My favourite period of Godzilla movies has always been the Heisei era. While maybe not as well known as the golden period of the series (i.e. the 1960’s or Showa), the Heisei period did still release some of the most well known and most beloved films in the series. The Heisei era gets it’s name from the transition of the previous Japanese Emperor Hirohito to his son Akihito in 1989. Now, the first film in this series of Godzilla films was The Return of Godzilla which was released in 1984, but as the film was a direct predecessor to Godzilla vs Biollante in 1989; the year which Heisei began, the 1984 film has always been considered part of this era. The name Heisei comes from several resources found in Chinese History and Philosophy, with the combined meanings meant to intend the term “Peace Everywhere”.
With two films released in the 1980’s, the series went into overdrive in the 1990’s producing quite a few major hits, as well as some major lows. It was an interesting time for the series too as it transitioned into new formats and directions, before hitting slumps and roadblock’s to it’s longevity in other markets (i.e. Godzilla 1998). Whilst the 1990’s produced more films in the Heisei period, the series finished off the decade by moving into the Millennium era of movies, less than one month before the millennium actually happened (much like the heisei period before it). In total, 7 Godzilla films were produced in the 1990’s.
Whilst the decade known as the 1990’s did produce some major classics; there are though some questionable entries in the series; with one film being a particular low moment in the history of ‘this’ fan’s viewing! But still, there are still plenty of reasons to watch and study these films; so why not begin? On that note; here are my top five favourite Godzilla films from the 1990’s. Enjoy!
5. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah – It has been over 40 years since the original Godzilla was killed by the Oxygen Destroyer in Tokyo Bay; but a new creature has been awoken by it! Also, Godzilla is going into Meltdown!
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is genuinely one of the scariest entries in the entire series. It creates genuine moments of Horror on two scales. One; fighting Godzilla, two; fighting humans. The film tells two stories; one being the impending nuclear death of Godzilla which will more than likely destroy the entire Earth, but while that is going on, a new and terrifying monster appears. This new creature starts out very small, and to begin with attacks humans; before growing into something taller than the Big G himself. With two stories though, one can get lost in the other, and there are incidents in the film which don’t make much sense as you can’t see how they either come about or are affected; and the ending to the big fight just sort of gets forgotten sense wise. But, the film does sort of make up for that however with not one, but two very sad scenes, plus some new creative uses on traditional Godzilla soundtrack pieces.
4. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla – Some Godzilla cells have drifted into outer space, and have mutated into a terrifying space creature called; SpaceGodzilla!
It would be fair to say, that this is a weird one; and that’s not including the title. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla could be accused of too many cooks spoil the broth, but at least finds some way of getting by. It tells the story of a new space entity on route to earth, including how it may have been created. During this though there is a plot by a renegade soldier who wants revenge on Godzilla for killing his brother; and then things get more complicated. After the defeat of Mechagodzilla in the previous film, a new weapons platform called Moguera has been built; then Miki Saegusa is kidnapped by the Yakuza, and a neural implant thing is put into Godzilla in an attempt to control him. It’s like the producers knew that this story was way too short and tried to pad it out a bit with nonsense. Despite that however, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla is actually a very entertaining entry in the series and one well worth the watch. Godzilla’s arrival in Kagoshima is also worthy of a watch in it’s own right!
3. Godzilla 2000 – A meteorite found under the sea suddenly takes off, shedding it’s rocky skin and becoming a giant flying saucer; but why is it so interested in Godzilla?
Released in December 1999, Godzilla 2000 was produced after an outcry of Japanese fans two months after the release of the 1998 film. One widely considered conception is the belief that many, including producers at Toho; felt that the Tristar Pictures creation really wasn’t a Godzilla film, nor acted anything like Godzilla. Longtime producer Shogo Tomiyama even declared that the creature that attacked New York took ‘the God out of Godzilla!” Moving on; Godzilla 2000 is an interesting film in it’s own right as it creates new ideas and conceptions about Godzilla to tell it’s own unique story. It uses great human characters to drive this tale along, whilst not forgetting to include some great scenes with special effects; and some classic monster fights. There are some pacing issues as it plods along at a slow pace; and the final fight between Godzilla and Orga ends in the weirdest way possible; but altogether is still a solid entry in the series.
2. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah – In the future; a giant monster is discovered on the sea bed missing one of it’s three heads. Meanwhile in the present day; a U.F.O. is spotted over Tokyo!
Widely considered as one of the all time best films in the series; Godzilla vs King Ghidorah pits Godzilla in a one on one fight with his Arch nemesis: King Ghidorah. The story of the film mostly revolves around Time Travel; a move made by producers due to the success of the Back to the Future films of the time in America. In this instance, Japanese officials, with the help from some strange people from the future, plan to remove Godzilla from their timeline preventing a future catastrophe; only for the people from the future to insert their own monster into the same timeline. Featuring incredible scenes of city destruction, and some great character development, both human and inhuman; plus of course some amazing music; Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah is a must see for any Monster Movie fan!
1. Godzilla vs. Mothra – A giant meteorite has smashed into earth causing several major natural disasters. During the initial storm; a giant Egg has appeared.
Not just number one on this list; Godzilla vs Mothra is one of my top tier all time favourite films in the series. The story’s plot to begin with is very similar to the original Mothra vs Godzilla from 1964, before then taking on it’s own direction. Once again though, the film tries to take the moral high ground by stating how we really need to take care of our planet. Besides that though are some incredible monster fights; it’s not just Godzilla and Mothra you see, as a new monster appears in the form of Battra; a terrifying, yet weirdly cool creature who goes toe to toe with the King of The Monsters! There are great scenes of combat, city destruction, and Godzilla walking out of a volcano. Combine this with some great characters, a fantastic new monster, and some of the best pieces of music; and you have one of the best films in the series to date!
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