Until this 18th film in the Godzilla franchise, which also served as the third film in the franchise’s “Heisei period” (1984 – 1995) — begun with 1984’s The Return of Godzilla — the second film in the period, Godzilla vs. Biollante, was the most expensive Godzilla film produced. While theatrical released in 1991 in the Asian markets, the film made its bow to U.S. audiences on home video and cable television in 1998. Sony released a later Blu-ray version in 2014 with Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).
Just “wow” on this one, for Toho “showed us the money,” and then some.
On top of all of the usual action we expect in a kaiju film, we also get a film with a stronger fantasy element and outer space science fiction. Upon the box office failure of Godzilla vs. Biollante against the time traveling, blockbuster aspects of the Back to the Future franchise, time travel concepts were incorporated into the story.
In 1944, as Japanese soldiers are under threat by American forces, they’re saved by a mysterious dinosaur; that dinosaur later mutates into Godzilla after nuclear testing on his island home in 1954.
In the year 2204, the Earth-based Futurians travel to back to 1992-present day Earth to warn us that Godzilla has utterly decimated Japan. Teaming with the Futurians, Earthlings travel back to 1944 to stop Godzilla’s development.
Of course, nothing is as it seems: never trust a time traveler.
Prior to returning to 1992, the Futurians deposit three small creatures that, when exposed to the same atomic blast that created Godzilla, creates the three-headed King Ghidorah that they’ll use to subjugate Japan — and thus alter their own future to their liking.
Now, if you know your time snafus of the Back to the Future and The Terminator variety (another one of this film’s inspirations), of course the Big Green Guy comes back. And yes, King Ghidorah dies.
This one has it all: Time-traveling UFOs, alien androids, and alternate-timelines; it’s post-apoc, it’s a WW II epic, and for a bit of the ol’ nostalgia of the Mechagodzilla variety: King Ghidorah returns as Mecha-King Ghidorah. And it’s all topped off with top-notch wirework and puppetry.
Critics — especially the haughty U.S. ones — hated this new and improved, time-traveling ‘Zilla flick. Come one, pseudo-Leonard Maltin, it’s a kaiju flick for Godzilla sakes. It’s supposed to be jammed packed with kitchen-sink gonzo scripting that just keeps on throwing the wild ideas and imagery at the screen not allowing you a moment to take a breath.
Then again, I grew up on these flicks, so I always welcome the sequels that take me back home to my twin cinema youth. But you know how it goes: your own kaiju miles may vary. Films are funny that way.
In addition to the clip below, if you You Tube-search “Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah,” you’ll find a wealth of clips from this popular entry in the Godzilla franchise.
Hey, wait! Do you need a little bit more Godzilla in your Kong?
Then check out our “Kaiju Week” reviews from last March 2020 for Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), which also ran as a two-fer review during our January 2020 “Ape Week” blow out to celebrate Disney green-lighting their entry in the Planet of the Apes saga.
And that’s why were are here today: To celebrate the release of Godzilla vs. Kong — finally — in theaters on March 25, 2020.
Screw you, COVID!
Here’s some of the other Kaijus (and sort of Kaiju) that we’ve reviewed. For the rest that we’ve recently reviewed to commemorate the March 2021 release of Godzilla vs. Kong, enter “Kaiju Day Marathon” in our search box to the left to populate that list of films (you may see a few reposted Godzilla reviews, but many new film reviews concerning Godzilla, Kong, and other creatures from the Lands of the Rising Sun).
Gamera vs. Barugon
Gamera vs. Gyaos
Gamera: Guaridan of the Universe
Gamera vs. Guiron
Gamera vs. Jiger
Gamera 2: Legion
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris
Gamera Super Monster
Gamera vs. Viras
Gamera vs. Zigra
Godzilla: Final Wars
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Bakko Yokaiden Kibakichi
The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Gakidama: The Demon Within
Gappa: The Triphibian Monster
The Iron Superman
The Great Gila Monster
Orochi, the Eight-Headed Dragon
Planet of Dinosaurs
War of the Gargantuas
Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters
Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts
Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare