30 Days of Godzilla – Day 18: Best Millennia Movie and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) Review
30 Days of Godzilla: Day 18: Best Millennia Movie: I’m not sure, I guess maybe Godzilla 2000: Millennium, Godzilla against MechaGodzilla or Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., I guess I lean more on Godzilla 2000: Millennium.
30 Days of Godzilla- Review: Gojira tai Kingu Gidora aka Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah 1991:
After Godzilla vs. Biollante didn’t perform well financially, actually being a loss, Producer, Tanaka, was convinced that the way to get Godzilla revitalized was to bring back Toho’s iconic monsters and bring them to the modern era. In came perhaps one of Godzilla’s most famous antagonists, King Ghidorah. Also returning is Akira Ifukube, was was both dissatisfied with the modern tack of his themes in Godzilla vs. Biollante and the insistence of his daughter. Kazuki Ōmori returns to direct and Koichi Kawakita return for special effects. Shōgo Tomiyama was the producer of this film as Tanaka’s health was failing during the planning stages.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is much more different than the previous two films as it’s focus seems to be on more fantastical elements and being a spectacle. It’s a more energy based film compared to The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante. On that aspect, the film delivers are creating an engaging special effects show with worthwhile action.
The plot of this film is a result of trying to get kids interested and because of the success of Back to the Future part 2. So my “favorite” story element, time travel was used. In a way this film changes up the entire alien invasion plot from the Showa era. As the “aliens” are people from the future, The Futurians, who are “terrorists”. Who seek to punish past Japan for what future Japan will do.
The Futurians first come with what seems like good intentions, talking about how in the future Godzilla will destroy Japan and that the only way to stop him is to go to the past. They based their actions of where and when in the past to go to stop Godzilla on science fiction writer Kenichiro Terasawa’s theory. The theory of Godzilla being a dinosaur that saved Japanese soldiers from American ones during WWII on Lagos Island. Indeed it is this film that shows us, Godzillasaurus, the not radiated form of Godzilla.
What actually happens time travel wise with the whole Godzilla thing, is a tad complicated to explain due to a poor script explanation (Basically saying no matter what Godzilla will and always will be created.). To put it simply what happened, the Godzillasaurus on Lagos Island, is not the 1954 Godzilla they thing is attacking Japan now, instead by doing their actions in the past, they have effectively created the second Godzilla, the one from The Return of Godzilla onward. Basically this is Godzilla B to 1954’s Godzilla A.
Other than the oddness of time travel, the film is very entertaining despite it not feeling like it’s previous two installments. The none stop action galore and impactful kaiju scenes of Godzilla and King Ghidorah are always entertaining and really steal the show. In this film we also get the amazing special effect of Mecha-King Ghidorah (Yes that is indeed a thing)! It leads to an ever engaging, edge of your scene climax to the movie.
Cast and characters wise aren’t as memorable as the previous films but they drive the narrative and provide serviceable human interactions.
What happened here is that director Ōmori was more focused on bringing the personalities of the monsters to life and developing them, rather than the human aspects. Possibly the most interesting and compelling character was Yasuaki Shindo portrayed by Yoshio Tsuchiya. He was a soldier who was saved by the Godzillasaurus on Lagos Island, and attributes a lot of his wealth and power to that dinosaur. He does however live with a painful regret of having left the Godzillasaurus behind, as it bleeds and suffers from it’s wounds after fighting off the Americans.
It all comes to fruition as when the even bigger and stronger Godzilla is attacking Tokyo, him and Shindo come face to face. In a rather moving scene with no dialogue but compelling body language by both Tsuchiya and Godzilla suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma and a wonderful Ifukube score. Ultimately Shindo understands and in a way Godzilla understands that what happens needs to happen.
The Futurians are an interesting take on the alien invasion and have rather amusing moments. There’s even a terminator like character. They also do intentionally or not bring up the point of if the actions of a person or a country in the future should allow them to punish them in the past. Japan becomes stronger than the U.S., Russia, and China in the future and they are being punished for it in the past. I do like how they die though. Our protagonists managed to teleport the Futurians vehicle to where Godzilla was after he was beating King Ghidorah. As soon as Godzilla sees their ship, he just kind moves his head a bit and just blows it up with his atomic breath.
The real standouts of the film are Godzilla and King Ghidorah. We learn about what Godzilla was and has gone through before being mutated. He for the most part was still the same type of animal, trying to survive and leave peacefully. However this Godzilla all he does and experiences from what we gather is pain, disturbance and never ending fighting and destruction. This film really makes you feel for Godzilla and connect with him as a character, emotionally.
King Ghidorah is a bit more tragic in this film as he is also a mutated creature from the Hydrogen Bomb testing. He came from the future creature known as Dorats.
Three of them got left behind of Lagos Island and mutated and merged together to create a powerful King Ghidorah. He like his Showa counterpart is a behemoth and amazing to watch. The tragic thing is, Ghidorah is being mind controlled and doesn’t seem as evil, maybe territorial over Godzilla but not evil.
Mecha-King Ghidorah is just awesome as well as Kawakita’s special effects.
This film shows why Godzilla and King Ghidorah are eternal rivals.
Ōmori’s directing did what it wanted and provides a competent film to watch. Ifukube’s score coming back is wonderful and really adds weight to every scene it is used. The iconic Godzilla theme is fully modernized and brought to life when Ifukube came back. His soundtrack is amazing.
Overall Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is an entertaining film. While not have the more heavy elements of the previous films, it makes up for in energy and action. The special effects and the spectacle of Godzilla and King Ghidorah in action and fighting each other is what this film is about. I think it’s a welcoming film that really appeals to older or new crowds. Maybe not as in depth thematically but definitely a theme that shows what Tokusatsu aka Special effects are all about. I love it a lot, it’s the Heisei King Kong vs. Godzilla, spectacle and flare with great craft in the special effects.
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