Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

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Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994) Japanese theatrical poster.jpg
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed by Kensho Yamashita
Produced by Shogo Tomiyama
Written by Hiroshi Kashiwabara
Starring Megumi Odaka
Jun Hashizume
Zenkichi Yoneyama
Akira Emoto
Towako Yoshikawa
Music by Takayuki Hattori
Cinematography Masahiro Kishimoto
Production
company
Distributed by Toho Company
Tristar Pictures
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Release dates
  • December 10, 1994 (1994-12-10)
Running time
108 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Budget US $10.3 million
Box office US $20 million

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (ゴジラvsスペースゴジラ Gojira tai SupēsuGojira?) is a 1994 Japanese science fiction kaiju film directed by Kensho Yamashita. It is the 21st film in the Godzilla franchise and the sixth film in the Heisei series. The film was released in Japan on December 10, 1994 and released direct to video in the United States in 1999 by Columbia Tristar Home Video.

Plot[edit]

Godzilla cells brought into space by Biollante and Mothra are exposed to intense radiation from a black hole, resulting in the birth of "SpaceGodzilla", which quickly makes its way to Earth, destroying a NASA space station along the way.

Meanwhile, members of the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center arrive at Birth Island in order to plant a mind control device on Godzilla. The Cosmos, Mothra's twin priestesses, appear to psychic Miki Saegusa and warn her of SpaceGodzilla's arrival. M.O.G.U.E.R.A., a mecha built by the JSDF to replace Mechagodzilla, is sent in to intercept SpaceGodzilla, but suffers damage in the process.

SpaceGodzilla lands on Birth Island and attacks Godzilla's son, Little Godzilla. Godzilla intervenes but finds itself overwhelmed by SpaceGodzilla, and is powerless to stop its clone from trapping Little Godzilla in a crystal prison. SpaceGodzilla leaves for Japan with Godzilla in pursuit.

Shortly thereafter, the Yakuza abduct Miki and bring her back to their base in Fukuoka in an attempt to use her psychic abilities to gain control over Godzilla. Miki is saved by a rescue team before SpaceGodzilla arrives. SpaceGodzilla lands in central Fukuoka and forms a massive fortress of celestial crystals. M.O.G.U.E.R.A. arrives to once again fight SpaceGodzilla, but is still no match for it. Godzilla arrives in Kagoshima Bay and fights SpaceGodzilla, but SpaceGodzilla easily gains the upper hand.

The JSDF discovers that SpaceGodzilla is using Fukuoka Tower as a power converter, using it to transform the Earth's core into an energy that SpaceGodzilla can absorb, slowly killing the planet. While Godzilla wrestles with SpaceGodzilla, M.O.G.U.E.R.A. splits into two different mechs: the Star Falcon, a flying battleship, and the Land Moguera, a tank. The mechs damage the crystal fortress while Godzilla pushes over Fukuoka Tower, cutting off SpaceGodzilla's energy supply. M.O.G.U.E.R.A. quickly reforms and blasts off SpaceGodzilla's crystal-like shoulder formations, weakening it. SpaceGodzilla critically damages M.O.G.U.E.R.A., but is subsequently incinerated by Godzilla's supercharged atomic ray.

Godzilla makes its way back to Birth Island after Miki uses her psychic powers to remove the mind control device from its neck. Little Godzilla is then free from the crystal prison and begins blowing radioactive bubbles.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Early concept art of SpaceGodzilla

Although director Kensho Yamashita and screenwriter Hiroshi Kashiwabara had more experience in producing teen idol movies, they were not newcomers to the kaiju genre, having both assumed minor roles in the making of Terror of Mechagodzilla. The two decided early in production to make the film more lighthearted than its predecessors and more focused on character development, centering it on Megumi Odaka's recurring character Miki Saegusa, who had previously played marginal roles in the series. The emphasis on lightheartedness was such that a scene depicting Godzilla desperately trying to rescue his son from SpaceGodzilla's crystal prison was deleted on account of its seriousness, a move disapproved of by Godzilla suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma.[1]

