|Godzilla: Final Wars|
|Produced by||Toho Company Ltd.|
|Directed by||Ryuhei Kitamura|
|Running Time||125 minutes|
(2 hours, 5 minutes)
Godzilla: Final Wars (ゴジラ ファイナルウォーズ?, Gojira: Fainaru Wōzu) is a 2004 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd. and the twenty eight installment in the Godzilla series. The film is the 50th anniversary film as well as the sixth Godzilla film of the Millennium era. The movie was released to Japanese theaters on Japan on December 4, 2004. It is the second all-star kaiju movie since Destroy All Monsters.
In the early 21st century, extensive warfare and careless science had mutated or awakened great beasts of all sorts. During that period, the frequent occurrence of enormous monsters had become commonplace, and thus, the Earth Defense Force (known in short as the EDF) was established by the Japanese government. The sole purpose of the force was to combat the monsters and hopefully restore peace to the world. During the worldwide wave of monsters, mutant humans with superhuman strength and extraordinary physical capabilities were discovered whose origins or mutations were not yet understood. The EDF realized the potential and effectiveness of the mutants as super soldiers, and established a subdivision known as the M-Organization. Utilizing the mutants' handy physical feats and superior piloting skills, along with the military's best war machines, the threat was slowly subdued and the monsters were slowly but surely defeated.
However, many years earlier in 1954, the greatest enemy that the EDF faced first appeared and died from that point on but had returned somehow and frequently attacked Japan in the 1960s during the great monster wars. This monster was the King of the Monsters, Godzilla. While they succeeded in defeating all the other monsters, Godzilla was the only one remaining and continually threatened mankind. One year, the EDF's best battleship—the Gotengo—was battling Godzilla deep in Antarctica. It was only with the help of a large earthquake that the crew of the Gotengo was able to finally triumph against Godzilla. The earthquake had caused the ground to split and cave in beneath Godzilla, causing him to fall into a seemingly bottomless pit which was followed by an avalanche of ice and rock caused by missiles fired from the Gotengo that buried Godzilla and imprisoned him in an eternal icy tomb.
Decades later in the near future of the mid 21st century, peace has been recognized worldwide with the exception of very rare, but occasional monster attacks. The EDF has easily defeated such threats, and the monster-scare has become a thing of the past. During this time a mysterious mummified monster is found off the coast of Hokkaido and is being suspended by large support cables in the EDF warehouse/hangar and being researched. It was calculated at being 12,000 years old and composed of organic and machine tissue, making it a cyborg. It is also discovered that the monster's D.N.A. contains M Base, which is also found in Earth's mutant soldiers. The two Shobijin fairies reveal the creature's name to be Gigan, an evil monster from space that was sent to wipe out life on Earth, but was subdued by Mothra. They give the mutant Shinichi Ozaki a small sword, saying he has a important destiny coming up and that he must choose his fate.
Suddenly the largest group of monsters appear at one time simultaneously and attack major cities of the world. The EDF is dispatched and valiantly attempts to defeat the monsters. Rodan attacks New York City, New York, United States, Zilla attacks Sydney, Australia, Anguirus attacks Shanghai, China, King Caesar attacks Okinawa, Japan, Kamacuras attacks Paris, France, Kumonga attacks Phoenix, Arizona, United States, and Ebirah attacks Tokai, Japan, a petrochemical complex gets smashed by the giant crimson lobster, Ebirah.
During the international devastation, an alien race known as the Xiliens appears and captures the monsters, and proposes a peaceful union with mankind. They reveal that an asteroid named Gorath was going to collide with Earth unless all weapons are pointed at it. The missing Secretary, who was considered dead when Rodan attacked his plane, began to pursue a new future with the Xiliens, claiming that humanity will become the Space Nations. But distrust of the Xiliens begin to fume. When the Secretary was attacked by a distrustful man, his blood was analyzed and soon to be found out to be not human. Worse, the image of Gorath was nothing more than a hologram. Shinichi feared that the Xiliens were plotting a takeover of Earth, and that many of their leaders could have been compromised. He could only trust one man, Captain Gordon, who fired the missiles that sealed Godzilla.
Doctor Miyuki Otanashi went looking through the files of the Secretary but is caught by the EDF leader. But Gordon came in at the last moment and shot her, revealing the leader to be an impostor. They bring the corpse of the clone to the broadcast studio where the Xiliens were on live television, also revealing the Secretary as a fake. The second-in command of the Xiliens, known as the Controller, shot his commander, tired of his plans to peacefully takeover. Using his species' control over M-base, he takes control of the mutants, except Shinichi, and releases the monsters to resume their attacks on the cities and send out an army of small fighter ships to assist in leveling and decimating the human civilization. M-Unit commander Muasaka held off his former command while the others escaped. But their escape is partially hindered by Kazama, a fellow mutant, who Shinichi is able to subdue.
