Director: Takao Okawara
Writer: Kazuki Ohmori
Cast: Takuro Tatsumi, Yoko Ishino, Yasufumi Hayashi, Megumi Odaka, Sayaka Osawa, Saburo Shinoda, Akira Nakao, Masahiro Takashima, Momoko Kochi, Shigeru Koyama, Ronald Hoerr, Koichi Ueda, Takehiro Murata, Shelley Sweeney, Akihiko Hirata, Kenpachiro Satsuma, Ryo Hariya, and ‘Hurricane Ryu’ Hariken
Composer: Akira Ifukube
Release Date: 12/9/1995
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Following the destruction of Birth Island, Godzilla—now on the verge of a nuclear meltdown capable of annihilating the entire world—develops a variety of glowing, lava-like rashes throughout his body. Meanwhile, Destoroyah—a crustaceous organism created by Dr. Serizawa’s oxygen destroyer, the mechanism responsible for killing Godzilla’s predecessor—wreaks havoc on Tokyo.
The final entry in the Heisei series, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah offers a poignant farewell to the king of monsters. Also worth praising is the introduction of Destoroyah, who, by possessing the same attributes as the aforementioned oxygen destroyer, presents a legitimate existential threat to Godzilla and his son.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah should be commended for its remarkable special effects, which reinforce the epic scale of Kazuki Ohmori’s narrative. Highlights include a simulation of Godzilla’s inevitable self-destruction along with a resulting nuclear catastrophe, the disintegration of aquarium fish exposed to Destoroyah’s micro-oxygen beam, and the melting of Godzilla’s dorsal plates during an intense and gory climax. (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah’s heavy reliance on rubber costumes and moving prop monsters may, however, seem anachronistic in a modern-day sci-fi/horror production.)
From a logical perspective, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah fails to account for one significant continuity problem. Specifically, the time travel shenanigans of the Futurians—the main antagonists of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah—prevent the original Godzilla from existing as such in 1954. In spite of this, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah appears to regard the events of Gojira as official series canon.
By emphasizing Godzilla’s “relationship” with his son; the psychic connection between Miki Saegusa and Godzilla Junior; and the bittersweet demise of Godzilla himself, this offering succeeds in humanizing the most iconic movie monster of all time—an aspect that should tug the heartstrings of series newcomers and kaiju eiga buffs alike.
This installment benefits from compelling dramatic tension, riveting daikaiju battles, and thought-provoking commentary on how tampering with the environment—even for noble or benevolent purposes as demonstrated by Dr. Serizawa’s sacrifice—can produce devastating consequences in the long term. Japanese monster enthusiasts in particular should enjoy Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, which earns its reputation as a fan favorite.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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