Godzilla doesn’t just die. He goes down in a nuclear meltdown of epic proportions, killed by his own inner heat. Follow me through the final film in the Heisei era with #24: Godzilla vs. Destroyah.
Imagine this: You’re a screenwriter at Toho, and you’ve been tasked with writing the movie that will kill of Godzilla once and for all. This will be his final fight, and he must perish at the end. There are two questions you must answer: What kind of monster would he fight, and what would his death scene look like? I am confident that I could have come up with an adequate monster, but nothing could have been better that what happens in Godzilla vs. Destroyah. Godzilla, you see, becomes so powerful that he melts down from the inside. Like a boss. Like an effing viking. Godzilla was destroyed by the power of his own awesomeness.
Destroyah is a pretty cool monster too, as he stands as a polar opposite to Godzilla. Godzilla was created by nuclear radiation, right? Since the original Godzilla was destroyed by a widget called the Oxygen Destroyer (the Heisei era only acknowledges the 1954 original as precedent), then it makes sense to eventually have a monster that was created by the effects of it. A new scientist (Takuro Tatsumi) has been working on something very similar to the Oxygen Destroyer, and has unwittingly mutated microscopic organisms that have been incubating in the sea for the past 40 years. It doesn’t take long before the microbes are six-foot attack bugs that feed on humans, and just about as much time for the man-sized bugs to mutate into a 100-story-high winged shellfish monster thing named Destroyah.
Godzilla, meanwhile, seems to be in to process of turning into a bomb. Throughout the film, Godzilla is glowing read and smoking. The onlooking human explain that Godzilla’s nuclear heat is only increasing, and he will soon explode in a massive nuclear explosion that would destroy the entire world. He is hotter, more nuclear, stronger. He is going to go down in a blaze of effing glory, this one. Never mind that Destroyah is made of the only thing that can kill a Godzilla, and that it’s nearly triple Godzilla’s size. Godzilla will kill that bastard before melting down. I can think of no more fitting end for Godzilla. He goes out fighting. Oh yes, and he is also facing off against the Super X3, a human-piloted super tank. Kill or be killed. Godzilla’s life is a poetic one.
Godzilla vs. Destroyah includes footage from the 1954 original, and the grandson of Dr. Serizawa appears as a Godzilla expert. He’s played by Yasufumi Hayashi. This film brings everything full circle. People cry and talk about the end a lot. It’s very much like the final episode of a TV show. Let’s wrap things up, people. ‘Cause there ain’t gonna be another episode. Miki (Magumi Odaka) is there to cry. Farewell, awesome monsters. We’ll miss you.
Oh yes, and Godzilla’s child is not about Godzilla sized. This younger Godzilla, called Godzilla Jr., is poised to be the next Godzilla. Toho – in what can only be called an attempt to beef up their monster canon – assures us that Baby Godzilla, Little Godzilla, and Godzilla Jr. are three different monsters. Godzilla’s final act in this world is to breathe life into Godzilla, Jr., creating a lineage.
The Heisei continuity would imply that there have been three Godzillas (the 1954 original, the one from The Return of Godzilla, and the one created in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah), but as audience members, we know the truth: There is but one Godzilla, and his story ends here. As such, the film has a halcyon quality. It’s great. It’s my second favorite of the Heisei films.
Of course it would only take America three yeas to get their greasy mittens on Godzilla, and the next film in the series will be the first English-language Godzilla film. The Japan will return with an entirely new era – the Millennium era – and run the character along for six more films.
Up next: Godzilla (1998)