In a secret hanger, the Gotengo crew set out on a risky, last resort plan to defeat the Xiliens by releasing Godzilla from Area G. But the only risk is that Godzilla may be controlled by the Xiliens. Unfortunately, the Controller unleashes Gigan to follow them. They succeed in unfreezing Godzilla, who battles with Gigan and wins, though it is later revealed that he does not actually kill him, despite that the cyborg was completely decapitated by Godzilla's atomic ray. Godzilla, thinking he was still battling with the Gotengo, chases after it, as the crew leads him to Sydney, where he defeats Zilla. He then proceeds to defeat Kumonga, in New Guinea, Kamacuras in Manazuru, Japan, Anguirus, King Caesar and Rodan next to Mount Fuji, Japan, and finally Ebirah and Hedorah in Tokyo Bay, Japan, before he is finally brought to the Xilien mother-ship. The Gotengo attempts to destroy the mother-ship but its shield are too strong and has to be busy with fighters. Kazama takes a fighter right through, destroying the generator, allowing the Gotengo to drill through to the core and attempted to fire the Maser, only for Xiliens to beam on-board and kill the non-essential crew-members, bringing the four most important ones, Shinchi, Miyuki, Gordon and pilot Akiko Namikawa to the Controller. He reveals that the Xilians want the mitochondria in human cells to survive and were simply demolishing civilization to show humanity its place as "cattle". He also reveals that he and Shinichi are Kaiser, a fusion of mutant and human DNA, which allowing Shinichi to escape his control. But the Controller attempts to turn Shinichi to his Xilien nature only for the process to be stopped by Miyuki, who uses the Shobijiin's sword to free him. Then the Secretary of Defense and the EDF leader are revealed to be alive, having escaped imprisonment. As they humans make their escape, Shinichi battles the Controller, ultimately winning. Going insane, the Controller self-destructs the mother-ship, intend on taking everyone down with him. Shinichi is able to get on the Gotengo just as the mother-ship is destroyed.
Godzilla battles a new, final foe known as Monster X while Mothra battles a rebuilt Gigan. Gigan perishes as Mothra turns the cyborg's own power against him, just as the remaining crew are victorious. Godzilla is still fighting Monster X, who soon transforms into his true form, Keizer Ghidorah, who starts to drain the life force of Godzilla. Ozaki, one of the mutant super-soldiers, transfers his "Kaiser energy" to Godzilla and restores his strength and empowers him. Godzilla destroys two of his enemy's heads and tosses him around the ruins of Tokyo. Finally, he hurls Kaiser Ghidorah into the air and fires his over powered red atomic breath to destroy Keizer Ghidorah. Godzilla then tries to kill the crew of the Gotengo, but his son, Minilla, calms him down. Together, they leaved the ruined Tokyo and Godzilla lets out one final roar for 50 years of destruction.
- Main Article: Gallery:Godzilla: Final Wars.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Shinichi OzakiMasahiro Matsuoka
- Miyuki Otonashi, UN Molecular Biologist Rei Kikukawa
- Xilien, 2nd in Command Kazuki Kitamura
- Douglas Gordon, Captain of the Gotengo Don Frye
- Naotaro Daigo, UN Secretary General Akira Takarada
- Kazama, Earth Defense Force Soldier Kane Kosugi
- Anna Otonashi, Newscaster Maki Mizuno
- EDF Instructor Masakatsu Funaki
- Shobijin Masami Nagasawa, Chihiro Otsuka
- Hachiro Jinguji, Paleontologist Kenji Sahara
- Akiko Namikawa, Earth Defense Force Commander Kumi Mizuno
- Earth Defense Force Captain Koh Takasugi
- Xilien Leader Masatoh Eve
- New York Cop Mick Preston
- Earth Defense Force Soldier Shinji Suzuki
- Gotengo Crew Member Yasuhiro Takeuchi
- Captain of the first Gotengo Akira Nakao
- Crew Member on the first Gotengo Koichi Ueda
- Man who assaults Naotaro Daigo Takeshi Obayashi
Weapons and Vehicles
Godzilla: Final Wars contains a record breaking, and currently record holding, fourteen different monsters, or fifteen counting Monster X and Keizer Ghidorah as different creatures. Many of the monsters had not appeared in a film since the 1960's or 1970's, and several of them appear only briefly.
- King Caesar
- Monster X
- Keizer Ghidorah
- New York City (attacked by Rodan)
- Okinawa, Japan (attacked by King Caesar)
- Sydney, Australia (attacked by Zilla)
- Tokai, Japan (attacked by Ebirah)
- Shanghai, China (attacked by Anguirus)
- Paris, France (attacked by Kamacuras)
- Tokyo, Japan (attacked by Gigan; where Godzilla defeats Ebirah and Hedorah; where the final battle takes place between Godzilla, Gigan, Mothra, and Monster X/Keizer Ghidorah)
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States (attacked by Kumonga)
- Kanazuru, Japan (Godzilla fights Kamacuras)
- Papua, New Guinea (Godzilla fights Kumonga)
- Mount Fuji (Godzilla fights King Caesar, Rodan, Anguirus, and where Minilla was found by Kenita)
- Antarctica (where Godzilla is imprisoned in ice)
- Infant Island (home of Mothra and the Shobijin)
- London, England (where the Gotengo fights and kills Manda)
In a majority of countries (U.S., Thailand, Canada, Germany, etc.) Godzilla: Final Wars went straight to DVD. The film was released on DVD and Video in Japan on July 22, 2005, and in America on Columbia/TriStar DVD on December 13, 2005. Thailand was the first country to release the film on DVD and VCD in April of 2005. It did get a theatrical release in France on August 31, 2005, with a DVD release almost a year later on August 26, 2006, and a theatrical release in China on July 22, 2005. In October of 2005, Godzilla: Final Wars had a straight to television release on Halloween in Russia with a DVD release soon after.
Godzilla: Final Wars has the largest budget ever used in the Godzilla franchise around ¥2,000,000,000 ($20,000,000). Any hopes Toho had of Godzilla: Final Wars ending the series with a box office bang were crushed when the film opened in Japan on December 4, 2004. In its opening weekend, it came in third at the box office, with a mild $1,874,559 gross. It was crushed at the box office by Howl's Moving Castle and The Incredibles, and ended its run with an unprofitable $12 million.
Godzilla Final Wars received mixed reviews from fans. It was intended to be a "monster mash" to celebrate Godzilla's long history, but due to the large cast of monsters, each was only allowed limited screen time. Furthermore, the movie departed from previous films in the series by introducing elements of human-focused action — an addition that was variously praised and condemned. The film makes a number of obvious references to The Matrix, Independence Day, X-Men, and Star Wars, which attracted some criticism from audiences. The monster fights in Final Wars are unusually short for the series, with many of the beasts apparently suffering from the storm trooper effect. This was done to make Godzilla appear far more powerful than he had in the past, and to solve the problem of having 14 monsters jammed into one film. This decision has been proved generally unpopular with Godzilla fans.
The music in Godzilla: Final Wars was composed by Keith Emerson, Daisuke Yano and Nobuhiko Morino, while the band Sum 41 contributed the song "We're All To Blame" to the soundtrack. Some critics expressed concern with the music of Final Wars, arguing that Emerson's score would be better suited for television or video games, while others pointed out that it made a refreshing change from the music of previous Godzilla films. Most kaiju fans missed the music of the original, especially the contributions made by composer Akira Ifukube, though the film does feature both Masaru Sato's "Godzilla vs. Anguirus" theme from the original Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, and Sato's theme for Minilla from Son of Godzilla. Some fans also complained about Sum 41's inclusion, citing the fact that the song seems to have nothing to do with the film's plot. GFW is the first film to have a western composer write most of the music.
- When the Gotengo drills into the ship, the Xiliens come and kill the crew members as the Controller of Planet X orders. When the protagonists come back to the ship, the crew members have vanished, and there are no remaining bodies.
- In Sony's DVD release of the film, the name of the alien invaders is spelled "Xilian" in the film and Japanese publicity materials, and "Xilien" is Sony's press sheets.
- In Sony's DVD release of the film, the Son of Godzilla has no less than three names on the Sony disc; the Chapter Menu uses the American name "Minya", the subtitles use "Minilla" (a direct translation of the Japanese name "Minira"), and Toho's English dub calls him "Milla".
- In Sony's DVD release of the film, Anguirus is referred to as "Angweerius".
- Godzilla: Final Wars was the final Godzilla film for 10 years before the American Godzilla because Toho wanted to renew interest in the series.
