Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
Godzilla dies (ゴジラ死す)
— Japanese tagline
It's a major monster meltdown!
— North American VHS tagline
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (ゴジラＶＳデストロイア Gojira tai Desutoroia) is a 1995 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho, and the twenty-second installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the seventh and final in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 9, 1995.
The final entry of the Heisei series, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was originally intended to be the last Toho-produced Godzilla film of the 20th century. Following the explosion of uranium deposits under Birth Island, Godzilla is transformed into the extremely powerful Burning Godzilla. However, Godzilla's out-of-control internal nuclear reactor threatens to explode, taking the planet with it. To make matters worse, construction of the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line has awakened a colony of Precambrian crustaceans mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer used to kill the first Godzilla in 1954. When the creatures merge together into a huge monster called Destoroyah, humanity's only hope becomes getting Destoroyah to fight Godzilla and hoping it kills him before his overloaded heart destroys the world. But Destoroyah is not the lesser of two evils, and threatens all life on Earth if he is not stopped as well.
After the death of SpaceGodzilla, in 1996, Birth Island is found destroyed with Godzilla nowhere in sight. His adopted son, LittleGodzilla, is presumed dead. Meanwhile, all is well in Hong Kong, but Godzilla, covered in glowing lava-like rashes proceeds to attack Kai Tak Airport and menace the aircraft there, before wiping out the seafront area of Hong Kong with repeated blasts of his Atomic Spiral Ray. G-Force representatives hire college student Kenkichi Yamane, adopted grandson of Dr. Yamane who witnessed the original Godzilla in 1954, to come work at the center in an attempt to unravel the mystery of Godzilla's condition.
Yamane suspects that due to his out of control radioactivity, Godzilla will soon explode, taking the rest of the world with him. G-Force immediately deploys a flying combat vehicle outfitted with anti-nuclear cold weapons to forestall the event; the Super X III. Meanwhile, in the construction area where the original Godzilla died, strange life forms begin to rise, and a host of deadly creatures called Destoroyah begin wreaking havoc. Soil samples reveal that the existence of Destoroyah is directly connected to the Oxygen Destroyer used against Godzilla in 1954, which mutated Precambrian era life forms. After several deadly skirmishes with the Japanese Self Defense Force, the Destoroyah evolve beyond the JSDF's containment abilities. The UNGCC tasks psychic Miki Saegusa with using her diminishing powers to lure Godzilla's son to the area in an attempt to combat Destoroyah in Tokyo. As Miki searches for LittleGodzilla, it at first seems as if he died in the the explosion which destroyed Birth Island. After searching for LittleGodzilla from the air, Miki manages to catch a glimpse of Godzilla's son as he surfaces off the coast of Omaezaki in Shizuoka Prefecture, having grown further into Godzilla Junior. Tourists scatter as Junior observes them, then continues his journey north towards the Bering Strait, intending to return to his birth place on Adonoa Island. Godzilla, who is tracking his offspring, follows Junior and will soon arrive in Japan as well, but complications arise. Due to his encounter with the Super X III, Godzilla has now bypassed an explosion and will ultimately melt down once 1200 degrees Celsius has been reached; an event that will burn straight into the core of the planet and destroy all of Earth.
The first time the monsters fight, Junior is grievously wounded but manages to destroy his opponent. However, as Godzilla and Junior meet in Narita, Destoroyah returns in his final form: a monstrous gargoyle-like creature. Swooping down upon the surprised monsters, Destoroyah knocks down Godzilla and snatches the little Godzilla away; dropping the small creature onto the Ariake Coliseum below and blasting him with micro-oxygen, killing him. Enraged, Godzilla attacks Destoroyah and a back and forth battle ensues that destroys much of Tokyo. Born from the weapon that first defeated Godzilla, Destoroyah shows an obvious advantage from the start, but Godzilla's runaway radioactivity has pushed the monster's power to unimaginable levels and he soon destroys his son's killer. Unwilling to die easily, Destoroyah's body decomposes into many smaller Destoroyah which attempt to swarm Godzilla from all sides, but the attack ends in futility when Godzilla uses his Nuclear pulse to incinerate the miniature Destroroyahs.
