Godzilla vs. Biollante
|Godzilla vs. Biollante|
|Directed by||Kazuki Ōmori|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka
|Screenplay by||Kazuki Ōmori|
|Story by||Shinichirō Kobayashi|
|Music by||Koichi Sugiyama|
|Running time||105 minutes|
|Box office||US $7,000,000|
Godzilla vs. Biollante (ゴジラvsビオランテ Gojira tai Biorante?) is a 1989 Japanese science fiction kaiju film produced by Toho. The film was written and directed by Kazuki Ōmori, and stars Kunihiko Mitamura, Yoshiko Tanaka, Masanobu Takashima, and Megumi Odaka. The seventeenth installment in the Godzilla series, the film is a belated sequel to The Return of Godzilla from 5 years earlier. This was the first "monster vs monster" film from this rebooted series. It featured a new monster called Biollante, with producer Tomoyuki Tanaka desiring new monster opponents for Godzilla rather than using characters from the original films. As part of pre-release publicity, Tanaka solicited script ideas from the public with 5,000 entries being received. The winning entry that was selected was from Shinichiro Kobayashi, a dentist and occasional science fiction writer. Director Ōmori then adapted it into the film's script.
This work was selected as the best Godzilla film, based on a vote by fans and judges, on Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting, in July 19, 2014.
In the aftermath of Godzilla's attack on Tokyo and his subsequent inprisonment at Mt. Mihara, a team of scientists discovers cells left in the rubble by the monster and collects them. A group of American militants takes a sample of their own. They attempt to escape with them, but are killed by a lone assassin codenamed SSS9, who steals the sample and departs. He boards a cruise liner and heads to the Republic of Saradia to deliver the cells to the Saradia Institute of Technology and Science. The president of the institute wants to use the cells to merge with genetically-modified plants, hoping to transform Saradia's deserts to vast greenery and end the country's dependence on oil wells for wealth. Dr. Genshiro Shiragami and his daughter, Erika, are enlisted to aid with the ambitious project. However, a terrorist bombing destroys the institute's laboratory, ruining the cells and killing Erika.
Five years later, Shiragami has returned to Japan and has merged some of Erika's cells with those of a rose. He hopes to have Erika's soul continue living in the plant. Psychic Miki Saegusa, who heads an institution for intuitive children, aids him in his research. The JSDF are using the Godzilla cells they collected to create "Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria", hoping it can serve as a fatal weapon against Godzilla should he return. Scientist Kazuhito Kirishima and Lt. Goro Gondo are assigned to lead the project. They attempt to recruit Shiragami to aid them, but a mournful Shiragami declines. International tensions are increasing over the Godzilla cells: an American biological corporation called Bio-Major wants the cells for its own personal gains, as does the Saradia Institute of Technology and Science. Bio-Major sends two agents to Japan, while Saradia sends SSS9. An explosion from Mt. Mihara causes tremors across the area, including Shiragami's home. The roses are badly damaged, and Shiragami realizes he needs a drastic plan to save Erika's soul. He agrees to join the JSDF's effort, giving him access to the Godzilla cells. He merges them with the roses at his lab. A night later, Bio-Major breaks into Shiragami's lab to steal the cells, but are ambushed by SSS9. A large, tentacle-like vine emerges and attacks the trio, killing a Bio-Major agent before the other two escape. The creature escapes to a nearby lake, transforming to a giant plant-like being that Shiragami names "Biollante."
The Bio-Major agent, in a desperate attempt to procure the cells, plants explosives around Mt. Mihara and issues an ultimatum to the Diet of Japan, warning that if he does not get the cells, he will detonate the explosives and free Godzilla. Kirishima and Gondo attempt to trade, but SSS9 thwarts the attempt and runs off with the cells. The explosives go off, and Godzilla escapes. He attempts to reach the nearest power plant to replenish his supply of nuclear energy, but Biollante calls out to him. Godzilla arrives at the lake to engage Biollante in a vicious battle, and emerges as the victor. Godzilla proceeds toward the power plant at Tsuruga, but Miki uses her psychic powers to divert him toward Osaka instead. The city is quickly evacuated, and a team of militants, led by Gondo, meet Godzilla at the central district and fire rockets infused with the anti-nuclear bacteria into his body. Gondo is killed in the process, and an unaffected Godzilla leaves the city.
Kirishima recovers the cells and returns them to the JSDF. Shiragami theorizes that if Godzilla's body temperature is increased, the bacteria should work against him. The JSDF forms microwave-emitting plates during an artificial thunderstorm, hitting Godzilla with lightning and heating up his body temperature during a battle in the mountains outside Osaka. Godzilla is only moderately affected, but Biollante arrives to engage him in battle once again. The fight ends after Godzilla fires his atomic heat ray inside Biollante's mouth. An exhausted Godzilla collapses on the beach, and Biollante disintegrates and her spores float to the sky, forming an image of Erika amongst the stars. Shiragami, watching the scene, is shot dead by SSS9. Kirishima chases the assassin and, after a brief scuffle, SSS9 is killed by a microwave-emitting plate. Godzilla reawakens and leaves for the ocean.
