Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (ゴジラVSキングギドラ?, Gojira bāsasu Kingu Gidora, lit. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) is a 1991 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the eighteenth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the third in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 14, 1991.
In the year 2204, a submarine examines the body of King Ghidorah, a monster which was said to have fought Godzilla in the 20th century. Then the movie flashes back to modern day Tokyo, where an unidentified flying object (UFO) has been seen flying rapidly with flashing lights in the night sky. The next morning, the general media attempts to make sense of the situation, which determine that this "UFO" may not have been a hoax.
Terasawa, a young Japanese reporter, is covering a story of a dinosaur sighted during Pacific War. Then a spaceship appears in Japan, coinciding with Godzilla's awakening in the ocean. The ship lands, and three humans, two Western men Wilson and Grenchiko and one Japanese young woman Emmy, come out of the ship and reveal themselves as delegates of nations from the year 2204. They have traveled across time to warn Japan of it's grave future; due to industrialization and nuclear power, Godzilla will reappear and destroy Japan for good (or so the Futurians say). They present a book that Terasawa will write in the future, entitled The Birth of Godzilla, which states the dinosaur he is covering is a "Godzillasaurus", the dinosaur that would eventually become Godzilla after radiation exposure from an American nuclear bomb test after World War II.
Terasawa and several Japanese civilians and military personnel are selected by the Futurians to go back to 1944 and make Godzilla disappear from history, thus preventing Japan's bleak future. The Futurians place Emmy and an android named M11 in command of the mission. They will pilot a time traveling shuttle named K.I.D.S. to 1944, where they will locate the dinosaur and teleport it off the island, preventing it's eventual mutation.
The Futurians and Japanese of the 1990s arrive on a Pacific Island named Lagos in 1944. Amid the final stage of Pacific War, a Japanese unit is opposing a US amphibious landing of the island. The time travel group secretly observe the battle. The Japanese unit is almost eliminated by the US landing unit, but the Godzillasaurus comes out of the jungle and kills the American soldiers. The US ship fires, heavily injures the Godzillasaurus, and then departs. The remaining Japanese unit salutes the injured Godzillasaurus and leaves as well several days later. The Futurians then teleport the Godzillasaurus into the Bering Sea, so that it can't be hit by atomic bombs, and return to the future.
Unknown to the Japanese, however, the Futurians have replaced the Godzillasaurus with three genetically engineered creatures called Dorats, who then were exposed to radiation of the nuclear test and mutated into the three-headed, dragon-like King Ghidorah, who appears in present Japan. It is then, that the Futurians' true malevolent intentions are exposed: The story they tell Japanese of 1990s is a lie. The true history of the future is that despite damages by Godzilla, Japan with her giant corporations would grow into a corrupt super power that affects the future world greatly; King Ghidorah is a controlled weapon the Futurians made to damage Japan further, in order to keep her from becoming a super power. However Wilson and Grenchiko are more ambitious. They want to use King Ghidorah to delete Japan from history completely. Emmy disagrees with that. She reprogrammed M11 and leaves the mother ship to tell Terasawa the truth.
The Japanese government, still believing Godzilla was erased from the timeline, then seek out the Godzillasaurus to create a new Godzilla, who is the only force powerful enough to defeat King Ghidorah and the Futurians. They borrow a nuclear submarine from Shindo Heavy Industry, a successful giant corporation established in post War Japan by Shindo, a former officer who was saved by and saluted to the then injured Godzillasaurus on Lagos Island. However, Miki Saegusa reports being able to sense Godzilla moving underwater, as if he never left. After researching old newspaper articles, Terasawa learns that sometime in the past, a Russian nuclear submarine disappeared in the Bering Sea near where the Godzillasaurus was placed. Terasawa realizes that Godzilla must have not been erased from the timeline at all, and was already mutated into Godzilla. Terasawa tries to warn the government that Godzilla already exists and that Shindo's submarine is in danger, but is too late.
Unknown to the Japanese or Futurians, the Godzillasaurus they had transported to the Bering sea had in fact already been mutated because a Soviet nuclear submarine had sunk in the Bering sea. As the Futurians put it, the birth of Godzilla was an unavoidable event, as long as there are nuclear weapons. The Japanese realize this too late, as the sub they sent encounters the already mutated Godzilla. Godzilla attacks the sub and absorbs its power, causing him to become even larger than before and overcome his ANEB infection.
Wilson and Grenchiko sent King Ghidorah to combat Godzilla ashore in Hokkaidō. Ghidorah almost strangles Godzilla to death, but in the mean time Emmy, Terasawa and the android sabotage the mother ship. Ghidorah's motion is affected and then it is defeated by Godzilla. Godzilla decapitates its middle head, and has it sink into bottom of the sea. Emmy and others teleport the mother ship in front of Godzilla and leave. Godzilla destroys the ship along with Wilson and Grenchiko on board.
Godzilla then sets out to destroy Japan. Emmy and M11 go back to future with the time traveling shuttle for help. Godzilla enters Tokyo and stands before the headquarters of Shindo Heavy Industry, where Shindo himself stays to wait for Godzilla. Shindo and Godzilla look into each others' eyes for a moment and Godzilla destroys the Shindo headquarter completely. Then Emmy comes back from future with a resurrected King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah is cryogenically preserved in the sea to 2204, when Emmy and the central Futurian government make it a cyborg under Emmy's command: Mecha-King Ghidorah. Emmy uses it to battle Godzilla. In the ensuing fight, Godzilla and Mecha-King Ghidorah level the center of Tokyo. Emmy uses Mecha-King Ghidorah's grappling cables to lift Godzilla into the sky. Godzilla continues to fight Mecha-King Ghidorah and sinks them both into the sea. Then Emmy says goodbye to Terasawa, whom she identifies as one of her ancestors, and goes back to future. However, on the bottom of the sea, Godzilla awakens and roars.
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. King Ghidorah was distributed in the United States by TriStar in 1998. The film was English-dubbed by Hong Kong-based Omni Productions, which dubbed all of the 90s Heisei movies and several of the Millenium films. These dubs are infamous among fans for their translations and voice acting, which many consider to be laughably bad.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah had a budget of ¥1,500,000,000, or roughly $12,000,000. When the film was released in Japan on December 14, 1991, it had an attendance of 2,700,000 and earned ¥1,450,000,000, or $11,000,000.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is generally well-received by fans. Internet critic James Rolfe (AKA the Angry Video Game Nerd) of Cinemassacre considers the film one of the best of the series.
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