Alone at last, Godzilla attempts to breathe life into his fallen son, but to no avail, and even as he grieves, Godzilla's heart continues to fail, causing even more pain within the monster. Suddenly, Destoroyah returns in his final form for one last attack. The battle is short but fierce; enraged by the loss of his offspring and maddened by the pain within him, Godzilla drives Destoroyah back to the brink of death as Tokyo is bathed in fire. As the battle reaches fever pitch, the ghastly creature attempts to flee, but just as Destoroyah lifts off, the Super X3 attacks and disables the creature's wings, causing Destoroyah to plummet back to Earth where he explodes and is consumed in a fiery inferno at Godzilla's feet.
His son gone and his foe defeated, Godzilla stands alone and dying, but the human race cannot afford to give Godzilla a quiet funeral. As the monster begins to melt, the JSDF bombards the dying beast with a plethora of ice weapons, successfully neutralizing the immense heat that is given off and preventing Godzilla's remains from melting into the center of the Earth and igniting the planet.
The victory is a costly one, however, for the radiation has made Tokyo an uninhabitable ghost town. Suddenly, radiation levels begin to drop, and from within the thinning smoke a roar can be heard. The younger Godzilla rises from the ashes a child no more. In death, Godzilla had passed on his excess radiation and life essence as a final gift to his son, reviving and mutating the next generation. A spitting image of his father, the new adult Godzilla flexes his claws and bellows a challenge to the world, preparing to take his father's place as the greatest force of nature ever born.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Takao Okawara
- 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 Yoshio Suzuki
- Assistant directing by Kunio Miyoshi, Okihiro Yoneda, Atsushi Kaneshige, Hiroshi Okamoto, Makoto Kumazawa
- Special effects by Koichi Kawakita
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah/Credits.
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
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah/Gallery.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (Soundtrack).
- Godzilla vs. Destroyah (Alternate Spelling)
- Godzilla vs. Destroyer (Alternate English title)[note 1]
- Dinosaur Empire (恐龍帝國; Taiwan)
- Godzilla the Final Chapter: Deadly Battle of the Century (哥斯拉完結篇之世紀必殺陣; Hong Kong)
- Godzilla Against Absolute Destroyer (Γκοτζίλα Εναντίον Απόλυτου Καταστροφέα Nkotzíla Enantíon Apólytou Katastroféa; Greece)
- Godzilla Against Destroyer (Godzilla contra Destructor; Argentina)
- Godzilla Meets Destroyah (Godzilla möter Destroyah; Sweden)
View all posters for the film here.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was dubbed into English by Hong Kong's Omni Productions in late 1997. In this international version of the movie, an English title card was superimposed over the Japanese title, as had been done with the previous 1990's Godzilla films and would be done for every film since.
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment released Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah to home video on January 19, 1999. This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States. TriStar used the Toho international dubs, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films. In 2002, both films were released together on DVD in a double feature. Except for being presented in anamorphic widescreen, the films remained as they had previously on VHS. The complete Toho international version of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has been broadcast on several premium movie channels since the early 2000's and, in 2014, was released on Blu-ray by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in a double feature with Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Being Toho's international version, the film was uncut (including the end credits). This release marked the first wide availability of the Japanese soundtrack in the U.S.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah had a budget of ¥1 billion. When the film was released in Japan on December 9, 1995, it received an attendance of 4 million and earned ¥2 billion, making it the #1 highest grossing Japanese film of 1996.
