The Return of Godzilla
The Return of Godzilla (ゴジラ, Gojira) is a 1984 Japanese kaiju film directed by Koji Hashimoto, with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. The film features the fictional monster character Godzilla. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the 16th film in the Godzilla franchise, and is the first film in the franchise's Heisei period, despite having been produced during the Shōwa period. In Japan, the film was followed by Godzilla vs. Biollante in 1989.
Why It Rocks
- The film's tone returns to what Godzilla originally was in the 1954 film, with Godzilla succeeding as a very scary metaphor for nuclear destruction as well as being portrayed as a force of destruction who seeks to punish humanity for the sins of his creation, rather than the campy, comedic tone many of the Godzilla films in the original series had.
- The film does a well job at being a sequel to the 1954 Godzilla film, though taking place 30 years after, and also removing all elements of the other Godzilla films from Godzilla Raids Again to Terror of Mechagodzilla.
- This would start the Heisei series, which would last until 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- The acting in this movie is great.
- This is the first Godzilla film to have Kenpachiro Satsuma, who previously played Hedorah in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, as well as Gigan in Godzilla vs. Gigan and Godzilla vs. Megalon, play Godzilla himself, with Satsuma going on to be one of the most well-known and greatest actors to play the King of Monsters.
- This would feature some of the best special effects in the entire franchise.
- The Godzilla suit in this film is one of the best suits, and brings back a lot of the features Godzilla didn't have since Godzilla Raids Again, such as giving him a menacing appearance, instead of the Cookie Monster-like appearance used towards the end of the original series. Everything that was on this suit was on the original suit, except the little ears behind the eyes. Godzilla was four-toed instead of three, his fangs appeared again and the dorsal fins were large again too. The tail was made longer, and the eyes showed a lot of white in them.
- In fact, they even used a lot of mechanical stuff such as an fully made animatronic cybot used in some scenes, as well as an actual large Godzilla foot used in some scenes showing only his bottom areas.
- The military also has some new weapons in this film, namely the Super-X (which pretty much defeated Godzilla until lightning struck down, making Godzilla strong again), helping it stand out more to make things more interesting and refreshing to see.
- This scene featured one of the saddest scenes in the Godzilla films, in which Godzilla falls into the volcano that was opened by the military to try and get rid of him, screaming as he falls in. The Americanized version makes this scene even sadder with a more louder and fearful scream, as Steve Martin makes a thought-provoking speech about Godzilla.
- The soundtrack for the film is excellent for how the tone is supposed to be in this film.
- Raymond Burr reprised his role as Steve Martin from 1956's Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in the Americanized version. Burr insisted on having his role respect the original film's anti-nuclear message, even vetoing numerous attempts by New World Pictures to make his character more comedic.
- While the Godzilla suit in this film is pretty good, there are occasions where the eyes are cross-eyed, which leads to some unintentional comedy.
- The Americanized version of the film, titled as Godzilla 1985, was slammed by critics and flopped in the box office. Eventually, as time moved on and the original Japanese cut was released onto DVD and Blu-ray in 2016, the film started gaining a lot more praise by fans and critics alike.
- There was a controversial edit added to the Americanized version of the film, which involved the scene where the Russian freighter officer Colonel Kashirin valiantly attempts to stop the launch of a nuclear weapon. New World edited the scene (and added a brief shot of Kashirin pressing the launch button) so that Kashirin now deliberately launches the nuclear weapon; possibly due to the fact that the Cold War was ongoing during the release of the film.
The Return of Godzilla has a 80% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 3.4/5 on Letterboxd, and a 7/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB). Its Americanized cut, Godzilla 1985, has a 66% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 3.3/5 on Letterboxd, and a 6.2/10 on the International Movie Database (IMDB).