- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
Original Japanese Theatrical poster
Directed by Kazuki Omori Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Written by Kazuki Omori Starring Kosuke Toyohara
Charles Kent Wilson
Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla
Music by Akira Ifukube  Cinematography Yoshinori Sekiguchi Editing by Michiko Ikeda Distributed by Toho
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Release date(s) Japan
December 14, 1991
April 28, 1998 (VHS premiere)
Running time 103 min. Country Japan Language Japanese
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (ゴジラVSキングギドラ Gojira tai Kingu Gidora ), alternatively spelled Godzilla vs. King Ghidora, is the 18th installment in the Godzilla series of films. This is the fifth film to feature King Ghidorah and the first film to feature Mecha-King Ghidorah, (the second being Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II). The movie was released theatrically in Japan on December 14, 1991. It was directed by Kazuki Omori and produced by Shogo Tomiyama. The plot follows a group of time travelers from the 23rd century who go back in time to erase Godzilla from history supposedly to erase a devastating future that the mutated dinosaur causes, but instead, they replace him with a three-headed dragon called King Ghidorah and go on a personal campaign to destroy Japan using the monster. Koichi Kawakita was awarded a Japanese Academy Award for his special effects in the film.
Kenichiro Terasawa (Kosuke Toyohara), an author of books on psychic phenomena, believes he's discovered Godzilla's true origin. During World War II, a group of Japanese soldiers stationed on Lagos Island in South Pacific  were unintentionally saved by Godzillasaurus, which attacked and killed a group of American soldiers who had landed on the island in February 1944 as part of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign. While all of the Japanese soldiers on the nearby Islands fought and died to the last man, the Japanese soldiers on Lagos survived the war and eventually returned to Japan. In 1954, the island was destroyed by a hydrogen bomb test, just months before Godzilla first attacked Tokyo.
Yasuaki Shindo (Yoshio Tsuchiya), who commanded the Japanese on Lagos, is now a wealthy businessman who denies the dinosaur's existence. Meanwhile, a UFO lands on Mount Fuji. When the army investigates, they are greeted by Wilson (Chuck Wilson), Grenchko (Richard Berger), Emmy Kano (Anna Nakagawa) and an android named M-11 (Roberto Scott Field). The visitors, called the Futurians, explain that they're from the year 2204, a time long after Japan had been completely destroyed by Godzilla. They explain that they can time travel back to 1944 and remove Godzillasaurus from Lagos, thereby avoiding the creation of Godzilla. As proof of their story, Emmy presents to the Japanese government a copy of Terasawa's book, which he hasn't even written yet.
Terasawa, psychic Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) and Professor Mazaki (Katsuhiko Sasaki) board a time shuttle and travel back in time to Lagos in 1944. As American forces land on the island and engage the Japanese forces commanded by Shindo, Godzillasaurus attacks and kills the American soldiers. However, subsequent bombardment from American naval vessels leaves it gravely wounded. Shindo and his men, after thanking Godzillasaurus with a salute for saving them, withdraw. M-11 then teleports the dinosaur far from Lagos. They then return to 1992, but not before releasing three golden birdlike creatures on Lagos. The radiation as a result of the nuclear test mutated them into King Ghidorah, which the Futurians use in the present day to subjugate Japan. They issue an ultimatum, but Japan refuses to surrender.
Feeling sympathy for the Japanese, Emmy reveals the truth behind the Futurians' mission: In the future, Japan became very wealthy and its economy surpassed that of the United States, Russia and China - the Futurians in fact stole the time machine and plan to use King Ghidorah to alter the future by devastating or subjugating present-day Japan, thus preventing its future economic reign. After she is returned to her ship by M-11, who was sent by her companions to see how the Japanese would react, she reprograms M-11. With his, and Terasawa's aid, they sabotaged the controls to Ghidorah in the UFO. However, Emmy's companions reveal that their ship is bound to automatic time warp in the event of sabotage, allowing them to return to a future where Japan has been destroyed either way.
