Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

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Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
GXKG Poster.jpg
Original Japanese theatrical poster
Directed by Kazuki Ōmori
Produced by Shogo Tomiyama
Written by Kazuki Omori
Starring Kosuke Toyohara
Anna Nakagawa
Megumi Odaka
Katsuhiko Sasaki
Akiji Kobayashi
Yoshio Tsuchiya
Robert Scott Field
Music by Akira Ifukube[note 1]
Cinematography Yoshinori Sekiguchi
Edited by Michiko Ikeda
Production
company
Distributed by Toho
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?) (1991) is a Japanese science fiction kaiju film written and directed by Kazuki Omori. It is the 18th film in the Godzilla franchise and the third film in the Heisei series. The film was released in Japan on December 14, 1991 and direct to video in North America in 1998.

Plot[edit]

In 1992, science fiction writer Kenichiro Terasawa (Kosuke Toyohara) is writing a book about Godzilla. He learns about a group of Japanese soldiers stationed on Lagos Island in the South Pacific during World War II. In February 1944, while threatened by American soldiers, the Japanese soldiers were saved unintentionally by a mysterious dinosaur known as Godzillasaurus.[1] In 1954, Lagos Island was destroyed by a hydrogen bomb test and the nuclear radiation from the bomb mutated Godzillasaurus into Godzilla. Yasuaki Shindo (Yoshio Tsuchiya), who commanded the Japanese soldiers on Lagos Island, is now a wealthy businessman. He tells Teresawa that the dinosaur did indeed exist.

Meanwhile, a UFO lands on Mount Fuji. When the Japanese army investigates, they are greeted by Wilson (Chuck Wilson), Grenchko (Richard Berger), Emmy Kano (Anna Nakagawa) and an android, M-11 (Robert Scott Field). The visitors, known as the Futurians, explain that they are humans from the year 2204, where Godzilla has completely destroyed Japan. The Futurians plan to travel back in time to 1944 to remove the Godzillasaurus from Lagos Island before the island is destroyed, thus preventing the mutation of the dinosaur into Godzilla. As proof of their story, Emmy presents a copy of Terasawa's book, which has not yet been completed in the present, to the Japanese government.

The Futurians, Terasawa, Miki Saegusa (a psychic), and Professor Mazaki (Katsuhiko Sasaki), board a time shuttle and travel back to 1944 to Lagos Island. There, as American forces land and engage the Japanese forces commanded by Shindo, Godzillasaurus attacks and kills the American soldiers. The American navy then bombs the dinosaur from the sea and it is gravely wounded.

After Shindo and his men leave the island, M-11 teleports Godzillasaurus from Lagos Island to a place in the Bering Strait. Before returning to 1992, the Futurians leave three small creatures called Dorats on Lagos Island which are exposed to radiation from the hydrogen bomb test in 1954.[1](p267) The creatures merge to become King Ghidorah, which then appears in present-day Japan. After returning to 1992, the Futurians use King Ghidorah, which has taken Godzilla's place in history, to subjugate Japan. They issue an ultimatum, but Japan refuses to surrender.

Feeling sympathy for the Japanese people, Emmy reveals to Teresawa the truth behind the Futurians' mission: 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. At the same time, they also planned to erase 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 so it will help her. With M-11 and Terasawa's aid, Emmy sabotages the UFO's control over King Ghidorah.

At the same time, Shindo plans to use his nuclear submarine to recreate Godzilla. On route to the Bering Strait, Shindo's submarine is destroyed by Godzilla, who absorbs the radiation from it and becomes even larger and more powerful.

Terasawa searches through the newspaper archives and discovers that a Russian nuclear submarine sank in the Bering Strait in the same area to which Godzillasaurus had been teleported. The Russian submarine released enough radiation to mutate the dinosaur into Godzilla.[2]

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

Emmy travels to the future with M-11 and then returns to the present day with Mecha-King Ghidorah, a cybernetic version of King Ghidorah.[2] The cybernetic Ghidorah blasts Godzilla with energy beams, which proves useless. Godzilla then counters by relentlessly blasting Ghidorah with its atomic ray, almost decapitating Ghidorah. Ghidorah survives but then Godzilla prevails, knocking Ghidorah down. Emmy carries off Godzilla and drops it and Ghidorah into the ocean. Emmy then returns to the future but not before informing Terasawa that she is his descendant.

At the bottom of the sea, Godzilla recovers and roars over Mecha-King Ghidorah's remains.[3][page needed]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

This film is set after 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 the director, Kazuki Omori, feared that this would violate Turner's copyright.[citation needed] Eventually, Toho settled for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, pitting Godzilla against his archenemy from the original series.

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 for the opening Toho logos) was released on video in the United Kingdom by Manga Video on June 5, 1995. Less than a month later, Manga also released an international version of Godzilla vs. Mothra on video. In Italy, Yamato Video dubbed the international version of both movies into Italian using the complete international prints for both films.[citation needed]

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mothra on DVD in 1998.[4]

Box office[edit]

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

Home media release[edit]

The Columbia/TriStar Home Video DVD version was released in 1998 as a double feature, with Godzilla vs. Mothra, on a single disc.[4] The picture was full frame (1.33:1) [NTSC] and the audio in English (2.0). There were no subtitles. Extras included the trailer for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mothra.

The Sony - Blu-ray version was released on May 6, 2014 as a two disc double feature with Godzilla vs. Mothra.[5] The picture was MPEG-4 AVC (1.85:1) [1080p] and the audio was in Japanese and English (DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0). Subtitles were added in English, English SDH and French. Extras included the theatrical trailer and three teasers in HD with English subtitles.

Controversy[edit]

The film was considered controversial at the time of its release, mainly due to its fictional World War II depictions.[6] The film depicts American soldiers being killed by Godzilla, allowing Japanese soldiers to escape.[7]

Because the plot involved Western villains from the future attempting to subjugate Japan, it was seen as anti-American.[citation needed] The director, Kazuki Ōmori, defended his artistic decision, arguing the film was not meant to be offensive in any way.[6] At the time, there was considerable negative publicity regarding the economic tensions between the United States and Japan.[3][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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". Toronto: ECW Press. p. 127. ISBN 1550223488. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Wong, Kin Yuen (2005). World Weavers: Globalization, Science Fiction, and the Cybernetic Revolution. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Univ. Press. p. 182. ISBN 9789622097216. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Lees, J.D.; Cerasini, Marc (1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium (1st ed.). New York: Random House. ISBN 9780679888222. 
  4. ^ a b "DVD: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (Tristar)". Tohokingdom.com. Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  5. ^ "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. 2014-05-01. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  6. ^ a b "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) - CNN Report". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  7. ^ Tsutsui, William M.; Ito, Michiko (2006). In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 107. ISBN 9781403984401. Retrieved 29 November 2015. 

External links[edit]