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Film / Godzilla vs. Biollante

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Rated PG for "traditional Godzilla violence".

"To be honest, I'm kind of hoping that he [Godzilla] does show up again. Otherwise, I'll be out of a job."
Lt. Goro Gondo

Godzilla vs. Biollante is the seventeenth Godzilla film and sequel to The Return of Godzilla. Directed and written by Kazuki Omori, the film is notable for introducing psychic Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka), who would go on to become the longest serving human character in the Godzilla series. The story originates from a script contest Toho held, which was eventually won by a dentist named Shinichiro Kobayashi. This would be the last Godzilla film to be distributed to the United States due to the incident with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, which would not be released until 1998 to tie in with the first American film.

World politics are kept and joined with the dark underbelly of energy revolution and espionage. After Godzilla's rampage in Tokyo, various groups scramble to get their hands on Godzilla's cells for their own profit. In spite of four years passing since Godzilla's fall into Mt. Mihara the Japanese have created counter measures for Godzilla and wish to use his cells to create a defense against him, with fears they will create a greater threat. However, Dr. Genshiro Shiragami (Koji Takahashi) has already taken one step too far into learning the unknown...

Then there's the eponymous plant monster.

The film also stars Kunihiko Mitamura as Kazuhito Kirishima, Yoshiko Tanaka as Asuka Okochi, Masanobu Takashima as Sho Kuroki, Toru Minegishi as Goro Gondo, Yasuko Sawaguchi as Erika Shiragami, Toshiyuki Nagashima as Seiichi Yamamoto, Yoshiko Kuga as Keiko Owada, Ryunosuke Kaneda as Makoto Okochi, Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla and Masashi Takegumi as Biollante.

The film was released on December 16, 1989. Its story is followed by Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