Critical reaction to the film has been mostly positive. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a fresh score of 100% from critics and a 94% audience score. Michael Hubert of Monster Zero praised the "spectacular monster battles," calling Godzilla vs. Destoroyah "a great movie" and "one to add to your collection," adding: "Even for non-Godzilla fans, this movie might help dispel some of the preconceptions you have about Godzilla's 'cheese factor'." Toho Kingdom said, "With an elegant style, a powerful plot, brilliant effects, and believable acting, this entry is definitely a notch above favorites from all three timelines, and its impact on the series is challenged by only a handful of competitors. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is without a doubt a paradigm all its own." Japan Hero called the film "a work of art" and "a must see for anyone who loves Godzilla" that features "something for everyone." Stomp Tokyo gave the film a 4/5 and calls it "a big sparkly show with lots of stuff happening on screen." Mike Bogue of American Kaiju felt the film suffered from "several visual weaknesses" and "disappointing editing," but that "the positive aspects of the visuals outweigh the negatives" and praised the film for "treating Godzilla with the same awe, majesty, and terror as [the original 1954 Godzilla]."
Kazuo Miyauchi earned a Japanese Academy Prize nomination for Best Sound for his work on the film. Chizuko Osada was nominated for Best Editing.
- Region: 1
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Stereo)
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
- Special features: None
- Other Details: Packaged with Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. Also included in The Toho Godzilla Collection, Vol. 1.
Marketing-Film DVD (2002)
- Region: 2
- Discs: 1
- Audio: English (2.0 Mono), German (2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround)
- Subtitles: German
- Special features: Complete English end credits, Japanese trailers for Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II and Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, U.S. trailer for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
- Notes: Out of print.
Toho DVD (2002)
- Region: 2
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: Japanese
Madman DVD (2006)
- Region: 4
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo, 5.1 Surround), English (2.0 Mono)
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: Four teasers, one trailer, and two TV spots for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah; trailers for Invasion of Astro-Monster, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.; photo galleries including concept art and models
Toho Blu-ray (2010)
- Region: A/1
- Audio: Japanese
- Region: A/1
- Discs: 2
- Audio: Japanese (2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Surround), English (2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Surround)
- Subtitles: English, French
- Special features: Three trailers for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and two trailers for Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
- Notes: Includes French subtitles. Packaged with Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
- Main article: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (manga).
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah received a manga adaptation from Shogakukan. It is notable for featuring an entirely different human plot from the film, with Sho Kuroki, Kazuma Aoki, and Akira Yuki serving as the main characters.
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was originally intended to be the last Japanese Godzilla film until 2005. However, Toho saw an opportunity to produce a new film in the wake of the widespread negative reaction to TriStar Pictures' 1998 American GODZILLA film, and brought the series out of retirement early with Godzilla 2000: Millennium in 1999.
- The producer and creator of Godzilla Tomoyuki Tanaka sadly died about 2 years after the film was finished.
- Momoko Kochi, who had played the lead female role of Emiko Yamane in the original 1954 film, returned in this film to reprise the character. But it was her final film role, and she died three years later due to intestinal cancer.
- Akira Ifukube, who composed music for countless Godzilla films since the original film, returned as the music composer in this film. It was his final film score, although his numerous pieces continue to be used in Toho's films to the present day. He died almost 11 years after the film was finished due to multiple organ failure.
- Both the opening scene and finale of this film take place at or near an airport; Kai Tak Airport in the opening, and Haneda Airport during the final battle.
- Due to the extreme amount of energy and radiation Godzilla controls due to his impending meltdown, this is the only film in the Heisei era in which Godzilla does not use his standard Atomic Breath, instead being limited to using the far-more-powerful Spiral Ray.
- This film is the only film in the entire Heisei era in which Godzilla doesn't fight his opponent more than once. All of the previous films in the Heisei era feature Godzilla engaging in at least one rematch with his opponents.
