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"Godzilla is a warning. A warning to each and every one of us. When mankind falls into conflict with nature, monsters are born."
~ Professor Hayashida
"Gentlemen, if Godzilla appeared in Washington, or in Moscow, would you be willing to use nuclear weapons, knowing that many of your own people would be killed?"
~ The Japanese Prime Minister
The sixteenth Godzilla film, also known as just Godzilla or Godzilla 1985, and first after a nearly decade long break. It is a direct sequel to the original Godzilla and ignores all other films. Godzilla returns after a thirty years absence and in the midst of high Cold War tensions between the U.S.A. and Soviets. It is the first Gdozilla film to feature Kenpachiro Satsuma in the role of Godzilla, and it would be the last movie to not feature any Ifukube music until 2002's Godzilla X Mechagodzilla, and is still currently the last movie to not feature Godzilla fighting another monster, although another one does appear, but it is a small, man-sized monster, and it does not interact with Godzilla at all onscreen.
in 1984, 3 months after an eruption at Daikoku Island, the Yahata Maru, a Japanese fishing boat, is lost in a storm at sea. When reporter Goro Maki (played by Ken Tanaka) comes upon the ship while sailing, he decides to investigate it. While the ship initially seems deserted, Maki soon makes a gruesome discovery: nearly all of the ship's crew are dead, as if they had been drained of fluids. After finding one survivor, Maki is attacked by a giant sea louse, which is soon killed by the survivor, Hiroshi Okumura (played by Shin Takuma). Maki speaks with Okumura, who tells him about a mountian that came to life the night before, when the sea lice attacked. After a search and rescue helicopter find them, Okumura is taken to a hospital, where he is met by Professor Makoto Hayashida (played by Yosuke Natsuki). Hayashida has heard Okumura's story, and he shows him pictures, taken in 1954, of Godzilla.
Having heard Okumura's story, studying the remains of the sea louse, and seeing Okumura's reaction to the photographs, Hayashida comes to the conclusion that another Godzilla has appeared. With the realization that news of Godzilla's supposed to return could cause mass panic, the Japanese government orders a temporary news blackout concerning the story of the Yahata Maru and her crew. Okumura's survival is to be kept secret from everyone except governemnt officials as well, meaning that Maki's story won't be printed. When Maki hears about this, he is told by his editor to go see Professor Hayashida. Whil einterviewing Hayashida, Maki meets a girl who he saw in a photograph that he pocketed off of Okumura. Hayashida reveals her to be Okumura's sister, Naoko (played by Yasuko Sawaguchi). Despite being told not to let Naoko learn of her brother's survival, Maki does so anyway. After Naoko reunites with her brother, she is shocked to learn that Maki simply used her to get pictures for his story.
Meanwhile, in Pacific Ocean, a Russian nuclear submarine is attacked and destroyed by Godzilla. Because neither Russia nor the US are aware of Godzilla's existence, the Soviets start pointing fingers at the United States, and the United States begin preparing for an attack from the Soviets, with both countries eager to wipe each other out. Realizing the very real possibility that World War III may erupt, the Japanese Prime Minister lifts the news blackout, and Godzilla's existence, including his attack on the Russian submarine, is revealed to the world. While this stops the Americans and the Russians from trying to blow each other up, the Japanese government must now contend with two nuclear superpowers who want to use their nuclear arsenal on Godzilla, which would involved using nuclear weapons near or in Japan. The JSDF begins patrolling the waters around Japan, searching for Godzilla. Soon, after Godzilla's existence is revealed, and Maki's story is printed, Godzilla finally makes landfall on the coast of Japan, attacking a nuclear power plant, feeding off of the reactor. Maki, Hayashida, and Okumura are present to witness the attack and take photographs, however, Godzilla soon leaves rather abruptly while feeding, leaving everyone bewildered by his sudden exit.
