Godzilla vs. Biollante (ゴジラVSビオランテ?, Gojira bāsasu Biorante) is a 1989 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the seventeenth installment in the Godzilla series as well as the second in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 16, 1989.
In 1984, a scientific team picks through the ruins of Tokyo, searching for tissue samples left behind by the monster Godzilla following his rampage there only a few hours earlier. The creature had returned after 30 years, and had reduced Tokyo to rubble. After destroying the J.S.D.F.'s Super X, the monster had been lured to Mt. Mihara, where an eruption had been triggered that sealed the titan within the volcano. The scientific team soon find what they are looking for, but as they continue to search, a team of American paramilitary soldiers working for a United States-based genetics research company called Bio-Major ambushes them and steals the cell samples. As they flee with their prize, they are ambushed themselves by a lone mercenary, who kills the commandos and steals the cells back. The mysterious man, a killer known only as SSS9, then takes the cells to the Republic of Saradia, an OPEC nation in the Middle East, where Japanese geneticist Genshiro Shiragami and his daughter Erika take charge of them. Shiragami is working with the Saradian government on a project to genetically breed a new species of plant capable of living in the arid Saradian deserts. This, the government hopes, will gradually take the country away from relying only on oil exports for profit, and will hopefully make them the worlds largest grain exporter. However, before this can become a reality, the lab where the Godzilla cells are being stored is bombed by Bio-Major agents, and the cells are destroyed. Shiragami's daughter, Erica, is killed in the blast, and the distraught scientist returns to Japan, unwilling to continue his research.
Five years later, in 1989, Japan has, for the most part, recovered from Godzilla's attack. Shiagami has kept Erica's keep-sake roses alive for all this time, and has even spliced her genes into the plants in hopes that she might continue to live within them. After five years of wondering if this is even possible, he calls the Japanese Psyonics Research Center, who send two psychics, Asuka Okochi and Miki Saegusa, to test the roses for psychic energy. Miki, only seventeen years old, is an incredibly gifted psychic, and as she analyzes the roses, she can hear the voice of a girl calling Asuka's name. As the two women leave, they do not know that they are being watched. In the trees rests a truck, and from the window several Bio-Major agents look on. As it turns out, they have been watching Shiragami for several years. Little do they know that they too are under surveillance. Behind them, the Saradian agent that stole the Godzilla cells in 1984 watches in silence.
Asuka Okochi is the daughter of Seido Okochi, founder and head of the Okochi Foundation, a genetic research institute. Her boyfriend, Kazuhito Kirishima, is a geneticist as well, but has recently become very concerned with the ethics of his work. He believes that if the scientists are not careful, they may create something terrible, something never intended to exist on the planet Earth. He fears that Okochi's view of science, that being a way to gain power and money, goes against what science is really all about. However, as he is dating Okochi's daughter and his lab is funded by the Okochi Foundation, there is little he can do to voice his opinions.
Meanwhile, a small eruption at Mt. Mihara begins to worry the Japanese government. Godzilla has remained interred within the mountain for the last five years, and it is now becoming clear that the creature is stirring within. The Japanese begin their planning for the monster's return, and prepare several defenses. Lt. Sho Kuroki of the JSDF, along with Goro Gondo of the National Land Bureau's Godzilla Unit, begin to organize and prepare. The JSDF has constructed the Super X II, a vastly improved version of the machine that fought Godzilla during in 1984. The machine is now semi-aquatic, capable of functioning under water, and now features a vast array of weapons. The new mech also possesses a "Fire Mirror", capable of deflecting Godzilla's Atomic Ray back at him. The government also has another trick up their sleeves: they are planning to develop a biological weapon called Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria (ANEB). The bacteria, designed to break down nuclear energy, was originally intended to clean up atomic waste. However, as the bacteria eats nuclear material, it could, theoretically, be used against Godzilla, who feeds off nuclear energy. However, the ANEB cannot be created without Godzilla cells. As it turns out, the cells of the King of the Monsters contain a special set of nuclear-eating genes that are used to power up the creature. These genes are needed to make the ANEB, and much like snake venom can be used to create an antidote for snake poisoning, it is believed that the G-cells can be used to create a chemical that can poison and kill Godzilla himself. A group of cells recovered in 1984 are now stored at the Okochi Foundation, safe from terrorists such as the Bio-Major agents. Kirishima and Kuroki attempt to lobby Dr. Shiragami to join the project, but he flatly refuses. He blames the G-cells for his daughter's death five years earlier, and has no intention of getting involved with them again.
