Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
Who will be the last monster standing?
— International tagline
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (ゴジラ・モスラ・キングギドラ 大怪獣総攻撃 is a Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaijū Sōkōgeki)2001 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the twenty-fifth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the third in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 15, 2001.
Another continuity reboot to the series, GMK is directed by the Gamera trilogy's Shusuke Kaneko. When Godzilla returns to seek revenge on Japan for all of the souls lost during the Pacific War, the mystical Professor Hirotoshi Isayama awakens the three Guardian Monsters to stop him: Baragon, Mothra, and Ghidorah. As Godzilla makes his way to Tokyo, Japan must place its hope in the Guardian Monsters to triumph over the God of Destruction before he can enact his terrible vengeance.
Admiral Taizo Tachibana is speaking to a group of JSDF soldiers about the greatest threat they have ever faced: Godzilla. In 1954, Godzilla appeared and laid waste to Tokyo, and was later finally killed by the JSDF. Tachibana warns that even though the creature was successfully defeated, the JSDF need to be prepared. Recently, a giant monster similar to Godzilla attacked New York City, and ever since then sightings of giant monsters around the globe have skyrocketed. Tachibana dismisses the troops, and is informed by another officer that an American nuclear submarine has disappeared in the waters off Guam. The JSDF deploys the research submersible Satsuma to search for the sub. The Satsuma finds the sub's wreckage, with what appear to be huge claw marks in its hull. Suddenly, a violent wave causes the Satsuma's sister craft to crash into a rock and explode. The Satsuma's operator then catches a glimpse of huge glowing dorsal fins passing behind nearby rocks.
Meanwhile, Yuri Tachibana, the Admiral's daughter, is filming a fake documentary about a monster that supposedly lives near Mount Myoko. Yuri and her film crew are approached by the mayor of a local village, who tells them to stop filming immediately. Yuri tries to convince the man that the documentary could attract publicity to the village, telling him to imagine if Godzilla appeared in the village. Suddenly, a small earthquake strikes the area, which is enough to sway the mayor to allow filming to continue. Later, Yuri is at a restaurant with her coworkers, where she laments the fact that as a woman she feels she isn't allowed to pursue the stories she wants. One of Yuri's friends, Mitsuaki Takeda, arrives at the restaurant and tells Yuri about a legend involving three guardian monsters that defended Japan in ancient times. Sometime later, Takeda brings Yuri, now extremely drunk, back to her and her father's apartment. Takeda is greeted at the door by Admiral Tachibana, who apologizes for his daughter's behavior and brings her inside. Back at Mt. Myoko, the village mayor is sitting in a car with his mistress, telling her about the publicity the documentary will bring to their village. They are interrupted when a group of motorcyclists arrive and circle the car. The bikers damage some nearby property, including a small shrine, and then drive away. The bikers drive through a tunnel, which suddenly collapses and buries them all alive. A truck driver witnesses the event, and sees the head of a huge monster inside the tunnel. The next morning, the JSDF arrive and use D-03 Missiles to try and dig the bodies from the rubble. Investigators question the truck driver about the incident, and he claims that it was caused by Godzilla. Another incident occurs at Lake Ikeda, where a group of teenagers on a road trip have robbed a nearby convenience store and set up camp on the lake shore, in the process destroying another shrine. A few of the hooligans try to take a dog out into the lake in order to drown it, but their boats are overturned and they are all pulled underwater. A huge brown larva then surfaces from the lake. In the morning, a huge cocoon has appeared on the lake's surface, while the teenagers' bodies are trapped in a smaller cocoon.
Yuri, Takeda and another coworker visit a police station in the area, where a strange old man has been detained for defacing shrines. Yuri meets with the man, who claims that Godzilla will soon return to seek horrible vengeance against Japan for all of the atrocities committed by the nation during World War II. He states that no weapons can stop Godzilla, but if the three Guardian Monsters are awakened, then maybe together they can defeat him. In the Bonin Islands, Godzilla comes ashore during a typhoon and causes severe property damage. The JSDF is alerted to the incident, and immediately begins searching the waters around Japan for Godzilla. Yuri and Takeda visit Admiral Tachibana to tell him about the Guardian Monsters, but he dismisses the story. Tachibana then recalls his childhood, when he was present as Godzilla raided Tokyo in 1954. Tachibana lost both of his parents in the attack, and is still haunted by the memories of Godzilla and the cries of the monster's victims. In the Aokigahara forest near Mount Fuji, a suicidal businessman tries to hang himself from a tree with his tie. The man stands atop a fallen shrine, only for the ground beneath him to collapse and cause him to fall into a cavern. Inside he sees a giant three-headed dragon seemingly frozen in ice. The man promptly travels to the police station to tell of what he saw, but the police don't believe him. Just then, an earthquake strikes, and the monster from Mt. Myoko surfaces. The creature frees the mysterious old man from the police station, and begins wandering through the countryside. Concurrently, Godzilla surfaces from Yaizu harbor and comes ashore. Godzilla rampages through a nearby town, and uses his atomic breath to obliterate a crowd of civilians. The JSDF is initially unable to tell which monster is Godzilla, but Yuri and Takeda identify the monster from Mt. Myoko as Baragon, one of the three Guardian Monsters. They determine that Baragon is going to try and fight Godzilla. Eventually, both monsters converge in a forested area and begin fighting. Baragon tries to outmaneuver Godzilla by burrowing underneath him, but Godzilla gains the upper hand with his brute strength. Godzilla begins stomping Baragon into the ground, then blasts him with his atomic breath when he tries to flee. Godzilla blasts Baragon a second time, causing the monster to explode. Godzilla then continues his march across Japan, heading straight for Tokyo once again.
The JSDF tries unsuccessfully to stop Godzilla with fighter jets, as their weapons have no effect against the creature, and they are promptly destroyed by his atomic breath. When Tachibana asks how the JSDF was able to kill Godzilla in 1954, a superior informs him that Godzilla was actually killed by an experimental chemical weapon, whose inventor has since died. The government chose to cover up the truth and have the JSDF claim credit for the monster's defeat, so as to reassure the public. Yuri takes a bicycle and follows Godzilla, videotaping him from a safe distance. As Godzilla approaches Yokohama, the cocoon on Lake Ikeda splits open and the imago form of Mothra, another Guardian Monster, emerges. The old man travels to the cavern in Aokigahara and awakens the final Guardian Monster, Ghidorah, who travels to Yokohama as well. The JSDF places battleships in Tokyo Bay and sets up a defense line in Yokohama in preparation for Godzilla's arrival. When Godzilla arrives, he is attacked by Mothra, who fires poisonous stingers into his face. Godzilla fires his atomic breath at the giant insect, but Mothra is able to evade it. One blast of Godzilla's atomic breath misses Mothra and strikes the Yokohama Landmark Tower, killing the soldiers stationed inside. Mothra attacks Godzilla from behind, landing on his head and scratching his face. Ghidorah then arrives in the city and enters the battle, biting Godzilla and discharging electricity through his bite. Godzilla is able to overpower both monsters, biting down on Ghidorah's neck and then slamming him onto a building, and blasting Mothra away with his atomic breath. As Godzilla prepares to finish Ghidorah with his atomic breath, Mothra flies into the way and absorbs the blast, sending her flying several blocks away. His enemies subdued, Godzilla turns his attention to the JSDF, and promptly wipes their forces out with his atomic breath. As Godzilla prepares to destroy the battleship on which Admiral Tachibana is, Mothra tries to attack him from behind, only for Godzilla to turn around and completely destroy her with his atomic breath. However, Mothra's energy flows into the unconscious Ghidorah, reviving him as the Thousand-Year-Old Dragon, King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah takes flight, surrounded by a golden shield of energy. Godzilla fires his atomic breath at King Ghidorah, but the dragon's shield deflects it. King Ghidorah then releases a ball of energy at Godzilla, blasting him out of the city and into the bay.
As King Ghidorah battles Godzilla, Admiral Tachibana and Commander Yutaka Hirose dive into the bay in an attempt to fire D-03 Missiles at Godzilla. Yuri reunites with Takeda and the two of them go onto the Yokohama Bay Bridge to film the battle. Commander Hirose fires a missile from his ship, but Godzilla gets out of the way. The missile hits King Ghidorah instead, knocking him out. A stray blast of Godzilla's atomic breath destroys the bridge, sending Yuri and Takeda falling into the bay. An ancient stone falls out of Yuri's pocket, and re-energizes King Ghidorah, who flies to the surface. When Godzilla surfaces, King Ghidorah begins blasting him with gravity beams fired from his mouths. After withstanding several hits, Godzilla absorbs the energy from King Ghidorah's gravity beams and combines it with his atomic breath, then destroys King Ghidorah with a spiral-wrapped atomic beam. The spirits of all three Guardian Monsters materialize in the sky, then flow into Godzilla, causing him to sink underwater. While underwater, Godzilla swallows the Satsuma, with Tachibana still inside. Tachibana is knocked unconscious and the sub is damaged, but he regains consciousness after seeing a vision of Yuri. Tachibana then fires a D-03 Missile into a wound on Godzilla's chest inflicted by King Ghidorah from the inside. Godzilla surfaces and prepares to fire his atomic breath at Yuri and Takeda, but the missile drills through his chest wound and explodes, expanding the wound and causing Godzilla to roar in agony. Godzilla promptly charges his atomic breath again, but when he tries to fire it it instead fires from the wound on his chest. Godzilla tries again, and the same thing happens, causing him to fall back underwater. As Godzilla sinks to the sea floor, the Satsuma manages to escape from the monster's body. Godzilla charges his atomic breath again underwater and tries to fire it at the Satsuma, but the pressure from his previous attempts builds to critical levels and he explodes. The JSDF celebrates as Godzilla completely disappears from all tracking systems. After learning that Yuri is okay, her boss Haruki Kadokura decides to try and arrange an interview with the old man Yuri interviewed, but a coworker tells him that the man, Hirotoshi Isayama, has been dead for almost 50 years, and has disappeared completely from the interview tape. The Satsuma surfaces, and Tachibana exits the craft. As Yuri runs to embrace her father, he warns her to stay back, as he hasn't checked the radiation levels. Yuri salutes her father, who looks out at the sea and tells Yuri not to thank him, but his comrades and the three Guardian Monsters.
Meanwhile, on the sea floor, Godzilla's disembodied heart begins to beat continuously.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Shusuke Kaneko
- Written by Keiichi Hasegawa, Shusuke Kaneko, Masahiro Yokotani
- Produced by Hideyuki Honma, Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Kow Otani
- "Godzilla's Theme" and "Monster Zero March" Composed by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Masahiro Kishimoto
- Edited by Isao Tomita
- Assistant Directing by Toshifumi Shimizu, Nozomu Aida, Mokoto Kumazawa, Hideaki Murakami
- Special Effects by Makoto Kamiya
- Assistant Directors of Special Effects Kiyotaka Taguchi, Masaaki Tezuka
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- GMK (abbreviated title)
- The Invasion of Godzilla (La invasión de Godzilla; Mexico)
View all posters for the film here.
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack premiered in the U.S. at the Pickwick Theater on July 19th, 2003, as part of G-Fest X. Its U.S. television premiere took place on August 31st, 2003, when the Sci-Fi Channel aired an 88-minute version of the English dub, recorded in Hong Kong. Deleted footage included:
- The mayor of Izumi gloating to his mistress about his BS Digital Q interview before the biker gang circles their car and breaks an ancient statue.
- The terrified truck driver identifying Baragon as Godzilla the following day.
- Yuri complaining to Jun about sexism at BS Digital Q: "As a woman, you're expected to do what you're told. That sucks, don't you think?"
- Mitsuaki bringing a drunk Yuri home to her father, and two subsequent scenes which reference it.
- Shots of a man on the Bonin Islands urinating before Godzilla crushes him.
- A suicidal man in Aokigahara forest stumbling upon Ghidorah's lair after trying to use an ancient statue to help hang himself, and his subsequent attempt to convince a police officer of what he saw.
- A woman hospitalized after Godzilla's attack on the Bonin Islands thinking he's walked past her, only for his tail to swing into view and kill her.
- Godzilla's atomic breath generating a mushroom cloud.
- Establishing shots of a hospital after the battle between Godzilla and Baragon and Yuri's conversation with a young boy.
- Godzilla killing soldiers inside the Yokohama Landmark Tower while trying to hit Mothra with his atomic breath.
- Godzilla drawing blood as he bites Ghidorah's neck.
- Godzilla sending soldiers flying through the air with his atomic breath.
- Buildup to the Satsuma's deployment.
- Godzilla's second attempt to fire his atomic breath at Yuri and Mitsuaki before sinking underwater.
- One utterance apiece of "hell" and "damn".
