Godzilla vs. Gigan
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|Godzilla vs. Gigan|
Japanese theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jun Fukuda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Written by||Takeshi Kimura|
|Music by||Akira Ifukube|
|Box office||¥320 million|
Godzilla vs. Gigan, released in Japan as Chikyū Kōgeki Meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan (地球攻撃命令 ゴジラ対ガイガン, lit. Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan), is a 1972 Japanese kaiju film directed by Jun Fukuda, written by Takeshi Kimura and Shinichi Sekizawa, and produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. Distributed by Toho and produced under their effects-based subsidiary Toho-Eizo, it is the 12th film in the Godzilla franchise, and features the fictional monster characters Godzilla, Gigan, Anguirus, and King Ghidorah. The film stars Hiroshi Ishikawa, Yuriko Hishimi, Tomoko Umeda, and Minoru Takashima, alongside Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla, Kenpachiro Satsuma as Gigan, Koetsu Omiya as Anguirus, and Kanta Ina as King Ghidorah. It is the last film in which Godzilla was portrayed by Nakajima, who had played the character since the original 1954 film.
Godzilla vs. Gigan was released theatrically in Japan on March 12, 1972. It received a wide theatrical release in the United States in 1977 by Cinema Shares, under the title Godzilla on Monster Island.
Giant insectoid aliens resembling cockroaches from a dying planet in "Space Hunter Nebula M" plot to colonize the Earth, their planet having become uninhabitable after another race on the planet polluted it, then died out from the effects of their own destruction. The aliens assume the forms of dead humans and work as the development staff of the peace-themed theme park, World Children's Land, the centerpiece of which is "Godzilla Tower". The Nebula M aliens plan to use the space monsters Gigan and King Ghidorah, guided by two "Action Signal Tapes", to wipe out human civilization.
Manga artist Gengo Kotaka stumbles onto their plan after being hired as a concept artist for the park. When Gengo and his friends accidentally obtain one of the Action Signal Tapes and play it, Godzilla and Anguirus hear the signal and realize something is amiss. Godzilla sends Anguirus to investigate. When Anguirus approaches Tokyo, the Japan Self Defense Forces, misunderstanding the monster's intentions, drive him away.
Anguirus reports back to Monster Island, and Godzilla follows him back to Japan to save the Earth from Gigan and King Ghidorah. The aliens attempt to kill Godzilla with a lethal laser cannon hidden inside Godzilla Tower (the blue laser beam also resembles Godzilla's atomic breath), but Gengo and his companions use the aliens' over-reliance on technology against them, forcing the invaders to unwittingly destroy themselves. After a lengthy fight, Godzilla and Anguirus force Gigan and King Ghidorah back into space and then Godzilla and Anguirus swim back to Monster Island, but not before Godzilla turns around and gives a roar of triumph, in thanks to his human friends.
- Hiroshi Ishikawa as Gengo Kotaka
- Tomoko Umeda as Machiko Shima
- Yuriko Hishimi as Tomoko Tomoe
- Minoru Takashima as Shosaku Takasugi
- Zan Fujita as Fumio Sudo, the Chairman of World Children's Land
- Toshiaki Nishizawa as Kubota, Secretary of World Children's Land
- Kunio Murai as Takashi Shima
- Gen Shimizu as the Commander of Defense Forces
- Kuniko Ashihara as Middle-aged Woman
- Zeko Nakamura as Priest
- Akio Muto as Editor of Comics Magazine
- Haruo Nakajima as Godzilla
- Kenpachiro Satsuma as Gigan
- Koetsu Omiya as Anguirus
- Kanta Ina as King Ghidorah
An early draft version of the film that became Godzilla vs. Gigan, submitted in 1971 by Kaoru Mabuchi, was titled Godzilla vs. The Space Monsters - Earth Defense Order. Miko, an alien being resembling a large brain, intends to conquer the Earth using King Ghidorah, Gigan, and Megalon (later to be reworked into the main villain in 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon). Godzilla and Anguirus appear in Tokyo in defense of Earth. Miko uses the three space monsters to install his being into a giant statue of Majin Tuol, a fictional Inca god, which has been erected at Tokyo's Science Land. Gigan uses the buzzsaw in its chest to cut the statue, causing it to bleed. Majin Tuol, now having come to life and inhabiting the statue, allies itself with Godzilla and Anguirus. The three Earth monsters defeat the space creatures and Godzilla destroys Miko. After the decisive battle, Majin Tuol again turns to stone. 
