Title: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1996)
Director: Takao Okarawa
So far, I haven’t seen a Godzilla film that I haven’t enjoyed in one way or another. Even the ‘bad ones’ have something fun or entertaining about them. Not that the film I’ll be talking about today is one of the ‘bad ones’. Actually, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1996) is one of the best ones; a milestone in the Godzilla Universe. On this one, Godzilla is on the verge of having the heart attack of the century! And it’s because of this forthcoming heart attack that Godzilla’s body now glows red as if he was just about to blow up. His spinal fins glow red, his eyes glow red, and his laser blast is red! Also, his radioactivity levels are out of control! And do you my dear readers know what it means when a creature that is essentially a walking nuclear bomb has a heart attack? Nothing less than the destruction of the world, that’s what it means! If Godzilla blows up (as scientists in this film predict he will) the resulting explosion would take the entire world with it; in other words, Godzilla’s death would destroy the whole planet! Now if that isn’t a good premise for a Godzilla flick, I don’t know what is.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is one of the best times I’ve had watching a Godzilla flick. There’s lots of action and lots of destruction on this one! It starts out fast and doesn’t let go. Even before the opening credit sequence begins, we’re already hearing Godzilla’s monstrous roar, which can only mean one thing, Godzilla is already on a rampage of death and destruction! No set up, no nothing, right from the get go it’s just Godzilla, glowing red, destroying a city. Interesting note: in the opening sequence for this film, Godzilla is destroying part of China , not Japan as he does most of the time. What’s Godzilla doing in China ? Who knows, maybe he took a wrong turn somewhere, got lost, I don’t know. But there he is knocking down important Hong Kong landmarks and spooking the hell out of the Chinese people. I have to admit that the Red Glowing Godzilla from this film is a very unique image, it’s not every day you see a giant glowing lizard stomping a city! Those scenes with the glowing Godzilla destroying the city look even cooler because most of them take place during the night. So on this film we get a special version of Godzilla, I would call him ‘Nuclear Heart Attack Godzilla’. On previous films, whenever Godzilla isn’t destroying Japan, he spends most of his time residing on ‘Birth Island’, problem is that Birth Island has just disappeared from the planet, and now Godzilla and his son have nowhere to live. Their home destroyed, Godzilla and his son are now nomads, wondering aimlessly through the ocean. Their next destination? Japan !
This could happen to the earth if Godzilla explodes!
But wait, there’s more. Complications arise when it is discovered that the weapon that killed the very first Godzilla (a.k.a. ‘The Oxygen Destroyer’) has mutated a life form from the Precambrian Era. In other words, in the same way that nuclear radiation mutated Godzilla, these microscopic creatures were mutated by The Oxygen Destroyer. The creatures look like mutated crab monsters or something. For a while in the film, these crab like creatures go around the city, terrorizing people, turning cars over, and basically destroying the whole city. How deadly are these creatures? Well, they shoot a lightning bolt out of their mouths that opens a black hole on what ever it hits! So imagine what happens when they aim it at humans! Things go from bad to worse when all of these creatures unite and form the most hellish looking of all Godzilla’s enemies: Destoroyah! This guy has got to be one of Godzilla’s most formidable foes ever! I know I keep saying that in my reviews, but in this case, I mean it. Destoroyah is even bigger then Godzilla! He is the meanest and deadliest! He has horns, wings, claws; basically, it looks like Godzilla is fighting against Satan himself! I mean, literally when Destoroyah appears, its as if he came straight out of hell! Coolest part about Destoroyah is that he comes back about three times before he finally reveals his final demonic visage! Each time Destoroyah comes back, he looks even more demonic than before.
Another thing that makes this Godzilla film special is that Little Godzilla is all grown up. Don’t know how many of you out there are fans of ‘Little Godzilla’, but me, I personally despise whenever he appears because the creature just looks so childish and cheesy. It’s a creation made to sell toys to little kids. Usually, Little Godzilla doesn’t even figure prominently in the plot, its simply inserted there so the kids will get excited about it and buy the toy. Little Godzilla completely takes me out of whatever Godzilla film I might be watching. But this didn’t happen to me on Godzilla vs. Destoroyah because ‘The Little One’ as he is called on this film, is all grown up. He basically looks like his father, only with smaller spikes on its back. On this film the humans try lure The Little One, so that he fights against Destoroyah because Godzilla sort of wanders away and ignores the fact that the city is being destroyed by Destoroyah!
'The Little One' all grown up
The best thing about this movie though is that it shakes things up. Nothing is sacred on this one. I kept thinking to myself that this wasn’t just any Godzilla flick, this one was special, and it is. Even if you don’t normally watch Godzilla films, I think you might find yourself enjoying this one. I mean, you’ll keep asking yourself: “Is Godzilla really going to die?” The idea of Godzilla dying might come as a surprise to many because in most of his films, Godzilla is practically indestructible! Godzilla might get attacked by missiles, lasers beams, robotic monstrosities, he might even go up against three headed creatures from other planets, but he takes a licking and keeps on ticking! Always coming back for more, as if nothing had hit him. But not on this one! On this film Godzilla has a level of vulnerability that hasn’t been displayed before. Since Godzilla’s radioactivity is increasing in intensity, you feel as if every step Godzilla is giving might be his last, which of course adds a level of suspense to the whole experience. Will Godzilla blow up in one final nuclear blast? Coolest part of the whole premise is that as Godzilla’s radioactivity increases, so do his powers! So which each passing second, Godzilla is actually getting more powerful and deadlier than ever. When these two monsters finally face off, the fight is epic! It has to be one of the best fights on any Godzilla film.
Then there is G-Force, an organization that exists solely to study Godzilla and other giant monsters. Their main goal is usually figuring out ways to fight Godzilla. They have created various weapons to go up against Godzilla, for example the giant robot Mogera, seen in Godzilla vs. Spacegodzilla (1995). They even created Mechagodzilla so it could go up against Godzilla in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). In this case, G-Force employs a new battle ship called the Super X III, the follow up to Super X and Super X II seen in previous Godzilla films. Super X III is equipped with special missiles that are meant to freeze Godzilla and stop him from destroying the world with Nuclear Meltdown. In this way, I thought the film was similar to Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), in which Mechagodzilla is equipped with a similar weapon called the ‘Absolute Zero’. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has some similarities with other films as well, most notably James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). The Destoroyah’s look like alien Drones, when they get bigger they look like the Alien Queen. They even have an extendable inner jaw that can emerge and snap at its enemies. This doesn’t surprise me, most Godzilla films are influenced by an American film in one way or another, right down to the first Godzilla film which was influenced by King Kong (1933).
The Super X III
This was an awesome Godzilla movie, and one I would personally place amongst my top favorites. The only negative thing I can say about it is that the dialog is sometimes overtly simplistic, and it is constantly stating things that are obvious, but that could be due to bad dubbing, or not, I don’t know Japanese, so I don’t know if the dialog sounds equally as cheesy in Japanese. But aside from that minor hiccup, the battles are epic, the storyline is involving, the special effects are great and it’s a suspenseful film. Nothing is sacred on this one; it’s a Godzilla film that wants to shake your expectations of a Godzilla film. And it has one hellish villain for Godzilla to go up against! By the way, Destoroyah was a ‘Kaiyu’ created especially for this film, it wasn’t a creature that came from the classic roaster of Godzilla villains, this one was special. And what a formidable creature it was, a memorable one in deed. This film was the 22nd Godzilla film ever made and it was well received at the Japanese Box Office, actually, it became the highest grossing film in Japan that year! It was also the last of the ‘Heisei Series’ of Godzilla films, which are the films that take place from 1984 to 1995. I guess they wanted to end this era of Godzilla films with a bang, and so they did. Highly recommend this one if you want to see an exciting and eventful Godzilla flick.
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5