The news media are now in a frenzy reporting on Godzilla after his attack, and the United States and Russia are even more eager to destroy the monster. Looking over the photographs that they took during Godzilla's attack, Okumura notices that Godzilla was following a flock of birds. Believing Godzilla to be a dinosaur of some kind, and knowing that dinosaurs and brids are closely related, Hayashida hypothesizes that Godzilla may possess some kind of homing instinct, which was triggered by a frequency produced by the cries of the birds. He proposes a solution to the Japanese government that they create a device to produce this frequency so that they can lure Godzilla anywhere that they want. Mt. Mihara on Oshima Island is chosen as Godzilla's tomb. Okumura is sent to the site alongside Professor Minami (played by Hiroshi Koizumi) and preparations are made for a controlled eruption.
Soon, representatives from the United States and Russia arrive for a conference in Japan, wherein the Prime Minister (played by Keiju Kobayashi) forces the representatives to understand his country's position by asking them if they would be willing to use nuclear weapons on Godzilla if he were to attack their own soil. He tells this to his Foreign Affairs Minister (played by Mizuho Suzuki) after the meeting is over. Meanwhile, the Russian freighter Barashaibo has docked in Tokyo Bay, and it is carrying a launch device for a nuclear missile satellite in space. Meanwhile, a JSDF patrol helicopter soon spots Godzilla making a B-Line for Tokyo. The JSDF begin preparing for Godzilla's arrival, setting up tanks, mortars, rockets, missiles, and even jets.
Later that night, Godzilla finally appears, with a formation of jets being the first line of defense. The jets prove useless as Godzilla destroys several of them and then dives under the water before resurfacing closer to the main defense line. Godzilla proves himself to be impervious to all of the military's weaponry. The JSDF soon perpare to launch the Super-X, a VTOL that was designed to clean up nuclear spills, to attack Godzilla using Cadmium. Unfortunately, the cadmium shells are still being loaded when Godzilla attacks. Speaking of Godzilla, the titular saurian quickly makes short work of the JSDF defense line with his atomic ray, killing hundreds of troops and destroying dozens of vehicles before he leaves the water. During his attack, the waves produced by Godzilla cause the Barashaibo to crash against the docks, killing much of its crew and accidentally causing the launch timer to activate. Maki soon visits Hayashida's lab to get him and Naoko to evacuate, but they are still working on the tape to lure Godzilla, with Hayashida believing it to be the only solution to effectively stop Godzilla, although he doesn't actually believe that Godzilla will die either way.
Godzilla soon makes his way into Yurakocho, where the military tries to stop him to no avail, and Godzilla continues leaving a path of death and destruction in his wake. Meanwhile, back at the Barashaibo, the ship's captain tries desperately to stop the missile from launching, but he is killed by a explosion onboard, and the missile soon launches. The Japanese government quickly gets word of this, just as Godzilla walks over their bunker. The Americans launch their own missile to shoot down the Soviet missile. The monster soon makes his way into Shinjuku, and is met with maser fire, which does nothing to stop him as he continues to destroy the city, and the Super-X is finally launched. Godzilla soon appears near Hayashida's laboratory, where Hayashdia tests the device on Godzilla. The device works, but when a maser cannon disrupts the tranquility, Godzilla resumes his destructive path, damaging the Bio-Physics Institute, forcing the three people inside to improvise an escape until the Super-X finally arrives. The Super-X manages to inject Godzilla with three Cadmium shells, sending the beast crashing into a building, where he enters a coma-like state.