- As a 50th anniversary celebratory film, a large group of actors from previous Godzilla films, both classic and recent, made appearances as main characters or cameo appearances. This goes for the monsters as well, as most of the monsters in the film had not been in a film for over 30 years.
- If the viewer can be patient enough to sit through the credits at the end of the movie, after they stop rolling, the Godzilla logo appears in the corner of the screen and an altered version of the original Godzilla roar from his first movie in 1954 will be audible.
- After Zilla (the monster from the 1998 film) is hurled into the Sydney Opera House by Godzilla, the Xilien Controller throws a tantrum and shouts, "I knew that tuna-eating lizard was useless!", in reference to the tuna that Zilla ate in the TriStar film (In the English dub, the Controller says "I knew that tuna-head wasn't up to much!").
- In one scene, a kid playing with Godzilla action figures had a small stuffed Squirtle (Pokémon) toy, which may have been a reference to Gamera as both of Squirtle and Gamera are turtles. He called it a loser and tossed the doll into the fireplace of his house. This may show the rivalry of Toho and Kadokawa Pictures, or even shows the status of the Godzilla series.
- Hedorah is killed alongside Ebirah in a matter of seconds by Godzilla. But during the staff roll, Hedorah is shown emerging from the wreckage. Fans have suggested that the Smog Monster may have survived, but it was actually part of a deleted scene. As well, Hedorah is hit in the eye by Ebirah's claw, a reference to Godzilla vs. Hedorah, where he lost one of his eyes.
- Likewise, the monster Mothra is shown flying back Infant Island during the credits, suggesting that she might have survived as well.
- Godzilla: Final Wars returns many famous actors and actresses who appeared previously in the series to the screen. Akira Takarada, who played Ogata in the original Godzilla film, as well as Sakai the reporter in Mothra vs. Godzilla, astronaut Fuji in Invasion of Astro-Monster, Yashimura the bank robber in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, and Chief Joji Minamino in Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, appears here as the Secretary General. Kenji Sahara, here playing the Director of the E.D.F., previously stared in and amazing 11 Godzilla films, as well as many other science fiction films over a fifty year period. Akira Nakao, who played G-Force Commander Aso in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, as well the Prime Minister in Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla, and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., has a brief cameo in Final Wars as the captain of the original Gotengo in the 1960's. Koichi Ueda, who had many small, supporting roles in most of the Heisei series and the Millenium series films, appears alongside Akira Nakao in the original Gotengo. Finally, actress Kumi Mizuno, who had played Miss Namikawa in Invasion of Astro-Monster and Daiyo in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, as well as many memorable characters in films including Gorath, Matango, Frankenstein vs. Baragon and War of the Gargantuas, appears here as the Chief of the E.D.F. (where, ironically, she turns out to be an Xilien infiltrator just like in Astro Monster).
- In the opening credits, The image of Godzilla trapped in the ice was shown simultaneously with Godzilla Junior, from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, when he came back to life as an adult. This lead to a speculation that the Godzilla in this movie was actually a full-grown Godzilla Junior, despite the latter existing in the Heisei series and not the Millennium series. This is possibly true as Godzilla was not as aggressive in this film as he is in most other films and director Ryuhei Kitamura has stated he intended for Godzilla Junior to be in the movie. Destoroyah's slated appearance also contributed to this idea, since the final fight would be rather personal for Junior, seeking revenge on Destoroyah for "killing" him and his father. But after a script change, it became something for the audience to decide, however the two time-lines can not fit together as the Heisei Godzilla appeared in the 1980s while this Godzilla was frozen in the 1960's.
- The use of "We're All to Blame" by Sum 41 during the fight with Zilla could be a reference to the fact that he is the only monster in the film to not be made in Japan, he was made in the USA. Sum 41 is a Canadian rock band (both USA and Canada are in North America).
- The fact that Gigan is still up and running after his head is taken off may be a reference and/or tribute to the Showa MechaGodzilla who was able to fight even after Godzilla tore off his head. This may also be a reference to the fact that many Godzilla fans consider Gigan a "cyber chicken from space", so he continued like a chicken stays alive briefly with its head cut off.
- There is proof in a few behind the scene promotional shots that there was supposed to be a extended fight scene where Godzilla fights Monster X in Antarctica with help from both Rodan and Anguirus. This could mean that Godzilla freed Rodan, Anguirus and King Caesar from the mind control and Rodan and Anguirus help Godzilla fight Monster X along with the fight with Mothra and Gigan.