Is the Millennium Series Underrated?11,022 Views11 RepliesAdd A Reply
So I'm currently wrapping up my most recent Godzilla marathon, and I just have Tokyo SOS and Final Wars left, and honestly, I feel like the Millennium Series gets a lot more hate than it deserves. It's not that most of the movies in it are Top 5 quality, but they always seem to get picked out as the worst bunch. For example, maybe I'm biased, as Godzilla 2000 was my first G-movie, but I feel like it's a really solid Godzilla film. I like the characters, everyone is interesting and has a little backstory. Katagiri, the human antagonist, is the kind of character I'm okay with disliking. He's very anti-Godzilla, and his methods are extreme, but he's so obsessed with killing Godzilla that it makes him interesting to watch.
I really liked the redesign for Godzilla, since it was the beginning of a new era. It wasn't his best look, for sure, but he is certainly fierce looking, and really embodies the cold fury that I always liked about Godzilla. The look gave him the feeling of a fighter, but at the same time, an omnipotent god who had come to bring reckoning. His dorsal plates are honestly my favorite of any Godzilla. As much as I love the classic softer look to them, these massive, jagged, almost blade like plates really made Godzilla seem like he was not to be taken lightly. I could have done without his atomic breath being orange, but whatever.
Orga was an awesome villain, in my opinion. A challenging one, too. The ship alone was a threat to Godzilla through a good portion of the film, but when Orga materialized, man, he was imposing. That wicked snake-like appearance and shoulder cannon were cool. He nearly became Godzilla, and just by scanning him was able to gain his Regenerator G-1. I thought it was a well done fight, and honestly, a super enjoyable movie.
A surprise for me on this viewing was how much I actually enjoyed Godzilla vs Megaguirus, though I can definitely attest to part of it being because I was a little buzzed. But seriously, it was actually pretty fun. The human characters dragged on a bit for me and bored me, but whenever we got to the Meganula, Megaguirus, and Godzilla related scenes, that movie was pretty all right. It is probably still my least favorite Millennium movie, but I am surprised how much I liked it on this viewing.
The Godzilla suit for vs Megaguirus was probably my second least favorite in Millennium, (Final Wars is one of my least favorite suits in Godzilla history) but I still liked the suit more than some. Megaguirus was an interesting villain, notably for piercing Godzilla's skin multiple times, shutting down his Atomic Breath, and also being surprisingly intelligent (dropping that weird diamond-building thing on him right after she smiles wickedly). Also, she is super fast, which I always liked.
As far as I'm concerned, Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack was by far the best of Millennium, but I'm sure many of you feel otherwise. I just loved the premise in general. I particularly enjoyed seeing Godzilla be the bad guy again. I do wish we could have gotten the original cast of monsters planned for this film, before Toho intervened to put King Ghidorah and Mothra in the movie instead of Varan and Anguirus. But I suppose the end result was still amazing, so I can't complain. Overall, I loved this movie.
Godzilla was truly evil looking in this. He had the look of a mad tyrant finding his kingdom full of interlopers, and determined to remove them himself. Just a great interpretation.
I enjoyed the design for all the monsters in the film, though none are my favorite interpretations. I did think Mothra looked very nice, though.
Overall, the Kiryu saga didn't particularly suit my interests, oddly enough, being as I'm a pretty big fan of all versions of Mechagodzilla (or functionally similar characters, ala Kiryu) That being said, both Against Mechagodzilla and Tokyo SOS were good enough movies that, again, I feel the hate is too strong. The design of Godzilla is again nothing to write home about, but still enjoyable to see bash in heads, and still lands in the positive side of the Millennium era for me.
If there is one stand out moment for me from the Kiryu saga, it is Kiryu's design. I freaking love how cool Kiryu looks through both movies. He is just beastly. I would have to say that Kiryu's design is one of my favorite designs, period, of any kaiju related thing. He looks so fast and lethal. I also liked the idea of him rampaging and thought that his "soul" still fighting was cool.