This film contains examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: The opening and any scenes with the Saradian agent.
  • Alien Blood: Biollante's blood is green.
  • All There in the Manual: The Manga adaptation explains that Miki's parents were killed during Godzilla's attack on Tokyo in 1984.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Dr. Shiragami names Biollante after a vegetation goddess from Norse mythology. In reality, there is no such figure in the Norse pantheon, albeit there is quite a number of nature deities present, almost all of them being female.
  • Asshole Victim: The American soldiers who get killed in the opening by the Saradian agent.
  • Attack Reflector: The Super X2's Fire Mirror.
  • Battle in the Rain: Godzilla has one against the Defense Forces during a thunderstorm. Invoked as they're trying to raise his temperature, by zapping him with lightning, for the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria to work more quickly on him.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the page quote, Gondo hopes that Godzilla will actually return, or else his job will be pointless. Unfortunately for him, Godzilla does return. At least he spouts off a great one-liner before Godzilla kills him.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: At first the plot is driven by John Lee and SSS9 competing against each other to get their hands on Godzilla's cells for their respective employers, Bio-Major and a Saradian corporation. SSS9 wins and continues being a threat after killing Lee, but his actions also cause Godzilla to escape from his volcano prison and become the more immediate threat.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: What Bio-Major ends up being in the long run. SSS9 and Biollante end up killing several of their agents, and even when Lee manages to hold Japan hostage with bombs planted around the volcano holding Godzilla, SSS9 still ruins the plan, kills Lee and takes off with the G-Cells. After that they cease to factor any further in the film's story.
  • Black Dude Dies First: A bad guy variation. While he and his accomplice are trying to steal information regarding the Anti-Nuclear-Energy-Bacteria and gets into a gunfight with the Saradian agent, Biollante (before she becomes the size of Godzilla), kills him.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Godzilla gets skewered by Biollante's vines, one going through his left hand, and he blasts bloody chunks off Biollante with his breath. Some of the gunfights can get pretty violent as well.
  • Book Ends: The title sequence initially shows Godzilla on a cellular level, before zooming out to reveal the creature himself. Likewise, the ending credits zoom out from Godzilla swimming out to sea, to the Earth from an orbital perspective.
  • Botanical Abomination: Biollante herself. She is the result of a fusion between a rose, human and Godzilla DNA with a degree of sentience obtained from Erika's cells which allows her to communicate psychically to a level. Case in point, her One-Winged Angel state certainly puts emphasis on this trope.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Godzilla seems to learn from his past mistakes of getting shot in the mouth by opponents (by the original Super X and later Gondo), and finally drives Biollante off during their rematch by scoring a few heat-ray blasts down her throat.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: How the human action goes at the start of the film... 1 Agent>3 Foreign Mercenaries>A bunch of Japanese military.
  • The Cameo: Japanese Hair Metal star Demon Kogure shows up on television, his show getting interrupted by news of Godzilla's escape from the volcano Dr. Hayashida trapped him in 5 years before.
  • Cool Shades: SSS9 is only seen once without them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One of the biggest threats early on in the movie is the threat of Godzilla being released from the volcano he's trapped in, with it basically being used as blackmail in order for the terrorist group to get what they want. Given what Godzilla represents, it can easily be taken as an allegory for another bomb being threatened to be dropped on Japan.
  • Dynamic Entry: Godzilla escapes from Mt. Mihara with explosions all around him, along with Ifukube fanfare playing in the background.
  • Energy Weapon: The MBT-92 Maser Tanks weren't in the script, but Koichi Kawakita wanted them anyway because of the Rule of Cool.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Kirishima has one when Asuka tells him about the hospital needing to keep the generators cool. He realizes why the ANEB isn't working in Godzilla because of this.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Neither the Saradia Corporation or Bio-Major are particularly sympathetic, both being ruthless corporations willing to commit murder in order to take the G-Cells for their own benefit and oppose each other purely for those reasons, with Japan caught in the middle of their corporate war.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Lt. Gondo manages to get one last quip in before he is killed by Godzilla. The HK dub's equivalent is pretty memorable too.
    Gondo: "Medicine works better if you take it orally, doesn't it Mr. Godzilla?"
    Gondo in the dub: "All this intravenous stuff's no good for you, stick to smoking."
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Despite the PG rating, this movie has violent shoot-outs and the kaiju battles are gruesome.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In Gondo's office, as the camera pans towards a door, it is possible to see two unusual objects on his desk. Firstly, a statue of Godzilla in his King Kong vs. Godzilla appearance is on top of the desk. However, the second object is more...frightening. Resting against the wall is the Oxygen Destroyer from the 1954 film. How the military managed to get their hands on a copy of the superweapon is unfathomable. A less horrifying possibility is that it was salvaged after the events of the 1954 film and kept by the JSDF as a memento of Godzilla's defeat, or just a sculpture or replica.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Explicitly invoked by the movie to the point that it becomes one of the major themes. Humanity just can't help but use science to create new weapons.
  • Gratuitous English: A couple of examples in the original unfortunately, most egregiously by the Saradian characters.
  • The Heavy: SSS9, the Saradian agent, is responsible for Godzilla's return when he prematurely kills the American agent before he can turn off the detonator in the truck. He also is responsible for stealing the Godzilla cells from the American spies in the beginning of the film, and kills Dr. Shiragami in the end. In many ways, SSS9 is indirectly responsible for most of the action in the film.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: "Godzilla and Biollante aren't monsters. It's the unscrupulous scientists who create them who are monsters."
  • Impaled Palm: Godzilla gets one courtesy of Biollante during their second battle. Ouch.
  • Implacable Man: The Saradian agent, SSS9. To him, Godzilla attacking the city that he's in is just a mild inconvenience.
  • Irony: The Super-X 2 is the only Super-X to actually be designed for killing Godzilla...and it's also the only one to fail to even get a victory over him.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Erika.
  • Karma Houdini: The Agent is killed but the man who was paying him to kill people and indirectly cause Godzilla's release is not shown getting punished.
  • Lack of Empathy: The Saradia president doesn't care that numerous lives will be lost if Godzilla is released, only that his country comes out on top in the biotech race.
  • Lighter and Softer: Still very, very dark and only lighter because there isn't a nuclear war hanging over the entire film.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Shiragami, while more sane than most, still falls victim to this. Mixing Godzilla cells with rose cells, really, what's the worst that could happen?
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Super-X 2. Unfortunately, the fire-mirror only works for a short while, and it doesn't have any cadmium or flares to distract the monster.
  • Mundane Utility: The human elements of the plot are centered around the development of the Anti-Nuclear-Energy-Bacteria, which were developed from Godzilla's cells to make use of his ability to metabolize radiation as a means of cleaning up radioactive fallout.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The first time Godzilla uses his thermo shockwave trick. For the rest of the 90s he used it roughly once per movie.
    • It was even given an official name by Toho, the Nuclear Pulse.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: There's a scene where an entire class of psychic school children hold up drawings of Godzilla emerging from the volcano he was imprisoned in the last movie. Seeing as how it was all their dream, it also counts as Dreaming of Things to Come.
    • At the end of the film, their teacher, Miki Saegusa, is seen drawing a rose in space, which foreshadows the eventual fate of Biollante.
  • No Ending: The entire nation of Japan collectively freaked out at Godzilla's appearance. Twice. His mere presence triggers 3 out of 4 tiers of a warning system. But this movie end with Godzilla going out to sea, ... and everyone is okay with it as pleasant music plays. It's almost indistinguishable from the other more sinister times that Godzilla went into the ocean, except for directorial cues and dialog.
  • No Name Given: The Saradian agent. Hell, even his codename, SSS9, is never spoken onscreen.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: In the final act of the film, Saradian agent SSS9 is given an order from his President to assassinate Dr. Shiragami and make sure Japan cannot mass-produce the anti-radiation bacteria and succeeds. This after several missiles with the bacteria were used against Godzilla and proved their effectiveness. Seems nobody kept any kind of notes or samples of the creation process.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Shit! Damn! We're the lethal weapon!"
  • Planimal: Biollante naturally.
  • Qurac: Saradia, a rather transparent stand-in for Saudi Arabia.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The above mentioned scene featuring the psychic children.
    • Shiragami has a subtle one when he discovers his little genetic experiment may not have gone entirely as planned.
    "Yes, I thought... I think now I may have made a mistake." *shot of Lake Ashino framed through the wrecked lab wall*
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Kaiju don't come much weirder than a giant evil rosebush with a crocodile head in the middle.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Erika's death. Imagine you're in a building and your daughter is in another building. Suddenly, a bomb goes off in the building your daughter is working in.
    • It happens again when Shirigami is essentially watching his daughter die twice, both at the hands of Godzilla.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Major Kuroki has a much better grasp on how to combat Godzilla than his superiors, though he still ends up making a few mistakes.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Godzilla, who begins the film trapped in the same volcano he was imprisoned in at the end of the previous film.
  • Sinister Shades: The Saradian Agent, SSS9, wearing shades and being a villain, is this naturally.
  • Spanner in the Works: It's due to the Saradian agent's interference with Bio-Major's negotiations that Godzilla is released from Mount Mihara.
  • Tempting Fate: Dammit, Gondo. Being cool is not going to protect you from an 80 meter tall, pissed off dinosaur that you just shot in the mouth.
    Gondo: "What if they send in everyone and Godzilla doesn't show? What do we do then? Hah, well, it's an interesting question, but a vital one?"
  • Vertigo Effect: Used during Miki's already bizarre psychic confrontation with Godzilla.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Godzilla began his rematch with Biollante after being infected by the Anti-Nuclear-Energy-Bacteria. Though he still puts up a valiant fight and forces her to retreat, his strength and stamina were clearly fading as the fight dragged on and his Atomic Breath was getting weaker with each use.