SEE THIS, NOT THAT: Godzilla Movies, Part 2

Let’s Get Ready to Crumble!

Dr. Yamane:I can’t believe that Godzilla was the last of its species. If nuclear testing continues, then someday, somewhere in the world… another Godzilla may appear.

Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla is one of the longest running film franchises in the world. 36 feature films have been released over nearly 70 years, not counting crossovers and films that were retroactively added to the franchise. A new Godzilla movie seems to appear every few years.

We’ve already counted down five good Godzilla movies and five that are downright painful to watch, but there are still plenty to choose from. What are the next three Godzilla movies to see or skip? Let’s find out.

See These Godzilla Movies

#3 Destroy All Monsters

Reporter:The major cities of the world are being destroyed one-by-one by the monsters. Moscow by Rodan, Peking by Mothra, London by Manda, Paris by Baragon. …Here’s a special news bulletin: Godzilla is now in New York City. The city is being invaded by Godzilla!

Destroy All Monsters

Plot Synopsis: In the far-off future of 1999, every kaiju has been trapped on Monster Island. An alien race called the Kilaak invade, demanding Earth surrender to them. When humanity refuses, the Kilaak mind control the monsters into rampaging.

Scientists struggle to break the mind control while Earth is ravaged by the kaiju. They eventually succeed, freeing the monsters and turning them against the invaders. The Kilaak then unleash their trump card: King Ghidorah. Can the monsters of Earth defeat the destroyer of worlds?

Why This Movie: Destroy All Monsters was meant to be the grand finale for the Godzilla franchise, and that shows. The movie features a dozen monsters rampaging across the world before joining forces to take on King Ghidorah like the kaiju equivalent of The Avengers.

Lesser-known monsters like Gorosaurus, Kumonga and Manda get as much time in the spotlight as their more popular comrades. Destroy All Monsters doesn’t skimp on the human side of the story either, featuring a fun alien invasion story with plenty of espionage and action.

Best Scene: All of the monsters working together to level Tokyo before they are freed.

#2 Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Dr. Serizawa: “Senators, if we are to survive, we must find ways to coexist with Titans. With Gojira.”
Dr. Graham: “A sort of symbiotic relationship, if you will. The Lion and The Mouse.”
Senator: “Or The Scorpion and The Frog. So you want to make Godzilla our pet.”
Dr. Serizawa: “No. We will be his.”

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Plot Synopsis: Humanity struggles to cope with learning that giant monsters called Titans exist. As the governments debate what to do, scientists create a sonic lure called The ORCA that can attract Titans. The scientists and the ORCA are captured by terrorists, who want to weaponize the Titans.

The terrorists attack a research base containing a Titan and inadvertently awaken an all-powerful monster called King Ghidorah. Godzilla is defeated by the newcomer, and the other Titans side with Ghidorah. Humanity must work with Godzilla to find a way to beat King Ghidorah and his army of Titans.

Why This Movie: Godzilla (2014) made our list of Godzilla Films to Skip because it focused on a boring lead character and barely featured Godzilla. KOTM proves that Legendary can learn from their mistakes.

The main characters are given actual emotions and characterization beyond “generic army guy.” Side characters like Doctors Serizawa and Chen are given a chance to shine. The Titans are given time in the spotlight and are far easier to see.

KOTM also features one of the best Godzilla soundtracks. Each monster is given a leitmotif, including French horns for Rodan, an ethereal choir for Mothra, and Buddhist chants interspersed throughout King Ghidorah’s theme. These motifs are mixed with classic Akira Ifukube scores, giving the soundtrack an old, but new feeling. There’s even a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” with his leitmotif mixed in.

Best Scene: A revitalized Godzilla rising from the depths and firing his atomic breath into the sky to announce his return, all set to a remixed version of his theme.

#1 Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla

Akane: Let me show you what Kiryu can do!”

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

Plot Synopsis: A soldier named Akane accidentally gets her commander killed during a battle with Godzilla. She struggles with survivor’s guilt, but finds a means to atone when she is selected to pilot an anti-Godzilla superweapon called MechaGodzilla.

MechaGodzila is deployed to fight Godzilla, but goes rogue when it hears the monster’s roar. The robot’s DNA-based computer is revealed to be based on another Godzilla, causing it to begin acting as the dead kaiju. MechaGodzilla soon runs out of power, but leaves the government with a problem: can they fix MechaGodzilla’s programming before Godzilla kills them all?

Why This Movie: Godzilla movies are weakest when dealing only with humans. Most people want to see monsters destroy cities and fight one another. Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla has one of the strongest plots in the franchise. Akane’s struggles with survivor’s guilt are more relatable than the previous hordes of psychics, alien invasions, and fairies.

This incarnation of MechaGodzilla, often called Kiryu, is one of the strongest and most stylish versions of the character. It houses a vast array of anti-Godzilla weapons and its DNA computer gives it a rudimentary personality. There’s a reason Kiryu made our list of the Top 5 Giant Robots.

Best Scene: Kiryu ramming Godzilla into the ocean and freezing both of them with its Absolute Zero Cannon, resulting in a colossal ice formation.