I don't have anything I particularly like or dislike about Final Wars, aside from Godzilla's design, so this might be the weakest portion of this topic. As previously mentioned, I really hate the design of Godzilla in this movie.. I hate his cat ears and just how generally feline he looks. (also one of my gripes about certain Heisei suits, but I like those ones much better) I'm also not a huge Keizer Ghidorah fan. Aside from that, I enjoy the crazy melee and the assortment of monster cameos. I can only really say that watching this movie is what I imagine doing acid to be like. It's absolutely wild and all over the place, and the camera work makes me a little dizzy, but it's so stylized I can't knock it for that alone.
Overall, I just feel that while the Millenium series isn't the brightest star in the history of Godzilla, it has just as many bad movies, and just as many good movies (in terms of percentage, seeing as how there are only six movies) as there are in any era (Showa and Heisei definitely both had really bad G-Movies, like vs Megalon or vs Spacegodzilla)
Let me know what your thoughts are about it....
After getting that Slurpee at 7/11
I too am in the minority in that I prefer the Millennium series to the Heisei series, and think it's underrated. The Heisei films had a staleness to them, whereas I think there was far more variety and creativeness to Millennium. I think as a series it is far more interesting. I'm also a fan of G Vs. Megaguirus - again in the minority.
Moving forward, I'd love to see each film have a new director and creative team, so that each has it's own uniqueness and vision.
Some films in the series I feel are underrated for sure, but as with all movies it boils down to what you enjoy. I love G2000 and Megaguirus, but Megaguirus especially gets hate and I never understood that, it is one of the more original films in the later years and tried to do some new things, and on the flip side the Kiryu saga is to me two of the most boring movies in the whole series period, and young fans especially adore those. But it is what it is, the series has a lot of highs and lows, I guess I just tend to get more genuine entertainment value and enjoyment out of some of the lows than the more critical fans.
I did a series of write-ups leading up to the release of Shin Godzilla in America you might find interesting. They're very thorough go through the production history and meanings of each film as well as my own, brief critical analysis.
Overall I agree the Millennium series gets the short end of the stick, but not because it's overall a great set of movies. They struggled to do something different and I admire the attempt, even if they didn't quite succeed. I do think they've aged better than the Heisei series which becomes increasingly more difficult to sit through.
Check it out when you've got time to kill. I think you'll find some interesting information regarding the films as a whole:
1) Before Shin Godzilla - Retrospect of the Last Era, Part 1: Godzilla 2000
Gman, I actually joined this forum because of those posts. It is one of my favorite articles of this site. They definitely inspired me to write this. I really just wanted to gauge the feelings of the community towards the Millennium series, as well as try to hopefully get people to see that they're actually "okay" films.
After getting that Slurpee at 7/11
For me, in the Millennium series, there's only one clunker that is hard for me to sit through. That's Final Wars. Quite honestly, I can't say that about Heisei or Showa for that matter. There are more than half of either of those eras for which there are movies I'd have a hard time sitting through at this point in my life.
I probably have 12-15 total that would be my favorites and I would watch regularly.
I read through all of your articles and I commend you for your thoroughness, most were very enlightening and full of a lot of interesting information I wasn't privy to before. I didn't agree with some of your assessments on the quality of some of the movies, indeed I thought you gave some of them (especially Megaguirus) too harsh an overall judgment, but tastes are tastes and I'm not gonna fault anyone for preferring some films to others, I just thought it was funny at the time (I was only on the visitor's comments at the time) that someone informed me Megaguirus was terrible because you had sufficient sources in your article to prove it was awful :P I dunno, I just remembered that clearly because I thought it was so funny, as if cited sources on a film's history was enough to "prove" that it was terrible, but I digress.
