Godzilla 2000

Godzilla 2000: Millenium [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] * by Takayuki  Hattori (CD, May-2005, GNP/Crescendo) for sale online | eBay

Composed by: Hattori Takayuki

After the disastrously unfaithful American take on Godzilla in 1998, Toho Studios immediately swung into action and restored the giant city-crusher to his proper glory. Just the following year they completed Godzilla Millennium. This film was given a limited theatrical release in the US the next year, hence the title Godzilla 2000. I rather like Godzilla 2000. It has high entertainment value with the wonderfully cheesy American dub. The plot itself, concerning a giant prehistoric rock which houses an alien life form with a secret plan for world domination, is actually not too bad, although the alien’s monstrous creation at the end of the film is laughably clunky. The human characters are interesting for a Godzilla film as well. Their relative memorability for American audiences might be a result of the (reportedly intentional) goofy dubbing. With Akira Ifukube, the franchise’s chief composer, effectively stepping down from the series for a second time, Toho turned to another man, Hattori Takayuki, who had previously done Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla. Hattori created a fairly varied score, albeit with some very cheap-sounding instrumentation.

The American album release contains all of the Japanese score plus some sound effects. In the American release of the film itself a great deal of this music was taken out and replaced with new cues, none of which is presented on album. Comparing the music between the two versions, I’ll have to say that I generally prefer Hattori’s work, probably because his compositions show a thematic consistency. However, some of the American cues really add to the atmosphere of the military and monster scenes.

Hattori abandons his Godzilla theme from Space Godzilla, not a bad idea since that theme was a weak point in that particular score. It was too heroic and corny and didn’t suggest anything of the terror or majesty of the fire-breathing dinosaur. The composer instead gives Godzilla a melancholic theme, showcased in the first track. This theme doesn’t really make too much of an impact after the opening tracks, with only small statements woven into the score until the final battle cues. That said it is a far superior theme from Hattori. Continue reading

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)

The cover for the CD

Composed by: Takayuki Hattori

Having exhausted their list of mega-monster stars, and also having established a financially successful series, the brains at Toho decided to go back to original monster creations…sort of. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla sees Godzilla cells (shot into space in previous films) merge with alien DNA to create a crystal-humped monstrosity. SpaceGodzilla threatens to destroy life on earth by turning it into a power source via crystal structures. Opposing him are the Big G and Moguera, a reimagining of a giant mech from the 50s film Mysterians. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is a divisive entry, considered by many to be the worst of the Heisei series. I ascribe to this sentiment. Despite having more original monsters it feels less inspired. The first half or so is so bad its fun (largely thanks to the English dub), but the final battle is torturously long. One aspect that really stands out in a negative way is director Kensho Yamashita’s attempt to inject a prominent love story between psychic Miki Saegusa and the male lead. Romance is a tricky prospect for Godzilla films and it fails miserably here.

Akira Ifukube did not return for this outing. One of the reported reasons is that he was not enthused with the script and did not want to devote his talents to it. Takayuki Hattori was called up. Hattori is the Masaru Satoh of the more recent Godzilla films, making sporadic returns and often changing his theme for the Big G. While some of Ifukube’s material would be used in the film, Hattori would create his own musical stamp. Hattori’s music has been released on three albums. The first was a 23 track single-disc album. The second was a two-disc set of the music as heard in the film. The Perfect Collection had two discs, one bonus material and the other, which this review will be based on, containing 30 tracks. The complete score set is really the 30 tracks edited into points of the film. Unfortunately many of these tracks have technical labels like “M-25” but TohoKingdom does have a “Fan Track Listing” that can be used to rectify this. Continue reading