Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
Just for you, I won't give up!
At the end of the century, the greatest battle has begun!
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (ゴジラＶＳキングギドラ Gojira tai Kingu Gidora) is a 1991 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the eighteenth installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the third in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 14, 1991.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah brings back Godzilla's arch-enemy, King Ghidorah, for the new Heisei series of films. Still weakened from the Anti-Nuclear Energy Bacteria following his battle with Biollante, Godzilla has remained dormant in the Sea of Japan for two years. However, a group of time travelers from the year 2204 arrive in Japan and warn that Godzilla will soon return and destroy the nation. To prevent this, they undertake a mission to 1944 to remove a dinosaur from Lagos Island before it can be mutated into Godzilla by the Castle Bravo H-bomb test conducted at nearby Bikini Atoll. The Futurians have other goals though, leaving behind three creatures called Dorats on the island which are exposed to the bomb in the dinosaur's place and become the three-headed terror King Ghidorah. As King Ghidorah terrorizes Japan, the government enacts a desperate plan to recreate Godzilla with a nuclear submarine, but it turns out that Godzilla was not actually erased from history as thought. After destroying and absorbing the energy from the nuclear sub, the empowered Godzilla prepares to face King Ghidorah himself.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Staff
- 3 Cast
- 4 Appearances
- 5 Gallery
- 6 Soundtrack
- 7 Alternate titles
- 8 Theatrical releases
- 9 U.S. release
- 10 Box office
- 11 Reception
- 12 Video releases
- 13 Novelization
- 14 Manga Adaptation
- 15 Videos
- 16 Trivia
- 17 External links
- 18 References
- 19 Comments
In the year 2204, a submarine examines the body of King Ghidorah, a monster which was said to have fought Godzilla in the 20th century. Then the movie flashes back to modern day Tokyo, where an unidentified flying object (UFO) has been seen flying rapidly with flashing lights in the night sky. The next morning, the general media attempts to make sense of the situation, which determine that this "UFO" may not have been a hoax.
Kenichiro Terasawa, a young Japanese reporter, is covering a story of a dinosaur sighted during the Pacific War. Then a spaceship appears in Japan, coinciding with Godzilla's awakening in the ocean. The ship lands, and three humans, two Western men Wilson and Grenchiko and one Japanese young woman Emmy Kano, come out of the ship and reveal themselves as delegates of nations from the year 2204. They have traveled across time to warn Japan of its grave future; due to industrialization and nuclear power, Godzilla will reappear and destroy Japan for good (or so the Futurians say). They present a book that Terasawa will write in the future, entitled The Birth of Godzilla, which states the dinosaur he is covering is a "Godzillasaurus", the dinosaur that would eventually become Godzilla after radiation exposure from an American nuclear bomb test after World War II.
Terasawa and several Japanese civilians and military personnel are selected by the Futurians to go back to 1944 and make Godzilla disappear from history, thus preventing Japan's bleak future. The Futurians place Emmy and an android named M11 in command of the mission. They will pilot a time traveling shuttle named KIDS to 1944, where they will locate the dinosaur and teleport it off the island, preventing its eventual mutation.
The Futurians and Japanese of the 1990's arrive on a Pacific island named Lagos in 1944. Amid the final stage of Pacific War, a Japanese unit is opposing an American amphibious landing on the island. The time travel group secretly observe the battle. The Japanese unit is almost eliminated by the U.S. landing unit, but the Godzillasaurus comes out of the jungle and kills the American soldiers. A U.S. ship fires, heavily injures the Godzillasaurus, and then departs. The remaining Japanese unit salutes the injured Godzillasaurus and leaves as well several days later. The Futurians then teleport the Godzillasaurus into the Bering Sea, so that it can't be hit by atomic bombs, and return to the future.
Unknown to the Japanese, however, the Futurians have replaced the Godzillasaurus with three genetically engineered creatures called Dorats, who then were exposed to radiation of the nuclear test and mutated into the three-headed, dragon-like King Ghidorah, who appears in present Japan. It is then, that the Futurians' true malevolent intentions are exposed: The story they tell Japanese of 1990s is a lie. The true history of the future is that despite damages by Godzilla, Japan with her giant corporations would grow into a corrupt super power that affects the future world greatly; King Ghidorah is a controlled weapon the Futurians made to damage Japan further, in order to keep her from becoming a super power. However Wilson and Grenchiko are more ambitious. They want to use King Ghidorah to delete Japan from history completely. Emmy disagrees with that. She reprogrammed M11 and leaves the mother ship to tell Terasawa the truth.
