Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
Farewell, Godzilla. (さらば、ゴジラ。)
Godzilla: Final Wars (ゴジラ ＦＩＮＡＬ ＷＡＲＳ Gojira Fainaru Uōzu) is a 2004 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the twenty-eighth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the sixth and final in the Millennium series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 4, 2004.
The final Godzilla film for a period of ten years, Final Wars commemorates the 50th anniversary of the franchise, featuring the most kaiju in any Godzilla film to date. In the year 20XX, monsters have suddenly begun attacking major cities around the globe. An alien force known as the Xiliens teleports the monsters away and claims to have come to save the human race. However, members of the Earth Defense Force learn that the Xiliens are really trying to inflitrate positions of power in human society. The EDF exposes their plan, leading the evil Controller of Planet X to unleash all of the monsters against humanity once more. Mankind's last hope lies with a few remaining EDF soldiers, who use the warship Gotengo to free Godzilla from his prison in Antarctica so he can defeat the Xiliens' legion of kaiju himself.
Extensive warfare, nuclear testing and careless science had mutated or awakened great beasts of all sorts. During that period, the frequent occurrence of enormous monsters had become commonplace, and thus, the Earth Defense Force (known in short as the EDF) was established by the nations of the world. The sole purpose of the force was to combat the monsters and hopefully restore peace to the world. During the worldwide wave of monsters, mutant humans with superhuman strength and extraordinary physical capabilities were discovered whose origins or mutations were not yet understood. The EDF realized the potential and effectiveness of the mutants as super soldiers, and established a subdivision known as the M-Organization. Utilizing the mutants' handy physical feats and superior piloting skills, along with the military's best war machines, the threat was slowly subdued and the monsters were slowly, but surely, defeated.
In 1954, the greatest enemy that the EDF faced, Godzilla, first appeared and frequently menaced mankind over the years. While the EDF succeeded in defeating the other monsters, it could never overcome Godzilla. Eventually, the EDF engaged Godzilla in a final showdown in Antarctica, pitting its Type 90 Maser Cannons and advanced warship Gotengo against the monster. Godzilla easily destroyed the Maser Cannons and downed the Gotengo with his atomic breath. It was only with the help of a large earthquake that the crew of the Gotengo was able to finally triumph against Godzilla. The earthquake had caused the ground to split and cave-in beneath Godzilla, causing him to fall into a seemingly bottomless pit. This was followed immediately by an avalanche of ice and rock caused by missiles fired from the Gotengo that buried Godzilla and imprisoned him in an icy tomb.
Decades later, in the year 20XX, peace had been recognized worldwide with the exception of very rare monster attacks. The EDF had easily defeated such threats, and the monster-scare had become a thing of the past. During this time a mysterious mummified monster was found off the coast of Hokkaido and was being suspended by large support cables in the EDF warehouse/hangar and being researched. It was calculated at being 12,000 years old and composed of organic and machine tissue, making it a cyborg. It was also discovered that the monster's D.N.A. contains M Base, which was also found in Earth's mutant soldiers. The two Shobijin fairies reveal the creature's name to be Gigan, an evil monster from space that was sent to wipe out life on Earth, but was subdued by Mothra. They give the mutant, Shinichi Ozaki, a small sword, saying he has an important destiny and that he must choose his fate.
Suddenly a large group of monsters appear simultaneously and attack major cities all over the world. The EDF is dispatched and valiantly attempts to defeat the monsters. Rodan attacks New York City, Zilla attacks Sydney, Anguirus attacks Shanghai, King Caesar attacks Okinawa, Kamacuras attacks Paris, Kumonga attacks Phoenix, Arizona, and Ebirah attacks Tokai.
During the international devastation, an alien race known as the Xiliens appears and captures the monsters. After which they proposed a peaceful union with mankind. They revealed that an asteroid called Gorath was going to collide with Earth unless all weapons were aimed at it. The Secretary, who was considered dead when Rodan attacked his plane, began to pursue a new future with the Xiliens, claiming that the United Nations would become the Space Nations. However, distrust of the Xiliens began to arise. When the Secretary was attacked during an attempted assassination, his blood was analyzed and soon found to not be human. Worse, the image of Gorath displayed by the Xiliens turned out to be nothing more than a hologram. Ozaki feared that the Xiliens were plotting a takeover of Earth, and that many of their leaders could have been compromised. He could only trust one man, Captain Gordon, the one who originally fired the missiles that contained Godzilla.
