Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

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Image animevice.com

“Godzilla dies!”

This was the tag line for the final film of the Heisei series, and it made headlines around the world.  While the last several movies had been successful, Toho felt it was time to go out on a high note, and Godzilla would be retired until his 50th anniversary in 2004.  This would also allow the American film company Tristar to create a trilogy of American Godzilla movies set in their own continuity (more on that in another post…)  And so, this would be Godzilla’s swan song, for now, and the movie would center around the one thing that managed to utterly destroy Godzilla once before-the Oxygen Destroyer.

A routine check of Birth Island, the home of Godzilla and his son, goes awry when it is found the island has disappeared and there is only a boiling section of sea where it once was.  Shortly after, Godzilla appears in Hong Kong, glowing red and smoking.  His once blue radiation beam has permanently changed to its powered up red “spiral” form, previously only used to finish of enemies.  A meeting of dignitaries and scientists is called, and Kenichi Yamane, the grandson of Dr. Yamane who studied Godzilla in 1954, puts forth the theory that Godzilla’s inner workings simulate a nuclear reactor.  Birth Island was destroyed by an underwater uranium explosion, and Godzilla absorbed all the energy from the nuclear blast.  He is now approaching meltdown, and he will destroy the world when he does.  Meanwhile, Kenichi’s sister Yukari, a reporter, is interviewing a scientist who has developed a breakthrough with a new form of oxygen called “micro-oxygen”.  It turns out that this scientist used some of Dr. Serizawa’s surviving notes to create micro-oxygen, and it is fundamentally similar to his Oxygen Destroyer.  Some of the scientists working on the micro-oxygen project are studying dirt excavated from the area where the Oxygen Destroyer was detonated, and a small life form is found.  It escapes and heads to the local aquarium, where its presence reduces the fish to bones, just like the Oxygen Destroyer did in Serizawa’s lab.  In lieu of creating a new Oxygen Destroyer, the committee decides to use “freeze weapons” to slow the meltdown process.  The new Super X3 is outfitted with a cryo-laser and Godzilla is frozen, for a time.  Meanwhile, Miki Segusa is attempting to locate Little Godzilla, who has not been seen since Birth Island disappeared.

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Image youtube.com

Godzilla eventually thaws as a swarm of crab-like creatures invade parts of Tokyo.  While this new threat is being dealt with, the Little Godzilla reappears, and the Birth Island incident has mutated him into Godzilla Junior, a smaller version of Godzilla.  It is theorized that Godzilla is searching for Junior, so Miki uses her powers to try to bring the two together.  The crab creatures fuse together into one large monster, and Kenichi Yamane theorizes that the being was an ancient organism altered by the Oxygen Destroyer, and dubs the monster Destoroyah.  Junior arrives and battles Destoroyah, and is eventually victorious.  Godzilla arrives in the city and finds his son, but the reunion is brief as Destoroyah reappears in a large, demonic form.  It grabs Junior and drops him from high in the air, killing the young monster.  Godzilla retaliates angrily and a dynamic fight breaks out between the two monsters.  As Godzilla approaches meltdown, the area around him begins to burn, and Destoroyah attempts to retreat.  The military intervenes and blasts Destoroyah with cryogenic weapons, and the beast is destroyed.  The military then turn their weapons toward Godzilla in an attempt to prevent his out of control radiation from destroying the world.  They succeed in containing the meltdown, and Godzilla roars weakly as he overheats and melts.  There is a flash of light, however, and Godzilla’s remains cover Junior’s body, and the young monster is revived as a fully grown Godzilla.

“Godzilla vs. Destoroyah” is a fitting end for the Heisei series.  It isn’t perfect; there are many scenes in the middle that drag and the small crab-like Destoroyah creatures could be better animated.  However, the emotional impact the film leaves more than makes up for any flaws it has.  Even though they don’t share much screen time, Godzilla’s relationship with his son is at the forefront of his story arc and their relationship is better shown here than the previous two movies Junior appeared in.  It is a sad thing to watch Godzilla search for his son, as if he knows he is dying and wants to see him once more.  Junior dying, and Godzilla trying to breathe life back into him, are also emotional high points.  While the argument could be made that a more familiar monster like King Ghidorah or Mechagodzilla should have had the honor of being Godzilla’s final opponent, Destoroyah is perfect as a thematic foil for Godzilla.  Destoroyah, like Godzilla, was a by-product of a weapon of war, and symbolizes the out-of-control destruction such a (fictional) weapon could cause, mirroring Godzilla’s own origins as a symbol of nuclear war.  He was also created by the weapon originally used to kill Godzilla, so in a sense, the original weapon is returning to finish the job.  This would mark the end of many associations with Godzilla.  This was the last Godzilla movie produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka before his death, the last movie scored by Akira Ifukube before his death, and the last time Godzilla was portrayed by Kenpachiro Satsuma.  Momoko Kochi reprised her role as Emiko Yamane from the original Godzilla in a cameo appearance, and many other actors from the Heisei series made appearances.  This film is an absolute must-see for any Godzilla fan, and is a wonderful tribute to all that came before it.  In the end, Godzilla was brought out of retirement early.  After the 1998 American movie, the Japanese Godzilla would return to kick off the Millenium series in 1999.

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Image gvsdestoroyah.dulcemichaelanya.com

Trivia

The ending credits are played out over scenes from the previous entries in the Godzilla series.

The original concept was to have Godzilla battle the ghost of the original Godzilla from 1954.  This idea was dropped when it was pointed out that this would mark the third movie in a row featuring Godzilla fighting a version of himself.  Some aspects of this original idea were later used for “Godzilla X Mechagodzilla”.

The simulated meltdown sequence has Godzilla explode next to the Wako Building and the Diet Building.  These two buildings were destroyed by Godzilla in the original 1954 movie.

The antagonist monster’s name was supposed to be “Destroyer”, however, Toho found it difficult to trademark that name, so “Destoroyah” was used instead.  In the dubbing, the monster’s name is pronounced “Destroyer”.

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Image digplanet.com

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~ by Chris on May 10, 2014.

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