Despite Godzilla's current state, Hayashida believes that the monster isn't dead yet, and a large crowd of people has gathered near the monster's "corpse". A helicopter carrying Okumura soon arrives in Tokyo, and Hayashida and Okumura take the finished tape to Oshima Island, leaving Maki and Naoko behind, allowing the two of them to reconcile. Soon, the Soviet missile is intercepted thousands of feet in the air over Tokyo by an American missile, with the atmospheric explosion creating an EMP, causing the Super-X to settle down near Godzilla while repairs are made. After communications and electrical systems are restored, a storm appears overhead, sending lightning strikes that hit Godzilla, reviving him. People are soon running for their lives as Godzilla proves himself to be nearly immortal, and he soon resumes his battle with the Super-X. The Super-X has run out of cadmium, so its crew must resort to lasers and other weaponry in its battle against Godzila, turning much of Tokyo into a raging inferno as Godzilla seeks revenge for the Super-X's earlier transgression. The Super-X resists several atmoc rays from Godzilla, but it cannot prevail forever, and soon a fire breaks out in the cockpit, forcing the Super-X to set down. Godzilla then topples a building onto the Super-X, destroying the machine and killing its crew. Now, with Hayshida's frequency tape being humankind's only hope, Naoko and Maki desperately try to escape the destroyed city, but Godzilla has caused so much damage that they don't even know what street they're on anymore. As the two humans find themselves facing death by Godzilla's foot, the monster pauses his actions and suddenly turns around, departing Tokyo and heading for Oshima Island. Everyone who's still alive breathes a collective sigh of relief, for Hayshida's plan has worked.
Godzilla soon leaves the ruined city and swims toward Oshima Island, drawn by the frequency. He soon nears the top of Mt. Mihara, where dozens of explosives have been placed, both near the top and deep inside the bowls of the volcano. As soon as Godzilla is in position, Okumura detonates the explosives, causing an eruption. Godzilla lets out one last roar, one which contains not defiance, but perhaps sadness. Either way, Godzilla soon falls into the pit of Mt. Mihara, allowing himself to be swallowed by the volcano as mankind somberly revels in its narrow victory, one which may only be temporary.
This film contains examples of the following:
- Adaptation villainy: The captain of the Russian ship housing the controls to the nuke. In the American version things were edited to look like he was desperately trying to launch the missile with his dying breath. In the original, however, he was actually trying to stop it.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Sort of. There was a "love theme" used to promote the American version, although the song never appeared in the movie itself and wasn't even originally written for it.
- Armored Coffins: The Super-X turns into one for its crew. Then again, it was originally designed to stop nuclear accidents, not fight mutant dinosaurs. Heck, the Japanese officials even say that it was made for clean up, although it does get retrofitted for combat against Godzilla, but it just isn't enough.
- Armor Is Useless: Subverted. The Super-X is made out of material, and given a special coating, that allows it to withstand Godzilla's atomic ray; however, it only works for a limited number of blasts, and it does nothing to stop a skyscraper falling ontop of it.
- Big creepy crawlies: The giant mutant sea lice.
- Breath Weapon: Godzilla's atmoic ray.
- Cold War: This film was made, and takes place, during the Cold War. The Cold War is in fact integral to the plot, as Godzilla himself almost turns the Cold War into Wold War III.
- Continuity Reboot: This film ignores majority of the Showa series (ironically, it is part of the era, but it's considered part of the Heisei series) while Gojira is the only film not to be ignored in the Showa-Era. This tradition continues in the Millennium series.
- Creator Backlash: Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka originally wanted Ishiro Honda to direct this film, only for Honda himself to decline due to how Godzilla was portrayed in the Showa series. Plus, he wanted the series to be laid to rest after the death of Special Effects creator Eiji Tsuburaya.
- Darker and Edgier: Not that Terror of Mechagodzilla was cheerful but aliens and robot monsters are replaced with a possible nuclear holocaust and a scary Godzilla. Plus, Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted to restore the dark themes of the original Godzilla.
- Deadline news: In the American version the helicopter has a reporter reporting on Godzilla. He blasts it out of the sky while the reporter is in mid-sentence.
- Death by adaptation: Thanks to editing in the American version the bum seems to die when Godzilla tramples him. In the original Godzilla just looms over him and he simply appears to faint with no indication of his fate.
- Death Wail: Godzilla produces one when he is falling into Mt. Mihara (at least in the American version. Godzilla stops roaring before he falls in the theatrical Japanese version, though mono versions exist with the roar intact).
