The second feature in what was known as the “versus series” of the Godzilla franchise, Godzilla vs Biollante opens up where “Godzilla 1985” left off, with Godzilla being the villain as opposed to the savior. With TOHO producers feeling that the old formula was becoming stale, they decided to remove all traces of 1960’s/70’s camp from the new line of films. The first task in this process was coming up with brand new monsters for Godzilla to fight against. However, being producers and all, they had no creativity whatsoever and thus they had to call upon the fans to help them out. As a nifty marketing plan, Tomoyuki Tanaka asked the public to send in their monster and script ideas in the form of a sweepstakes. The winner would have his/her script adapted into the official sequel. Not so oddly enough, the winner happened to be a former Sci-Fi writer, and rightly so, as he ended up penning one of the creepiest monsters to ever be projected upon the silver screen.
The film begins right after the events of the last one, with clean up crews searching for survivors and scientists claiming the remains for Godzilla’s tissue that was left behind during his recent one-man recreation of Mardi Gras. The tissue, containing his genetic makeup, would be used to not only study the giant, but fight back against him as well. It is here that this entry in the series reveals its over-arching theme: World wide terrorism. Between mysterious mercenaries steal Godzilla samples, suicide bombers killing innocent women, and the U.S. trying to obtain tissue clusters for their own uses, the theme is pretty obvious. Read the previous sentence once more. See that part about the suicide bomber? Ok, now read ahead. The daughter of our main character, Dr. Shiragami, was killed in the Middle East during the aforementioned suicide explosion. Now five years later and still shaken up, he has turned his attention toward a more strait forward type of science, the metaphysical and psychic energy of… roses. ….
…Anyway, it is discovered by the terrorists that Shiragami is actually one of the leading experts in Godzilla cell manipulation. Soon after, in an almost Raimi-esque sequence, these same terrorist thugs are murdered by the self-aware vines of a giant mutant rose growing in the middle of a lake. Shiragami admits that he has secretly been creating it by combining Godzilla’s cells with Rose DNA, creating a Kaiju sized-plant. He names it Biollante and treats it how Andy Warhol treated processed soup. Continuing the theme of fear tactics, the U.S. team who almost made it out of Tokyo with some “G-Cells” have now threatened to blow up Mt. Mihara, where Godzilla currently lays dormant. Naturally Godzilla wakes and Japan’s army kills him. Just kidding, other way around. He eventually stumbles upon Biollante and a very short but sweet fight ensues. Though Godzilla easily wins, the result is almost depressing. With the plant being the good guy, it’s hard to root (no pun intended) for Big Green. Japan’s scientists develop a plan to take Godzilla down, using radioactive bacteria (continuing the film’s theme now with a play on bio-terrorism, ie. anthrax) that will essentially melt him down to nothing. That doesn’t work either. It seems all is lost and Godzilla is to win until the ground begins to shake. Green spores fall to the Earth and up comes Biollante once again, now in its true form. A GIANT part-crocodile, part-venus fly trap, part-Swamp Thing, part-fucking satan beast containing the exact genetic make-up of Godzilla himself. Biollante’s final form is literally the scariest Kaiju I’ve ever seen. It’s then revealed that the monster is also the reincarnation of Shiragami’s daughter, out to get revenge on Godzilla for killing her earlier in giant rose form.
After one extremely painful looking battle, which includes the acts of chewing on each other’s heads, rupturing the opponents stomach and shooting venus flytraps through the other’s hands (that last one is fucking brutal), Godzilla has no choice but to.. cool off in the end. Aww yeah. While there may not be an exact winner to the fight, (though I won’t spoil the fine details of why) the film takes its remaining few minutes to end its human side plot in one of the finest ways you’ll ever see TOHO do. Godzilla vs Biollante may have less monster screen time than most other films in the series, but the nonstop espionage side plots make up for that ten fold. What is it that makes this film underrated though? Well, for one, it’s had limited accessibility until only a short time ago. Though it was released on VHS under the HBO brand name, it was a limited print that once it was gone, it was gone. It was finally released on Region 1 DVD in 2012, but had limited to no marketing other than being released alongside Megashark vs Giant Octopus. I know, great plan, right? All in all, people didn’t appreciate this film at all during its theatrical run. This was mainly due to the film having no returning classic monster to help reboot the franchise. Needless to say, after it flopped for that very reason, the next 3 sequels instead resurrected old foes for Godzilla to fight until Godzilla vs Space Godzilla in 1994. Nowadays the Godzilla vs Biollante has undergone a small cult rebirth. Noticing how much love was put into the human side of the story and just how mind-blowing Biollante’s presence is would be enough to allow anyone to realize what a stand-out this otherwise outcast actually is. I’m just glad Biollante isn’t a vigilante out to get those who aren’t vegans. I’d be fucked.
– Sterling “The Spork Guy” Anno