Doctor Miyuki Otanashi went looking through the files of the Secretary, but was caught by the EDF leader. However, Gordon came in at the last moment and shot the EDF leader, revealing the leader to be an impostor. They brought the corpse of the imposter to the broadcast studio, where the Xiliens were being interviewed on live television. The Secretary was shot, revealing him to also be an imposter. The second-in-command of the Xiliens, known as the Controller, shot his commander, tired of the slow plans of a peaceful takeover. Using his species' control over M-base, he takes control of the mutants, excluding Ozaki, and releases the monsters to resume their attacks on the cities. He also sent out an army of small fighter ships to assist in leveling and decimating human civilization. M-Unit commander Muasaka held off his former command while the others escaped. However, their escape is hindered by Kazama, a fellow mutant, who Ozaki is able to subdue.
In a secret hanger, the Gotengo crew set out on a risky, last resort plan to defeat the Xiliens by releasing Godzilla from Area G. The Controller unleashes Gigan to follow them. They succeed in releasing Godzilla, who battles with Gigan and defeats him by decapitation. Godzilla, thinking he was still battling with the Gotengo, chases after the ship. Godzilla is first led to Sydney, where he defeats Zilla. He then proceeds to defeat Kumonga, in New Guinea, Kamacuras in Manazuru, Anguirus, King Caesar and Rodan next to Mount Fuji, and finally Ebirah and Hedorah in Tokyo Bay. He is finally brought to the Xilien mother-ship. The Gotengo attempts to destroy the mother-ship, but its shields are too strong and the Gotengo is soon kept busy with fighter ships. Kazama takes a fighter and manages to enter the mother-ship, destroying the generator, which allows the Gotengo to drill through to the core of the ship and attempt to fire the Maser. However, the Xiliens teleport on board and kill all of the non-essential crew-members, bringing Shinchi, Miyuki, Gordon and pilot Akiko Namikawa to the Controller. The Controller reveals that the Xilians want the mitochondria in human cells to survive and were simply demolishing civilization to show humanity its place as "cattle." He also reveals that he and Ozaki are Keizers, a fusion of mutant and human DNA, which is what allowed Ozaki to avoid his control. However, the Controller manages to control Ozaki until he is stopped by Miyuki, who uses the Shobijiin's sword to free him. The Secretary of Defense and the EDF leader are revealed to be alive, having somehow escaped imprisonment. As the humans make their escape, Ozaki battles the Controller, ultimately winning. Going insane, the Controller self-destructs the mother-ship, intent on taking everyone down with him. Ozaki is able to board the Gotengo just as the mother-ship is destroyed.
Godzilla battles a new, final foe known as Monster X, while Mothra battles a rebuilt Gigan. Gigan perishes as Mothra turns the cyborg's own power against him, just as the remaining crew are victorious. Godzilla is still fighting Monster X, who soon transforms into his true form, Keizer Ghidorah, who defeats Godzilla and starts to drain his life force. Ozaki transfers his "Keizer energy" to Godzilla and restores his strength and empowers him. Godzilla destroys two of Keizer Ghidorah's heads and throws him around the ruins of Tokyo. Finally, Godzilla hurls Keizer Ghidorah into the air and fires his red spiral atomic breath, which pushes Keizer Ghidorah into outer space, where he explodes. Godzilla then continues his battle against the Gotengo, using his atomic breath against the ship, forcing it to crash. Godzilla is about to attack the survivors of the Gotengo, but his son, Minilla, manages to calm Godzilla down and convinces him to leave and forgive mankind for their sins. Together, Godzilla and Minilla leave a ruined Tokyo and Godzilla lets out one final roar to commemorate 50 years of destruction.
