Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (ゴジラVSデストロイア?, Gojira bāsasu Desutoroia, lit. Godzilla vs. Destroyer) is a 1995 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the twenty-second installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the seventh in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 9, 1995.
The film takes place in 1996, after the death of SpaceGodzilla. Birth Island is found destroyed with Godzilla nowhere in sight. His adopted son, Little Godzilla, is presumed dead at first but later reveals himself as a larger and more powerful sub-adult due to the excess radiation, known as Godzilla Junior. Godzilla, covered in glowing lava-like rashes, enters Hong Kong and destroys it. G-Force representatives hire college student Kenichi Yamane, adopted grandson of Dr. Yamane who witnessed the original Godzilla in 1954, to come work at the center in an attempt to unravel the mystery of Godzilla's condition.
Yamane suspects that due to his out of control radioactivity, Godzilla will soon explode, taking much of Japan with him. G-Force immediately deploys a flying combat vehicle outfitted with anti-nuclear cold weapons to forestall the event; the Super X III. Meanwhile, in the area where the original Godzilla died, strange life forms begin to rise, and a host of deadly creatures called Destoroyah begin wreaking havoc. Soil samples reveal that the existence of Destoroyah is directly connected to the Oxygen Destroyer used against Godzilla in 1954, which mutated Precambrian era life forms. After several deadly skirmishes with the Japanese Self Defense Force, the Destoroyah evolve beyond the JSDF's containment abilities and psychic Miki Saegusa must use her failing powers to lure Godzilla Junior to the area in an attempt to combat Destoroyah in Tokyo. Godzilla, who is tracking his offspring, follows Junior and will soon arrive in as well, but complications arise. Due to his encounter with the Super X III, Godzilla has now bypassed an explosion and will ultimately melt down once 1200 degrees Celsius has been reached; an event that will burn straight into the core of the planet and destroy all of Earth.
The first time the monsters fight, Junior is grievously wounded but manages to destroy his opponent. However, as Godzilla and Junior meet in Narita, Destoroyah returns in his final form: a monstrous gargoyle-like creature. Swooping down upon the surprised monsters, Destoroyah knocks down Godzilla and snatches the little Godzilla away; dropping the small creature from high above and blasting him with micro-oxygen, killing him. Enraged, Godzilla attacks Destoroyah and a back and forth battle ensues that destroys much of Tokyo. Born from the weapon that first defeated Godzilla, Destoroyah shows an obvious advantage from the start, but Godzilla's runaway radioactivity has pushed the monster's power to unimaginable levels and he soon destroys his son's killer. Unwilling to die easily, Destoroyah's body decomposes into many smaller Destoroyah which attempt to swarm Godzilla from all sides, but the attack ends in futility when Godzilla uses his Nuclear pulse to incinerate the miniature Destroroyahs.
Alone at last, Godzilla attempts to breathe life into his fallen son, but to no avail, and even as he grieves, Godzilla's heart continues to fail, causing even more pain within the monster. Suddenly, Destoroyah returns in his final form for one last attack. The battle is short but fierce; enraged by the loss of his offspring and maddened by the pain within him, Godzilla drives Destoroyah back to the brink of death as Tokyo is bathed in fire. As the battle reaches fever pitch, the ghastly creature attempts to flee, but just as Destoroyah lifts off, the Super X3 attacks and disables the creature's wings, causing Destoroyah to plummet back to Earth where he explodes and is consumed in a fiery inferno at Godzilla's feet.
His son gone and his foe defeated, Godzilla stands alone and dying, but the human race cannot afford to give Godzilla a quiet funeral. As the monster begins to melt, the JSDF bombards the dying beast with a plethora of ice weapons, successfully neutralizing the immense heat that is given off and preventing Godzilla's remains from melting into the center of the Earth and igniting the planet.
The victory is a costly one, however, for the radiation has made Tokyo an uninhabitable ghost town. Suddenly, radiation levels begin to drop, and from within the thinning smoke a roar can be heard. The younger Godzilla rises from the ashes a child no more. In death, Godzilla had passed on his excess radiation and life essence as a final gift to his son, reviving and mutating the next generation. A spitting image of his father, the new adult Godzilla flexes his claws and bellows a challenge to the world, preparing to take his father's place as the greatest force of nature ever born.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
After the film was released in Japan, Toho commissioned Omni Productions, a Hong Kong company, to dub the film into English. In this international version of the movie, an English title card was superimposed over the Japanese title, as had been done with the previous 90's Godzilla films.
TriStar Pictures (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment) released Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah to home video on January 19, 1999. This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States. TriStar used the Toho dubs, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films. The complete Toho international version of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has been broadcast on several premium movie channels since the early 2000s.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah had a budget of ¥1,000,000,000, or roughly $10,000,000. When the film was released in Japan on December 9th, 1995, it received an attendance of 4,000,000 and earned ¥2,000,000,000, or $18,000,000.
Critical reaction to the film has been mostly positive. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a fresh score of 90%. Michael Hubert of Monster Zero praised the "spectacular monster battles," calling Godzilla vs. Destoroyah "a great movie" and "one to add to your collection," adding: "Even for non-Godzilla fans, this movie might help dispel some of the preconceptions you have about Godzilla's 'cheese factor'." Toho Kingdom said, "With an elegant style, a powerful plot, brilliant effects, and believable acting, this entry is definitely a notch above favorites from all three timelines, and its impact on the series is challenged by only a handful of competitors. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is without a doubt a paradigm all its own." Japan Hero called the film "a work of art" and "a must see for anyone who loves Godzilla" that features "something for everyone." Stomp Tokyo gave the film a 4/5 and calls it "a big sparkly show with lots of stuff happening on screen." Mike Bogue of American Kaiju felt the film suffered from "several visual weaknesses" and "disappointing editing," but that "the positive aspects of the visuals outweigh the negatives" and praised the film for "treating Godzilla with the same awe, majesty, and terror as [the original 1954 Godzilla]."
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