What’s worse than a bad Godzilla movie? A preachy movie about recycling and pollution that also sometimes has Godzilla. Directed by Yoshimitsu Banno, Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster also known as Godzilla vs. Hedorah follows the same doomed path of appealing solely to children. Sort of. I’m really not sure who this would was ever intended for. There’s some weird scenes of a guy on a bad acid trip, there pretty violent deaths, people with fish heads, a lot of animated portions and a dash of Godzilla thrown in the mix. I hate to say it but this movie might be a bigger failure then Godzilla Revenge, at least that movie knew what it was aiming for, this one is all over the place but again I think it was meant for kids based on how way over the top silly it is. Yoshimitsu Banno, remember that name.
The first thing that really struck me in a bad way was Godzilla’s first appearance. He first comes over a well-lit background of a rising sun while some silly music is playing. It’s unfortunate to think of this as the same Godzilla’s whose past entrances have left millions screaming and running in terror. I miss seeing him breach a beach and destroy the nearest city in his path. He was an icon if destruction an almost sympathetic animal that couldn’t live in this world after being accidently created by it and now he’s the defender of the planet. But not in an awesome “I am the hero this city needs, Not the hero it deserves” way in a hey kids if you pollute the trash will become sentient and destroy everything. Yes, the Smog monster is made of garbage and it also flys? I don’t know if they explain it better than that, but I couldn’t bring myself to care because he looks so bad.
Something I haven’t touched upon too often in these reviews is the music. For the most part even the worst Godzilla movies have decent music and sound design so I never thought to make it a big point. But this film has a theme song called “we can save the world” and it plays constantly. And it’s possibly the worst song I’ve ever heard. The sound effects and special effects in general are unsatisfactory the Smog Monster looks like a black blob with red eyes. Godzilla fights by waving his arms around which I find really annoying. The miniatures are unconvincing which seems odd, you would think that the newer films would just get better and better in at least that aspect. If Godzilla’s entrance didn’t ruin Godzilla for you unfortunately there is a scene where Godzilla flys. By propelling himself through the air with his atomic fire which is simultaneously horrifying and awesome. Very much more horrifying though.
Thankfully Tomoyuki Tanaka, the producer of most of the Toho monster films, was extremely dissatisfied with the final product and went as far as to tell Banno that he had “ruined Godzilla!” Tanaka barred Yoshimitsu Banno from making another Godzilla film. In fact, Banno was never allowed to direct another Toho film again, reduced to assistant director. This film could have some value if it wasn’t so preachy but it’s extremely annoying so I can’t let it pass. For instance you do see a wider range of Japan’s famous landmarks being destroyed but they are only destroyed because of the pollution. This film is not worth your time. The sets are uninspired and the execution is messy, worst of all its just not entertaining. It’s definitely a contender for worst in the series. To top it all of… Yoshimitsu Banno, the man behind this abomination, the man who ruined Godzilla. Where is he now? Well he’s the producer on the newest untitled Godzilla reboot Legendary Pictures is making set to come out in 2013-2014. OH BOY?!
Best Scene of Destruction: Godzilla guts the smog monster and blasts him with the atomic fire.