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TALKBACK #16: The Return of Godzilla • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan

TALKBACK #16: The Return of Godzilla

Discuss the 2nd Godzilla film era here! Beam fights, revised versions of classic kaiju, the Heisei era was a mixed bag of fun and controversy!

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:08 am

The first card I drew in my random order was this.

It's certainly interesting to watch this film DIRECTLY on the heels of the original Gojira, and though it still mostly holds up, I think the novelty of seeing the Japanese cut is beginning to wear out and I'm really starting to notice places where it's actually rather inferior to the American cut.

Pros of the Japanese version:
-A little more coherently edited
-A little more global in scale
-A little more fair in terms of the way all nations involved are represented (including Japan, who's depicted as much more intelligent and much less in need of the US to babysit them)
-A better sense of just how many people's lives are still in danger during Godzilla's rampage. This makes it seem less like he's just idly stomping around a mostly abandoned city.
-A bit better on the setup of the film, like the first 20-30 minutes breathe a little better and are less jump-to-conclusion-y
-Much better all-around after the nuclear strike. There's more of Godzilla destroying stuff, more fires, more people running scared, more interaction between people and Godzilla.

Pros of the American version:
-More briskly paced (seriously, it's 20 minutes shorter than the Japanese version and that's with adding in at least 10 minutes of new footage. They were able to take out half an hour of the Japanese version without much notice). The pacing of the Japanese version seem to be overly deliberate at times. Take for example, just as a brief, quickly checkable example, when Godzilla's standing at the lip of Mt. Mihara up to the point where Okumura presses the detonation button. In the American edit, this is like 2 seconds, in the Japanese version, it's like 15 seconds and it just feels kinda weird, like there's too much time of people standing around doing nothing but looking serious.
-Some better lines (largely from Burr, but also, the portrayal of the hobo/looter is so much better to me)
-Better use of the score. The Japanese version's score is silent FAR too often...makes the movie feel more dull at times.
-Godzilla's "death scream". That thing will haunt my dreams tonight and it's only found in the American cut.
-Fewer awkward effects shots. This I guess kinda ties in with the pacing and shortness, but it also just helps the film as a whole.

Both versions have some cons with things like the characters, who are a tad underdeveloped (especially in the US version), the impact of Godzilla's appearance which doesn't seem to be as great as it ought to be after a 30-year absence (the Japanese version lacks some of the surprise from minor characters over Godzilla's indestructability and size and the US version lacks the global scale of other countries wanting to stop Godzilla before he gets to their country), and the suit which looks AMAZING in some shots and HORRIBLE in others and most of that is due to the eyes...but there's also an issue of weight and size of the suit, which is too cumbersome for Satsuma to move around much.

Both versions also have some pros though, such as the atmosphere, badassery of Godzilla, rebooting of the franchise (which it honestly needed by this point), mostly successful use of the remake/reboot/sequel concept (this movie is almost comparable to 2013's Evil Dead in terms of where it fits into the franchise), general score, and even though the American version cuts down the impact of the global scale it's still there and that's kinda unique to this movie. Japan's not left in a bubble here. Godzilla's viewed as a worldwide crisis. Also, the Cold War setting is kinda fun, I think. I know it's long over now, but that's just another thing that gives the film a unique flavor.

Ultimately, I'd say I prefer the Japanese version, but not by much, and my ideal version would use some of the sensibilities of the American version to do a tighter cut of the Japanese version with the better use of music.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby H-Man » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:33 pm

変の声謎だよ。
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:42 pm

^I disagree on the nuclear strike scene. The build-up IMHO, is FAR superior in the US cut...with more tense music, and the countdown which adds to the tension. You still get the relief shot and it all works.

As for how much they cut, I'm pretty sure the US version I just watched last night ran 85 minutes...maybe I'm wrong on that, but even if I am and it's only it's 12 minutes shorter, there's like 15 minutes of new footage...they cut close to half an hour and you barely notice except for a couple early scenes that are significantly shortened or excised.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Dr Kain » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:47 pm

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Jorzilla » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:06 pm

Godzilla 1985's Russian launch sequence is my favorite cultural manifestation of the Cold War.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:27 pm

Gills.

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:15 pm

I'm mostly indifferent to the Russian's launching the nukes, but knowing the real history behind the Soviets in this era (they were "OH GODZILLA! WHAT TERRIBLE LANGUAGE!" scared of us lmao) it just seems rather unrealistic in its narrative or political story telling. I think the Japanese handled it better.

I'd love to see an edit that combined Godzilla 85 and the Return Of Godzilla into a seamless film. Like keep the International Dub voiced (GODZILLER! KIRISHIMER!) Japanese segments, add on the Raymond Burr American scenes and the overall pacing of Godzilla's aggressiveness from 85.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:34 pm

my more or less ideal cut would be the Japanese version for the first few minutes (roughly up until Maki sorta double-crosses Naoko, as this gives his character a more complete arc later on), then the American cut up until the nuke, then the Japanese cut after Godzilla is revived. Some general editing in those Japanese segments to quicken the pacing, and honestly, I could do with or without Burr. Doesn't add much for me, personally (except just a couple of lines)

also, I've actually never seen the international cut
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:14 am

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby H-Man » Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:49 am

Actually, the dub casts for The Return of Godzilla and Biollante are (likely) completely different. Film dubbing in Hong Kong in the 1980s was so big that there were several groups of different voice actors working independently of each other. Most of the main actors rarely worked with different groups. The group that did ROG also did all the other Toho dubs for 1984 (Macross, Zero, and Bye-Bye Jupiter) and most of the Toho dubs dating back to 1974. Another group in Hong Kong did Deathquake in 1980, and an earlier version of that group did the dubs for Godzilla vs. Gigan, Godzilla vs. Megalon, etc. I don't know what happened to the "ROG group", but I have never heard their work in any Hong Kong, Chinese or Japanese film produced after 1984. The crew that did Biollante in '89 was more or less the same one that had worked on Deathquake, but it also included most of the guys that had been doing the Chow-Yun Fat films in the '80s and early '90s.

Here's the latter group in action:
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The Original Grim & Gritty Godzilla Reboot

Postby mr.negativity » Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:02 am


Godzilla 1985, The 16th film in the Godzilla franchise, stomps the fine line between sequel, remake, and kickstart
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby sachiel » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:40 pm

So I just re-watched Godzilla 1984 with a friend of mine that is no way a big Godzilla fan. So far he's seen Godzilla 1954, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Godzilla (1998), and GMK and hasn't really liked any of them. Though he somewhat respects the effort gone into making Godzilla 1954. In any case he watched Godzilla 1984 with me and pointed out something that most of us have probably overlooked over the years. How does a volcanic eruption really work to pull in Godzilla? Dropping a monster or probe into a dormant volcano's crater or semi-active crater is one thing. But dropping a monster or any other object into an actively erupting volcano would have different results right? In this case dropping Godzilla into an erupting Mt. Mihara shouldn't have worked right? As the lava is being jettisoned/discharged from the crater shouldn't Godzilla have been discharged back out of the crater after falling into it? I mean how does an erupting volcano suck in a huge object/monster like Godzilla, entombing it?

Any thoughts about this guys?
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Jorzilla » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:55 am

It depends on the type of volcanic eruption. If if was a pyroclastic eruption that you saw with Mt St Helens I would agree that Godzilla should get blasted out. However, the movie clearly shows the red crater of Mt Mihara, showing that it had an active lava pool. In that case what was happening is basically opening up the chamber using explosives as what's explained early in the movie.

Also it's a f*cking movie.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby jellydonut25 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:25 am

Gills.

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby XvGojira » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:28 am

I always went with the idea that the volcano would sort of bury him, seal him off or something. And I've always thought the shot of him in the volcano from Biollante was kind of hilarious. Like he was just hanging around the bottom of the volcano, just chilling.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:55 am

Godzilla 1985 was my very first G film, so it holds a special place in my heart. Nostalgia aside, tonight I watched the Japanese version. I've seen it before, but I think my opinion has changed quite a bit from before. I agree with Jelly's post at the top of the page that the American version has some superior parts to it. Namely, it is far better paced and it mostly removes the rather poor special effects. I also think the editing is better in the American version. There are are some quick shots of destruction the "85" film removes during Godzilla's battle with the Super X (building rubble falling; people running) that are distracting and frankly aren't needed. It also eliminates the laughably bad shots of the giant foot (complete with curved toenails) and changes the music in some spots that really effect the mood for the better (IIRC). I even enjoy the battle sequences that were altered by having entire scenes switched around. G85 also gets rid of some very bad sound effects/music (when the volcano is shown, there is a distracting omnimous, low sound that doesn't match the music cue playing at all). Lastly, there are some shots during the meeting between USA, Japan, and Russia that are edited for the better (the "he's right!" scene; the fact that the Prime Minister's ear is constantly shown in what is supposed to be a point of view sequence; the American ambassador exaggeratingly shaking his head no - hilarious as it may be). The Americanized film has it's faults - namely the changes to the Russians and some of the dimwitted dialogue - but it also improves a lot of areas. I think I prefer the ending of G85 as well.

