Sunday, September 4, 2011

Godzillapalooza #18: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
Monster Profiles:


-HEIGHT: 1 foot
-MASS: 28 ounces
-SPECIAL POWERS: Dorats are by no means fighting creatures; they are peaceful and fun-loving. They have the power of flight and can sense people's emotions through microwave impulses.
-BACKGROUND: Dorats are genetically engineered animals from 23rd century earth. In the future they are no more than great pets, but visitors from the future with bad intentions leave three of them on Godzilla's home island of Lagos to be hit with radiation from H-bomb tests instead of the King of the Monsters.


-HEIGHT: 492 feet, 574 foot wingspan
-MASS: 77,000 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Same as in Showa series. Flight at Mach 3, hurricane winds from wings, and lightning gravity beams from mouths.
-BACKGROUND: If you read my review of "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster", you might remember that I said I would need to write an updated profile for King Ghidorah in the Heisei series. Well here it is! For the first time in the series, Ghidorah does not originate from space. Instead Ghidorah is created by malevolent westerners from the future who wish to destroy Japan so that it does not become the world's most powerful country in the 23rd century. The futurians replace Godzillasaurus with three Dorats, who are then mutated by H-bomb tests instead of Godzilla's former self. The resulting radiation mutates the Dorats and creates King Ghidorah, who is then free to destroy Japan in the 1990's under futurian control.


-HEIGHT: 492 feet, 574 foot wingspan
-MASS: 88,000 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: As you can imagine, this version of Ghidorah is much improved with 23rd century technology. While two of its heads still shoot gravity beams, the center head (now robotic) shoots a powerful laser triple beam. It has an improved, anti-gravity flight speed of Mach 4 and is protected by metallic body armor. One final addition is capture cables and a mechanic claw that is used to immobilize Godzilla.
-BACKGROUND: After King Ghidorah is destroyed, good people from the future salvage its remains from the bottom of the ocean and revive it to now defend Japan from destruction by Godzilla. Mech-King Ghidorah is actually piloted by humans. It essentially fights Godzilla to a draw, but the two fall into the ocean, which will save Japan for a little while.


-HEIGHT: 39 feet
-MASS: 66 tons
-SPECIAL POWERS: Godzillasaurus has no special powers. He is simply a therapod dinosaur with physical weapons.
-BACKGROUND: Godzillasaurus was a surviving dinosaur that lived on Lagos Island. During World War II, he saved an overmatched Japanese garrison on the island from an American attack. After the war, it was H-bomb tests that mutated the dinosaur and made it into the original 1954 Godzilla. However, when the people from the future teleported him to the Bering Sea, he ironically was involved in a nuclear submarine accident which mutated him to twice the size of the original Godzilla.

A UFO lands on Mount Fuji carrying seemingly friendly visitors from Earth's future. The visitors, from the year 2204, warn the Japanese that Godzilla will soon destroy Japan completely if they do not allow them to remove him from history completely. The Japanese agree and they send three people (Terasawa the author, Miki Saegusa the psychic, and Professor Mazaki the dinosaur expert), with a Japanese futurian named Emmy and a highly advance android named M11, to Lagos Island in the 1940's. The time travelers witness the US attack on the Island and Godzillasaurus' defense of the Japanese troops. Godzillasaurus is left gravely wounded though as the Japanese troops are forced to leave and bid him a tearful farewell. The time-travelers take this opportunity to teleport him far from Lagos into the middle of the Bering Sea, where they are sure he will not encounter any radioactivity. However, before they leave, they release three Dorats on the Island. They return to 1992, to find Japan under attack by King Ghidorah... oops. This upsets Emmy because she had no idea her fellow Western time-travelers had been lying to everyone and hoping to destroy Japan all along. Just when things are looking bleakest, everyone learns that Godzilla was created after all by a nuclear sub accident, and this time he is bigger and meaner than ever. Godzilla kicks Ghidorah's ass, even blowing of its middle head, and then destroys the bad futurian's spaceship. So Godzilla saves Japan, but oh crap, now he's going on a rampage through Japan! Something must be done or else Japan will surely be destroyed forever, just as the evil futurians wanted. Emmy and M11 return to the future to salvage and revive Ghidorah and try to save Japan. Emmy returns to the 90's piloting Mech-King Ghidorah to fight Godzilla. The battle is a standstill, but Godzilla is dropped in the ocean to save Japan, if only temporarily. Before Emmy returns to the future, she reveals that she is one of Terazawa's direct descendants.

This was the first Godzilla movie to not be released in the US at all until the advent of DVD. In fact, none of the subsequent Heisei films saw US releases until the 2000's. When I finally got to buy and watch this film though, it blew my mind! It's an absolute blast of a Godzilla film and one of my all-time favorites. The music is great by Ifukube yet again, the action and battle scenes are top-notch, the special effects are awesome (especially for the early 90's),and the plot is very interesting while not too hard to follow. I can understand on some level why it wasn't released in the US at first. Japan-US relations weren't all that great at the time and the scene where Godzillasaurus kills all the US troops could be a touchy subject. But in my opinion, you have to remember you're watching a Godzilla movie, so if you get offended you're a moron. Besides, millions more Japanese military and innocent people have theoretically died throughout the series so there's no reason to get butt-hurt.

No doubt, one of the biggest factors in this films success is not only the return of Ghidorah, but also his execution. He looks so much better and more fearsome than ever before and is much more active in the battle scenes. Not to mention his original annoying giggle has been replaced with a more intimidating screech/roar. Mecha-King Ghidorah is also very creative and looks good. Another interesting factor, is how Godzilla in some ways is restored to his savior role, especially in the WWII scenes. It's almost a nod to the old Godzilla image by giving it to Godzilla's "original" form. But then we still get to see Godzilla be a badass when he raids Tokyo. When you throw it all together and add in some really entertaining time-travel/flashback scenes, this is an awesome Godzilla movie. I would recommend this to anyone! Definitely a must-see for anyone who has ever liked Godzilla.

Best Part:
I have so many favorite parts of this movie, it's impossible to pick just one. Godzilla's rampage on Tokyo is one of the best of the series and both battles with Ghidorah are absolutely awesome. My personal favorite is the first battle with Ghidorah, especially when Godzilla blows off Ghidorah's head. Probably the biggest display of ass-kicking in the whole series. Throughout the whole movie, the surviving Japanese commander from Lagos talks about Godzilla as his savior and how they have a close relationship. The part when he sees Godzilla again is pretty awesome; you can watch the video below. There are plenty of great one liners and funny parts too. Proly the best little joke is when two US officers see the UFO time-machine in the sky. Check it out below too, along with some other funny parts.

My Ranking: #3

Up next, yet another one of Godzilla's most famous and popular foes returns with an update and a twist... "Godzilla vs Mothra: The Battle for Earth" 

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