Again, the first in the new series is Godzilla 1985, a film with not a whole lot to say. Taken in its highly edited domestically released form (with scenes of Raymond Burr and Dr. Pepper inserted for our pleasure) or the uncut (sans Burr) Euro version, the film lacks in style and depth. But it does set the stage for future endeavors. The story concerns the reappearance of Godzilla, assuming that none of the post-1954 films were ever made; sort of a sequel to the original. The Monster destroys a large portion of modern Tokyo and is confronted by the Japanese army's Super-X, a new technological breakthrough in military defense. Naturally the military loses, and Godzilla is lured into a volcano by a bunch of scientists. This film allows for commentary on the state of the military and its supporting political system.
Despite the rather impotent series opener, ToHo Studios went ahead with a direct sequel in 1989. Godzilla vs. Biollante showed the world that a Godzilla film could once again be a thrilling ride through the fantastic. The plot had to do with a monster created with genetics; combining a Godzilla cell with that of a rose plant and human DNA. Amid excellent destruction scenes and beautifully crafted, technologically superior monsters are the early designs of the "alternate universe" created within the context of the new series of films. Each film is now tightly related, rather than vaguely associated through a random collection of bad concepts. Here we see Godzilla growing in size as he consumes more radiation, and a new monster that goes through different stages like Hedorah did in Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster. The commentary on genetics is similar to the anti-pollution stance that the Hedorah film was able to accomplish.

Next up was Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). This film was much harder to get into because of its complex and implausible time-travel plot. The "Future Men" (and one woman) travel to 1992 to get the cooperation of the U.N. Godzilla experts. They plan on returning to 1944 to move the dinosaur (that ultimately mutates into Godzilla) away from the bomb of 1954. Of course, there is some sinister plan to replace the dinosaur with funny little genetically-created animals from the 23rd century. Meanwhile, back in the present, King Ghidorah appears! Ghidorah is a three-headed, double-tailed, winged dragon created in place of Godzilla during the 1954 H-bomb blast. Having figured out that some Future Men are evil, the U.N. G-Force tries to revive the old dinosaur with a nuclear blast. Godzilla appears and absorbs the sub's radiation; causing him to grow once again. Ghidorah is damaged to the point of being comatose in the bottom of the ocean. The Future Woman returns to her own time and uses their technology to repair and control the old Ghidorah. The new Mecha-Ghidorah arrives in the present and defeats Godzilla in a battle to the death.

But, of course, Godzilla can't die; so, he reappears in 1993's Godzilla vs. Mothra. Here we get a heavy dose of mythological symbolism in this incredibly filmed entry. Archeologists discover a giant egg on Infant Island after a massive tropical storm. They also find ten-thousand-year-old cave paintings that make allusions to the existence of a giant moth. Suddenly, two tiny twin women appear! They claim to be from the ancient race of Cosmos, who destroyed themselves with pollution and created Battra and Mothra in the process. They explain that the two monsters are a product of the Earth's yin/yang balance and are here to protect; Mothra is considered a "Holy Monster."
As was done to King Kong, the egg is loaded on a giant barge and shipped back to Tokyo. Elsewhere in the Pacific, another disturbance erupts: a giant armored worm! Mind you, while all of this is going on, the humans are realizing that their pollution is totally to blame for all of this chaos. One corporate scientist exclaims that we "deserve what we get" as payment for destroying the Earth with our "progress." Now Godzilla appears from the ocean in order to destroy the giant egg. Mothra breaks out of the egg in larval form and proceeds to get its ass kicked by the giant lizard. But not before Battra appears zapping Godzilla with its electrical discharges. As the battle continues, the humans have more realizations of ecological horror and then flee back to Japan with the tiny twin Cosmos as consolation for losing the giant egg.

Mothra follows them back to Tokyo and cocoons herself to what I think is the Japanese Parliament building. Here is another dose of symbolism: Mothra in a state of metamorphosis as allegory for a need for the Japanese government to do the same. With rampant pollution and ozone depletion, it's time for the government to change. The larva emerges as a colorful, beautiful moth. Godzilla attacks, and soon Battra appears in flying form. Total destruction ensues as the humans watch the battle, one again realizing their helplessness. Both Battra and Mothra become aware of their wounds and unite to save each other as well as the Earth. Godzilla is defeated and dragged out to sea by the two flying monsters. The Cosmos say their goodbyes to their new human friends and merge with the Mothra consciousness as she flies off to outer space.

So what would you suspect happened to all of that MechaGhido rah technology that was laying around after Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah? Well, the U.N. ran it through their R & D department and came up with one of the main creatures of Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla (1993). The old 1970s MechaGodzilla was sharp and angular, but the new Mecha is smooth with rounded edges, more impressive looking in terms of actual style and "suitmation" technology. (Although fans are constantly debating which version is actually "better." Kind of like the age-old Picard-or-Kirk dilemma.)

On the mysterious Adona island, yet another giant egg is found near freshly broken shards of a second egg; nowhere the same size as Mothra's egg. The corporate scientists also notice a 65-million-year-old fossil of a Pteranodon. They decide to take the egg back to Japan for research. But, not before they are attacked by a large flying bird! Yes, the Pteranodon has been affected by a local nuclear waste dump and mutated into the monster known as Rodan ("a type of Pteranodon"). Godzilla appears and beats Rodan down after a nice pecking scene! The scientists are able to escape before they are crushed.
Back Up Next