The Japanese government, still believing Godzilla was erased from the timeline, then seek out the Godzillasaurus to create a new Godzilla, who is the only force powerful enough to defeat King Ghidorah and the Futurians. They borrow a nuclear submarine from the Teiyo Group, a successful giant corporation established in postwar Japan by Yasuaki Shindo, a former officer who was saved by and saluted to the then injured Godzillasaurus on Lagos Island. However, Miki Saegusa reports being able to sense Godzilla moving underwater, as if he never left. After researching old newspaper articles, Terasawa learns that sometime in the past, a Russian nuclear submarine disappeared in the Bering Sea near where the Godzillasaurus was placed. Terasawa realizes that Godzilla must have not been erased from the timeline at all, and was already mutated into Godzilla. Terasawa tries to warn the government that Godzilla already exists and that Shindo's submarine is in danger, but is too late.
Unknown to the Japanese or Futurians, the Godzillasaurus they had transported to the Bering sea had in fact already been mutated because a Soviet nuclear submarine had sunk in the Bering sea. As the Futurians put it, the birth of Godzilla was an unavoidable event, as long as there are nuclear weapons. The Japanese realize this too late, as the sub they sent encounters the already-mutated Godzilla. Godzilla attacks the sub and absorbs its power, causing him to become even larger than before and overcome his ANEB infection.
Wilson and Grenchiko sent King Ghidorah to combat Godzilla ashore in Hokkaido. Ghidorah almost strangles Godzilla to death, but in the mean time Emmy, Terasawa and the android sabotage the mother ship. Ghidorah's motion is affected and then it is defeated by Godzilla. Godzilla decapitates its middle head, and has it sink into bottom of the sea. Emmy and others teleport the mother ship in front of Godzilla and leave. Godzilla destroys the ship along with Wilson and Grenchiko on board.
Godzilla then sets out to destroy Japan. Emmy and M11 go back to future with the time traveling shuttle for help. Godzilla enters Tokyo and stands before the headquarters of Shindo Heavy Industry, where Shindo himself stays to wait for Godzilla. Shindo and Godzilla look into each others' eyes for a moment and Godzilla destroys the Shindo headquarter completely. Then Emmy comes back from future with a resurrected King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah is cryogenically preserved in the sea to 2204, when Emmy and the central Futurian government make it a cyborg under Emmy's command: Mecha-King Ghidorah. Emmy uses it to battle Godzilla. In the ensuing fight, Godzilla and Mecha-King Ghidorah level the center of Tokyo. Emmy uses Mecha-King Ghidorah's grappling cables to lift Godzilla into the sky. Godzilla continues to fight Mecha-King Ghidorah and sinks them both into the sea. Then Emmy says goodbye to Terasawa, whom she identifies as one of her ancestors, and goes back to future. However, on the bottom of the sea, Godzilla awakens and roars.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Kazuki Omori
- Written by Kazuki Omori
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Yoshinori Sekiguchi
- Edited by Michiko Ikeda
- Production design by Tadashi Sakai
- Assistant directing by Okihiro Yoneda
- Special effects by Koichi Kawakita
- Main article: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Credits.
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Anna Nakagawa as Emmy Kano, Futurian
- Kosuke Toyohara as Kenichiro Terasawa, writer for Mu magazine
- Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa
- Kiwako Harada as Chiaki Moriyuma, editor for Mu magazine
- Shoji Kobayashi as Ryuzo Dobashi, Cabinet Security Director
- Katsuhiko Sasaki as Professor Yoshinori Mazaki
- Chuck Wilson as Wilson, Futurian
- So Yamamura as Prime Minister Hayashida
- Koichi Ueda as Masayoshi Ikehata, former Lagos Island Japanese Army soldier
- Richard Berger as Glenchico, Futurian
- Robert Scott Field as M11
- Tokuma Nishioka as Professor Takehito Fujio, Director of National Institute of Science and Technology
- Yoshio Tsuchiya as Yasuaki Shindo, Chairman of the Teiyo Group
- Saburo Tokito as Reporter
- Junichi Yaoi as Himself
- Kent Gilbert as U.S. Navy Colonel
- Daniel Kahl as Major Spielberg
- Jeff Berklund as U.S. Navy Aide
- Ginnosuke Azuma as Morrys
- Shinji Morisue as Photographer
- Shingo Kazami as National Institute of Science and Technology staff member
- Ryoto Yoshimitsu as Shindo's secretary
- Kenji Sahara as Defense Minister Takayuki Segawa
- Susumu Kurobe as Fuyuki Takaoka, Air SDF Chief of Staff
- Kazuyuki Senba as Integrated Chiefs of Staff Conference chairperson
- Kenzo Hagiwara as Takeo Shimura, Ground SDF Chief of Staff
- Shin Tatsuma as Daisuke Hirata, Maritime SDF Chief of Staff
- Tetsu Watanabe as Lagos Island Japanese Army Sergeant
- Shigemitsu Ogi as JSDF Information Office member