- Giant foot of stomping: Done with a life size prop no less, operated by a crane.
- Helicopter Flyswatter: Godzilla shoots down a helicopter that's presumably annoying him. This in turn, destroys a crowded freeway.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Hayashida is played by Yosuke Natsuki, who was Shindo in Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster. Professor Minami is played by Hiroshi Koizumi, and Environment Minister Hidaka is played by Yoshifumi Tajima, who played Kumiyama in Mothra vs. Godzilla, and Godzilla is now played by the same person who portrayed Gigan and Hedorah.
- Howl of Sorrow: Godzilla gives one (two in the American version) at the end when Mt. Mihara is erputing, and it makes several characters, including the Japanese Prime Minister, very teary-eyed. The American and the Japanese Mono versions has a second one that Godzilla produces as he is falling into the valcano, with almost haunting results.
- Intrepid Reporter: Goro Maki. Name seem familiar?
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Both the American version and an uncut International dub have yet to be officially released on any sort of digital medium.
- Mr. Exposition: Steve Martin and Dr. Hayashida
- Never found the body: Said almost word-for-word by Raymond Burr's character.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Only more emphasized. Unlike the original film with the same Japanese name, it's the use of nuclear weapons to kill Godzilla. Have they overlooked the fact that nuclear weapons is the reason why Godzilla exists?
- Remember, the Japanese Prime Minister still says no to nuclear weapons. It's the Americans and the Russians who want to use them on the monster.
- Lightning Can Do Anything
- Oh Crap: When Godzilla's tranquility is interrupted by maser fire and he rushes forward, Hayshida clearly has this look on his face. This can also be felt when the Japanese government hears about the Soviet missile being launched.
- Only mostly dead: Turns out the cadmium poisoning didn't quite finish Godzilla off after all...
- Poor Communication Kills: Narrowly averted with the Japanese Government finally letting the world know of Godzilla's existence. If they hadn't, then the USA and the USSR would've started World War III, as Godzilla's destruction of the Russian sub had the USSR in a panic, with the Americans flying into a panic of their own as a reaction to the USSR's panic and finger pointing.
- Product Placement: In the American release, one of the soldiers is shown drinking Dr Pepper. This Godzilla-themed Dr Pepper commercial was on the air in 1985 to concide with the film's release.
- The story goes the producers originally wanted Raymond Burr to be the one drinking the DR Pepper. One silent death glare from him changed their minds.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: The red clouds and sky produced by the nuclear missile explosion in atmosphere, which is actually kind of pretty, if you forget what caused it in the first place.
- Revival: After nine years of absence from the big screen, Godzilla returned with a vengeance.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Godzilla's second fight with the Super-X is actually one of these. He clearly recognizes the Super-X, and he is very, very pissed. Tokyo is barely recognizeable afterwards.
- Stock Footage: It's very easy to miss, but the footage of the cars on the freeway exploding is actually reversed footage from Catastrophe 1999, and certain sequences of buildings crumbling and explosions are from The Last War and The Submersion of Japan.
- Tragic Monster: In the American version, Godzilla is referred to by both Steve Martin and Professor Hayashida as a victim of mankind's use of nuclear weapons.
- Unstoppable Rage: When Godzilla sees the Super-X, after waking up, he remembers what it did to him, which in turn leads to Roaring Rampage of Revenge described above.
- What Could Have Been: Akihiko Hirata, the recurring actor in the Godzilla series, was to portray Professor Hayashida. Unfortunately, he died before production, being replaced by Yosuke Natsuke. Kenpachiro Satsuma plays Godzilla for the first time because of the previous stuntman decided not to wear the suit.
- New world cinema's original idea would have been to turn this movie into a gag-dubbed comedy starring Leslie Nielson.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to that patrol helicopter that Godzilla surfaced in front of in Tokyo Bay? In the Manga adaptation it's destroyed by Godzilla's tail, but in the film it just, well, vanishes.