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There is a rumor that alleges that when the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building was destroyed in the final battle, the audience cheered because it was the main center for tax. Not only is there no testimonials of this ever occurring, the building itself had only been open for eight months prior to the films release.
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This became one of the most controversial Godzilla movies. Shortly after the film's release in Japan, CNN in America ran a lengthy story about the film being anti-American and showed scenes of US soldiers being killed, and the plot featuring Westerners from the future was debated. The original Godzilla director, Ishirô Honda also criticized this film's director, Kazuki Ohmori, and stated he had gone too far. Omori, however, defended his artistic decision on camera, arguing that the film was not in fact meant to be anti-American stating," "The movie is not especially anti-U.S., I just thought I'd try to picture the identity of the Japanese people." Economic tensions between East and West were high at this time, and the negative publicity was very much a sign of the times.
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The roar of the Godzillasaurus is the roar of Gamera, the giant monster from a competing series of films.
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Akira Ifukube returned to score a Godzilla movie for the first time since 1975. Ifukube had initially reject offers to return but his daughter noted that since Toho was just going to keep on recycling his music, why not do the compositions himself.
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When asked if he would like to play the part of Shindo, the morally troubled business mogul who has a secret history with Godzilla, Yoshio Tsuchiya responded "I've been waiting my whole life for this role."
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When the time travelers arrive in February 1944, a US Navy officer sees their spacecraft, but his commander dismisses the possibility of a UFO; the commander then says, "You can tell your son about when he's born, Spielberg." This is an obvious reference to Steven Spielberg, whose father Arnold served in the war and whose war stories inspired the frequent WWII settings of his films.
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For the army scenes, the production staff pulled every American (Geijin) from the military bases they could find. Many were working Japanese commercials at the time. For the army beach scene they chose the hottest day of that year and gave extras these very heavy wool uniforms and had them charging with guns blazing up the beach endlessly. At least three were overcome by heat exhaustion within the hour.
In the previous entries in the series Godzilla would team with other Toho monsters to take on King Ghidorah. This marked the first time in the series where where Godzilla took on his famous foe in a one on one fight.
King Ghidorah was chosen as Godzilla's enemy based on a popularity vote, in which he finished on top among male voters.
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The Mecha-King Ghidorah was a different suit from the regular King Ghidorah suit used in the film. Constructed from fiber-reinforced plastic, it was so heavy and complicated that it was operated exclusively by wires instead of an actor inside it.
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Columbia TriStar Home Video released Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla vs. Mothra on home video on April 28, 1998. This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States. TriStar used the Toho dubbed versions, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films, which was a practice that took place for the rest of the Heisei Godzilla films being released on video in 1998-1999. This print was still used on online streaming (Crackle) and in the 2014 Blu-ray release.
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This was the last classic Godzilla movie to be released theatrically in Germany, one of the very few Western countries where the franchise was otherwise moderately successful. Due to the low attendance and the distributing company going bankrupt soon thereafter, all later Japanese films were only released on home video or on television. It wasn't until the limited showing of Shin Godzilla (2016) in 2017 that a Japanese-made Godzilla movie hit German theaters again.
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Scheduled for the 50th anniversary of Toho, the film's original concept was going to be similar to Kingu Kongu tai Gojira (1962) and would have Godzilla face off against King Kong one-on-one. The film, which was to be titled Godzilla Vs. King Kong, never came to be because Turner Entertainment asked for too much money for the character King Kong; approximately 9 million US. So, Toho began to start production on Godzilla Vs. Mechanikong, the character that King Kong fights in Kingu Kongu no gyakushu (1967). However, Turner Entertainment still believed it was too similar to their character and asked for the same amount of money. In the end, Toho settled with reviving Godzilla's most famous foe, King Ghidorah, for this film instead.
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When this film was in pre-production, Koji Hashimoto, director of Godzilla 1985 (1985), had been slated to direct. Tomoyuki Tanaka's original idea was that Ghidorah's body was to have been discovered on Venus in the 23rd century, not the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk. However, studio politics came into play and suddenly Hashimoto was out and Kazuki Ohmori, from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), was back as director and he somehow was able to overrule Tanaka stating "I'm not making a film about silly space monsters." (It should be noted, though, that the author of the Japanese novelization of the film took Tanaka's original idea and ran with it stating the Futurians discovered King Ghidorah on Venus, took samples of his DNA, and use them to create the Dorats, which they employed to create a King Ghidorah clone).
