Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (ゴジラ対メカゴジラ?, lit. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla) is a Gojira tai Mekagojira1974 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by Toho Company Ltd., and the fourteenth installment in the Godzilla series as well as the Showa series. The film was released to Japanese theaters on March 21, 1974.
According to an Okinawa legend, when a black mountain appears in the skies above the clouds, a monster will arrive and attempt to destroy the world. However, if this divination comes true, a red moon will set, two suns will arise (one being an optical illusion rising from the west), and two monsters will fight off evil to rescue the world. In a cave near the city, an engineer and an archaeologist uncover a statue of a strange lion-god creature, known as King Caesar. He is believed to be one of the monsters to fight for humankind in the prophecy.
Later, a black mountain does appear in the sky. Godzilla then rises from a dormant volcano and starts on a rampage. Many people, however, do not believe Godzilla will be the monster to destroy Earth. That reflection is reinforced when Godzilla attacks Anguirus and nearly kills him. In a surprising turn of events, another Godzilla sets forth, only to discover that the rampant Godzilla is an impostor. Later revealed as Mechagodzilla, a robot of titanic proportions that was designed and created by ape-like aliens to destroy the real Godzilla. After Godzilla is beaten, he retreats to Monster Island, where he is hit by lightning over and over again.
Meanwhile in Okinawa, King Caesar is successfully awakened and battles Mechagodzilla. At first, King Caesar appears to have the advantage, but is soon overwhelmed. When Godzilla returns, now super-charged with electricity, the rampant mech is destroyed. Caesar returns to his cave to sleep once again, and Godzilla returns to the sea.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Jun Fukuda
- Written by Jun Fukuda, Masami Fukushima, Shinichi Sekizawa, Hiroyasu Yamamura
- Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
- Music by Masaru Sato
- Cinematography by Yuzuru Aizawa
- Edited by Michiko Ikeda
- Production design by Kazuo Satsuya
- Assistant directing by Tsunesaburo Nishikawa
- Special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano
- Assistant Director of Special Effects Koichi Kawakita
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Masaaki Daimon as Keisuke Shimizu
- Kazuya Aoyama as Masahiko Shimizu
- Reiko Tajima as Saeko Kanagusuku
- Bellbella Lin (Hsiu-Ying Cheng) as Nami Kunigami, Azumi Princess
- Hiromi Matsushita as Ikuko Miyajima
- Akihiko Hirata as Professor Hideto Miyajima
- Hiroshi Koizumi as Professor Wagura
- Goro Mutsumi as Black Hole Alien Leader Kuronuma
- Shin Kishida as Interpol Agent Nanbara
- Kenji Sahara as Queen Coral Captain
- Daigo Kusano as Black Hole Alien Agent #R1 Yanagawa
- Takayasu Torii as Interpol Agent Tamura
- Yasuzo Ogawa as Construction Foreman
- Akio Kusama as Construction Worker
- Takuzo Kumagai as Construction Worker
- Masao Imafuku as Tengan Kunigami, Azumi High Priest
- Takamitsu Watanabe as Black Hole Alien
- Takanobu Toya as Black Hole Alien
- Yuichi Yanagisawa as Black Hole Alien
- Shinya Kashima as Hotel Desk
- Yoichiro Kitagawa as Reporter
- Isao Zushi as Godzilla
- Kazunari Mori as Mechagodzilla
- Kin'ichi Kusumi as King Caesar, Anguirus
- Godzilla vs. Bionic Monster (Original United States title)
- Godzilla vs. Cosmic Monster (United States poster title)
- Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster (Revised United States title)
- Godzilla vs. The Mechagodzilla (Godzilla 1998 database title)
- Godzilla vs. Cyber-Godzilla, the Destruction Machine (Godzilla contra Cibergodzilla, máquina de destrucción; Spain)
- MechaKing Against Godzilla (MecaKing contra Godzilla; Mexico)
- King Kong vs. Godzilla (King Kong gegen Godzilla; Germany)
- Godzilla vs. the Robot (Godzilla contro i Robot; Italy)
- Terror of Mechagodzilla (Terror MechaGodzilli; Poland)
- Godzilla Against the Mechagodzilla (Godzilla a Mechagodzilla ellen; Hungary)
- Japan - March 21, 1974
- United States - 1977; 1978 (Re-release)
- Portugal - August 19, 1974
- Germany - December 20, 1974
- Finland - August 1, 1975
- Turkey - October 11, 1976
- France - January 27, 1977
- England - March 1977
- Hungary - June 1, 1989
- Spain October 24, 1998
In 1977, Cinema Shares purchased the North American distribution rights to Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla from Toho and released the movie through Downtown Distribution under the title Godzilla vs. The Bionic Monster. As they had done with Godzilla vs. Megalon the previous year, Cinema Shares simply utilized the Toho-produced international English dub.
