The Terror of Mechagodzilla

Friday, January 1, 1999

The Revenge of Dr. Mafune: Godzilla's Fall from Eden

The Terror of Mechagodzilla marked the end of the original Godzilla series, brought to a halt by Toho due to poor box office results. This was caused in large part by films such as Godzilla's Revenge, and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. The highlight of this film is Akihiko Hirata's portrayal of Dr. Mafune, a manifestation of the classic Mad Scientist archetype ala Dr. Frankenstein. Driven from society by his tamperings into the forbidden arts, Dr. Mafune becomes embittered and swears revenge on a world that does not understand him. It is very interesting that this is the last of the original series, as it marked the return of Inoshiro Honda, the original director of Godzilla, King of Monsters, and with him several themes that were central to the Godzilla myth. Most important among these were the concept of fringe science as the forbidden blasphemy, the fatal sin that marks the fall from Eden and was repronounced in our era by the invention of the Atomic Bomb (which can be said to have created the Godzilla concept in the Japanese mentality via Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Godzilla has become a primeval force of nature (see especially Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) who is avenging against man's transgressions against the power of creation.

Rating: B (It's a B movie)

Reviewed by Kenji Baugham
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