Godzilla Final Wars (2004)
Farewell, Godzilla. (さらば、ゴジラ。)
Earth: Out-numbered, Out-monstered, Out-done.
— American video tagline
Godzilla Final Wars (ゴジラ
The final Godzilla film for a period of 10 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 all by himself.
Toho retired the Godzilla series following the release of Godzilla Final Wars, a decision made in advance of its poor box office performance, but Godzilla vs. Hedorah director Yoshimitsu Banno secured permission to produce an IMAX short film titled Godzilla 3-D in the meantime. His search for funding eventually led to Hollywood studio Legendary Pictures securing the rights to produce a new film, simply titled Godzilla, in 2014. Legendary's film began a franchise known as the Monsterverse, while Toho would ultimately produce the next mainline Godzilla film, Shin Godzilla, in 2016.
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 as the EDF for short) 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 ever 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 the 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 has 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 is found off the coast of Hokkaido and is being suspended by large support cables in the EDF warehouse/hangar, where it is being researched. It is calculated at being 12,000 years old and composed of organic and machine tissue, making it a cyborg. It is also discovered that the monster's DNA contains M Base, which is also found in Earth's mutant soldiers. The two Shobijin twins 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 propose a peaceful union with mankind. They reveal that an asteroid called Gorath is going to collide with Earth unless all weapons are aimed at it. The Secretary, who was considered dead when Rodan attacked his plane, begins to pursue a new future with the Xiliens, claiming that the United Nations would become the Space Nations. However, distrust of the Xiliens begins to arise. When the Secretary is attacked during an attempted assassination, his blood is analyzed and soon found to not be human. Worse, the image of Gorath displayed by the Xiliens turns out to be nothing more than a hologram. Ozaki fears that the Xiliens are plotting a takeover of Earth, and that many of their leaders could have been compromised. He can only trust one man, Captain Gordon, the one who originally fired the missiles that contained Godzilla.
Doctor Miyuki Otanashi goes looking through the files of the Secretary, but is caught by the EDF leader. However, Gordon comes in at the last moment and shoots the EDF leader, revealing him to be an impostor. They bring the corpse of the impostor to the broadcast studio, where the Xiliens are being interviewed on live television. The Secretary is shot, revealing him to also be an impostor. The second-in-command of the Xiliens, known as the Controller, shoots 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 sends out an army of small fighter ships to assist in leveling and decimating human civilization. M-Unit commander Muasaka holds off his former command while the others escape. However, their escape is hindered by Kazama, a fellow mutant, who Ozaki is able to subdue.
In a secret hanger, the Gotengo crew sets 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 decapitating him. Godzilla, thinking he is 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 mothership. The Gotengo attempts to destroy the mothership, 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 mothership, destroying the generator, which allows the Gotengo to drill through to the core of the ship and attempt to fire the Masers. However, the Xiliens teleport on board and kill all of the non-essential crew members, bringing Shinchi, Miyuki, Gordon and pilot Reiko 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 their "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 Shobijin'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 mothership, intent on taking everyone down with him. Ozaki is able to board the Gotengo just as the mothership is destroyed.
Godzilla battles a new, final foe known as Monster X, while Mothra battles a rebuilt and modified Gigan. Gigan perishes as Mothra turns the cyborg's own power against him, just as the remaining crew of the Gotengo 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 both 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
- Associate producer 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
- 1st assistant director Hiroshi Saito
- Director of special effects Eiichi Asada
- 1st assistant director of special effects Yoshikazu Ishii
- 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 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 Komura
- Kumi Mizuno as Earth Defense Force Commander Reiko Namikawa
- Kenji Sahara as Hachiro Jinguji, paleontologist
- Masakatsu Funaki as EDF Instructor Kumasaka
- Masami Nagasawa, Chihiro Otsuka as Shobijin
- Wataru Shihodo as Major General Kunikida
- Kenta Suga as Kenta Taguchi, the boy who befriends Minilla
- Shigeru Izumiya as Samon Taguchi, Kenta's grandfather
- Masato Ibu as Xilien Commander
- Shinji Suzuki as Mutant soldier
- Minoru Matsumoto as Mutant soldier
- 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 Li Xiang, captain of the Karyu
- Shelley Sweeney as Captain of the 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 (Japanese voice actor: Daisuke Matsuoka)
- 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
- Yasuhiro Takeuchi as Gotengo crew member
- Soshuke Tanihara as Man in Tokyo apartment
- Tamao Sato as Woman in Tokyo apartment
- Koichi Yamadera as Narrator (voice)
- 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
- Main article: Godzilla Final Wars/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla Final Wars/Soundtrack.
- Godzilla: The Last War (Godzilla: Ostatnia wojna; Poland)
- Godzilla: The Final War (Γκοτζίλα: Ο Τελικός Πόλεμος; Greece)
- Godzilla: Final Battle (Godzilla: Batalha Final; Brazil)
- Godzilla: The Final Battle (Godzilla: La Batalla Final; Latin America)
View all posters for the film here.