Skip These Godzilla Movies

#3: Ebirah: Horror of the Deep

Doctor Forrester:Now, your experiment this week, Joel, features a giant, bloated, mutated lizard.
Joel:Meatloaf?
Forrester: No, Godzilla! And it features a giant lobster… and a tanker full of butter.
Crow: It was a rock lobster!

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 “Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster” (Season 2, Episode 13)

Plot Synopsis: A young man convinces his friends to steal a boat so they can search for his brother, who is lost at sea. They are attacked by a monster and shipwrecked on a mysterious island. They quickly encounter a native named Dayo, who tells them that her people have been enslaved by a terrorist organization called Red Bamboo.

The sailors’ plan to escape is dashed when they learn that Red Bamboo controls a giant lobster called Ebirah that kills anyone trying to leave. Dayo leads them to a mountain where Godzilla is sleeping. They plan to wake up Godzilla so he can kill Ebirah and destroy Red Bamboo.

Why it Sucks: Ebirah: Horror of the Deep mostly focuses on a group of clueless sailors and incompetent terrorists wandering around an island’s forests. There are attempts to give the movie James Bond-style espionage as they battle the terrorists, but the effort falls short.

This movie was meant to star King Kong, so Godzilla is portrayed as caring about Dayo like Kong did for Fay Wray. The Godzilla suit was damaged early on, so most of the fight scenes had to be shot to keep the damage from showing. This caused a lot of jerky camera movement, close-up flailing, or Godzilla playing catch with Ebirah using a boulder.

Redeeming Features: Red Bamboo is an interesting idea for a human threat that could be implemented much better in a different movie. This movie was also featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the constant riffing made it much more tolerable.

#2 Godzilla vs Hedorah

Tagline:Out of pollution’s depths it slithers! Breathing poison…Leaving a wake of deadly slime…Destroying all in its path!

Godzilla vs Hedorah

Plot Synopsis: An alien life form bonds with polluted water and forms a giant monster from the sludge. The monster, quickly named Hedorah, goes on a rampage. It creates numerous ecological disasters so it can grow stronger from the pollution.

Thinking the world will be destroyed, hippies gather for one last massive party. Godzilla tries to fight Hedorah, but is maimed by its acidic body. Scientists search for a way to kill Hedorah as it attacks the party with a wounded Godzilla in hot pursuit.

Why This Movie: Godzilla vs. Hedorah is a gigantic anti-pollution PSA disguised as entertainment. The characters constantly espouse how horrible pollution is while Hedorah feeds on sludge, smog, and trash. There are points where even Captain Planet would say, “I think they got the message.”

This movie is trippy, even when the hippies aren’t around. Characters will randomly hallucinate everyone around them having fish heads or start to see everything as a psychedelic cartoon. I’m gonna chalk that up to a contact high. On the monster side of things, Godzilla learns that he can fly. Seriously. He just fires his atomic breath at the ground and Houston, we have a liftoff!

Redeeming Factors: Godzilla vs Hedorah did help raise awareness for Japan’s massive ecological problems in the 1970s. Headorah itself is one of the darkest and deadliest kaiju Godzilla ever faced. There are many scenes showing half-melted corpses that were unlucky enough to be caught in its rampage.

#1 Godzilla vs Megaguirus

Tagline:Can Godzilla defeat the evil Megaguirus?

Godzilla vs Megaguirus

Plot Synopsis: A government organization creates a satellite called Dimension Tide to fires black holes (?) at Godzilla. A test firing opens a portal to prehistory, with an egg falling through the portal. The son of one of the scientists brings the egg home with him, tossing it into a nearby sewer when his mom finds it.

The egg hatches into a swarm of insects called Meganulon. They attack Godzilla, draining his energy and bringing it back to their queen, Megaguirus. The dragon-sized dragonfly attacks Godzilla, threatening to unleash an apocalyptic swarm of Meganulon. Can humanity survive their clash, even as Dimension Tide begins falling to Earth?

Why It Sucks: Humanity’s plan is to shoot Godzilla with a satellite-mounted black hole gun. Who the hell thought that was a good idea?! Why would the U.N. allow Dimension Tide to exist, especially when space-based weapons are banned under international law? Why would they even target Godzilla with a weapon that has a high probability of destroying the planet? Did anyone else actually study physics?

Even if you ignore the sheer stupidity of Dimension Tide, the rest of the film is dull and features idiotic characters. The child hero is responsible for thousands of deaths because he stole the egg. The weapon’s creator constantly justifies its existence because she wants revenge against Godzilla for killing her mentor. I was rooting for Godzilla and Megaguirus to join forces and take out humanity.

Redeeming Features: There is a hilarious scene where Godzilla bodyslams Megaguirus. Her expression and body language scream that she is thinking “OH, S***!” The movie also shows that Godzilla is immune to black hole forces because why wouldn’t he be?

Do you agree with our picks? Are there any films you would swap around? What have you see and what have you skipped? Tell us in the comments.

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