The idea of a "Space Godzilla" was first conceived in 1978, and was designed as a homage to the monster's hinted progenitor Biollante by incorporating tusks and a hissing roar reminiscent of the latter monster.[1] Creature designer Shinji Nishikawa had initially envisioned SpaceGodzilla as a much more western dragon-like creature with large fin-like wings on the back. The final design bore greater resemblance to Godzilla's final form from the video game Super Godzilla, itself also designed by Nishikawa.[2] Effects artist Koichi Kawakita redesigned Godzilla's son as a more cartoonish-looking character, having disliked the more dinosaurian-looking version in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II and hoping to launch a children's spinoff TV series entitled Little Godzilla's Underground Adventure. The M.O.G.U.E.R.A. suit was worn by Mechagodzilla performer Wataru Fukuda, and consisted of three pieces applied separately.[1] The new Godzilla suit used for the majority of the film combined aspects of the suits used in Godzilla vs. Biollante/Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, having a stocky, triangular build, wide shoulders and much less pronounced ribbing on the neck. The face bore similarities to those used in the previous two films, though the eyes were increased in size and given more prominent whites, thus making it relatively less menacing looking than its predecessors. Innovations included the head's ability to fully rotate around the body,[3] and the incorporation of an air duct which solved the chronic ventilation problems present in previous suits.[4] The suit from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II was reused for Godzilla's entrance and exit from Birth Island and during the scene where he is telekinetically tossed by SpaceGodzilla.[3]

Composer Akira Ifukube refused to be involved in the film after reading the script, which reminded him too much of a teen idol film and included rap music.[5]

English Version[edit]

After the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong company to dub the film into English. In this international version of the movie, an English title card was superimposed over the Japanese title, as had been done with the previous 90s Godzilla films.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah on home video on January 19, 1999. This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States. TriStar used the Toho dubs, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films. Toho's complete international version of Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (sans any onscreen text besides the English title) has been broadcast on several premium movie channels since the early 2000s.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Released on December 10, 1994, the film sold approximately 3,200,000 tickets in Japan and grossed around $20,000,000 (U.S) (US$32,000,000 worldwide). As the film's release coincided with the Kobe earthquake, Toho feared that the event would put off audiences due to the film's main battle sequence taking place in the same area, and thus sought to remedy this by lowering ticket prices.[1]

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received mainly mixed reviews. Monster Zero called the film "a curiously uninvolving effort" that "disappoints in nearly all aspects of the production" [6] American Kaiju criticized the "wildly uneven pacing," "uneven special effects," and "exceedingly lumpy story," but added that "most of the special effects are pretty fair" and "the monster battles are mostly fun."[7] DVD Cult said, "It does have some great destruction scenes and monster battles; two things that make these films worthwhile to begin with. The monster SpaceGodzilla is excellently designed, and is certainly far more menacing than anything Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich ever dreamed up."[8] Toho Kingdom said the film is "far from terrible" and "an underrated movie" but felt it suffered from an "overly complicated story," "underdeveloped characters," and "forgettable" music.[9]

Home media[edit]

Sony - Blu-ray (Toho Godzilla Collection) [10]

  • Released: May 6, 2014
  • Picture: AVC-1080P
  • Sound: Japanese and English (5.1 DTS)
  • Subtitles: English (Dubtitles) and French
  • Extras: Teasers and Theatrical Trailers (7 minutes) [1080i 30fps]
  • Notes: This is a 2-Disc double feature with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.

DVD

Columbia/Tristar Home Entertainment

  • Released: February 1, 2000
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen (1.85:1) Anamorphic [NTSC]
  • Sound: English (2.0)
  • Case type: Keep Case
  • Region 1
  • Note: A double feature with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. On the U.S. DVD release, the final scene in which Godzilla is in the water while Echoes of Love (Date of Birth) plays is cut; however, it is left in the TV, on demand and Japanese DVD versions.

Universe Laser

  • Released: November 24, 2006
  • Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
  • Sound: (Japanese, Cantonese) Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Subtitles English, Chinese (Traditional/Simplified)
  • Region 3

Adaptations[edit]

A manga adaptation was produced shortly before the film's release, it was written by Kanji Kashiwabara and illustrated by Takayuki Sakai, published by Shogakukan's Ladybug Comics line.[11]

Awards[edit]

In 1995, the film won the Best Grossing Films Award - Silver Award.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. pp. 202–09. ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7. 
  2. ^ David Milne, "Shinji Nishikawa Interview", Kaiju Conversations (December 1995)
  3. ^ a b Robert Biondi, "The Evolution of Godzilla – G-Suit Variations Throughout the Monster King’s Twenty One Films", G-FAN #16 (July/August 1995)
  4. ^ Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. Toronto: ECW Press. p. 298. ISBN 1550223488. 
  5. ^ David Milner, "Akira Ifukube Interview III", Kaiju Conversations (December 1995)
  6. ^ Review Ed Godziszewski, Monster Zero, June 10, 2002
  7. ^ Review Mike Bogue, American Kaiju
  8. ^ Godzilla Double Feature DVD - dvdcult.com
  9. ^ Review Anthony Romero, Toho Kingdom, February 6th, 2003
  10. ^ http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/64126/godzilla-vs-mechagodzilla-ii-godzilla-vs-spacegodzilla-set/
  11. ^ Product Listing on Amazon.co.jp

External links[edit]