- Shoichiro Sakata as JSDF Information Office member
- Yasushi Inoue as JSDF Information Office member
- Muneyoshi Akita as JSDF Information Office member
- Michael Foucannon as M101
- Mark Foucannon as M102
- Chuko Fujimoto as Newscaster
- Kenpachiro Satsuma as Godzilla
- Hurricane Ryu Hariken as King Ghidorah
- Wataru Fukuda as Godzillasaurus
Omni Productions English dub
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- John Culkin as Kenichiro Terasawa, writer for Mu magazine
- Pierre Tremblay as Wilson, Futurian / M11 / Junichi Yaoi / Masayoshi Ikehata, former Lagos Island Japanese Army soldier / U.S. Navy Colonel
- Chris Hilton as Professor Takehito Fujio, Director of National Institute of Science and Technology
- Rik Thomas as Yasuaki Shindo, Chairman of the Teiyo Group / Prime Minister Hayashida / Morrys
- Warren Rooke as Defense Minister Takayuki Segawa
- Jack Murphy as Shindo's secretary
Weapons, vehicles, and races
- Main article: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (Soundtrack).
- Godzilla vs. King Ghidora (U.S. VHS title)
- Godzilla: Duel of the Megasaurians (Godzilla – Duell der Megasaurier; Germany)
- Godzilla Against the Evil Monster (Godzilla Contra o Monstro do Mal; Brazil)
- The War of the Dinosaurs (La Guerra de los Dinosaurios; Argentina)
- War Dragon Godzilla (戰龍哥斯拉; Hong Kong)
View all posters for the film here.
- Japan - December 14, 1991 [view poster]
- Thailand - 1991 [view poster]
- Germany - March 26, 1992 [view poster]
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah was released on VHS in the United States by TriStar Pictures in 1998, along with Godzilla vs. Mothra. The film was titled Godzilla vs. King Ghidora for this release, though only on cover art (later releases would correct this to "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah"). Like what Miramax had done for Godzilla vs. Biollante in 1992, TriStar elected to simply use Toho's international English dub for the film, which was done by Omni Productions. The only edits TriStar made to the film involved on-screen text and the end credits. Rather than use Toho's international title card, TriStar included the Japanese title card with "Godzilla vs. King Ghidora" in parentheses at the bottom of the screen. TriStar also provided its own English-language opening credits and cut the end credits, replacing them with a black screen including copyright information.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah had a budget of ¥1,500,000,000, or roughly $12,000,000. When the film was released in Japan on December 14, 1991, it had an attendance of 2,700,000 and earned ¥1,450,000,000, or $11,000,000.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is generally well-received by fans. Internet critic James Rolfe (AKA the Angry Video Game Nerd) of Cinemassacre considers the film one of the best of the series.
Some Godzilla fans have expressed dissatisfaction with King Ghidorah's origin in the movie, especially in reference to the Dorats, as well as with the film's time-travel plot.
Universe 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.
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Stereo)
- Special Features: Trailers for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mothra
- Notes: Cropped to 1.33:1. Packaged with Godzilla vs. Mothra (same disc). Also included in The Toho Godzilla Collection - Volume 1.
Toho DVD (2002)
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese
Madman DVD (2006)
- Region: 4
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (5.1 Surround and 2.0 Stereo) and English (2.0 Mono)
- Special Features: Trailers for Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and other Heisei Godzilla movies, galleries of production stills and posters
Toho Blu-ray (2009)
- Region: A/1
- Language: Japanese
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo) and English (2.0 Mono)
- Special Features: 4 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah trailers and 5 Godzilla vs. Mothra trailers
- Notes: Packaged with Godzilla vs. Mothra.
A novelization of the film, titled Novel: Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, was written by Toho film producer Fumio Tanaka and published by Asahi Sonorama in 1991. The novelization follows the plot of the film, but includes some differences. Most notably, the novel opens with the discovery of the carcass of King Ghidorah on the surface of Venus, with the Futurians harvesting its DNA and using it to engineer the Dorats. Kenichiro Terasawa and Chiaki Moriyuma get married at the end of the novel, with Emmy Kano secretly attending their wedding party. Emmy gives the receptionist a pendant containing a photograph of herself and her mother, who is noted to look a lot like Chiaki, and asks the receptionist to give it to Chiaki. Other minor differences from the film include the name of the Teiyo Group's nuclear submarine.