As for the Japanese version, the movie is ok. What I love, unabashedly so, is the score for this film and the atmosphere it creates. Godzilla is truly scary at times, and his shining moment happens as he purposely topples a building on top of the Super X. The scene directly following is chilling as Godzilla looks onward. I also love the roar used for this film - deep, bellowing, and terrifyingly powerful. There is another scene where Godzilla is fighting in Tokyo Bay and the smoke billows out of his mouth as he emerges from an explosion. It's a great shot, as is the sequence where the entire military fleet is left in smoldering ash. The original version also benefits from a straight forward approach in a real world setting - Godzilla destroys a sub and nuclear war is only averted when it is announced he exists and has returned. The Prime Minister's character is probably my favorite of the bunch. His explanation as to why he decides against using nukes is well done and completely rational as he asks the US and Russian leaders if they would have the courage to use nukes on their own cities if Godzilla attacked them.

The cast for this film is ok, but only the Prime Minister is memorable for me. I do like Hayashida quite a bit, but there isn't the same level of pull I get from the cast of MZ.

Overall, this movie benefits from the atmosphere more than anything else. Some of the movie is kind of...boring. I like it, but it's not as good as I remember it being as a kid. The special effects vary from "awesome explosions!" to "why did this make the film?" The miniatures and matte shots are usually pretty solid for this film and the Cybot is generally cool but is distracting in a few shots when switching between it and the actual suit.

Random thought to close out the review - I really missed the "Sayanora Sucker!" line from G85 as a jet pilot is about to attack Goji.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Shin_Edda_Robo!!!!! » Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:07 am

Keiju Kobayashi's role as the Prime Minister is really well done. He was great in Submersion of Japan. I don't ever see him smile in any role he's in.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby jellydonut25 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:02 pm

I prefer the American version also. I for one actually prefer the evil-ized Russians. It makes the film feel more of a period piece or something and gives it a more entertaining flair.

Also, some of the dialogue changes seem to be for the better, imho, and really it's only the Dr. Pepper chugging ginger who is a detriment to the Americanization, which clips along at a faster pace and keeps me more entertained.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby MekaGojira3k » Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:26 pm

"We Can't Stop Here, This is Bat Country!"

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:03 pm

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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Dr Kain » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:06 pm

Is there a subtitle script available for this movie that I could download? I don't mean the movie with subs, I just mean the script itself I can put over the movie. When I eventually get to my review of this, I'd like to be able to show the footage with subs on it.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Hybrid Gojira » Sat May 23, 2015 6:28 pm

I watched the American G85 cut today.

My opinion from earlier in this thread hasn't really changed much - I like most of the edits in the American version. The majority of the them were actually needed - they cut tons of effects scenes that were poorly shot. They also rearranged some of the film, especially the battle in Tokyo Bay...but for my money, I think the new arrangement works better than the Japanese film.

Overall, what I LOVE about this film are two things - the score and the fact the roar Godzilla has. G has screen presence. He's huge. He walks through the military and then utterly annihilates everything. The effects, while bad at times, are usually very big and flashy. I don't understand what happened after G89...Toho became lazy.

It's certainly not the best Godzilla film, but I enjoy it a ton.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Jared » Fri Jun 05, 2015 2:12 am

I find most of the edits in GODZILLA 1985 to be downright grating. The Japanese version has a tense, slow build-up and a sense of dread that the U.S. version doesn't even come close to. I do like some of the edits made during the Tokyo rampage, though.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Jorzilla » Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:39 pm

The Japanese cut is slow, and the build up is really good, that being said, it's a little underwhelming that for all the build up Godzilla only attacks Tokyo for a day. Unlike the original Godzilla is dispatched really quickly in this film....it's a little underwhelming.
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Re: TALKBACK #16: Godzilla 1985

Postby Gwangi » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:55 am

Happy 30th Anniversary "Godzilla 1985"! It was 30 years ago today (Aug. 23rd, 1985) when this film was released.

Some of you guys old enough would remember these trailers:


I recall, New World did a great job advertising this movie everywhere. It was featured aplenty on Entertainment Tonight. And I even remember Johnny Carson making mention of it. Unfortunately, it did not gross the money New World had hoped and even worse, it got critically panned by the critics. Truthfully, I didn't think it was a great movie either, but was still discouraged that so many critics had held not only scorn for this movie, but the entire franchise as well. In my mind, it was almost giving the Medved brothers'' book some validity that most of these Toho films were turkeys. :evil: Of course, we now know several filmmakers who actually loved these movies from Guillermo Del Toro, to Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino, so it is good to realize, I was not alone!

While I still don't think "Godzilla 1985" is a great movie, it has grown on me over the years. While the Japanese version makes things a little more coherent, I still prefer the American version. Ironically, this was the year Raymond Burr would return to play another one of his famous characters of the past - Perry Mason, as it was revived by NBC.

I think the best part we got in all of this were those two Dr. Pepper commercials. While I didn't care for the design of the monster suits, I LOVED the miniature settings.



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