TriStar Pictures released the film on DVD in the United States on January 27, 2004. Along with Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, released the same day, it marked the first time an American home video release of a Godzilla film included its original Japanese dialogue. The subtitles included in this release use the English dub's script, which often deviates from the Japanese dialogue. An extreme example is the scene where King Ghidorah is struck by a D-03 Missile intended for Godzilla. In the original Japanese dialogue, Lieutenant Miyashita shouts an expletive equivalent to “Shit!” or "Fuck!” while he strangely shouts "Got it!” in the English dub and “Excellent!” in the English DVD subtitles. The English subtitles in Sony's 2014 Blu-ray release of the film fixed this particular error.
GMK has been considered a fan favorite for many reasons. Many praise it for its music, story, special effects, characters, the decidedly darker and more violent fight sequences, and how it made Godzilla terrifying once again. Despite this, the film has received a little criticism for the role-reversal of King Ghidorah and Godzilla. The film boasts a 73% audience score from over 7,000 ratings on the review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes compared to a 63% Tomatometer (critic) score from 16 reviews, the average score of which is 5.29/10. It holds a user rating of 7.1/10 on IMDb after roughly 5045 ratings. One critic, Bryan Byun of DVD Verdict, stated the movie was "one of the most exciting entries in Godzilla's long cinematic history." While many reviews were positive, GMK received negative reviews as well, one critic stating, “GMK is best when it embraces its unabashed cheesiness. But when it tries to make Statements with Meaning, whether on Japan's past aggressions or ersatz samurai ruminations on the duty of a warrior, the movie flounders like a giant lizard hogtied by power lines."
The double feature of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and Hamtaro: Ham Ham Big Land Adventure made $1.9 million in Japan during their opening weekend. The pairing went on to earn roughly $20 million, with an attendance of 2,400,000, making GMK the eighteenth most-attended Godzilla film and the most successful of the Millennium series.
Universal Laser & Video DVD (Year Unknown)
- Region: 3
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Mono), Cantonese (2.0 Mono)
- Special features: None
- Notes: Includes traditional and simplified Chinese subtitles. Out of print.
Toho DVD (2002)
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Special features: Trailers
- Notes: A 2014 release packaged this disc with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mothra.
Madman DVD (2005)
- Region: 4
Toho Blu-ray (2009)
- Region: A/1
- Audio: Japanese
Sony Blu-ray (2014)
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
- Special features: Teaser trailer for Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack and trailer for Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
- Notes: Packaged with Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.
- Prior to arriving at the idea to pit Godzilla against three Guardian Monsters, director Shusuke Kaneko considered other stories featuring Kamacuras or a mutated astronaut called M as Godzilla's foes.
- Kaneko's original script for this film, titled Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, while still similar to the finished product, featured several notable differences. This draft featured Anguirus and Varan as two of the Guardian Monsters along with Baragon, as well as different JSDF weaponry like Maser Cannons and the Gotengo. When Kaneko presented the script to Toho, they asked him to work the monsters Mothra and King Ghidorah into the film for marquee value, likely due to the poor box office performance of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Kaneko compromised by retaining Baragon in the finished product, and replaced Anguirus and Varan with Mothra and King Ghidorah. This is partially the reason for the vastly different portrayals of Mothra and King Ghidorah compared to their previous incarnations, as the film is notable for the many changes it makes to the monsters.
- The incarnation of Godzilla in this film has no pupils. Kaneko intended his version of Godzilla to be evil, and felt that Godzilla's eyes shape the audience's perception of the monster. While many fans enjoy this interpretation of Godzilla, many other fans felt that Mr. Kaneko's approach to Godzilla diverged too far from Ishiro Honda's approach to Godzilla, as an allegory to the atomic bomb. Other fans were also outraged of Kaneko's unsympathetic outlook on the creature. Honda's original Godzilla was made out to seem as much of a victim of the consequences of the H-bomb as his own victims he killed within his rampage. Kaneko's Godzilla by contrast is a nigh-invincible impersonal evil and does not draw any sympathy from the audience. The film also places a more heavily increased focus on the people murdered during Godzilla's rampages than any other film before it, further vilifying Godzilla.
- King Ghidorah is typically portrayed as the villain in previous and subsequent movies; this movie portrays him as a benevolent monster for the first time. In fact, King Ghidorah is actually portrayed a few meters shorter than Godzilla; whereas all other incarnations of the character are much, much larger, and tower over Godzilla. These changes are a result of his replacing Varan and Baragon from Kaneko's original story, and the character's portrayal in the film remains controversial among fans.