In July 1977, Universal Studios filed a lawsuit threat against Cinema Shares, claiming that the title was too similar to their TV productions, The Six Million Dollar Man and its spin-off The Bionic Woman. Cinema Shares then re-titled the film Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster (simply written as Godzilla vs. Cosmic Monster on posters).
As with most of the other 1970s Godzilla films, the Japanese version of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla featured several scenes with violent content and strong language. However, unlike in the past, Cinema Shares retained the violent monster action, including a shot of Godzilla spraying blood. The edits include:
- A new title card. In the Japanese and international versions, Godzilla's name flashes several times while a mountain explodes in the background. As Masaru Sato's music plays, the full title is revealed. In the Cosmic Monster version, the screen turns bright red (covering up the original title) and the film title and copyright information appear, along with the American poster artwork. In TV versions of the film, the artwork was cropped out of this title screen.
- The opening credits were deleted.
- Also deleted is a scene in which Nanbara, the INTERPOL agent, strangles one of the aliens. The final shoot-out between Nanbara and three of the aliens is similarly edited.
- At the end of the Japanese version, King Caesar returns to his resting place and Godzilla to the sea. In a short epilogue, the Azumi princess Nami runs through her homeland celebrating with many of the characters. One of the King Caesar statues appears as the Japanese symbol for "end" appears. Cinema Shares cut this short epilogue, with the exception of the final shot of the statue. A red bar appears on the right side of the screen, with "THE END" overlaid on it.
- In 1988, New World Video released the film along with Godzilla 1985 and Godzilla vs. Gigan. This print was Toho's original, uncut international version, which restored all the cuts made by Cinema Shares. The film was shown on the Sci-Fi Channel throughout the 1990s under the title Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster, although this version was in fact Toho's international version but with a new title card.
- In 2004, TriStar Pictures released the international version on DVD. The original Japanese audio was included as an extra audio track.
The film sold approximately 1,330,000 tickets in Japan, 350,000 more than the previous Godzilla film, Godzilla vs. Megalon.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla has remained popular among fans in recent years due to its jazzy music, colorful special effects and entertaining monster fights. The film's robust themes and fairly complex plot stand out against a time when the Godzilla franchise was being fueled by increasingly lower production values. It is widely considered the best of the 1970s Godzilla films, and is one of the most popular films in the series.
Home media releases
- Released: 2002
- Region: Region 2
- Language: Japanese
- Released:October 19, 2004
- Region: Region 1
- Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0)
- Format: Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Other Details: 2.35:1 aspect ratio, 84 minutes run time, 1 disc, Japanese version
- Released: 2006
- Region: Region 4
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is the first Godzilla film to feature a beam lock, not counting the clashes between Godzilla and Minilla's atomic breath and Kumonga's web in Son of Godzilla. The beam lock does not last long, but it happens when Godzilla breathes atomic breath and Mechagodzilla shoots his eye beam during their first battle. The beams lock for a few seconds before the combined rays explode, sending Godzilla into Tokyo Bay and causing Mechagodzilla to short-circuit.
- Special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano adopted Mechagodzilla's walk from the formal movements of Kabuki.
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was the Godzilla franchise's 20th anniversary film.
- The suit used to portray the disguised Mechagodzilla in this film would later be used at the end of Terror of Mechagodzilla to show Godzilla swimming away.
- Strangely, when the Azumi princess has her vision at the beginning of the film foretelling of a monster coming to destroy mankind, it is portrayed through film stills from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster and Submersion of Japan with flames overlaid on them. King Ghidorah can clearly be seen in the shots, and his roar is used as background sound. However, King Ghidorah does not appear again at any point in the remainder of the film, nor is he ever mentioned.
- Ryuhei Kitamura, the director of Godzilla: Final Wars, stated that Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was his favorite Godzilla film, with King Caesar being his favorite kaiju.
- This would be Anguirus' last film appearance for 30 years. Anguirus was planned to appear in multiple scrapped films during this time, including Godzilla vs. Ghost Godzilla and Godzilla X Varan, Baragon and Anguirus: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, but he did not make his next appearance until Godzilla: Final Wars.
- This film is one of, if not the bloodiest Godzilla films. With the death of Eiji Tsuburaya in 1970, the series began to become more graphic in order to compete with rival monster films, like the Gamera series. Such scenes of gore includes the fight between Mechagodzilla (as Fake Godzilla) and Anguirus where Mechagodzilla breaks Anguirus' jaw in a brutal display, during the first fight between Mechagodzilla and Godzilla, when Godzilla falls into the water and blood rises to the surface, and when Mechagodzilla repeatedly fires his laser beam at Godzilla's neck, prompting blood to spray out of the wounds.
- This film marks the second time Godzilla draws strength from lightning; the first was in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, and the third time was in The Return of Godzilla.
- Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is the last Godzilla film directed by Jun Fukuda.
- The Black Hole Planet 3 Aliens were likely influenced by the ape characters from the Planet of the Apes films.