Godzilla 1985 (1984) – Koji Hashimoto & R.J. Kizer

 

I continue my time with that man-in-a-suit monster, Godzilla, as the Sci-Fi Chronicles jumps forward a couple of decades and introduces me to the revitalized version of the monster, that screened in 1984, some thirty years after the original film.

For the most part, it disregards any of the previous films, but for the first, and brings back Raymond Burr as Steve Martin, who still seems to be haunted by his encounter with Godzilla, as once again, the giant monster returns to cause problems for not only Japan this time, but by extension, the entire world!

When a Russian sub disappears close to Japan, the superpowers go on high alert, with fingers being pointed at both the U.S. and Soviet governments. But when further attacks occur on the ocean, a young reporter, Maki (Ken Tanaka) tracks down the lone survivor, and learns that it was the mythical monster, returned once again.

Instead of his story hitting all the outlets though, Maki is stunned to find that his story is canned. It’s explained that they don’t want the citizens to panic. Things in Russia and the States continue to escalate though, and the Japanese government learns that at this point, both countries are just looking for an excuse…

So they release the truth… Godzilla is back.

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As the Japanese prepare for the imminent arrival of the monster, the Americans bring in Martin as an expert to advise them, and both they and the Russians prepare to launch nukes at the creature, something the Japanese expressly forbid. It seems they have their own plan involving learned behavior, frequencies, and a volcano…

When he reaches the coastline, Godzilla feeds off the radiation of a nuclear power plant, and seems to be a little less friendly than his previous incarnations would have us believe. This beast is an unstoppable force of nature!

As the military in Tokyo mobilizes, and people flee the city, Godzilla draws closer, and the Americans and Soviets watch as everything plays out on their screens. This time around, he’s vicious, and nothing is going to stop him…

While still kind of goofy, this version of Godzilla definitely has a bigger budget than any of the films that have gone before it, and, consequently, has much better model work, though very much still models (blatantly so). That doesn’t stop the film from being wonderfully AWESOME as the man-in-the-suit trashes the countryside, the city, anything that gets in his way! And honestly, I love some of the expressions on Godzilla’s face! Cranky, angry, slightly perturbed…

While it was a great idea to bring Burr back, he actually seems rather wasted in the role, as he doesn’t do anything. He and his American military cohorts sit in their operational center, basically watching a Godzilla movie and commenting on it.

Still, it’s fun, and a damned sight more enjoyable than the next Godzilla title on the list…

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