Shindo, meanwhile, believes that Godzilla can be re-created using his nuclear submarine. But while on its mission, the submarine is destroyed by Godzilla; Terasawa learns that a Russian nuclear submarine sank in the same region Godzillasaurus was teleported to, giving off enough radiation to create the same Godzilla who destroyed Tokyo in 1985 and battled Biollante in 1990.
Godzilla then arrives in Japan and makes short work of King Ghidorah and the UFO, which was teleported by M-11 before it could time warp, killing Wilson and Grenchko. He then ravages on Tokyo as payback for the Japanese attempting to erase him from existence, and Shindo is killed; though not before he and Godzilla share a brief moment of the two remembering each other from when they first met on Lagos Island in 1944, and Godzilla is seemingly sad for once.
Emmy, however, travels to the future and returns with Mecha-King Ghidorah, a resurrected cyborg version of the original. Battling in the heart of Tokyo, Emmy carries Godzilla off and drops the monster together with Ghidorah into the ocean. She then returns to the future in the time shuttle, but not before informing Terasawa that she is a descendant of his.
At the bottom of the sea, Godzilla recovers and roars over Mecha-King Ghidorah's body.
- Kosuke Toyohara as Kenichiro Terasawa
- Anna Nakagawa as Emmy Kano
- Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa
- Katsuhiko Sasaki as Professor Mazaki
- Robert Scott Field as M-11
- Chuck Wilson as Wilson
- Richard Berger as Grenchko
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Yasuaki Shindo
- Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla
- Hurricane Ryu as King Ghidorah primary antagonist
- Wataru Fukuda as Godzillasaurus
This film is set after the events of The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante. Originally, this film was going to be a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla with the title Godzilla vs. King Kong, but Turner Entertainment demanded too much money for the use of Kong. After this, Toho had the idea of making Godzilla vs. Mechani-Kong, but Kazuki Omori feared that this would ultimately violate Turner's copyright. Toho eventually settled for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
The film sold approximately 2,700,000 tickets in Japan, and grossed around $11,000,000 (U.S).
To tie in with the American remake, Sony Tristar distributed the previously unreleased Heisei Godzilla films on April 28, 1998, less than half month before the release of Tristar's Godzilla remake. Excluding Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla vs. Biollante, since they've already been released prior. Some VHS copies that opened with the 1984 Tristar Pictures logo.
- Aspect Ratio: Full frame (1.33:1)
- Sound: English (2.0)
- Supplements: Liner notes
- Region 1
This film was considered the most controversial in the series, mostly because of its fictional World War II sequence. The scene depicted American soldiers being killed by Godzillasaurus, allowing Japanese soldiers to escape. The film's plot, involving Western villains from the future attempting to subjugate Japan, was also debated. Director Kazuki Ōmori defended his artistic decision on camera, arguing that the film was not in fact meant to be anti-American. It was also noted that there was considerable negative pubilicity regarding economic tensions between the United States and Japan at the time the film was made.
In 1992, the film won the Japan Academy Award for Special Effects.
Notes and references
- ^ This is the first Heisei Godzilla film to feature an original score by Akira Ifukube. Although 1989's Godzilla vs. Biollante featured three of Ifukube's themes, they were not composed for the film.
- ^ The Lagos Island in the film is fictional, and should not be confused with Lagos Island, which is a district of the city of Lagos, Nigeria.
- ^ a b J.D. Lees & Marc Cerasini (1998-03-24). The Official Godzilla Compendium: A 40 Year Retrospective. Random House Books.
- ^ *This is the first of the Heisei Godzilla films that would not be released in the United States in any way until 1998, when hype for the American Godzilla film prompted TriStar to finally release it, alongside the other previously unreleased Heisei films, on VHS and DVD.
- ^ *Double feature with Godzilla vs. Mothra
- ^ Gojira vs. Kingu Gidorâ (Gzilla vs. King Ghidorah) at IMDB.com.
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah at the Internet Movie Database
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah at AllRovi
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah at Rotten Tomatoes
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