Gojirathon 16: Gojira (1984)

G: minus 10 days

Gojirathon is me just writing up some thoughts about the movies I see while I conduct my little marathon of Godzilla-movies in anticipation of the new Hollywood retooling. Why Gojirathon and not Godzillathon? Well, because Rolfe already did his Godzillathon as part of his Monster Madness, and I don’t want to steal his work. I’ll be using the terms, G, Big G, Godzilla and Gojira somewhat interchangeably… since I can be a bit lazy at times, when it comes to these things.

The Return of Godzilla (1984)

It is the year of our lord 1984. Big Brother is upon us. A young woman drives to Mexico well aware of the storm that is brewing, and the King of Monsters returns to the big screen

Ok, I may have done a miscalculation in the last write-up. Technically it’s only 9 years between Terror of Mechagodzilla and Return of Godzilla as it was released in 1984. But it is also known simply as Godzilla 1985 from when it was released in the United States. And if I remember correctly, it also featured a cameo from Raymond Burr in the american version as a reference from the first films international version.

But let’s see now. We are back to basics. Back to the roots. Godzilla isn’t a superhero with occasional sidekicks who battles foes of humanity. No. He’s back to being what he always was. A terrifying force of nature.

From the get-go the film starts off very reminiscent of the original. With a fishing-boat encountering Godzilla as he wakes up and starts his way towards land. But now it’s a bit changed up. On it’s way he decides to snack on a Soviet nuclear submarine. Because, as is established only now, 16 movies into the franchise, this is what Godzilla feeds on in this new continuity.. This almost sets off a nuclear tossing contest between the two superpowers surrounding Japan. And when that threat is averted by announcing the return of Godzilla things get a bit more tenser since they now want to throw nukes at Tokyo in order to kill Godzilla. With a lot of patient diplomacy and a few well chosen words both powers agree to let Japan try to deal with this situation.

And their solution? A hovering supertank that fires Cadmium Shells. The plan seems to work temporarily, but then a Sovjet nuke is “accidentally” fired anyways. And as the Americans narrowly manages to shoot it down, the GoldenEye effect creates enough electricity in the air to help Godzilla recover from his oral wounds. Crushing the SuperX weapon and then get’s lured into a volcano where it topples over and dissapears.

I always remembered this film as a back to form from the silly days of the later two thirds of the showa era. But watching the films almost back to back as I am doing right now. I really am strangely split on this approach. Because while the older films certainly were cheesy and silly at times, this new one was so down to earth and dire that when the Maninasuitassaurus arrives, it kind of clashes and I have trouble pinning down how I am supposed to feel about the events. It’s too dramatic and gritty to be popcorn fun, but also not enough silly to make up for the lack of regular humor either. So right now it feels like a sightly underwhelming entry. Let’s see if the next one, Godzilla vs. Biolante can help in any of these regards.

Be seeing you!

Gojira84

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