Several days later, Mt. Mihara erupts, spewing lava all across Oshima Island. The resulting earthquakes hit Japan and injure Shiragami's roses. Fearing that Erica may die if the roses perish, he formulates a plan. He joins the ANEB project, but only on one condition: he is to keep the Godzilla cells for the one week until the project begins. On a dark and stormy night, Shiragami sits alone in his lab. Before him lie several rose petals and the Godzilla cells. Under his microscope, he carefully isolates one G-cell and one cell from the rose, and then, ever so carefully, combines the two together. Now, he hopes, his daughter will live forever in a plant given the regenerative properties of Godzilla himself.
Several days later, Bio-Major thieves break into Shiragami's lab. SSS9 also breaks in. When the thieves and the assassin catch each other, a gunfight ensues. It is interrupted by an attack of a giant, mobile plant that kills one man and nearly kills another. The surviving thief flees, and the assassin barely escapes from the plant's grasp. They do not realize that they have just encountered the result of Dr. Shiragami's secret experiments. The next morning a giant flower is seen in a nearby lake, and Dr. Shiragami confesses that he combined the DNA of roses with Godzilla cells. Furthermore, he confesses privately to a young official that he had, in a fit of desperate grief, added Erika's DNA to the mutated genetic structure, so that some of the creature is composed of Erika as well. He names his creation Biollante.
Meanwhile, Bio-Major anonymously sends a letter to the Diet of Japan, informing them that they have planted several bombs inside Mt. Mihara. If the Anti-Nuclear Bacteria is not handed over, the company threatens to detonate the bombs and release Godzilla. With the country held hostage, the Diet is forced to comply. The trade-off with the remaining thief goes well until Shiragami's assassin kills the thief. The thief dies before he can show Lieutenant Goro Gondo and Dr. Kazuhito Kirishima how to deactivate the timed explosives. Godzilla is released as Mt. Mihara erupts. Upon hearing Godzilla's roar, Biollante's blossom opens, and the monstrous plant begins calling out to Godzilla. Dr. Shiragami theorizes that this is because both Godzilla and Biollante are essentially the same being. With Godzilla's destination made clear, the Japan Self-Defense Forces, under the leadership of Major Sho Koruki, prepare their strategies for dealing with the King of the Monsters. The Super X II, a remote controlled and stronger version of the first Super X, is deployed, and though at first seems effective in combating Godzilla, is eventually overwhelmed by Godzilla's atomic breath, and is forced to retreat. Later on, Godzilla finally reaches Biollante at the lake. A huge battle ensues, and briefly it appears that there is a stalemate. However, Godzilla defeats Biollante with his atomic breath. While Biollante dissolves into spores which then fly out into space, Godzilla continues on. Godzilla, running low on radioactive energy after his fights with the Super X II and Biollante, heads towards the nearest operational nuclear reactor, which is located in Tsuruga, on the other side of the country. The military is sent out to meet Godzilla at Iso Bay. Godzilla surfaces in Osaka Bay, avoiding a confrontation with the JSDF. Saegusa tries to help, attempting to make Godzilla turn away from Osaka. Her efforts distract Godzilla momentarily, but the force of Godzilla's will and his psychic brainpower overwhelms her, causing her to faint. A plan is put into action, involving infecting Godzilla with the regained ANEB. In its final battle, the Super X II is destroyed by Godzilla after luring it into Osaka's business district. Lieutenant Gondo and his soldiers use rocket launchers equipped with the ANEB. The operation is initially successful, despite the death of Lieutenant Gondo, with ANEB injected into Godzilla at three points of his body. Godzilla remains unaffected by it, and continues on.
