It seems terribly wrong that the wretched Hollywood version of Godzilla plays on television all the time, but the Toho originals never get a look-in. The original Godzilla film was made in 1954, and was popular enough to spawn an ongoing series which lasted until the mid-'70s. The merits of these are still being debated today, and there is no right or wrong, only opinions and preferences, but it's true to say that the series got more simplistic and childish as the films progressed and found their audience. A chronological listing of these films can be found under the DISCOVER pre-fix, alongside one for Toei's rival Gamera series, and the best of Toho's non-Godzilla sc-fi (go to "See all related lists" under any title you know in those categories).
In the mid-'80's, just under ten years after the series paused, Toho decided to revive the Godzilla franchise, and this is where this listing picks up events...
Thirty years after the original monster's rampage, a new Godzilla emerges and attacks Japan. (103 mins.)
“ Also known as Godzilla 1985. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla vs. Biollante
After rising from his volcanic grave, Godzilla is threatened by a mutated rosebush. (104 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla vs. Biollante. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
Time travelers use Godzilla in their scheme to destroy Japan to prevent the country's future economic reign. (103 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Time travellers who dress like Batman villains turn up and take three volunteers back to 1944 to dispose of the Tyrannosaurus rex that will be transformed into Godzilla in the 1954 atomic tests, and thus prevent his creation. This they do (although oddly, everyone back in the present remembers Godzilla!), only to find an even greater menace waiting for them in the form of King Ghidorah. With then fashionable nods to The Terminator and Gremlins, and an excruciating reference to Speilberg, this is a more sophisticated and substantial story than usual for a Godzilla film, and like all Japanese films seems to have trouble ending, although in this case, the reward is a superb confrontation between Godzilla and what can only be described as Mecha-Ghidorah! Cool. ” - jonabbott56
“ This is Godzilla vs. Mothra, featuring the return of Toho's benevolent butterfly Mosura and her miniature twin guardian faeries, here renamed the Cosmos, and the introduction of an evil Mothra, the cruel Battra. Although this gets off to a depressing start, with some Indiana Jones shenanigans, a soapy neglected wife and child sub-plot, and a lot of then-fashionable eco-twaddle about how "we" are somehow destroying the planet by building nasty houses, businesses, and communities on un-used land, there is adequate compensation in the second half, as beautiful, colourful visuals give us the required panic in the streets, toy tanks and mass destruction of phoney buildings, and vicious battles between three groovy monsters. It's great to hear the twin faeries singing their dreamy Mothra song again, and the metamorphosis scenes when the larvae transforms into Mothra and the anti-Mothra simultaneously sprouts wings are wonderful. The film brazenly steals from earlier Mothra outings, and Godzilla is almost superfluous (although looking great), but this film deserved its success. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
The United Nations assembles the ultimate weapon to defeat Godzilla, while scientists discover a fresh pteranodon egg on a remote Japanese island. (108 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla II. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
Godzilla is threatened by two new forces: Mogera - another UN built machine; and Space Godzilla - a beast spawned from Godzilla's particles in space. (108 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
The aftermath of the Oxygen Destroyer brings forth Destoroyah, a beast intent on killing Godzilla, who is on the verge of a nuclear meltdown. (103 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla saves Tokyo from a flying saucer that transforms into the beast Orga. (99 mins.)
“ Also known as Godzilla 2000. After the appalling abuse done to the name of Godzilla after the misguided Hollywood blockbuster utilising the name, Toho went back to basics with a third run of features. This is the one thing we can thank the Hollywood film for. Just as the bomb awakened Godzilla, so Emmerich and Devlin's bomb woke Toho. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
Japan creates an artificial black hole device to trap Godzilla forever, but a test of the device creates new foes for Godzilla, car-sized dragonflies called meganula and their queen, Megaguirus. (105 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. ” - jonabbott56
“ If the title reeks of desperation, we can put things in perspective by saying that Godzilla vs. Megaguirus suffered the lowest box office takings ever for a Godzilla film... And this after the Millennium relaunch... ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla
After the appearance of a new Gojira (Godzilla), the Japanese government builds a robotic Godzilla from the bones of the original monster that attacked TÃf'kyÃf' in 1954 to stop the beast. (88 mins.)
“ This is Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla.
Did you know that since 1966, Japan has had a 4000-strong Anti-Megalosaurus Force? Oh, yes. And it's a good thing too, because here comes the fiery big boy again, and not much time is wasted bringing him ashore...
This is mean and nasty Godzilla. Respect and reference is made to the original, and we are told that this is a new creature. CGI is quite rightly employed, but--get this--only when necessary! Wow, what a concept. It's still guys in suits, as it always should be, but with modern technology thrown in. ” - jonabbott56
Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
One year after the fight between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla, the two monsters along with Mothra face off in a conclusive battle royale. (91 mins.)
Godzilla: Final Wars
Godzilla's fiftieth Anniversary project, in which Godzilla travels around the world to fight his old foes plus a new, mysterious monster named Monster X. (125 mins.)
“ This is a brave attempt to bring the world of Godzilla--on his fiftieth anniversary--into the world of The Matrix and the X-Men, with pop video edits and a V/Independence Day finale. Happily, it's not quite the mess it sounds like in cold print, although as is so often the case with Japanese films, it's twenty minutes too long. To be fair though, there's never a dull moment, as the Earth Defence Force and its Mutant Squadron taken the invading aliens the XIlians, and a horde of familiar faces lead by a superb reboot of Gigan. Virtually the entire cast of characters from the last fifty years is honoured here, including some real obscurities, so long-term fans should be placated, if not satisfied. Rodan demolishes New York , Anguirus stomps through China, and few corners of the world are left untouched, if not totally devastated. Even Mothra and the fairies show up...
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Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including
Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970,
Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots,
The Elvis Films,
Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World, and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.
See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER. ” - jonabbott56