- Kunihiko Mitamura as Kazuhito Kirishima
- Yoshiko Tanaka as Asuka Okouchi
- Masanobu Takashima as Colonel Sho Kuroki
- Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa
- Koji Takahashi as Doctor Genichiro Shiragami
- Toru Minegishi as Lt. Goro Gondo
- Toshiyuki Nagashima as Director Seiichi Yamamoto
- Ryunosuke Kaneda as Seido Okouchi
- Kazuma Matsubara as Super X II Coordinator
- Yasunori Yuge as Prime Minister
- Yoshiko Kuga as Owada, Prime Minister's Wife
- Yasuko Sawaguchi as Erika Shiragami
- Brien Uhl as SSS9
- Koichi Ueda as General Hyodo
- Kosuke Toyohara as Super X II Controller
- Kurt Cramer as John Lee, Bio-Major Spy
- Derrick Homes as Michael Low, Bio-Major Spy
- Demon Kakka as Himself
- Abdallah Helal as Saradian Scientist
- Manjot Beoi as Saradian Plant Director
- Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla, the titular kaiju and the primary monster protagonist
- Biollante, the primary kaiju antagonist, a plant-like monster made from Godzilla's DNA
Godzilla vs. Biollante began as a winner of a contest by Toho. The concept was created by Shinichiro Kobayashi, a dentist. His script was widely different from the final film, the few parts that remained were Erika's death, Biollante's creation, a psychic girl, and for the most part, the ending. This first draft also had Dr. Shiragami first create a rat/fish hybrid monster named Deutalios who was quickly killed by Godzilla. This was cut and replaced by Godzilla's battles with Biollante's rose stage and the Super X II. In another ending, Biollante begins to lose and makes a final attempt to kill Godzilla by turning into a wave of pure energy which Godzilla would absorb. There was another ending of the film where Biollante dies and the hill sides suddenly exploded into bloom with millions of roses.
After the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong company called Omni Productions to dub the film into English. This international version of the film was released on video in the United States by HBO Video in 1992. The film was released on laserdisc the next year. Godzilla vs. Biollante was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in America by Echo Bridge Entertainment through Miramax on December 4, 2012.
English version development
In Early 1990, Toho entered discussions with Miramax to distribute the film. When talks broke off, Toho filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Federal Court, accusing Miramax of entering an oral agreement in June to pay Toho $500,000 to distribute the film. This lawsuit delayed the film's release for two years. An out of court settlement was reached with Miramax buying the rights to the film for an unreported figure. While Miramax had entertained thoughts of releasing the film in theaters, but in the end it was decided to release the film straight to home video instead. HBO released the film on VHS in 1992 and Laserdisc in 1993. Miramax utilized the uncut English international version of the film for this release.
In Japan, the film sold approximately 2 million tickets, earning $7,000,000 (U.S).
Godzilla vs. Biollante has received very positive reviews, with praise for the story, music and visuals. Ed Godziszewski of Monster Zero said the film is "by no means a classic" but felt that "for the first time in well over 20 years, a [Godzilla] script is presented with some fresh, original ideas and themes." Joseph Savitski of Beyond Hollywood said the film's music is "a major detraction", but added that it's "not only one of the most imaginative films in the series, but also the most enjoyable to watch." Japan Hero said, "[T]his is definitely a Godzilla movie not to be missed."
Godzilla vs. Biollante is a turning point in the series. This work was highly regarded then, however, the box-office gross in Japan was less than the previous one, The Return of Godzilla (1984). Therefore, Toho makes a shift from a realistic science fiction line to a fantastic family entertainment featuring star monsters from previous years.
In other media
- In the 1996 film Mars Attacks! a scene from this film is seen by the Martians.
- Dr. Shiragami re-appears in the 2007 video game Godzilla: Unleashed. He accidentally creates a new Biollante while attempting to weaponize an alien crystal. Later, he reveals the secrets of the crystals & "Critical Mass".
- Biollante appears in the Super Nintendo games Super Godzilla (1993) and Godzilla: Monster War (1994).
Home media releases
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment/Miramax - Blu-ray A (Region Free) America
- Picture Format: 1.85:1 (1080p 24fps) [AVC MPEG-4]
- Soundtrack(s): Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
- Subtitles: English (translation of screen text), English (for Japanese audio), English HoH (for English audio)
- Making of Godzilla vs. Biollante" Documentary (49:17)
- Behind the Design" Featurette (2:58)
- Case type: Keep Case
- Notes: All extras are in SD and case incorrectly states the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track as DTS 5.1.
- Other Releasing: Mega-Monster Movies Blu-ray (Set[s]) Contains: Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus / Monster (Also in DVD/Blu-ray Combo)
- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.
- Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting Corp. (2014). "THE BEST ゴジラ総選挙 詳細レポート!". 総力特集・ゴジラ (in Japanese). Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting Corp. Archived from the original on 2014-08-17. Retrieved 2014-09-05.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 258.
- Review Ed Godziszewski, Monster Zero, June 10, 2002
- Review Joseph Savitski, Beyond Hollywood, August 2, 2004
- Review Japan Hero
- Koichi Kawakita, ed. (2012-02-01). 平成ゴジラパーフェクション. DENGEKI HOBBY BOOKS (in Japanese). ASCII Media Works. p. 147. ISBN 978-4048861199.
- Toho Co., Ltd. (2012-09-28). 東宝特撮映画大全集 (in Japanese). villagebooks inc. p. 227. ISBN 978-4864910132.
- Godzilla vs. Biollante Blu-ray. Blu-ray.com. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
- "ゴジラvsビオランテ (Gojira tai Biorante)" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- Godzilla vs. Biollante at the Internet Movie Database
- Godzilla vs. Biollante at AllMovie
- Godzilla vs. Biollante at Rotten Tomatoes