Godzilla: Final Wars (ゴジラ ファイナルウォーズ?) is a Gojira: Fainaru Wōzu2004 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the twenty-eighth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the sixth and final in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 4, 2004.
Following the release of this film, the Godzilla series went on hiatus, before finally returning in 2014 with the release of Legendary Picture's Godzilla, and Toho's own Shin Godzilla following two years later.
In the 21st century, extensive warfare, nuclear testing 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 by eliminating the kaiju. 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.
Many years earlier in the mid-20th century, the greatest enemy that the EDF faced, Godzilla, first appeared and frequently attacked Japan in the 1960s during the great monster wars. While they succeeded in defeating all of 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. This was followed immediately by an avalanche of ice and rock caused by missiles fired from the Gotengo that buried Godzilla and imprisoned him in an icy tomb, restoring peace to the world.
Decades later, in the near future of the 21st century, peace had been recognized worldwide with the exception of very rare monster attacks. The EDF had easily defeated such threats, and the monster-scare had become a thing of the past. During this time a mysterious mummified monster was found off the coast of Hokkaido and was 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 was also discovered that the monster's D.N.A. contains M Base, which was also found in Earth's mutant soldiers, suggesting a relationship. 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 an important destiny and that he must choose his fate.
Suddenly a large group of monsters appear simultaneously and attack major cities all over the world. The EDF is dispatched and valiantly attempts to defeat the monsters. Rodan attacks New York City, Zilla attacks Sydney, Anguirus attacks Shanghai, King Caesar attacks Okinawa, Kamacuras attacks Paris, Kumonga attacks Phoenix, Arizona, and Ebirah attacks Tokai.
During the international devastation, an alien race known as the Xiliens appears and captures the monsters. After which they proposed a peaceful union with mankind. They revealed that an asteroid called Gorath was going to collide with Earth unless all weapons were aimed at it. The Secretary, who was considered dead when Rodan attacked his plane, began to pursue a new future with the Xiliens, claiming that the United Nations would become the Space Nations. However, distrust of the Xiliens began to arise. When the Secretary was attacked during an attempted assassination, his blood was analyzed and soon found to not be human. Worse, the image of Gorath displayed by the Xiliens turned out to be 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, the one who originally fired the missiles that contained Godzilla.
Doctor Miyuki Otanashi went looking through the files of the Secretary, but was caught by the EDF leader. However, Gordon came in at the last moment and shot the EDF leader, revealing the leader to be an impostor. They brought the corpse of the imposter to the broadcast studio, where the Xiliens were being interviewed on live television. The Secretary was shot, revealing him to also be an imposter. The second-in-command of the Xiliens, known as the Controller, shot his commander, tired of the slow plans of a peaceful takeover. Using his species' control over M-base, he takes control of the mutants, excluding Shinichi, and releases the monsters to resume their attacks on the cities. He also sent out an army of small fighter ships to assist in leveling and decimating human civilization. M-Unit commander Muasaka held off his former command while the others escaped. However, their escape is 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. The Controller unleashes Gigan to follow them. They succeed in releasing Godzilla, who battles with Gigan and defeats him by decapitation. Godzilla, thinking he was still battling with the Gotengo, chases after the ship. Godzilla is first led to Sydney, where he defeats Zilla. He then proceeds to defeat Kumonga, in New Guinea, Kamacuras in Manazuru, Anguirus, King Caesar and Rodan next to Mount Fuji, and finally Ebirah and Hedorah in Tokyo Bay. He is finally brought to the Xilien mother-ship. The Gotengo attempts to destroy the mother-ship, but its shields are too strong and the Gotengo is soon kept busy with fighter ships. Kazama takes a fighter and manages to enter the mother-ship, destroying the generator, which allows the Gotengo to drill through to the core of the ship and attempt to fire the Maser. However, the Xiliens teleport on board and kill all of the non-essential crew-members, bringing Shinchi, Miyuki, Gordon and pilot Akiko Namikawa to the Controller. The Controller 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 is what allowed Shinichi to avoid his control. However, the Controller manages to control Shinichi until he is stopped by Miyuki, who uses the Shobijiin's sword to free him. The Secretary of Defense and the EDF leader are revealed to be alive, having somehow escaped imprisonment. As the humans make their escape, Shinichi battles the Controller, ultimately winning. Going insane, the Controller self-destructs the mother-ship, intent on taking everyone down with him. Shinichi is able to board 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 defeats Godzilla and starts to drain his life force. Shinichi transfers his "Kaiser energy" to Godzilla and restores his strength and empowers him. Godzilla destroys two of Keizer Ghidorah's heads and throws him around the ruins of Tokyo. Finally, Godzilla hurls Keizer Ghidorah into the air and fires his red spiral atomic breath, which pushes Keizer Ghidorah into outer space, where he explodes. Godzilla then continues his battle against the Gotengo, using his atomic breath against the ship, forcing it to crash. Godzilla is about to attack the survivors of the Gotengo, but his son, Minilla, manages to calm Godzilla down and convinces him to leave and forgive mankind for their sins. Together, Godzilla and Minilla leave a ruined Tokyo and Godzilla lets out one final roar to commemorate 50 years of destruction.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
