Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

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Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
GXKG Poster.jpg
Original Japanese theatrical poster
Directed by Kazuki Omori
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Shogo Tomiyama
Written by Kazuki Omori
Starring Kosuke Toyohara
Anna Nakagawa
Megumi Odaka
Katsuhiko Sasaki
Akiji Kobayashi
Yoshio Tsuchiya
Robert Scott Field
Kenpachiro Satsuma
Music by Akira Ifukube[note 1]
Cinematography Yoshinori Sekiguchi
Edited by Michiko Ikeda
Production
company
Distributed by Toho
Tristar Pictures
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Release dates
  • December 14, 1991 (1991-12-14)
Running time
103 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget US $12 million
Box office US $11 million

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (ゴジラvsキングギドラ Gojira tai Kingu Gidora?), is a 1991 Japanese science fiction kaiju film produced by Toho Co., Ltd.. Directed by Kazuki Omori, and featuring special effects by Koichi Kawakita, the film starred Anna Nakagawa, Megumi Odaka, and Akiji Kobayashi. The 18th installment of the Godzilla series featured the return of Godzilla's greatest foe, the three-headed King Ghidorah. The film was a box office hit with sequels released on a yearly basis until 1995.

The film was released direct to video on DVD in the United States in 1998 by Columbia Tristar Home Video as Godzilla vs. King Ghidora and again in 2014 by Sony.

Plot[edit]

In 1992, journalist Kenichiro Terasawa (Kosuke Toyohara) is writing a book about Godzilla and learns about a group of Japanese soldiers stationed on Lagos Island in the South Pacific during World War II who were unintentionally saved from a group of American soldiers by a mysterious dinosaur known as "Godzillasaurus" in February 1944. In 1954, the island was destroyed by a hydrogen bomb test and the radiation from the bomb mutated the dinosaur into Godzilla.

Yasuaki Shindo (Yoshio Tsuchiya), who commanded the Japanese soldiers on Lagos, is now a wealthy businessman who confirms the dinosaur's existence to Terasawa. 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 the android M-11 (Robert Scott Field). The visitors, known as the Futurians, explain that they're humans from the year 2204, where Godzilla has completely destroyed Japan. They explain that they plan to travel back in time to 1944 and remove Godzillasaurus from Lagos before the island is destroyed, therefore preventing Godzilla from being created. As proof of their story, Emmy presents a copy of Terasawa's book, which hasn't been written yet, to the Japanese government.

The Futurians, along with Terasawa, psychic Miki Saegusa (Megumi Odaka), and Professor Mazaki (Katsuhiko Sasaki), board a time shuttle and travel back to 1944, arriving on Lagos Island. 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. After Shindo and his men leave the island, M-11 teleports Godzillasaurus from Lagos to a spot in the Bering Sea. Before returning to 1992, the Futurians leave three small creatures called Dorats on Lagos which are exposed to radiation from the hydrogen bomb test in 1954 and merge to become King Ghidorah, which then appears in present day Japan. After returning to the present, the Futurians use King Ghidorah, which has taken Godzilla's place in history, to subjugate Japan and issue an ultimatum, but Japan refuses to surrender.

Feeling sympathy for the Japanese, Emmy reveals the truth behind the Futurians' mission to Terasawa: in the future, Japan is an economic superpower that has surpassed the United States, Russia, and China. The Futurians traveled back in time in order to change history and prevent Japan's future economic dominance by creating King Ghidorah and using it to destroy present day Japan while erasing Godzilla from history so it wouldn't pose a threat to their plans. After M-11 brings Emmy back to the UFO, she reprograms the android to help her. With M-11 and Terasawa's aid, Emmy sabotages the UFO's control over Ghidorah.

Meanwhile, Shindo plans to use his nuclear submarine to recreate Godzilla. While en route to the Bering Sea, the submarine is destroyed by Godzilla, who absorbs the radiation from it and becomes larger and more powerful. Terasawa goes through newspaper archives and discovers that a Russian nuclear submarine sank in the Bering Sea near the area where Godzillasaurus was teleported to and released enough radiation to mutate the dinosaur into Godzilla.

