Welcome to Tokusatsu Gesundheit, where we return to our regularly scheduled trip through the Heisei Godzilla series with 1989 feature Godzilla vs. Biollante.
Shortly after Godzilla’s 1984 rampage, agents of the American corporation Bio-Major and the Middle Eastern nation Saradia battle it out for control of Godzilla DNA samples (or G-Cells). This leads to the death of botanist Erika Shiragami, whose geneticist father Genshiro has been hired by Saradia to develop desert-friendly strains of grain. Five years later, Genshiro is back in his homeland and is using G-Cells to develop an anti-nuclear energy bacteria as a weapon against the impending return of Godzilla, but they may be the key to ensuring that his daughter’s prized roses (which he has since spliced with her DNA) will live forever…
The original script for this film was written by Dr. Shinichiro Kobayashi, a dentist with no apparent film experience. He won a contest Toho used to find ideas for a new Godzilla flick and, while heavily re-written, his script purportedly contained all the major plot elements of the finished film.
- This flick introduces Miki Saegusa, played by Megumi Odaka, a young telepath who will appear in every movie of the Heisei canon from this point on. While the size of her role will fluctuate wildly, her ability to mentally communicate with Kaiju will greatly aid the JSDF’s efforts to either fight Godzilla or get Godzilla to fight for them (depending on the flick).
- Biollante is easily one of the most interesting monsters introduced in the Heisei series, what with it being a genetic hybrid of Godzilla, roses, and a human being. Being a plant with Godzilla’s healing abilities, it can grow wildly large – its “final form” seen in the movie is the biggest monster in the Toho kaiju canon.
- The Super X gets its own sequel in the form of the Super X2. It’s specifically been redesigned to fight Godzilla without putting a human crew at risk, trading a cockpit for remote control and a fold-out atomic fire-breathproof shield.
- SSS9, the Saradian secret agent who is focused on stealing the G-cells and/or limiting other countries access to them, is the best human antagonist the Godzilla franchise has ever seen. This is in no small part because, in addition to being REALLY good at his job, his actions actually have an effect on the creation of Biollante and the JSDF’s fight against the two kaiju.
The King of Monsters duking it out with a flower doesn’t sound compelling, but this flick is one my favorites. Plot-wise, this movie and its immediate follow-up represent the most creatively risky films…well, certainly in this series but quite possibly in the whole of the Godzilla canon (other than the original). While not necessarily the best of the Heisei series, its novel ideas alone warrant giving it a look.
Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Strange Times & Places!