Godzilla 1985 (Gojira)

11/08/2015 09:46

Film: Godzilla 1985 (Gojira)

Year: 1984

Director: Koji Hashimoto and R.J. Kizer

Writer: Hideichi Nagahara, Lisa Tomei and Straw Weisman

Starring: Raymond Burr, Ken Tanaka and Yasuko Sawaguchi



This film begins in the ocean. We on are a fishing vessel and there is a man that is scared, played by Shin Takuma. The waters are rough and the boat is swaying. We then see something extremely large move. The boat is attacked by whatever it is.

We then see a newspaper reporter on a sail boat; he is played by Ken Tanaka. He boards the vessel and finds that everyone is dead. He finds a man inside of a closet with a knife clutched in his hands. He finds out who the man is and is attacked by a large creature. It is a 5 foot sea louse. He stabs it with the knife that was taken from Takuma, but we learn that Takuma isn’t dead. He helps the man with a hatchet. Tanaka asks what happened.

Tanaka takes him back to land to get help. He tells those that visit him he was attacked by Godzilla. The prime minister of Japan is played by Keiju Kobayashi. He decides for national security to keep this a secret. Tanaka goes to write about it in the newspaper, but he is told by his editor, Kei Satô, that he has to bury the story. It is suggested to him by his desk editor, played by Takenori Emoto, to continue following the story until he can release it.

Tanaka goes to meet with a doctor, played by Yôsuke Natsuki. We learn that Natsuki knows a lot about Godzilla as his parents were killed by it the last time he attacked. Working with him is a young woman, played by Yasuko Sawaguchi. She is actually the sister of Takuma. He walks with her after leaving, revealing that her brother is alive. She goes to see him.

We then shift to a Soviet submarine. They are attacked by Godzilla under the water and the Soviets believe it was the Americans. In the American version of the film, we see what their reactions are to this. Kobayashi knows that he has to diffuse this situation and releases that it was Godzilla.

There is then a meeting with Japan’s foreign minister, Mizuho Suzuki, as well as Kobayshi, the Soviets and Americans as to what to do. The Americans want to use a nuclear weapon to destroy Godzilla. Koboayshi states that Japan does not believe in making nuclear weapons or firing them.

The film then goes to Tokyo Harbor. We see a Soviet ship is docked. We see a Soviet go into the bridge and arm a computer. This turns out to be the control panel to an illegal satellite that has a nuclear weapon on it.

Godzilla then attacks Japan. He goes after a nuclear power plant, takes out the reactor and draws power from it. Watching this happen are Tanaka and Natsuki.

In the American version, Raymond Burr, a newspaper man who survived the last Godzilla attack is called in as expert to meet with the American group that is trying to help Japan.

After the attack, Natsuki, Tanaka, Sawaguchi and Takuma meet. Together they learn that Godzilla has a bird-like brain and that he stopped attacking when he heard birds. They caused him to return to the ocean. Their goal is to now mimic their sound to see if they can use it lure Godzilla away from the city.

Godzilla then attacks Tokyo. He destroys everything in his path. It should be pointed out that this one is bigger, being 80 instead of 60 meters. All attacks by the humans fail. It is not until Super X shows up, a high-tech plane that has a lot of firepower. This plane stops Godzilla and knocks it out.

The problem though is that the Soviet ship triggers the nuclear missile. They have less than a half hour to stop it. The Americans have a counter measure that works, but it explodes over Tokyo, waking Godzilla back up with the radiation. Super X is also destroyed when he wakes up.

Natsuki and his group have a plan with the bird sounds, but will it work and stop this giant monster?

I have to say that this is an interesting reboot to the original film. I like that they went back to the original roots to make a darker film. This one does seem to focus more on the monster and trying to stop it than previous Godzilla films, where they try to build up the story surrounding it. There isn’t much difference between the American and Japanese version, aside from the American version splicing in their own actors and focusing on them more. This film does speak out against the dangers of nuclear power, weapons and war. The Americans also use this as an allegory for the Cold War, making the Soviets look bad. Godzilla looks great and he destroys everything its in path with ease. I do like the ending as it is a solid way to stop him.

With that said, I felt that this film doesn’t give us enough Godzilla. He shows up early in the film, but during the climax, we get too much of the people that are inside bunkers and command centers. I want to see Godzilla doing battle with Super X little more as well as destroying landmarks in the city. I also could have done without the politics that were a subplot. This latter doesn’t ruin it, but something personally I didn’t care for.

This remake/sequel to franchise is not bad. It isn’t as good as the original, but it is better than a lot of its sequels. It is good to see them returning to their darker roots and having Godzilla be the villain that destroys their city. This one does have a deeper subplot of war and nuclear issues in it as well. The monster looks good and it is fun to see it destroying things as well as doing battle with a high-tech plane. I would recommend giving this one a viewing if you like giant monster films.


My Rating: 6 out of 10