|“||At the end of the century, the greatest battle has begun. (世紀末、最大の戦いが始まった。)||„|
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (ゴジラVSキングギドラ?, lit. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah) is a Gojira buiesu Kingu Gidora1991 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.
- Directed by Kazuki Omori
- Written by Kazuki Omori
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Yoshinori Sekiguchi
- Edited by Michiko Ikeda
- Production Design by Okihiro Yoneda
- Special Effects by Koichi Kawakita
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Kosuke Toyohara as Kenichiro Terasawa
- Anna Nakagawa as Futurian Emmy Kano
- Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa
- Katsuhiko Sasaki as Professor Yosuke Mazaki
- Akiji Kobayashi as Yuzo Tsuchiashi
- Tokuma Nishioka as Takehito Fujio
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Yasuaki Shindo
- Kiwako Harada as Chiaki Morimura
- Kenji Sahara as Takayuki Segawa, Minister of Defense
- Tetsu Watanabe as Lagos Island Sergeant
- Koichi Ueda as Masukichi Ikehata, Former Lagos Island Solider
- Kazuyuki Senba as Joint Chief of Staff
- Susumu Kurobe as Fuyuki Takaoka, Air Self Defense Force Chief of Staff
- Kenzo Hagiwara as Takeo Shimura, Chief of Staff, Ground Self-Defense Force
- Shin Tatsuma as Daisuke Hirata, Maritime Self Defense Force Chief of Staff
- So Yamamura as Prime Minister Murata
- Yasunori Yuge as Army Chief
- Chuck Wilson as Futurian Chuck Wilson
- Richard Berger as Futurian Grenchiko
- Robert Scott Field as M11
- Kent Gilbert as US Navy Captain
- Daniel Kahl as Major Spielberg
- Jeff Berglund as US Navy First Officer
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidora (Original international/U.S. title)
- Godzilla: Duel of the Mega Dinosaur (Godzilla – Duell der Megasaurier; Germany)
- Godzilla Against The Evil Monster (Godzilla Contra o Monstro do Mal; Brazil)
- Japan - December 14, 1991
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah was released on VHS in the United States by TriStar Pictures in 1998, along with Godzilla vs. Mothra. The film was titled Godzilla vs. King Ghidora for this release, which was also Toho's international title for the film at the time (later releases would correct this to "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah").
Like what Miramax had done for Godzilla vs. Biollante in 1992, TriStar elected to simply use Toho's international English dub for the film, which was done by Omni Productions. The only edits TriStar made to the film involved on-screen text and the end credits. Rather than use Toho's international title card, TriStar included the Japanese title card with "Godzilla vs. King Ghidora" in parentheses at the bottom of the screen. TriStar also provided its own English-language opening credits and cut the end credits, replacing them with a black screen including copyright information.
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.
Some Godzilla fans have expressed dissatisfaction with King Ghidorah's origin in the movie, especially in reference to the Dorats, as well as with the film's time-travel plot.
Home media releases
- Released: November 3, 1998
- Region: Region 1
- Language: English
- Format: Multiple Formats, Full Screen, NTSC, Color, Closed-captioned
- Other Details: 1.33:1 aspect ratio, 205 minutes run time, 1 disc, TriStar versions
- Released: 2002
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese
- Released: 2006
- Region: Region 4
- Released: 2009
- Language: Japanese
- Released: May 6, 2014
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese, English
- Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Other Details: 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 216 minutes run time, 2 discs, Japanese versions
- This is the only film where Godzilla battles King Ghidora one-on-one, with neither monster having any allies.
- This is the first movie in the Heisei series where a monster from the Showa series besides Godzilla returns.
- Stuntman "Hurricane" Ryu, who portrayed King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah, would later return to play Battra's larvae form in Godzilla vs. Mothra, Baby Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 2 and Godzilla Junior in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- A loose end in the film's plot that deserves mention involves King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah. In the beginning of the film, Grenchiko states that a person cannot exist in the same time twice; one of the two would vanish. However, when Godzilla defeats King Ghidorah, the monster falls into the Sea of Okhotsk, where it stays for 200 years. In 2204, Ghidorah is resurrected as a cyborg and returned to 1992. However, as the wounded King Ghidorah is still laying in the sea when Mecha-King Ghidorah arrives, two Ghidorahs clearly exist in the same time.
- As if to further contradict Omori's law, when Mecha-King Ghidorah is defeated by Godzilla, it too falls into the Sea of Okhotsk, meaning two Ghidorahs not only coexist in the same time, but in the same place as well. This seems to be a clear violation of Grenchiko's statement. However, it is possible that once Mecha-King Ghidorah came to the past, the body of the previous Ghidorah that was lying in the Sea of Okhotsk vanished as Grenchiko said would happen; Mecha-King Ghidorah could then take the previous Ghidorah's place in the sea. The remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah would later be used to create Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla 2.
- However, if King Ghidorah actually did disappear, that would mean that there wouldn't be a King Ghidorah corpse to turn into Mecha-King Ghidorah, so Mecha-King Ghidorah wouldn't be able to exist. Because Mecha-King Ghidorah wouldn't exist, it couldn't go back in time to fight Godzilla, so the old King Ghidorah corpse would still stay there. This means Grenchiko's statement is false, because if it was true, a time paradox (specifically, an altered version of the Grandfather Paradox) would have occurred. However, it's possible that when Mecha-King Ghidorah went back in time, it actually entered an alternate universe, meaning that a paradox doesn't occur, and in this new universe, King Ghidorah does disappear.
- This film was considered controversial at the time of its release, due to its fictional World War II sequence. The scene depicted American soldiers being killed by the Godzillasaurus, allowing Japanese soldiers to escape. The film's plot, involving Western villains from the future attempting to subjugate Japan, was debated. Kazuki Omori, the director of the film, defended his artistic decision on camera, arguing that the film was not in fact meant to be anti-American. It was also noted that there was considerable negative publicity regarding economic tensions between the United States and Japan at the time the film was made. Even Ishiro Honda stated in an interview in 1992 that he felt Kazuki Omori went too far in depicting the American soldiers being killed.
- In the Japanese novelization for this film, King Ghidorah's corpse is found on the surface of Venus by the Futurians, who use his DNA to engineer the Dorats. This was originally meant to be included in the film as well, but this was changed because Kazuki Omori reportedly did not want King Ghidorah to be a space monster again.
- Some of Gamera's roars were given to the Godzillasaurus.
- The main promotional poster for the film shows King Ghidorah breathing fire, each head spouting flames of a different color. This is inaccurate to the film, as Ghidorah's breath weapons are his lightning-bolt-like gravity beams.