The failure of the bacteria to work is attributed to Godzilla's low body temperature, which keeps the bacteria in a near-dormant state. If Godzilla can be heated, Shiragami theorizes, then the ANB should work. The JSDF develops another plan: force Godzilla onto a field of microwave-emitting plates during an artificial thunderstorm, where it will be heated by the microwaves. The operation begins, but it seems that Godzilla is not affected by the microwaves as he easily destroys it. Just as everything seems lost, a low rumble is heard and Biollante's spores rain down from the sky. Suddenly, Biollante emerges and evolved from the ground right after destroying all nearby ground forces, Biollante attacks Godzilla, and the two massive monsters fight to the death with Godzilla beginning to lose. At the last minute Godzilla blasts his atomic breath into Biollante's mouth, severely wounding her. However, Godzilla falls headfirst into the ocean because of the ANEB. With Godzilla temporarily knocked out, Biollante dissolves into spores again and flies up into space. As the monster's remains float upwards, Dr. Shiragami sees the image of his daughter among the spores. Calling out to her, he walks forward and gets killed by the Saradian agent, who is still after Godzilla's cells. Godzilla is dying and therefore will be unable to escape when the terrorist tries to get the cell. Dr. Kirishima chases the agent and fights him. The agent is at a disadvantage until he is able to grab his weapon again. The Saradian agent attempts to kill Kirishima, but Major Koruki disintegrates the terrorist. The characters celebrate their victory when Godzilla returns from the sea waters. The body of Dr. Shiragami is placed inside a tent, with his superior briefly mourning him before leaving. Erika is heard to comment on the events of the film, and the film concludes with a shot of Godzilla swimming away.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Godzilla vs. Biollante began as a winner of a contest by Toho. The concept was created by Shinichiro Kobayashi, a dentist, though his script was widely different from the final film. The few parts that remained were Erika's death, Biollante's creation, a psychic girl, and for the most part, the ending. This first draft also had Dr. Shiragami create a rat-fish hybrid monster named Deutalios who was quickly killed by Godzilla. This was cut and replaced by Godzilla's battles with Biollante's rose stage and the Super X2. In another ending, Biollante begins to lose and makes a final attempt to kill Godzilla by turning into a wave of pure energy which Godzilla would absorb.
After the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned a Hong Kong company called Omni Productions to dub the film in English. The international version of the film was released on video in the United States by HBO Video in association with Miramax on November 25, 1992. The film was released on laserdisc the next year. Godzilla vs. Biollante was released on DVD and Blu-Ray disc in America by Echo Bridge Entertainment through Miramax on December 4, 2012.
In early 1990, Toho entered discussions with Miramax to distribute the film. When talks broke off, Toho filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles Federal Court, accusing Miramax of entering an oral agreement in June to pay Toho $500,000 to distribute the film. This lawsuit delayed the film's release for two years. An out of court settlement was reached with Miramax buying the rights to the film for an unreported figure. While Miramax had entertained thoughts of releasing the film in theaters, but in the end it was decided to release the film straight to home video instead. HBO released the film on VHS in 1992 and Laserdisc in 1993. Miramax utilized the uncut English international version of the film for this release.
Godzilla vs. Biollante had a budget of ¥700,000,000, or $5,000,000. When the film opened in Japan on December 16, 1989, it sold 2,000,000 tickets, earning ¥1,040,000,000, or roughly $7,000,000.
Godzilla vs. Biollante is generally a favorite among Godzilla fans.
Ed Godziszewski of Monster Zero said the film is "by no means a classic" but felt that "for the first time in well over 20 years, a [Godzilla] script is presented with some fresh, original ideas and themes." Joseph Savitski of Beyond Hollywood said the film's music is "a major detraction," but added that it's "not only one of the most imaginative films in the series, but also the most enjoyable to watch." Japan Hero said, "this is definitely a Godzilla movie not to be missed."
Echo Bridge (2012)
Echo Bridge (2012)
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