Godzilla arrives in Japan and is greeted by King Ghidorah. Godzilla and King Ghidorah fight at equal strength with each immune to the other's attacks. Godzilla eventually ends the battle by blasting Ghidorah's middle head off. Before the final blow, Godzilla destroys the UFO, killing Wilson and Grenchko. Japanese troops attack Godzilla in Sapporo to no avail. Godzilla then turns its attention on Tokyo, destroying the metropolis and killing Shindo in the process.

Emmy travels to the future with M-11 and returns to the present day with Mecha-King Ghidorah, a cybernetic version of Ghidorah. Ghidorah relentlessly blasts Godzilla with energy beams, which proves useless. Godzilla then counters by relentlessly blasting Ghidorah with its atomic ray, nearly decapitating Ghidorah. However, Ghidorah manages to knock Godzilla down. Godzilla proves to be too resilient and easily knocks Ghidorah down. Emmy carries Godzilla off and drops it and Ghidorah into the ocean. Emmy then returns to the future but not before informing Terasawa that she is in fact his descendant.

At the bottom of the sea, Godzilla recovers and roars over Mecha-King Ghidorah's remains.[1][page needed]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

This film is set after the events of The Return of Godzilla (1984) and Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). Originally, the film was 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.[citation needed] After this, Toho had the idea of making Godzilla vs. Mechani-Kong (from 1967's King Kong Escapes), but director Kazuki Omori feared that this would ultimately violate Turner's copyright as well.[citation needed] Toho eventually settled for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, pitting Godzilla against his archenemy from the original series.[citation needed]

English version[edit]

After the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong company to dub the film into English.[citation needed] Instead of creating a unique title screen for the movie, as had been done with the previous international versions of Godzilla films, the international title for the film was simply superimposed over the Japanese title.[citation needed]

The complete international English version of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (except the opening Toho logos) was released on video in the United Kingdom by Manga Video on June 5, 1995. Manga similarly released the international version of Godzilla vs. Mothra on video less than a month later. In Italy, Yamato Video dubbed the international version of both movies into Italian, despite using complete international prints for both films.[citation needed]

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mothra on DVD on April 28, 1998.[citation needed] This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States.[citation needed] TriStar used the Toho dubbed versions, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films.[citation needed]

Box office[edit]

According to Toho, the film sold approximately 2,700,000 tickets in Japan, and grossed around $11,000,000 (U.S).[citation needed]

Home media release[edit]

Columbia/TriStar Home Video - DVD[2]

  • Released: November 10, 1998[note 2]
  • Picture: Full Frame (1.33:1) [NTSC]
  • Audio: English (2.0)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Extras
    • Trailer for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
    • Trailer for Godzilla vs. Mothra

Sony - Blu-ray[3]

  • Released: May 6, 2014[note 3]
  • Picture: MPEG-4 AVC (1.85:1) [1080p]
  • Audio: Japanese and English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
  • Extras:
    • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:20, Japanese DD 2.0, English subtitles)
    • Teaser 1 (HD, 0:34, Japanese DD 2.0, English subtitles)
    • Teaser 2 (HD, 0:35, Japanese DD 2.0, English subtitles)
    • Teaser 3 (HD, 0:47, Japanese DD 2.0, English subtitles)

Controversy[edit]

The film was considered controversial at the time of its release mainly due to its fictional World War II depictions.[4] The film depicts American soldiers, after invading Lagos Island, being killed by Godzilla in order to help Japanese soldiers escape.[citation needed] The film's plot, involving Western villains from the future attempting to subjugate Japan, was seen as anti-American.[citation needed] Director Kazuki Ōmori defended his artistic decision on camera, arguing that the film was not meant to be offensive in any way whatsoever.[4] It was also noted that there was considerable negative publicity regarding economic tensions between the United States and Japan at the time the film was made.[1][page needed]

Awards[edit]

In 1992, the film won the Japan Academy Award for Special Effects.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Single disc double feature with Godzilla vs. Mothra.
  3. ^ Two disc double feature with Godzilla vs. Mothra.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lees, J.D.; Cerasini, Marc (1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9780679888222. 
  2. ^ "DVD: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (Tristar)". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  3. ^ "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. 2014-05-01. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) - CNN Report". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 

External links[edit]