Saw GODZILLA: FINAL WARS again, thanks to the American Cinematheque's Japanese Giant Monster Festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. I was afraid that the film's mixture of non-stop action and minimal plot might not stand up to a repeat viewing, but it actually works just as well -- maybe even better -- a second time. I even found myself appreciating (if not totally enjoying) the goofy comedy relief with Minilla (the baby Godzilla): in between all the explosions, laser shoot-outs, chase scenes, kung fu fights, and monster battles, these scenes offered the only respite -- a chance to catch your breath and chuckle before the next aural-audio assault.
In many ways the film is a rip-off of American blockbusters like THE MATRIX, X-MEN, and INDEPENDENCE DAY, but in many ways it is better than some of those films. It's not as ponderous as the X-MEN films; it's a lot more fun than the two overblown MATRIX sequels; and unlike this year's BATMAN BEGINS, the action and fight scenes are better because you can actually see what's happening.