- Written by Isao Kiriyama, Ryuhei Kitamura, Wataru Mimura, Shogo Tomiyama
- Produced by Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Keith Emerson, Daisuke Yano, Nobuhiko Morin, SUM 41, Akira Ifukube, Masaru Sato
- Cinematography by Takumi Furuya, Fujio Okawa
- Production Design by Deborah Riley
- Special Effects by Eiichi Asada
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Masahiro Matsuoka as Shinichi Ozaki
- Rei Kikukawa as Miyuki Otonashi
- Kazuki Kitamura as X
- Don Frye as Douglas Gordon
- Akira Takarada as Naotaro Daigo
- Kane Kosugi as Kazama
- Maki Mizuno as Anna Otonashi
- Masakatsu Funaki as EDF Instructor
- Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Otsuka as Shobijin
- Kenji Sahara as Hachiro Jinguji
- Kumi Mizuno as Akiko Namikawa
- Koh Takasugi as Earth Defense Force Captain
- Masatō Ibu as Controller of Planet X
- Mick Preston as New York Cop
- Shinji Suzuki as Earth Defense Force Soldier
- Yasuhiro Takeuchi as Gotengo Crew Member
- Akira Nakao as Captain of the first Gotengo
- Koichi Ueda as Crew Member on the first Gotengo
- Takeshi Obayashi as Man who assaults Naotaro Daigo
- Ray Sefo as Glenn
- Gary Goodridge as Nick
- Darren Dupree Washington as New York Gangster Pimp
- Michael-Anthony Taylor as New York Gangster Pimp
- Michael Croaker as Punk
- Brad McMurray as Punk
- Joe Fenech as Fat Man
- Jordan Fleming as Canadian Child
- Japan - December 4, 2004
- China - July 22, 2005
- France - August 31, 2005
- Portugal - November 27, 2004
Godzilla: Final Wars actually had its world premiere in Los Angeles, despite not receiving theatrical release in the United States. In the majority of countries Godzilla: Final Wars was released straight to DVD. The film was released on DVD and video in Japan on July 22, 2005, and in the United States, via Sony Pictures Entertainment, on 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 had the largest budget ever used in a Japanese Godzilla film, at 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 Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles. The film ended its theatrical 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 made a number of obvious homages to The Matrix, Independence Day, X-Men, and Star Wars, which attracted some criticism from audiences. The monster fights in Final Wars were unusually short for the series. 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.
Despite these criticisms, other fans praised the action, the numerous monster appearances, and the cameos of many actors from previous Godzilla films, as well as the appearance of popular former MMA fighter Don Frye as Captain Douglas Gordon.
Home media releases
- Released: December 15, 2005
- Region: Region 1
- Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Other Details: 2.40:1, 125 minutes, 1 disc, Japanese version
- Released: May 6, 2014
- Region: Region A/1
- Language: English, Japanese
- Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Other Details: 2.35:1 aspect ratio, 216 minutes run time, 2 discs, Japanese version, double-feature with Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
- Godzilla: Final Wars was the final Godzilla film until the 2014 American Godzilla film, as Toho wanted to renew interest in the series. Toho didn't produce another Godzilla film until Shin Godzila, which was released in 2016.
- The opening of Godzilla: Final Wars features stock footage from various other Toho kaiju films, including all of the Godzilla films as well as other films such as Space Amoeba. However, this does not mean that Final Wars shares continuity with any of these films, as it is a standalone film that shares no connection with any film before it.
- 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.
- After Zilla (the monster from the American-made 1998 film) is hurled into the Sydney Opera House by Godzilla, X throws a tantrum and shouts, "I knew that tuna-eating lizard was useless!" referencing the fish that Zilla ate in the TriStar film. In the English dub, Zilla instead is called a "tuna-head."
- Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the TriStar Godzilla for the 1998 film, was present at Godzilla: Final Wars' world premiere in Los Angeles. Despite the monster's portrayal, Tatopoulos said he was honored to have his monster appear in an official Toho Godzilla film.
- 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. The lyrics of the song could also be a jab at TriStar and how they "took the 'God' out of 'Godzilla.'"
- Godzilla: Final Wars is the first film to have a western composer write most of the music.
- Mothra is the only returning kaiju, other than ones appearing in stock footage, not to have a new design, appearing exactly as she did in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S..
- King Ghidorah, Gorosaurus and Kiryu were originally planned to appear in the movie instead of Monster X/Keizer Ghidorah, Zilla and Gotengo.
- Concept art of the Giant Octopus exists for this film, showing that it was meant to appear but was scrapped.
- This was the last Godzilla film to have a poster illustrated by artist Noriyoshi Ohrai, who had illustrated posters for most of the series' films since The Return of Godzilla. Ohrai passed away in 2015.
- Not counting the 1998 film (Which was 140 minutes), Godzilla: Final Wars is the longest Godzilla film to date at 125 minutes.