I think what I liked most about your reviews was that it gave me even more appreciation for Masaaki Tezuka, I met him at G-Fest and he was very pleasant and approachable, and it made me curious how while I loved Megaguirus I wasn't really at all enamored with the Kiryu films, but it was nice to know he seemed so passionate about all of them. Overall the Millennium series is my "least" favorite of all Godzilla series, but that's not at all to say I don't like it, there's no G-Film I genuinely hate or even dislike, but it's all in degrees of liking.
I actually like Final Wars more than Megaguirus. For all of the contempt I see in Final Wars, I think the way it was shot and the fact it feels so different from anything that's come before makes it more watchable than Megaguirus.
Glad you enjoyed the articles. I want to clarify, though, that my criticisms for Tezuka's films are not indicative of his hard working character and passion. I like Tezuka and, to some extent or another, I appreciate his Kiryu films. But I don't think he's much of a filmmaker. I consider Tokyo SOS his most honest work in the series and I sort of love the idea that the entire message reflects his approach toward his own Godzilla movies. (Leave the metaphors dead and focus on the alternative instead.) It's not exactly a winning scenario for any movie, but it represents Tezuka well--For better or for worse.
Megaguirus on the other hand--You'd be hard pressed to get me to say anything positive about it. I don't like ranking the series, but if I did it's easily in the top (bottom?) 5 worst of the series.
GMK is my second favorite Godzilla movie and the 2002 suit is my favorite Godzilla design, so I agree with the Millennium series being underrated.
“Banana oil.”- George Takei, Gigantis: The Fire Monster
It's fine, unlike too many fans I don't experience butthurt over the movie preferences of others, I just like fans to be more mature and not write off movies as trash because they don't happen to prefer them, I don't care for that kind of extreme broadbrushing. All the films have pros and cons, and I'm sure some fans would throw a conniption fit over the fact that there are 5 Toho Godzilla films I enjoy less than GINO in my overall ranking. But who cares, right? They're movies, everyone will have a different ranking and preferences. I'm sure it won't keep you awake at night if I said Megaguirus is in my top 5. Neither of our positions makes us any less "legit" fans. Anywho, keep up the good work.
Well I think the response consensus seems to be yes, however for me it's a hard no.
Granted I'm someone who runs off nostalgia so even if I don't like a movie later on in life having fond childhood memories of the movie tends to bump it up a few points for me, hence movies like Godzilla Vs SpaceGodzilla, and Godzilla vs Mothra: BfE I tend to get more enjoyment out of them most of the millennium movies.
I like Godzilla 2000, but big surprise this is the only movie of this series I saw when I was under the age of 12.
Godzilla vs Megaguirus I have no love for. It's probably one of the Godzilla movies I've watched the least in life, and never really convinces me to look at it in another way.
GMK A lot of people love this movie and view it as the standout movie for this series, but I never liked it. Granted my opinion of it has improved but it still is lower middle of the ground for me at best
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Characters really just never made sense to me. They're like better version of the vs Megaguirus cast, but I was glad we didn't see them much in the sequel
Tokyo SOS I like this one, had a lot of fun with it and probably would rank it higher than every other installment in the millennium series than G2000
Final Wars Don't really know how to describe it, but it's like if you showed a western viewer that knew nothing about godzilla only this movie it seems like it has every laughable cheesy thing that they would negatively assume with Japanese movies.
So for me the millennium series did hit as the low point. It has individual movies that I prefer of some installments from the other 2 but it's easily the last if I was asked to rank them.
I think one thing I particularly enjoy about the Millennium series is the look and tone of these movies never get stale. Their ideas might, but an Okawara movie doesn't look like a Kaneko movie, which doesn't look like a Tezuka movie, which doesn't look like a Kitamura movie.
It also helps that these films had four different effects directors across six movies. It certainly helped Tezuka's films since he worked with three out of those four. (And pretty much torpedoed the career of one of them, but I digress.)
After a decade of Koichi Kawakita's eye level beam spamming, sparks and glitter, it was a welcomed change of pace regardless of whether or not the new effects always worked.