- An alternate ending for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was filmed and scrapped. Destoroyah attempted to escape once Godzilla gained the upper hand, but the JSDF shot him down. Godzilla, despite suffering from his meltdown, continued to battle the monster. Godzilla quickly overpowered Destoroyah, grabbing him by his horn and pummeling him repeatedly. As Godzilla's life melts away, the JSDF rain their ULT weapons upon him, as well as Destoroyah. Unable to stand against the immense heat of Godzilla's meltdown and the freezing coldness of the ULT lasers, Destoroyah falls and evaporates. The scene was replaced because it was thought to be inappropriate, since Godzilla's foreseen death was to be the climax of the movie. So the scene was re-edited to have Destoroyah die after the JSDF intervenes, and allow Godzilla to have center stage as he melts down.
- The Godzilla suit used for this film was modified from the MogeGoji suit used the previous year for Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. The modified suit was nicknamed the "DesuGoji."
- The sequence in this film where the metropolitan police battle the Juvenile forms of Destoroyah was influenced by Aliens.
- Toho used many different publicity stunts in an attempt to fuel the rumors that the Godzilla series was indeed concluded with this film. For example, Toho had the "Big Pool," a stunt pool used in the filming of almost every one of Toho's special effects-based movies since the 1960's, paved over and converted into a parking lot. In addition, special effects director Koichi Kawakita, who had worked on all of Godzilla's films since 1989, announced that he would be retiring from Toho and going to work as a designer at Bandai.
- The theme for Godzilla's requiem in the film is actually a medley piece that Akira Ifukube created using various other pieces of music he had composed for Toho. The opening to the theme is a remake of a piece from the Yakuza film The Big Boss, which was also used in the opening to Godzilla vs. Gigan, and the music also fittingly features sections of Rodan's death theme from his debut film.
- The advance poster for this film painted by Noriyoshi Ohrai is the only one in the Heisei series which depicts Godzilla in the background and his opponent in the foreground. The idea behind this is that although Destoroyah is an evil monster, Godzilla's meltdown could possibly destroy the planet, therefore he is, as the poster suggests, the real threat.
- Shortly after this film was finished, Toho actually held a funeral for Godzilla.
- Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was the last Godzilla film staff members from the original Godzilla worked on, namely producer Tomoyuki Tanaka and composer Akira Ifukube. While Ifukube's themes have appeared in Godzilla films since then, they have all been preexisting recordings.
- In Kenkichi Yamane's room, there is a bulletin board containing stills from various past Godzilla films, including several from the Showa series.
- There are two tributes to the original film's opening in the opening of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. It opens with two of Godzilla's footsteps followed by his roar, just like in the original film. During the opening sequence when Godzilla attacks Hong Kong, the title card of the original film appears onscreen, only to subsequently explode and become consumed by the Oxygen Destroyer, followed by the appearance of this film's title.
- Toshiyuki Hosokawa was originally cast as Chairman Kunitomo but had to quit early in production after being hospitalized in relation to his diabetes. Hosokawa was credited on advance posters and can be seen in character in the first "special announcement" trailer for the film. Despite having appeared in a different role in Godzilla vs. Mothra, Saburo Shinoda was brought in to replace Hosokawa in the part.
- Godzilla vs. Detoroyah is the second appearance of Cadmium missiles in the Godzilla series, being used as a weapon for the Super X3. Additionally this weapon bookends the Heisei era Godzilla films, as its first appearance in a Godzilla film was in The Return of Godzilla as a weapon for the original Super X.
- The Ultra-Low Temperature Laser (ULT) cannon has some basis in reality, as Laser cooling is a real world field of science with several methods of cooling things to near absolute zero temperature using lasers.
- The CLT-95's design is similar to concept art for the MBAW-93 in Godzilla vs. Mothra, where it had a single cannon with four panels near the tip.
- "Destoroyah" is the character's official name; the alternate spellings "Destroyah" and "Destroyer" have been used infrequently in Toho-sanctioned publications, most likely erroneously. Likewise, neither Godzilla vs. Destroyah nor Godzilla vs. Destroyer has been officially used as the film's English title, although the usage of both has nevertheless persisted in the Godzilla fandom.
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