Godzilla: The Heisei Years “The Return of Godzilla”

Most everyone that knows me, knows I’m a big Godzilla fan.  I’ve shared before about the original 1954 film as well as the 2014 film on here.  Recently, I’ve been watching some of the late 80s/early 90s Godzilla films.  This mini-marathon of films got me to thinking and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about the films of that era.


The first era of Godzilla films were a part of the Showa series.  It was called that because of the name of the Emperor of Japan.  The era ran from 1954 to 1975 when Terror of Mechagodzilla was released in Japan.  After that there was about a ten year period with no new Godzilla movies.  That changed in 1984 with the release of Gojira aka The Return of Godzilla.  This was a reboot of the franchise.  This was before rebooting a franchise was a regular occurrence.

The film was released on the 30th anniversary of the original film and considered that film to be in line with this new continuity, ignoring all the other previous Godzilla films.  This film sees a “new Godzilla” (remember in the original 1954 film, Godzilla is killed off by the Oxygen Destroyer) appear and come to Tokyo and wreak havoc on the city.  It takes the Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF).  This time however, instead of killing Godzilla with another Oxygen Destroyer, he is trapped in a volcano.

The tone in this film is more in line with the 1954 film, hence the desire to connect the two.  There was also an American version entitled Godzilla 1985.  Similarly to Godzilla, King of the Monsters, this version featured new footage featuring Raymond Burr.  Burr reprised his role as reporter Steve Martin.  This version, released in North America, was not well received and would be the only film of this era of Godzilla films to be released theatrically (the next Toho Godzilla film to be released in North America was Godzilla 2000)

The Return of Godzilla was the first film in what would be known as the Heisei series.  It received that name from the new Emperor of Japan, who succeeded the previous emperor in 1989.  The rest of the films are released in that era starting with Godzilla vs. Biollante.  I’ll talk more about those films and their connections in future posts.

Unfortunately, this is the only film in the Heisei series that does not have a DVD (or Blu-Ray) release.  The “International Version” has never been released in the States, and the Godzilla 1985 version has only been released on VHS back in the late 80s.  I think when I was a kid I watched this film but I don’t remember much.  Hopefully, the film will get a DVD/Blu-Ray release sometime soon.


One thought on “Godzilla: The Heisei Years “The Return of Godzilla”

  1. I find that “Godzilla 1985” is one of the hardest films of the entire series to sit through without falling asleep. I’ve found that true as both kid and adult. Raymond Burr’s participation didn’t bring back the magic of the original American edition. One thing the American edition never lets you forget is that Russians are not to be trusted, regardless of how tightly woven they are into the actual dramatic tension of the plot.

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