A manga adaptation of the film was published by Shogakukan in December 1991. The manga's story corresponds to the film's, but many characters, notably Miki Saegusa, Yasuaki Shindo, and Professor Mazaki, are omitted. In addition, the character Sho Kuroki from Godzilla vs. Biollante is featured in the manga. The manga also ends on a much darker note than the film. After Godzilla and Mecha-King Ghidorah fall into the ocean, Emmy pilots KIDS to the surface. Just before the ship can depart to the 23rd century, Godzilla suddenly fires his atomic breath from below and destroys the ship with Emmy still inside it.
- This is the only film where Godzilla battles King Ghidorah one-on-one, with neither monster having any allies.
- This is the first movie in the Heisei series where a monster from the Showa series besides Godzilla returns.
- Stuntman "Hurricane" Ryu, who portrayed King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah, would later return to play Battra larva in Godzilla vs. Mothra, BabyGodzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II and Godzilla Junior in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- A loose end in the film's plot that deserves mention involves King Ghidorah and Mecha-King Ghidorah. In the beginning of the film, Glenchico states that a person cannot exist in the same time twice; one of the two would vanish. However, when Godzilla defeats King Ghidorah, the monster falls into the Sea of Okhotsk, where it stays for 200 years. In 2204, Ghidorah is resurrected as a cyborg and returned to 1992. However, as the wounded King Ghidorah is still laying in the sea when Mecha-King Ghidorah arrives, two Ghidorahs clearly exist in the same time. As if to further contradict Omori's law, when Mecha-King Ghidorah is defeated by Godzilla, it too falls into the Sea of Okhotsk, meaning two Ghidorahs not only coexist in the same time, but in the same place as well. This seems to be a clear violation of Grenchiko's statement. However, it is possible that once Mecha-King Ghidorah came to the past, the body of the previous Ghidorah that was lying in the Sea of Okhotsk vanished as Grenchiko said would happen; Mecha-King Ghidorah could then take the previous Ghidorah's place in the sea. The remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah would later be used to create Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II.
- However, if King Ghidorah actually did disappear, that would mean that there wouldn't be a King Ghidorah corpse to turn into Mecha-King Ghidorah, so Mecha-King Ghidorah wouldn't be able to exist. Because Mecha-King Ghidorah wouldn't exist, it couldn't go back in time to fight Godzilla, so the old King Ghidorah corpse would still stay there. This means Glenchico's statement is false, because if it was true, a time paradox (specifically, an altered version of the Grandfather Paradox) would have occurred. However, it's possible that when Mecha-King Ghidorah went back in time, it actually entered an alternate universe, meaning that a paradox doesn't occur, and in this new universe, King Ghidorah does disappear.
- This film was considered controversial at the time of its release, due to its fictional World War II sequence. The scene depicted American soldiers being killed by the Godzillasaurus, allowing Japanese soldiers to escape. The film's plot, involving Western villains from the future attempting to subjugate Japan, was debated. Kazuki Omori, the director of the film, defended his artistic decision on camera, arguing that the film was not in fact meant to be anti-American. It was also noted that there was considerable negative publicity regarding economic tensions between the United States and Japan at the time the film was made. Even Ishiro Honda stated in an interview in 1992 that he felt Kazuki Omori went too far in depicting the American soldiers being killed.
- In the Japanese novelization for this film, King Ghidorah's corpse is found on the surface of Venus by the Futurians, who use his DNA to engineer the Dorats. This was originally meant to be included in the film as well, but this was changed because Kazuki Omori reportedly did not want King Ghidorah to be a space monster again.
- Toho reportedly considered producing a direct sequel to this film called The Return of King Ghidorah, which would have involved a second King Ghidorah arriving from outer space, but decided to instead revive Mothra for 1992's Godzilla vs. Mothra. An early draft for what would ultimately become Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla also featured Godzilla battling an alien King Ghidorah called Emperor Ghidorah.
- A Godzilla 1964 toy can be seen on Kenichiro Terasawa's desk in multiple scenes.
- During the scene where Emmy Kano is reprogramming M11, Mechani-Kong is visible among a group of robot toys on a shelf in the background. Later during the same scene, a model of an Xilien UFO can be seen on a table behind M11's head.
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