masatô’s politician with a secret, the film tries to give undesirable depth to its already unlikable cast. As the likable guy–the rogue computer programming with an inevitable crush on Tanka–Tanihara Shôsuke is actually sort of likable. Amid all the angst and seriousness, Tanihara seems like he’s at least enjoying being in a Godzilla movie. Him and one of the people running away from Godzilla later on. She doesn’t get a line, of course, but from her expression, you can tell she’s trying.

Then the bad guy, Megaguirus, shows up. It’s a giant bug. It’s a terrible design, terribly executed in the special effects, whether it’s the giant bug or how the giant bug flies around. Immediately upon its arrival, Masaaki’s built-up goodwill is gone. It just gets worse from then on, with terribly stylized fight scenes, bad mattes, ineptly constructed mattes, terrible music. For over halfway, Megaguirus is dumb but not incompetent, in fact it appears like it might be downright ambitious in creating a 21st century Godzilla.

But it isn’t. It’s a lame wreck of a film. It doesn’t help Tanaka manages to get more annoying in the finale. It probably doesn’t hurt much–after Tanihara’s inexplicable striptease of silly bandages, nothing could bring Megaguirus back from the brink.



Directed by Tezuka Masaaki; written by Kashiwabara Hiroshi and Mimura Wataru; director of photography, Kishimoto Masahiro; edited by Okuhara Yoshiyuki; music by Ohshima Michiru; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company Ltd.

Starring Tanaka Misato (Tsujimori Kiriko), Tanihara Shôsuke (Kudo Hajime), Ibu Masatô (Sugiura Motohiko), Hoshi Yuriko (Yoshizawa Yoshino) and Nagashima Toshiyuki (Miyagawa Takuji).

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002, Tezuka Masaaki)

Even for a movie about a giant man-made robot fighting a giant monster, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is pretty stupid. The robot was this amazing weapon, capable of destroying Godzilla, yet its pilot always waits to use it. Obviously, there wouldn’t be a movie if she used it right away… but Against never explains why everyone’s so dumb. It would have helped.

Sadly, this particular stupidity is indicative of the rest of the picture’s stupidity. Mimura Wataru’s script is absolutely atrocious. Against doesn’t even run ninety minutes and it probably needs at least another half hour. I’m not sure more time would have made it better–not with Mimura writing it–but there’s no depth to the characters or the setting. More of lead Shaku Yumiko (the pilot) or Onodera Kana (the obnoxious little girl who wins Shaku’s heart) would be awful, but some explanation of events would help a lot.

Instead of actual plot development, Mimura and director Tezuka actually have a scene where two characters sit and recount forty-some years of history to each other, even though they both know it. It’s possibly the worst expository scene I’ve ever seen.

Other serious drawbacks into Ohshima Michiru’s score. He seems to think Against is a feel good soccer movie or something. It’s actually worse than the script. I didn’t know a bad score could be worse than a bad script, but now I do.

Tezuka occasionally has some good ideas and the effects are decent, but Against’s dreadful.



Directed by Tezuka Masaaki; written by Mimura Wataru; director of photography, Kishimoto Masahiro; edited by Fushima Shinichi and Natori Shinichi; music by Ohshima Michiru; production designer, Miike Toshio; produced by Tomiyama Shogo; released by Toho Company, Ltd.

Starring Shaku Yumiko (Yashiro Akane), Takuma Shin (Yuhara Tokumitsu), Onodera Kana (Yuhara Sara), Takasugi Kô (JSDF Lieutenant Togashi), Tomoi Yûsuke (JSDF 2nd Lieutenant Hayama), Mizuno Jun’ichi (JSDF 1st Lieutenant Sekine), Nakao Akira (Prime Minister Igarashi), Mizuno Kumi (1999 Prime Minister Tsuge), Nakahara Takeo (JSDF Chief Hitoyanagi), Kanou Yoshikazu (Hishinuma) and Matsui Hideki (Godzilla).

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