|“||Godzilla dies (ゴジラ死す)||„|
|“||It's a major monster meltdown!||„|
— North American VHS tagline
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (ゴジラＶＳデストロイア Gojira tai Desutoroia?, lit. Godzilla vs. Destroyer) is a 1995 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the twenty-second installment in the Godzilla series, as well as the seventh in the Heisei series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on December 9, 1995.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was directed by Takao Okawara, produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka and Shogo Tomiyama, and written by Kazuki Omori. Takao had previously directed 1992 and 1993's Godzilla vs. Mothra, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, respectively. Additionally, Kazuki had previously written 1989 and 1991's Godzilla vs. Biollante, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, respectively. This film would also be the last to be officially produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, as Tanaka passed away on April 2, 1997, almost two years after Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was released. He would get a dedication credit in TriStar Pictures' 1998 film, Godzilla.
This film's plot details the rise of Destoroyah, an Oxygen Destroyer-borne adversary who faces a dying Godzilla, the latter of which is afflicted with nuclear instability which threatens the planet. The human factor is tasked with finding a way to stop both Destoroyah and Godzilla over the course of the film.
This film effectively ended the Godzilla Heisei series, and following this, the Japanese series was put on hiatus to renew interest in the franchise. In the Japanese series' place, an American series of Godzilla films was slated to be produced, starting with the 1998 film, Godzilla. Upon the film's negative reception by both fans and critics, a sequel to the American film was cancelled, and Toho pulled the series out of hiatus early to begin development on a reboot series of films known as the Millennium series, which was kickstarted with the 1999 film, Godzilla 2000: Millennium, and lasted up until 2004 with the release of Godzilla: Final Wars.
The film takes place in 1996, after the death of SpaceGodzilla. Birth Island is found destroyed with Godzilla nowhere in sight. His adopted son, Little Godzilla, is presumed dead. Meanwhile, all is well in Hong Kong, but Godzilla, covered in glowing lava-like rashes proceeds to attack Kai Tak Airport and destroy multiple airliners, before wiping out the seafront area of Hong Kong with repeated blasts of his Atomic Spiral Ray. G-Force representatives hire college student Kenichi Yamane, adopted grandson of Dr. Yamane who witnessed the original Godzilla in 1954, to come work at the center in an attempt to unravel the mystery of Godzilla's condition.
Yamane suspects that due to his out of control radioactivity, Godzilla will soon explode, taking the rest of the world with him. G-Force immediately deploys a flying combat vehicle outfitted with anti-nuclear cold weapons to forestall the event; the Super X III. Meanwhile, in the area where the original Godzilla died, strange life forms begin to rise, and a host of deadly creatures called Destoroyah begin wreaking havoc. Soil samples reveal that the existence of Destoroyah is directly connected to the Oxygen Destroyer used against Godzilla in 1954, which mutated Precambrian era life forms. After several deadly skirmishes with the Japanese Self Defense Force, the Destoroyah evolve beyond the JSDF's containment abilities. The UNGCC tasks psychic Miki Saegusa with using her diminishing powers to lure Godzilla's son to the area in an attempt to combat Destoroyah in Tokyo. As Miki searches for Little Godzilla, it at first seems as if he died in the the explosion which destroyed Birth Island. However, he surfaces off the coast of Kyushu, having grown further into Godzilla Junior, scaring tourists away as he continues his journey north towards the Bering Strait. Godzilla, who is tracking his offspring, follows Junior and will soon arrive in as well, but complications arise. Due to his encounter with the Super X III, Godzilla has now bypassed an explosion and will ultimately melt down once 1200 degrees Celsius has been reached; an event that will burn straight into the core of the planet and destroy all of Earth.
The first time the monsters fight, Junior is grievously wounded but manages to destroy his opponent. However, as Godzilla and Junior meet in Narita, Destoroyah returns in his final form: a monstrous gargoyle-like creature. Swooping down upon the surprised monsters, Destoroyah knocks down Godzilla and snatches the little Godzilla away; dropping the small creature onto the Ariake Coliseum below and blasting him with micro-oxygen, killing him. Enraged, Godzilla attacks Destoroyah and a back and forth battle ensues that destroys much of Tokyo. Born from the weapon that first defeated Godzilla, Destoroyah shows an obvious advantage from the start, but Godzilla's runaway radioactivity has pushed the monster's power to unimaginable levels and he soon destroys his son's killer. Unwilling to die easily, Destoroyah's body decomposes into many smaller Destoroyah which attempt to swarm Godzilla from all sides, but the attack ends in futility when Godzilla uses his Nuclear pulse to incinerate the miniature Destroroyahs.
Alone at last, Godzilla attempts to breathe life into his fallen son, but to no avail, and even as he grieves, Godzilla's heart continues to fail, causing even more pain within the monster. Suddenly, Destoroyah returns in his final form for one last attack. The battle is short but fierce; enraged by the loss of his offspring and maddened by the pain within him, Godzilla drives Destoroyah back to the brink of death as Tokyo is bathed in fire. As the battle reaches fever pitch, the ghastly creature attempts to flee, but just as Destoroyah lifts off, the Super X3 attacks and disables the creature's wings, causing Destoroyah to plummet back to Earth where he explodes and is consumed in a fiery inferno at Godzilla's feet.
His son gone and his foe defeated, Godzilla stands alone and dying, but the human race cannot afford to give Godzilla a quiet funeral. As the monster begins to melt, the JSDF bombards the dying beast with a plethora of ice weapons, successfully neutralizing the immense heat that is given off and preventing Godzilla's remains from melting into the center of the Earth and igniting the planet.
The victory is a costly one, however, for the radiation has made Tokyo an uninhabitable ghost town. Suddenly, radiation levels begin to drop, and from within the thinning smoke a roar can be heard. The younger Godzilla rises from the ashes a child no more. In death, Godzilla had passed on his excess radiation and life essence as a final gift to his son, reviving and mutating the next generation. A spitting image of his father, the new adult Godzilla flexes his claws and bellows a challenge to the world, preparing to take his father's place as the greatest force of nature ever born.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Takao Okawara
- Written by Kazuki Omori
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, Shogo Tomiyama
- Music by Akira Ifukube
- Cinematography by Yoshinori Sekiguchi, Masahiro Kishimoto
- Edited by Michiko Ikeda
- Special effects by Koichi Kawakita
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Megumi Odaka as Miki Saegusa
- Takuro Tatsumi as Doctor Kensaku Ijuin
- Yoko Ishino as Yukari Yamane
- Yasufumi Hayashi as Kenichi Yamane
- Sayaka Osawa as Meru Ozawa
- Akira Nakao as Commander Takaki Aso
- Saburo Shinoda as Professor Mitsuru Kunitomo
- Masahiro Takashima as Major Sho Kuroki
- Momoko Kochi as Emiko Yamane
- Takehiro Murata as Yukari's Editor
- Ronald Hoerr as Professor Marvin
- Koichi Ueda as Aquarium Night Watchman
- Godzilla vs. Destroyer (Literal Japanese title)
- Godzilla vs. Destroyah (Alternate spelling)
- Last Godzilla (Hindi title)
- Japan - December 9, 1995
- Portugal - December 28, 1995
- Finland - 1996
- France - 1996
- Hong Kong - July 6, 1996
After Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was released in Japan, Toho commissioned Omni Productions, a Hong Kong company, to dub the film into English. In this international version of the movie, an English title card was superimposed over the Japanese title, as had been done with the previous 1990s Godzilla films and would be done for every film since.
TriStar Pictures (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment) released Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah to home video on January 19, 1999. This was the first time either film had been officially released in the United States. TriStar used the Toho international dubs, but cut the end credits and created new titles and opening credits for both films. In 2002, both films were released together on DVD in a double feature, but the films themselves were essentially identical to the earlier VHS releases.
The complete Toho international version of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has been broadcast on several premium movie channels since the early 2000s. In 2014, Sony released Godzilla vs. Destoroyah on Blu-ray in a double feature with Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. This release included the original Japanese audio track as well as the uncut end credits. It also featured the international title card.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah had a budget of ¥1,000,000,000, or roughly $10,000,000. When the film was released in Japan on December 9, 1995, it received an attendance of 4,000,000 and earned ¥2,000,000,000, or $18,000,000.
Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive. Toho Kingdom said, "With an elegant style, a powerful plot, brilliant effects, and believable acting, this entry is definitely a notch above favorites from all three timelines, and its impact on the series is challenged by only a handful of competitors. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is without a doubt a paradigm all its own." Michael Hubert of Monster Zero praised the "spectacular monster battles," calling Godzilla vs. Destoroyah "a great movie" and "one to add to your collection," adding: "Even for non-Godzilla fans, this movie might help dispel some of the preconceptions you have about Godzilla's 'cheese factor'."
Japan Hero called the film "a work of art" and "a must see for anyone who loves Godzilla" that features "something for everyone". Mike Bogue of American Kaiju felt the film suffered from "several visual weaknesses" and a "disappointing editing", but that "the positive aspects of the visuals outweigh the negatives" and praised the film for "treating Godzilla with the same awe, majesty, and terror as [the original 1954 Godzilla]."