- Main article: Godzilla: Final Wars/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
- Written by Wataru Mimura, Isao Kiriyama
- Produced by Kazunari Yamanaka, Ritsuko Suzuki
- Executive Producer Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Keith Emerson, Nobuhiko Morino, Daisuke Yano, Akira Ifukube, Sum 41, Masaru Sato
- Cinematography by Takumi Furuya
- Edited by Shuichi Kakesu
- Production Design by Yukiharu Seshimo
- Assistant Director Hiroshi Saito
- Director of Special Effects Eiichi Asada
- Main article: Godzilla: Final Wars/Credits.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Masahiro Matsuoka as Ensign Shinichi Ozaki
- Rei Kikukawa as Miyuki Otonashi, biologist
- Don Frye as Captain Douglas Gordon, captain of the Gotengo (Japanese voice actor: Tessho Genda)
- Maki Mizuno as Anna Otonashi, reporter
- Kazuki Kitamura as Controller of Planet X
- Kane Kosugi as Ensign Katsunori Kazama
- Akira Takarada as United Nations Secretary-General Naotaro Daigo
- Jun Kunimura as Major Komuro
- Kumi Mizuno as Earth Defense Force Commander Akiko Namikawa
- Kenji Sahara as Hachiro Jinguji, paleontologist
- Masakatsu Funaki as EDF Instructor Kumasaka
- Masami Nagasawa and Chihiro Otsuka as Shobijin
- Wataru Shihodo as General Major Kunikida
- Kenta Suga as Kenta Taguchi
- Shigeru Izumiya as Samon Taguchi
- Masato Ibu as Xilien Commander
- Shinji Suzuki
- Shiro Sano as Man who assaults Naotaro Daigo
- Ray Sefo as Glenn (Japanese voice actor: Masanobu Kariya)
- Gary Goodridge as Nick (Japanese voice actor: Kenta Miyake)
- Koh Takasugi as Captain Li Xiang
- Shelley Sweeney as Captain of Eclair
- Hideo Sakaki as Eclair Crew Member
- Akira Nakao as Captain of the first Gotengo
- Koichi Ueda as Crew member on the first Gotengo
- Mick Preston as New York cop
- Darren Dupree Washington as New York gangster pimp
- Michael-Anthony Taylor as New York gangster drunk
- Michael Croaker as Sydney punk Ritchie
- Brad McMurray as Sydney punk Johnny
- Joe Fenech as Arizona fat man
- Jordan Fleming as Canadian child
- Shinji Suzuki as Earth Defense Force Soldier
- Yasuhiro Takeuchi as Gotengo crew member
- Soshuke Tanihara as Man in Tokyo apartment
- Tamao Sato as Woman in Tokyo apartment
- Koichi Yamadera as Narrator
- Michael Tomioka as Himself
- Yoshihiko Otsuki as Himself
- Ryuhei Kitamura as Radio DJ
- Kenji Kohashi as Himself
- Tsutomu Kitagawa as Godzilla
- Kazuhiro Yoshida as Gigan / Hedorah
- Motokuni Nakagawa as King Caesar / Monster X
- Toshihiro Ogura as Keizer Ghidorah / Anguirus / Ebirah
- Naoko Kamio as Rodan / Minilla
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Godzilla: Final Wars/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla: Final Wars (Soundtrack).
View all posters for the film here.
Godzilla: Final Wars actually had its world premiere in Los Angeles, despite not receiving theatrical release in the United States. In the majority of countries Godzilla: Final Wars was released straight to DVD. The film was released on DVD and video in Japan on July 22, 2005, and in the United States, via Sony Pictures Entertainment, on DVD on December 13, 2005. Thailand was the first country to release the film on DVD and VCD in April of 2005. It did get a theatrical release in France on August 31, 2005, with a DVD release almost a year later on August 26, 2006, and a theatrical release in China on July 22, 2005. In October of 2005, Godzilla: Final Wars had a straight to television release on Halloween in Russia with a DVD release soon after.
Godzilla: Final Wars had the largest budget ever used in a Japanese Godzilla film, at around ¥2,000,000,000 ($20,000,000). Any hopes Toho had of Godzilla: Final Wars ending the series with a box office bang were crushed when the film opened in Japan on December 4, 2004. In its opening weekend, it came in third at the box office, with a mild $1,874,559 gross. It was crushed at the box office by Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles. The film ended its theatrical run with an unprofitable $12 million.
