Son of Godzilla

Son of Godzilla ★★★

could have settled for scientists trifling with the forces of nature inadvertently awakening an enemy only Godzilla can defeat (sound familiar?), but gets fantastically sidetracked with its main storyline, the big guy trying to raise his "child", a slimy bug-eyed lizard named Minilla. generic father/son bonding scenes, in any genre, could definitely use more atomic fire breath. even if Minilla looks fatally stupid, the villains -- giant praying mantises and a massive kaiju spider named Kumonga -- are truly fantastic works of puppetry (although as a severe arachnophobe i found the latter absolutely repulsive). once again Jun Fukuda's dense, colorful compositions trump Honda's relatively more functional ones, but others may find the extremely tongue-in-cheek tone pretty offputting.