- Mothra was also revamped. Like King Ghidorah, Mothra is portrayed as being far smaller than normal. Her poison scale and hurricane wind attacks were removed, and were replaced with a shotgun-like burst of projectile stingers fired from her abdomen. This new attack of Mothra's proved to be deadly enough to topple the much larger Godzilla. She also could transfer her spiritual energy to another monster if she was destroyed, like her comrade, Baragon. In addition, Mothra's miniature priestesses, the Shobijin, do not make an appearance in the film, although they are referenced in one scene.
- Baragon was altered as well. His heat ray, which is comparable to Godzilla's atomic breath, was removed. However, Baragon obviously still retains his burrowing ability. Like Mothra, Baragon is also able to transfer his spirit to the other guardians if he is defeated.
- Godzilla's atomic breath returns to its original blazing-blue color in this film, having been colored hot orange similar to the spiral ray in the previous two films.
- Fuyuki Shinada, who designed the monster suits for this film, was disappointed that Varan, his all-time favorite monster, wasn't going to be in the film, so he compromised by putting some of Varan's facial features on King Ghidorah's three heads.
- The King Ghidorah design used in Rebirth of Mothra III appears in the shot where the Satsuma uses its thermal imagery on King Ghidorah.
- At the beginning of the film, Admiral Tachibana mentions that a large reptilian monster recently attacked New York City. One of the soldiers asks another next to him if the New York attack was Godzilla, with the other replying that the Americans seem to think so, but their guys "have their doubts." This is a joking reference to the 1998 American film and its version of Godzilla, which were incredibly controversial and widely criticized among fans.
- Actress Kaho Minami, who stars in the film as captain Kumi Emori, was married to actor Ken Watanabe, who plays Ishiro Serizawa in Legendary Pictures' MonsterVerse, from 2005 to 2018.
- Actresses Ai and Aki Maeda cameo as the two twin girls who witness Mothra fly over Yokohama. Ai Maeda portrayed Ayana Hirasaka in Kaneko's earlier film Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, in which her younger sister Aki portrayed the young Ayana in flashback scenes. Aki Maeda previously had a small role in Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion, also directed by Kaneko.
- Akira Ohashi and Rie Ota, who portray King Ghidorah and Baragon in the film, respectively, cameo as workers in a fishery office who witness Godzilla rise from the sea. Mizuho Yoshida, who plays Godzilla, cameos as a man who witnesses Mothra fly overhead in Kagoshima.
- Ohashi and Yoshida previously appeared together as Gamera and the Mother Legion respectively in Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion, which was also directed by Shusuke Kaneko. Toshinori Sasaki, who controlled the back half of the Mother Legion suit, serves as Rie Ota's stunt double for Baragon in this film.
- Rie Ota's portrayal of Baragon in this film marks the first-ever instance in the Godzilla series of a kaiju being portrayed by a woman. However, she is not the first woman ever to portray a kaiju, as Yumi Kameyama previously played Super Gyaos in Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, another kaiju film directed by Shusuke Kaneko.
- Actor Yukijiro Hotaru, who portrayed Tsutomu Osako in each film of Shusuke Kaneko's Gamera trilogy, appears as the suicidal man who discovers King Ghidorah in this film. This role continues a running joke from the Gamera trilogy in which Hotaru's character encountered a kaiju in each film.
- During the scene where King Ghidorah is revived by Mothra's energy, a sign with the Warner Bros. logo can be seen on top of a building.
- Miniatures from the Yokohama set used in this film appeared in the 2003 film Kill Bill: Volume 1, standing in for Tokyo. Toshio Miike directed the brief shoot in Nikkatsu Studio, which was arranged by Shinji Higuchi.
- The Satsuma's first encounter with Godzilla takes place on May 14, 2002, as shown on the video the submersible recorded.
- In a scene where Yuri Tachibana stops at a closing bicycle shop, the shop owner wonders what the "BS" in her program's name stands for, thinking it means Bridgestone. The true meaning is "Broadcasting Satellite", a common prefix for Japanese television channels.
- BS Digital Q's slogan is「Q〜ッと絞りたて！！デジタルQ」or "Freshly squeezed Q!! Digital Q"
- Yuri Tachibana, Haruki Kadokura, and Jun Maruo appear in the reference-filled end credits of Godzilla Singular Point, watching Hedorah fly overhead.
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