Shinichi Sekizawa drafted a new story using many of Mabuchi's ideas. Sekizawa's pitch, titled The Return of King Ghidorah, featured Godzilla, Rodan, and Varan in combat with King Ghidorah, Gigan, and a new monster called Mogu. Except for its monster cast, this draft was reportedly much closer to the final filmed version of Godzilla vs. Gigan.
The majority of the film's soundtrack consists of recycled cues from previous Toho films such as Frankenstein Conquers the World, Atragon, King Kong Escapes, Battle in Outer Space and several other Godzilla films. Akira Ifukube, who composed the music for those films, receives credit in the film. In addition to those stock tracks, several themes composed by Ifukube for the Mitsubishi Pavilion at Expo '70 are used throughout the movie. A new song called "Godzilla March," sung by Susumu Ishikawa and composed by Kunio Miyauchi, plays at the end of the film. Ishikawa also performed two more new songs ("Go! Go! Godzilla" and "Defeat Gigan") that were released on the soundtrack album.
In Japan, the film sold approximately 1,780,000 tickets.
Following the film's release in Japan in March, 1972, Toho commissioned Hong Kong broadcaster and voice actor Ted Thomas to produce an English language soundtrack. As was usual with Toho's international export versions of its films, Godzilla vs. Gigan was left uncut, although all titles, credits, and text were changed to English. One significant change was made for this international version. In the Japanese release, speech bubbles, as seen in comic books, are used to depict a conversation between Godzilla and Anguirus. The speech bubbles were removed in original prints of the English version and the conversation was dubbed into English with Thomas as the voice of Godzilla.
In 1977, Mel Maron's Cinema Shares International Distribution purchased the North American rights to Godzilla vs. Gigan and released the film as Godzilla on Monster Island in the U.S. Rather than going to the expense of dubbing the film again, Cinema Shares utilized Toho's English dub. Aiming for a “G” rating from the MPAA, the company's editors removed three instances of blood from the monster scenes and muted the phrase “You're a hard bitch” on the soundtrack. Following the theatrical release, Godzilla on Monster Island entered television syndication.
In the 1980s, Toho had regained control of the film's American distribution rights and licensed the film to New World Pictures. New World’s home video division released the international version of Godzilla vs. Gigan on video in 1988, fully uncut. Several budget re-releases of the film continued from New World’s successors over the next decade. Shortly thereafter, the Sci-Fi Channel began broadcasting Cinema Shares’ version, Godzilla on Monster Island, in the early 1990s. A letterboxed transfer of Toho's international version replaced Godzilla on Monster Island on the channel in 2002.
The film received several VHS releases during the 1990s by distributors such as Anchor Bay Entertainment and PolyGram Video. The film was released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on October 19, 2004, and on Blu-ray by Kraken Releasing on May 6, 2014. On October 29, 2019, the Japanese version will be included as part of a Blu-ray box set released by the Criterion Collection, which will contain all 15 films from the franchise's Shōwa era.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 173.
- 地球攻撃命令 ゴジラ対ガイガン
- Godziszewski 1994, p. 167.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 176.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 175.
- Ryfle 1998, p. 153.
- Kalat 1997, p. 125.
- Sci-Fi Channel schedule for March 2002
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- "Godzilla vs. Gigan DVD". DVD Talk. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
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- "Godzilla: The Showa-Era Films, 1954–1975". The Criterion Collection. 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
Squires, John (25 July 2019). "Criterion Collection Announces Epic 15-Film 'Godzilla: The Showa Era' Box Set for This October!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
Patches, Matt (25 July 2019). "Criterion reveals the collection's 1000th disc: the ultimate Godzilla set". Polygon. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
- Godziszewski, Ed (1994). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla. Daikaiju Enterprises.
- Kalat, David (1997). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0786403004.
- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 1550223488.
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