“The sky was blood red and filled with smoke. And through it a devil appeared, its face was twisted with rage and hatred. When it was over my parents were gone. I will never forget the wretched cries of the dead… ”

Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaijū Sōkōgeki) more commonly known as GMK, is a 2001 Toho epic, widely considered to be one of the most well made entries in the series. GMK was the highest grossing Shinsei series film for Godzilla.

This is, without a doubt, my favorite Godzilla film. GMK truly raised the bar for Godzilla films in the Shinsei (millenium) series, and still stands up to this day. It boasts an incredible, fierce looking Godzilla – and the return of Mothra, Ghidorah, and Baragon, all with beautiful new representations. As much as I love it, I will admit that it stops just shy of being an excellent entry in the franchise. The film is action packed, full of great characters and superb monster effects, but the plot has holes the size of Godzilla’s footprints and leaves a bit to be desired. The film doesn’t come off as a missed opportunity – but judging solely on the potential and the talent behind this movie – I’d say it is. All of that aside, this is the only Godzilla movie outside of the original Gojira that I would 100% recommend to non-fans. And that’s saying a lot.

GMK centers around a young woman named Yuri (the ever so gorgeous Chiharu Niiyama), a reporter at a local second rate sci-fi broadcasting company called BS-Digital Q, and her group of friends unraveling the mystery of Three Guardian Monsters. Godzilla has been absent for nearly fifty years – no one has seen or heard of him since. Japan receives a rude awakening when an experimental japanese science vessel, the Satsuma, is destroyed by a mysterious underwater being. Satsuma’s partner submersible captures the beast on film… and it’s none other than the King himself, Godzilla.

The rest of the venture revolves around Yuri, her father Taizo Tachibana (the best character in the film, masterfully portrayed by veteran Japanese actor Ryūdō Uzaki), and their friends utilizing the legend of the Three Guardian Monsters to awaken Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah – the three representing Japan’s last defense against Godzilla.

What ensues is an immersive and captivating journey, full of top-notch kaiju battles and character development. The first battle between Godzilla and Baragon is particularly memorable. Baragon is a true underdog – absolutely dwarfed by the demonic Godzilla of this film’s lore. Despite their difference in stature, Baragon scraps like a champ, and goes out with a bang (literally). The little guy’s return to film is handled incredibly well – Baragon’s suit is one of the best Toho has ever produced. Once he is defeated, Mothra rises to the challenge. The Mothra prop and CGI look great, but this is not a design I am particularly fond of. It screams ‘hornet’ to me, not ‘moth’. Mothra is very sleek, missing 90% of her trademark fur, and is even equipped with a stinger. Godzilla, for the first time, was represented as a true Saurian. All of his mammalian accents were cast aside in favor of a truly menacing and spectacular looking take on everyone’s favorite mutant dinosaur. Godzilla also returns to his purest roots in this film – directly representing the atomic disaster and those it killed. Everything from Godzilla’s demonic, blank white eyes to his incredibly emposing form make this interpretation of the character a favorite amongst fans, including myself. Ghidorah, however, is a whole different story.

GMK marks the first and only time (so far) Ghidorah would ever be portrayed as a hero. This still puzzles me to watch. The Space Demon… The Destroyer of Worlds… The main antagonist in the Tohoverse since 1964… as a good guy!?

Mind blowing, yes. But done with reason. Shusuke Kaneko, the brilliant director of this film and the Heisei Gamera Trilogy, originally wanted Anguirus, Baragon, and Varan as the Three Guardian Kaiju. Toho execs, however, were discouraged by the lackluster box office on Godzilla vs Megaguirus, and wanted to make sure their next film hit it big. The wigs at Toho decided to replace Anguirus and Varan with the much more profitable and recognizeable Mothra and Ghidorah. And since Godzilla is bad to the proverbial bone in GMK, this naturally placed his greatest enemy in the category of ‘hero’.

gmk_poster_dvdGodzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monster All Out Attack features some of the best music from the Shinsei era, and even graces the kaiju king with a fantastic new theme. Composer Kow Otani really outdoes himself here, especially with each monster’s individual theme. Flaws and plot holes aside, GMK has firmly planted itself atop the ever-expanding roster of Kaiju films. Good on yah, Toho.

8/10

– Jon D. B.

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I know I’m not alone in my love for this film. I may, however, be a bit jaded by it. GMK holds a special place in my heart – I can honestly say I’ve seen it several dozen times. The beauty of our review system here at SKREEONK! is that it’s ‘multiple-opinion-based’. You’ve heard enough out of me! KFN Expert HayesAJones and several others share their thoughts on GMK:

GMK is one of my favorite films, Godzilla or otherwise. The suits look great (Godzilla’s infamous ‘potbelly’ has never bothered me), the action sequences are excellent, and the score is just a treat. I love that each monster has a unique theme that plays during their big moments. The special effects are generally good, especially Godzilla’s breath. The sense of momentum and flow that his trademark beam gives off is unmatched, and the build-up is great as well. Gotta love those gathering particles. But where this movie really stand out is the story. Unlike other flicks in the franchise, this film is much more fantasy than science-fiction. The mystic aspects and ghostly origin of the monsters are very refreshing. Godzilla was originally meant to represent the horrors of war. Now he’s literally a war come back to life. Great stuff right there! This flick also has a lot of awesome scenes. Whenever I think of Godzilla, the hospital and mushroom cloud scene rear their heads rather quickly.

One of the best things about this movie is its balance. It’s serious without being crushingly grim, but it’s also fun without being overly silly. It’s that blend of mindless entertainment and food for thought that makes this a film I can watch no matter what mood I’m in.

The other best part is the King himself. This flick features one of my favorite incarnations of the character. Savage, merciless, and cunning, this Goji’s a force to be reckoned with. Whether armed forces or legendary guardian, nothing is spared from his wrath. The design is one of my favorites as well. That expressive face just screams “you’re all gonna die”. He’s mean in spirit and in looks. (I dare anyone to call out that ‘potbelly’ to his face. Hm? No takers? I thought as much.)

The only negatives I find in this film is that the plot can be a bit hazy, and a few bad effects. Otherwise, pop it in and grab a seat! – HayesAJones

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I don’t care what people say, to me GMK is the best Godzilla film since the 1960s. This statement alone seems to prove the whole ‘GMK is overrated’ trend that’s so popular now, but again I don’t care. If you’re looking for a well made contemporary Godzilla film this is it. There really isn’t much more that I can say other than go watch it if you haven’t.  – T. Beasley

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GMK: Not my favorite Godzilla movie, but not my least favorite either. The story isn’t my cup of tea; Godzilla depicted as thousands of restless souls instead of a monster awakened by nuclear tests is a little different from what I was used to. The Guardian Beast story was okay; it was nice to see Baragon return, even though he did not last long. The special effects were astounding, and the monster suits were top-notch, and really captured the monsters’ personalities. The score in the movie didn’t faze me much, but it fit the grim tone of the movie. Critically, I give it four stars. Personally, I give it three and-a-half.

-The Real McCoy

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This is one the best G flicks I’ve seen. It trades the usual sci fi elements for a more mystical approach, and this is used effectively. The monster suits are pleasing, with Godzilla’s being the most interesting. By giving him white eyes, it creates the sense of an emotionless killer. The commander and his pseudo-journalist daughter make a good pair, and successfully carry the majority of the human interest here. -Edgaguirus

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