Godzilla: Final Wars received mixed reviews from fans. It was intended to be a "monster mash" to celebrate Godzilla's long history, but due to the large cast of monsters, each was only allowed limited screen time. Furthermore, the movie departed from previous films in the series by introducing elements of human-focused action — an addition that was variously praised and condemned. The film made a number of obvious homages to The Matrix, Independence Day, X-Men, and Star Wars, which attracted some criticism from audiences. The monster fights in Final Wars were unusually short for the series. This was done to make Godzilla appear far more powerful than he had in the past, and to solve the problem of having 14 monsters jammed into one film.
Despite these criticisms, other fans praised the action, the numerous monster appearances, and the cameos of many actors from previous Godzilla films, as well as the appearance of popular former MMA fighter Don Frye as Captain Douglas Gordon.
Sony DVD (2005)
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Special Features: Behind-the-scenes featurette (18 minutes), trailers
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: Behind-the-scenes featurette (22 minutes) and teaser for Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, behind-the-scenes featurette (18 minutes) and three trailers for Godzilla: Final Wars
- Notes: Packaged with Godzilla: Tokyo SOS.
- Godzilla: Final Wars was the final Godzilla film until the 2014 American Godzilla film, because Toho wanted to renew interest in the series. Toho didn't produce another Godzilla film until Shin Godzilla in 2016.
- The opening of Godzilla: Final Wars features stock footage from various other Toho kaiju names, including most of the Godzilla films. However, no specific events from those films are referenced, aside from Godzilla first appearing in 1954, and the wording of that sentence suggests there is only one Godzilla in this continuity.
- As a 50th anniversary celebratory film, a large group of actors from previous Godzilla films, both classic and recent, made appearances as main characters or cameo appearances. This goes for the monsters as well, as most of the monsters in the film had not been in a film for over 30 years.
- The character played by Kenji Sahara in the film is named Hachiro Jinguji, which was the name of the character played by Jun Tazaki in Atragon.
- Kumi Mizuno's character, Akiko Namikawa, shares her surname with the character Namikawa from Invasion of Astro-Monster, who was also portrayed by Mizuno.
- After Zilla is hurled into the Sydney Opera House by Godzilla, the Controller of Planet X throws a tantrum and shouts, "I knew that tuna-eating lizard was useless!" referencing the TriStar Godzilla's diet of fish in the 1998 American film. In the English dub, Zilla instead is called a "tuna-head."
- Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the TriStar Godzilla for the 1998 film, was present at Godzilla: Final Wars' world premiere in Los Angeles. Despite the monster's portrayal, Tatopoulos said he was honored to have his monster appear in an official Toho Godzilla film.
- The Canadian child played by Jordan Fleming owns a huge number of toys of various Toho kaiju, with the exception of a nondescript blue turtle which he throws into the fireplace with a cry of "You loser!" This may have been a jab at Gamera.
- The use of "We're All To Blame" by Sum 41 during the fight with Zilla could be a reference to the fact that he is the only monster in the film to not be made in Japan. The lyrics of the song could also be a jab at TriStar and how they "took the 'God' out of 'Godzilla.'"
- Godzilla: Final Wars is the first film to have a western composer write most of the music.
- Mothra is the only returning kaiju, other than ones appearing in stock footage, not to have a new design, appearing exactly as she did in Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S..
- King Ghidorah, Gorosaurus and Mechagodzilla were originally planned to appear in the movie instead of Monster X/Keizer Ghidorah, Zilla and the Gotengo.
- Concept art of the Giant Octopus exists for this film, showing that it was meant to appear but was scrapped.
- This was the last Godzilla film to have a poster illustrated by artist Noriyoshi Ohrai, who had illustrated posters for most of the films since The Return of Godzilla. Ohrai passed away in 2015.
- This was the first Godzilla film shot entirely with digital equipment.
- Godzilla: Final Wars was the first Toho Godzilla film to receive a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.
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