movie review of Godzilla Vs. Destroyah (1985)
Godzilla vs. Destroyah is different from most of the Godzilla movies made in recent years; it’s not campy, it’s a very serious movie that tries to make a serious point. It goes back to the original Godzilla (1954) movie, where the original Godzilla was destroyed at the end of the film by a brilliant scientist’s invention, “Oxygen Destroyer”. Which is too dangerous to be allowed to exist, so the scientist destroys all of his notes, and chooses to die along with the original Godzilla. Many years later, a new scientist has discovered the same principles and is announcing his discovery, “micro oxygen” that he feels can be a boon to mankind.
At the same time, the current Godzilla is suffering from what can best be described as atomic heartburn. His organic nuclear reactor is going wild, driving his temperature ever-higher. This will eventually cause a nuclear meltdown, a “china syndrome” that will be catastrophic for all life on planet Earth.
As if that’s not enough, there is another problem developing from the use of the Oxygen Destroyer many years ago. Apparently, it has caused the mutation of a primitive life form over the years. This has led to the formation of Destroyah, a group of human-sized monsters. There’s an excellent scene, reminiscent of the movie Alien, where the Japanese army is trying to find the creatures, with limited success. One of the underlying themes of the movie is the unintended consequences of Man’s creations, not limited to the atomic bomb.
Another plot thread is the maturing of “Baby Godzilla” — also known as Minilla, who has finally grown into an adult Godzillasaurus and is ready to take his place in the world — which is a good thing, given that the Destroyah is the most deadly opponent that Godzilla has ever faced.
I’ll not give away the ending of the movie, but I will give full credit to the producers of the movie, for making a very daring decision. I truly enjoyed Godzilla vs. Destroyah, not just in a “reliving my childhood by watching a cheesy monster movie” way, but as an enjoyable movie in its own right, and I recommend it.
Editorial review of Godzilla Vs. Destroyah, courtesy of Amazon.com
Godzilla’s nuclear-powered heart is waning, threatening not only himself but mankind. But before going to that monster island in the sky, he must first battle his most forbidding foe to date: Destoroyah. Destoroyah makes Biollante, Space-Godzilla, and Rodan look like washed-up sparring partners as he dukes it out with Godzilla Jr. and Pop. With chilling powers that are sure to remind you of the creature from “Alien,” Destoroyah wreaks havoc, and everyone’s favorite radioactive lizard must give everything, including his life, to defeat him. Easily among the best of all Godzilla movies, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah eschews much of the series’ campy humor for a dark and poignant vision that infuses the long-running series with new life at the same time that it lays to rest a beloved monster. —Tod Nelson
movie quotes for Godzilla vs. Destroyah
Miki Saegusa: I think this is going to be Godzilla’s last fight.
Miki Saegusa: My job is done now Godzilla.
Dr. Kensaku Ijuin: I know Micro-oxygen and it doesn’t have that kind of power.
Army General: Then what does?
Dr. Kensaku Ijuin: An Oxygen Destroyer!
Night Watchman at Aquarium: The water seems to be eating away at the fish!
Yukari Yamane: Forgive me. You seem like a romantic.
Dr. Kensaku Ijuin: Well maybe I am a romantic.
Major Sho Kuroki: What radioactivity!
Miki Saegusa: Godzilla won’t let this be its final fight.
TV-Reporter: But, what happened with the physics experiment that you conducted here?
Dr. Kensaku Ijuin: It’s at the bottom of the ocean, where a brilliant scientist is quietly sleeping.
Dr. Kensaku Ijuin: Godzilla’s gone. He’s turned Tokyo into a ghost town.
Yukari Yamane: And, it looks like we paid for it at the end.
Dr. Kensaku Ijuin: Paid for what?
Yukari Yamane: All of it. All of man’s stupid use of nuclear energy.
Trivia for Godzilla vs. Destroyah
- Emiko Yamane is played by Momoko Kôchi, the same actress who created the role in Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla (1954) (U.S. title: Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956)). This was also her last film role. She died of cancer three years later.
- This was the last Godzilla film on which producer Tomoyuki Tanaka worked. He was the only person to produce all of the previous Godzilla films.
- Contains brief scenes that pay homage to the original Godzilla (1954) – such as Dr Yamane’s stegosaurus model – and during the simulated Tokyo meltdown sequence (where they show what will happen if Godzilla explodes) Godzilla walks by the Wako Building and the Diet Building – two building he destroys in the original film.
- An alternate ending was filmed with both Godzilla and Destroyah melting at the same time. The alternate ending can be seen on the Japanese Godzilla vs. Destroyah DVD.
- The final film in the Versus/Heisei Godzilla series. The third movie series (or Millennium Series) begins with Godzilla 2000 (1999).
- Koichi Kawakita came up with the idea of killing Godzilla.
- Toho planned to release this movie as “Godzilla Vs. Destroyer” to the English-language markets, but when it realized that copyrighting an everyday word such as “destroyer” for its monster would be difficult, they released the film as “Godzilla VS Destoroyah” since “destoroyah” is close to the English version of the word, and was a unique name that could be copyrighted easily. When Toho had the movie dubbed into English, it made sure the monster was called “destroyer” on film, since that was the intended name.
- An original idea for this movie had Godzilla fighting the original 1954 Godzilla in ghost form. The project, “Godzilla VS Ghost Godzilla”, was scrapped because the producers thought Godzilla didn’t need to fight a clone version of himself for three movies in a row, following Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1993) and Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla (1994). They opted for this idea instead.
- Intended to be the last Godzilla movie until the 50th anniversary of Godzilla (1954) in 2004, which allowed TriStar/SPE (also the distributor of many of the films in the USA) to make a trilogy of American Godzilla movies starring Matthew Broderick during that time. However, the poor critical response and box-office revenue of Godzilla (1998) caused TriStar/SPE to abandon plans for a second and third film and Toho to bring back Gojira sooner than planned with Godzilla 2000 (1999).
- This film makes it clear that the Gojirasaurus that attacked Japan in 1954 did indeed die. Characters refer to the destruction of the original Gojira by the oxygen destroyer. As indicated by Doctor Yamane’s speech at the end of the first film (where he surmised that other members of the gojirasaurus’ species may have survived on isolated islands, similar to the later DC series “Dinosaur Island”), continued atomic testing mutated such another member of the species, and this specimen attacked Japan in 1984 in Godzilla 1985: The Legend Is Reborn (1984). Therefore, this explains why the events of the original Godzilla film (Godzilla (1954)) remained part of the timeline despite Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). (In that film, time travelers attempted to meddle with history to prevent the origin of Gojira. Since the gojirasaurus that attacked Japan in 1954 represented a different specimen than the one that attacked Japan in 1984, the actions of the time travelers in that film did not affect the origin of that Godzilla.)
- The ending theme music was used in the trailer of the first-ever US release of Godzilla (1954), which was distributed in 2004 by Rialto Pictures.