Godzilla: The Heisei Years “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah”

The final film in the Godzilla Heisei series is 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

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It’s now 1996 and after the death of SpaceGodzilla.  Psychic Miki Saegusa travels to Birth Island to visit Godzilla and Godzilla Junior (formerly Baby Godzilla and Little Godzilla).  However the island is destroyed and the two monsters have disappeared.  Godzilla then pops up outside of Hong Kong and lays waste to the city.  He appears to be covered with these redden sores.

The JDSF, in researching what is happening to Godzilla, hire Kenichi Yamane, a college student who happens to be the grandson of Dr. Kyohei Yamane (the Dr. Yamane in the 1954 film).  Kenichi surmises that Godzilla’s heart is like a nuclear reactor and it was going through a nuclear meltdown.  He tells the JDSF that if Godzilla’s heart reaches 1,200 degrees Celsius that the explosion that would take place would be worse than all the nuclear weapons put together.

To try and combat this new threat, the JDSF dispatch the Super-X III, which is equipped with anti-nuclear cold weapons.  At the same time, some scientists are trying to recreate the Oxygen Destroyer (the same one that was used in 1954 to kill the original Godzilla).  This leads to some organisms that mutate from the tests that would become Destroyah.

Godzilla Junior then appears with Godzilla following after him as the two head to what used to be Birth Island.  The Super X-III then encounters the two and shoots their cold weapons.  It keeps Godzilla from exploding but now if Godzilla suffers a meltdown, it will bore a hole down to the Earth’s core.  This will still destroy the Earth.  The JDSF then plan to try and deal with both Godzilla and Destroyah by having Miki and another psychic (Meru Ozawa) to convince Godzilla Junior to travel to Tokyo.  Godzilla will follow and then Godzilla and Destroyah would fight and hopefully cancel each other out and save the Earth from destruction.

This works and there are several battles that take place between Godzilla and Destroyah.  In the midst of these battles, Godzilla Junior is fatally wounded.  Godzilla then becomes enraged and takes it out on Destroyah.  He, along with an assist from the JDSF, destroy Destroyah.  However, Godzilla is too far gone to be saved himself and ultimately melts down.  The Earth is saved and at the end, the radiation from Godzilla revives Godzilla Junior and he takes over for his father as King of the Monsters.

godzilla vs destroyah

This film was billed as “Godzilla dies” in its promotional material in Japan.  This was due in large part to Toho taking a break from the franchise while there was a movie in America being made and would eventually be released in 1998.  So, in a lot of ways, this film is the end of an era.  It ended the Heisei series but also was an end to the stories being told all the way back in 1954.  Remember, the 1954 film is considered part of the Heisei storyline.  So, we see the connections such as Dr. Yamane is mentioned and also Emiko Yamane (the lead female character from the 1954) appears in the film in a cameo role.  We also again see Miki Saegusa, who has played an important role throughout the Heisei series, and in a way finish her story.

After watching this film and looking back at the Heisei series as a whole, I have a deep appreciation for these films.  Sure there are the occasional goofy dubbed English lines.  But for the most part, these are some serious Godzilla films and carry the tradition of the 1954 film forward.  While I will always have a special place in my heart for the Showa era films, I do believe there will be repeated viewings of the Heisei era film and the occasional movie marathon of them as well.  Just as much as I would recommend those interested in getting into Godzilla should watch the 1954 Japanese version, I would recommend watching the Heisei era films.

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