Toho held the world premiere of Godzilla Final Wars at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California, on November 29, 2004. Only a handful of public screenings followed, such as at the 2005 Asian Film Festival in New York City, G-Fest XII in Park Ridge, Illinois, on June 9, 2005, and the Dryden Theatre in Rochester, New York, on September 3, 2005. While these screenings were subtitled, the English-speaking actors were not dubbed in Japanese, as was the case in Japan. Sony released it to DVD on December 13, 2005, with the same "hybrid" Japanese version, along with the English dub recorded by Red Angel Media in Hong Kong. In reaction to Legendary Pictures' Godzilla reboot, Sony released the film to Blu-ray on May 6, 2014, paired with Godzilla: Tokyo SOS.
Thailand was the first country to release Godzilla Final Wars on DVD and VCD, in April of 2005.
Following a theatrical run in France which started on August 31, 2005, LCJ Editions released a two-disc Godzilla Final Wars DVD on August 26, 2006.
Godzilla Final Wars premiered on Russian television on October 29, 2005, followed by a DVD release shortly thereafter.
Splendid Film released Godzilla Final Wars on DVD on November 28, 2005. This release used a textless version of the film with alternative color grading.
Godzilla Final Wars had the largest budget ever used in a Japanese Godzilla film, at around ¥1,900,000,000 ($19,000,000). 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 film 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 been 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 film Godzilla, because Toho wanted to renew interest in the series. Toho didn't produce another Godzilla film until Shin Godzilla in 2016.
- Godzilla Final Wars is, so far, the last feature-length Godzilla film to utilize suitmation; Shin Godzilla and Legendary's four Monsterverse films all make use of CGI and motion capture instead.
- The opening of Godzilla Final Wars features stock footage from various other Toho kaiju films, 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, Reiko 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 is called a "tuna-head" instead.
- 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 in the franchise to have a Western composer write most of the music.
- Mothra is the only returning kaiju, other than the ones appearing in stock footage, not to have a new design, instead appearing exactly as she did in Godzilla: Tokyo SOS.
- Though Mothra is only seen her imago form, a cave painting of two larvae can be seen on Infant Island.
- King Ghidorah, Gorosaurus and Mechagodzilla were originally planned to appear in the film 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.
- A small tank resembling an armadillo appears in a piece of concept art alongside the Gotengo and Godzilla. This is a reference to Tarkus, a fictional creature from the Emerson, Lake & Palmer album of the same name. This was likely included due to a member of the band, Keith Emerson, serving as the film's composer.
- 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 Japanese Godzilla film to not be canon to the 1954 original. Similar to Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, only one Godzilla exists in the film's continuity, with the individual who attacked Japan in 1954 being the same monster in the rest of the film.
- Godzilla Final Wars was the first Toho Godzilla film to receive a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.
- Godzilla Final Wars is the last of three Godzilla films to reuse a shot from the 1975 Toho film Conflagration of an oil refinery explosion, along with Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla. It is spliced into Ebirah's attack on Tokai.
- At 125 minutes, Godzilla Final Wars is the longest Japanese Godzilla film, although the American-produced GODZILLA (140 minutes) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (132 minutes) are longer.
- Several regulars from Ryuhei Kitamura’s prior films make cameo appearances. Versus star Tak Sakaguchi and Kanae Uotani (The Messenger, Aragami, Sky High, Azumi, Battlefield Baseball) portray two of the Controller of Planet X’s bodyguards. Azumi actor Yasunari Takeshima and Versus actor Kazushi Ooba are among the New Gotengo’s crew. Alive star Hideo Sakaki portrays the Deputy Captain of the Eclair. Versus actor Minoru Matsumoto, Longinus actress Yumi Kikuchi and Azumi actor Shinji Suzuki play mutant soldiers of the M-Organization. Kitamura himself cameos as a radio DJ interviewing Kenji Kohashi, who was also in Azumi. Sky High actor Shosuke Tanihara, who was also in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus and Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, has a cameo along with one of the young lovers watching the Xilien conspiracy unfold live on Nitto National Broadcasting. Famous character actor Yoji Tanaka, who also appeared in Alive, has a cameo in the end credits as a guard of Douglas Gordon’s holding cell, who is knocked unconscious by Shinichi Ozaki while distracted by music on his headphones. According to the official Godzilla website in 2004, Reika Kirishima from Versus and Alive and Yusuke Kamiji from Sky High appear as extras in the roles of an EDF soldier and an Xilien, respectively. Main cast members Kazuki Kitamura, Jun Kunimura, and Masato Eve had also appeared in prior Ryuhei Kitamura films as well.
- During Kitamura and Kohashi's scene, Kitamura says, "Have some fun!" in English, referencing a radio show of the same name hosted at the time by his former friend and actor Hideo Sakaki. During the show, Sakaki would often yell the phrase when announcing himself.
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