Monday, May 5, 2014

GODZILLA VS. KING GHIDORAH (1991): 30 Days of Godzilla

DAY 19


Classic Godzilla foe King Ghidorah gets a modern update in this sequel to Godzilla vs. Biollante which features a trifecta of sci-fi awesomeness: monsters, time travel, and cyborgs.

Following the events of Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla is presumed dead or dormant as a result of the anti-nuclear bacteria with which he was injected by the JSDF. One day in 1992, however, a UFO touches down in Japan carrying a group of humans who call themselves the Futurians. They claim to be from the year 2204 and have a bleak warning for Japan: Godzilla will return and destroy Japan's nuclear power plants, wreaking radioactive destruction across the land and making Japan an uninhabitable wasteland. The future visitors -- Wilson (Chuck Wilson), Grenchko (Richard Berger), Emmy Kano (Anna Nakagawa) and android M-11 (Robert Scott Field) -- offer to save Japan by removing Godzilla from history.

Just a little bit of history repeating
The Futurians present a book that will be written in the future by author Kenichiro Terasawa (Kosuke Toyohara) about the origins of Godzilla. Based on the account of a WWII Japanese soldier who claims he and his men were saved in 1944 by a living dinosaur on Lagos Island in the South Pacific, Terasawa will theorize that that same dinosaur -- a Godzillasaurus -- become mutated by a hydrogen bomb test in 1954 and reemerge as Godzilla. Accepting that theory as fact, the Futurians ask Terasawa, psychic Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka) and Professor Mazaki (Katsuhiko Sasaki) to join them aboard their time machine and travel back to 1944 to remove the dinosaur from Lagos Island so that it will never become Godzilla and therefore never destroy Japan.

Godzilla: The Dorky High School Years
The plot and timeline here gets a little sloppy and confusing, but all you need to know is that they succeed in their plan. They move the 1944 Godzillasaurus from Lagos Island to the Bering Sea and -- in a surprise double-cross -- replace him with three cute little genetically engineered creatures called Dorats. When exposed to the 1954 H-bomb tests, the Dorats fuse and mutate into a creature under Futurian control......KING GHIDORAH! When the Futurians return the expedition to 1992, Godzilla has apparently disappeared (although not from the history books) and King Ghidorah has taken his place. As it turns out, the Futurians hail from a future where Godzilla never actually destroyed Japan; instead, Japan became a world superpower. They stole the time machine to alter the past and prevent Japan's rise by using King Ghidorah to wipe Japan off the map. And it seems as if they have now succeeded in rewriting history.

Hail to the King, baby.
In a further twist, it turns out that the Futurians didn't actually succeed in erasing Godzilla, they helped created him. In the 1970s, a Russian nuclear sub sank in the same area where the Futurians transported the Godzillasaurus, mutating him into the monster that attacked Tokyo in 1984 and fought Biollante in 1989. Even worse, a second nuclear sub is sent to the same location and Godzilla attacks it, feeding off its nuclear energy and growing bigger and stronger than he was before. Jacked up on nuclear steroids, Godzilla rages up out of the ocean and beats the life out of King Ghidorah. Now, how is humanity going to deal with a bigger and nastier Godzilla? The only thing that makes sense. Time travel to 2204, resurrect Ghidorah's corpse with futuristic robotics, and bring him back to 1992 as MECHA-KING GHIDORAH! Holy shit!

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah may be a really sloppy time-travel adventure with plot holes galore, but it's so much damn fun! Director Kazuki Omori delivers a powerhouse of special effects spectacle, masterful monster battles, intriguing science fiction plotting with just the right amount of cheese, and all of it is wrapped in the bow of a commanding score by Akira Ifukube. If you're a Godzilla fan, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah really hits the sweet spot.


The reinvention of King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah made a big splash with audiences and fans. Although Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah never got a theatrical release in North America, it grossed around $11,000,000 at the Japanese box office and won a Japanese Academy Award in special effects. It gave Toho enough mojo to make a Godzilla movie every year until 1995, reinventing many of its classic kaiju characters along the way. Tomorrow in 30 Days of Godzilla, we'll look at the next chapter in the ongoing Heisei series: the 1992 monster spectacle GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA

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