Stomp Kaiju gave the film a score of 4 out of 5, saying "This is one of the biggest productions the big G ever had. The new Super-X III, looking black and stealth-bombery, is a great addition, and the return of Lt. Sho Kuroki (Masashiro Takashima) from Godzilla vs Biollante as its pilot is a nice touch." as well as saying that "There are several small ways in which this film pays homage to the Godzilla legacy, like a cameo appearence by Emiko (Momoko Kouchi) from Godzilla (1954), and they really make the movie. It's nice to see a company handle its property, beloved by millions, with a little respect and knowledge of that property's history".
Tim Brayton of Alternate Ending called it "A Godzilla movie of particular grandeur and seriousness", saying "it's the best Godzilla film of the VS era: visually robust, focused on great heaving gestures and emotions that work so much better in this franchise than the attempts at human-scaled storytelling that some of the more recent sequels gestured towards. It flags its seriousness and desire to have an impact maybe a bit too eagerly, but the results are hard to argue with: it is a sufficiently epic finale for an iconic character, and our foreknowledge of how far awry things would go with the plan to bring a temporary close to the Japanese Godzilla saga shouldn't color just how bold and roiling that close succeeded in being, in its moment". DVD Talk gave it a score of 3 out of 5, saying that "Although it benefits from having an honest-to-goodness storyline with some continuity from the previous Godzillas (going back to the earliest films), Destoroyah's portentous pacing, cardboard-thin characters and cheeseball effects apparently served as a primer on what not to do when Hollywood picked up the franchise".
On Rotten Tomatoes, while it doesn't have a Tomatometer available, all 4 out of 4 Critic Reviews were "Fresh", equivalent to 100%, and the Audience Score had a "Fresh" Score of 81%.
Home media releases
|TriStar||2000||Region 1||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)||Multiple Formats
|1.85:1 aspect ratio|
210 minutes run time
Double feature with GvSG
|Sony||May 6, 2014||Region 1/A||English
|1.85:1 aspect ratio|
215 minutes run time
Double feature with GXM
- Momoko Kochi, who had played the lead female role of Emiko Yamane in the original 1954 film, returned in this film to reprise the character. This would be her final film role, as she passed away three years later due to intestinal cancer.
- Akira Ifukube, who composed music for countless Godzilla films since the original film, returned as the music composer in this film. It was his final film score, although some of his themes are used in the later Godzilla films. He died almost 11 years after the film was finished due to multiple organ failure.
- An alternate ending for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was filmed and scrapped. Destoroyah attempted to escape once Godzilla gained the upper hand, but the J.S.D.F. shot him down. Godzilla, despite suffering from his meltdown, continued to battle the monster. Godzilla quickly overpowered Destoroyah, grabbing him by his horn and pummeling him repeatedly. As Godzilla's life melts away, the J.S.D.F. rain their ULT weapons upon him, as well as Destoroyah. Unable to stand against the immense heat of Godzilla's meltdown and the freezing coldness of the ULT lasers, Destoroyah falls and evaporates. The scene was replaced because it was thought to be inappropriate, since Godzilla's foreseen death was to be the climax of the movie. So the scene was re-edited to have Destoroyah die after the J.S.D.F. intervenes, and allow Godzilla to have center stage as he melts down.
- The Godzilla suit used for this film was modified from the MogeGoji suit used the previous year for Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. The modified suit was nicknamed the "DesuGoji."
- Toho used many different publicity stunts in an attempt to to fuel the rumors that the Godzilla series was indeed concluded with this film. For example, Toho had the "Big Pool," a stunt pool used in the filming of almost every one of Toho's special effects-based movies since the 1960s, paved over and converted into a parking lot. In addition, special effects wizard Koichi Kawakita, who had worked on all of the Godzilla films since 1989, announced that he would be retiring from Toho and going to work as a designer at Bandai.
- The theme for Godzilla's requiem in the film is actually a medley piece that Akira Ifukube created using various other pieces of music he had composed for Toho. The opening to the theme is a remake of a piece from the Yakuza film The Big Boss, which was also used in the opening to Godzilla vs. Gigan, and the music also fittingly features sections of Rodan's death theme from his debut film.
- The version of the poster for this film painted by Noriyoshi Ohrai is the only one in the Heisei series which depicts Godzilla in the background and his opponent in the foreground. The idea behind this is that although Destoroyah is an evil monster, Godzilla's meltdown could possibly destroy the planet, therefore he is as the poster suggests, the real threat.
- Shortly after the final film was finished, Toho actually held a funeral for Godzilla.
This is a list of references for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: