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Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
Gvskg01

Foreign title(s):

Gojira buiesu Kingu Gidora

General Information

Directed by:

Kazuki Omori

Produced by:

Tomoyuki Tanaka
Shogo Tomiyama

Written by:

Kazuki Omori

Music by:

Akira Ifukube

Production Information

Distributed by:

Toho Company Ltd.JP
TriStar PicturesU.S.

Rating:

Not rated

Budget:

¥1,500,000,000

Box office:

¥1,450,000,000

Running time:

103 minutesJP
(1 hour, 43 minutes)
100 minutesU.S.
(1 hour, 40 minutes)

Designs used:

GhidoGoji
ShodaiGojirazaurusu
HeiseiGhido
ShodaiDoratto

Film Chronology

Previous:

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Next:

Godzilla vs. Mothra

 

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (ゴジラVSキングギドラ,   Gojira buiesu 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.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah was directed and written by Kazuki Omori, and produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, and Shogo Tomiyama. This film's plot details Godzilla and King Ghidorah's origins and their confrontation, with a plot involving time travel.

A sequel to this film, Godzilla vs. Mothra, was released on December 12, 1992.


Plot

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 the Godzillasaurus 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 headquarters completely. Then Emmy comes back from future with a resurrected King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah was 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

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

Cast

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


Appearances

Monsters

Vehicles

Alternate titles

  • 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)

Theatrical releases

  • Japan - December 14, 1991
  • Portugal - December 25, 1991
  • Germany - January 7, 1993
  • Spain - April 17, 1993

U.S. release

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah American VHS Cover

American Godzilla vs. King Ghidora VHS cover

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.

Box office

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.

Reception

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

Distributor Released Region Language Format Misc.
TriStar[1] November 3, 1998 Region 1 English Multiple formats
Full screen
NTSC
Closed-captioned
1.33:1 aspect ratio
205 minutes run time
1 disc
TriStar versions
Toho 2002 Region 2 Japanese N/A N/A
Madman 2006 Region 4 N/A N/A N/A
Toho 2009 N/A Japanese N/A N/A
Sony[2] May 6, 2014 Region 2 English
Japanese
Multiple formats
Blu-ray
NTSC
Subtitled
Widescreen
1.85:1 aspect ratio
216 minutes run time
2 discs
Japanese versions

Trivia

  • 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 II 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 II.
    • 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.[3]
  • 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.

References

  1. (November 3, 1998). Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla & Mothra: The Battle for Earth (Double Feature) Amazon. Retrieved June 25, 2017
  2. (May 6, 2014). Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla Vs. Mothra (1992) - Set (Blu-ray) Amazon. Retrieved June 25, 2017
  3. Milner, David (December, 1992). Ishiro Honda Interview Davmil. Retrieved June 25, 2017
  4. Milner, David (December, 1994). Koichi Kawakita Interview I Davmil. Retrieved June 25, 2017
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