Godzilla vs King Ghidorah 1991
This is one of my favorite of the rebooted, or Heisei series, and it has everything in it! It has Godzilla and spectacular monster fights with his number one nemesis, Ghidorah, (now raised in rank to King Ghidorah), time travelers and androids! It also has a very convoluted plot and enough twists and turns to satisfy anyone. There is humor and action and destruction. The special effects are also very well done.
The movie was directed by Kazuki Omori and this would be a very controversial film for him. The film depicts a very pro-Japanese tone in an era of rising Japanese financial power and many thought the film was anti-American. I can see that at the time some of the remarks, scenes and characters could be construed as anti-American sentiment, but viewing it here 21 years later those comments and scenes to have lost much of their sting. One of the more favorable aspects of the film is the return of original music producer and writer Akira Ifukbe.
The plot: As I said it is convoluted and as with many time travel movies it has large Swiss Cheese style holes in it. The movie begins in the year 2204 and we see a submarine examining the remains of King Ghidorah resting at the bottom of the ocean. The next scene shows the year 1991 and a UFO flying over Tokyo. The next day it lands and out come three people. Two Caucasians, one named Wilson, the other Gurenchiko and a gorgeously sweet and adorably cute Japanese woman named Emmy. Instead of typical aliens coming out of a UFO these three are time travelers from the year 2204. They are called the Futurians and they have come from the future, with an android in tow, to rescue Japan from the clutches of Godzilla. The Futurians mention that Godzilla will return shortly and the destruction that follows will make Japan a radioactive wasteland and uninhabitable in the future.
The sub-plot involves a wealthy business man named Shindo who experienced a large dinosaur, called a Godzillasaurus, on Lagos Island in 1944 during World War II. It seems that in 1944 the Godzillasaurus rescues a Japanese force from annihilation by an American squadron on Lagos. Shindo was a member of that Japanese force. This Godzillasaurus remained on Lagos Island and was subject to fall out from nuclear testing resulting in the first creation of Godzilla in 1954. Terasawa, who would write a book about Godzilla in the future, is taken by the Futurians, along with psychic Miki Saegusa and professor Mazaki back to Lagos Island in 1944 to prevent the creation of Godzilla. They bring with them three cute dragon like creatures called the Dorats. I bet you can see what is coming next. After witnessing the Godzillasaurus defeating the American forces (watch for a funny and groan worthy Steven Spielberg joke) the Futurians teleport the wounded Godzillasaurus to the ocean floor in the year 1991. Right before they go “back to the future” Emmy leaves the Dorats behind.
When they all arrive back in 1991 we discover that Godzilla never existed (although many people do seem to know about him) and in his place comes King Ghidorah. Yup, the little Dorats have mutated into one giant monster. It seems the Futurians were not there to save Japan after all. Instead they came to ensure Japan’s destruction. It seems that in the future Japan was not destroyed by Godzilla but had in fact become the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth.
Emmy, it seems has been unaware of the plans fellow time travelers and begins to work with Tersawa, Miki Saegusa and professor Mazaki to try to bring back Godzilla in an effort to defeat King Ghiodorah. Shindo has a nuclear powered sub built in an effort to resurrect Godzilla. However before their plan can be put into service a Russian nuclear sub crashes near the Godzillasaurus and suddenly the largest Godzilla ever seen comes out from the depths of the ocean. This Godzilla makes short work of King Ghiodorah, ripping his middle head off in the process. Now without anyone standing in his way Godzilla begins paving a path of destruction across Japan.
Emmy, Terasawa and professor Mazaki now have to concoct a plan to defeat Godzilla. So Emmy says lets go to the future and bring back King Ghiodorah to defeat Godzilla!!! Hu? What? Hmmm…but didn’t you just create Godzilla to defeat King Ghiodorah in the first place? Now you want to bring King Ghiodorah back to defeat Godzilla…it seems like we’re caught in an never ending loop! So Emmy returns to the future where the body of King Ghiodorah is revived and enhanced with cybernetics to become Mecha-King Ghiodorah. With Emmy piloting Mecha-King Ghiodorah she/they defeat Godzilla and she drops both monsters into the ocean.
This movie is a wild and wacky ride and a heck of a lot of fun. I am also a huge Star Trek fan and many fans such as myself really enjoy the continuity within that franchise. The Godzilla franchise is another story. The original Showa series (1954-1975) is a loose continuity, meaning its there but all the directors of the various films were flexible with the continuity. Godzilla vs King Ghiodorah shatters that continuity. The rebooted Heisei series scuttled the prior continuity except for the original movie. Well, this movie even destroyed the limited continuity of the first two Heisei movies. In the 1954 original Godzilla dies at the end. The rest of the Showa era series is ignored and in the Return of Godzilla, the Godzilla that is depicted in that movie is the second incarnation of the creature. But this movie erases all of that. Now, for the rest of the Heisei series Godzilla never appeared in 1954 at all! He never appeared in 1984 Return of Godzilla or 1989 (Godzilla vs Biollante). In fact the events from those movies are erased! So this movie reboots the entire franchise once again with Godzilla making his first appearance in this movie. Then, as you will see in a few weeks, the last of the Heisei series does reference the 1954 appearance of Godzilla! Confusing isn’t it? So the continuity is a bit of a mess.
So if you don’t care about continuity this movie is a lot of fun and action. The acting is good although the scenes with the android are a bit silly. Godzilla looks real good and the special effects with him and King Ghiodorah are very well done. I think the time travel element is very creative and used for a good plot device in moving the story forward.
I rate this movie: A