May 19th, 2014: Gojira aka Godzilla 1985: The Legend is Reborn

Godzilla 1985

Cast and Crew: Tomoyuki Tanaka (Story, Producer)

What it’s About: 30 years after the first attack by Godzilla, another creature of the same type returns to destroy Tokyo all over again, but this time there is no Oxygen Destroyer…

Why Watch it Today: Toho put out a new Gojira in 1984 to mark the anniversary of the original.  This time around one of the subplots is a near nuclear was started because Godzilla sinks a Soviet submarine.  Just as in 1954, Americans smelled money and released a modified version in the states, adding in some scenes with Raymond Burr (and infamously cheesy Dr. Pepper product placement), and political content was modified.  Part of the nuclear war subplot is a Soviet space based nuclear weapon, which in the American version the Soviets launch to destroy Godzilla (we heroically shoot it down); in the original, the Soviet officer tries to stop the launch and fails.  This kind of weapon was banned in 1967 by a treaty ratified by the Soviets on this date, a fact noted in some of the added American footage!

4 comments on “May 19th, 2014: Gojira aka Godzilla 1985: The Legend is Reborn

  1. geelw says:

    Bwah and hah. I’d forgotten about this clunker until I remembered I’ve never seen the Japanese version (which would be a good idea before wanting to watch this mess again). I paid to see it back in the day and still want my five dollars back!

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      I saw it in single digits and loved it, but I admit it’s been long enough that I wonder if I would enjoy it as much now. The Japanese version is only slightly different; you lose the clunky American scenes, and the Cold War chest beating, but you gain a lot of not very compelling scenes of exposition.

    • T.A. Gerolami says:

      Part of the pass I give this is undoubtedly nostalgia; having seen every Godzilla film I was able to find on TV and video, this was the first one I saw in a theater. It would have had to have been terrible for me not to love it.

      • geelw says:

        Yeah, in that context it makes perfect sense. By 1985, I was probably expecting too much from the film, as were the friends I saw it with. We did laugh a lot AT the movie (the product placement was a big pain and jarring, though), so I guess we enjoyed it on that level…

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