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The Godzilla suit used in this film weighed 242 pounds (110 kg), while the suit for water scenes weighed 176 pounds (80 kg)
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His role as the Prime Minister became the final role for So Yamamura.
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Originally, it would have been revealed that the Japanese military possesses a nuclear submarine. Due to the refusal of the real-life Japanese Defense Force, this idea had to be cut. Even in fiction, Japanese could not possess a nuclear arsenal.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah opened to much fanfare and to a very healthy box office. Although all of the later Heisei movies would do better, it's take was still far superior to what was seen by Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). Tomoyuki Tanaka envisioned a sequel utilizing his original concept for this movie. Entitled, "The Return of King Ghidorah", it would feature the real King Ghidorah from outer space coming to Earth getting into a classic dust-up with Godzilla. However, Toho brass preferred a return for Mothra in 1992. Mecha-King Ghidorah made a brief cameo in the first few minutes of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) serving as the basis for the technology G-Force would use to build their own robot monster.
The Godzilla design in this film is referred to as the GhidoGoji, being based of the same mold for the suit from the previous film, known as the BioGoji. It was given a more massive and muscular body along with a more menacing face and a larger chest.
For the advance trailers, the footage of Ghidorah came from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964).
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Real octopus blood was used to make the bleeding effects of the wounded Godzillasaurus more believable.
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Kinema Junpo include this film in their best of the year list, albeit not in the top ten - the first for a Godzilla film.
The King Ghidorah prop for flying seems was constructed at a 1/3 scale.
With this film, King Ghidorah is the only monster to have ever attacked Hiroshima, albeit in a single brief shot. The shot explicitly shows the Genbaku Dome, which is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and was one of a few structures that survived in the bombing.
King Ghidorah was originally supposed to fire differently-colored gravity beams, but this was later scrapped in favor of the classic gold color. The different beam colors, however, were kept in the film's original poster.
The film takes place in 1944 and 1992.
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The new King Ghidorah design was created by the same man who created Ghidorah in 1964., Keizô Murase. It featured hairless heads that more resembled Manda from Atragon (1963) than Ghidorah of the 60's. (Ironic, considering Manda's horns were removed in Destroy All Monsters (1968) so people wouldn't think he was a spare head for Ghidorah). The body was more muscular and wiry and his characteristic jingle-like cackle roar was replaced with a speed-up variant of Rodan's roar.
In King Ghidorah's reduxed origin, he is the fusion of three Futurian pets known as Dorats, which seem to resemble golden Gizmos from Gremlins (1984). Original designs for the pets featured a more likely dragon-like head, instead evoking a devious appearance. Kazuki Ohmori deemed this more plausible than Ghidorah being some "silly space monster" coming to Earth to destroy it.
Each of King Ghidorah's necks were operated by two piano wires while each tail was controlled by two wires each.
At 150 meters (490 ft) tall, the Heisei King Ghidorah held the record for the tallest monster in the Godzilla series until the debut of Godzilla Earth from the GODZILLA Anime trilogy. It also held the record for the tallest version of Heisei King Ghidorah until the debut of the Monsterverse incarnation at 159 meters tall.
Effects artist Shinji Nishikawa mentioned that King Ghidorah's manes of hair were removed due to the difficulty to superimpose each individual hair in compositing.
Effects director Kawakita decided that King Ghidorah should release gold powder instead of blood so as to not frighten child and avoid any potential international censorship.
The meaning of the famous scene in which Shindo has an emotional face-off with Godzilla inside his business tower, only for Godzilla to destroy the building and kill him, has been a matter of debate among fans and critics. Some suggest Shindo thought Godzilla would spare him, due to the shared respect the two have had during World War II, before Godzilla was mutated from a dinosaur into a monster. Others suggest that Shindo was aware of what Godzilla was about to do, and gave him his approval. One of the film's main themes is the Japanese bubble economy and the ambivalence the country's people have felt towards their economic progress and leaving behind their traditional moral values. Film historians like David Kalat argue that Shindo, once a honorable soldier and now an unscrupulous businessman, realized the downsides of aggressive economic growth, and accepted his death and the destruction of his business empire as a way to return balance to Japan's morality. Even Godzilla seems to "tear up" in the scene for a moment, affirming he has had conflicting feelings toward Shindo (and by extension, the Japanese people and their progress since WW II) as well.
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The original Japanese trailer for the film oddly reveals two of the film's biggest twists. It reveals, both the future people's plan to attack the people from the present, and the reveal of Mecha-King Ghidorah.