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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Postby Legion » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:32 pm

The Super X team are just a bunch of nameless guys in a ship who you know are going to bite it. No drama. No tension. No nothing.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:54 pm

Legion wrote:The Super X team are just a bunch of nameless guys in a ship who you know are going to bite it. No drama. No tension. No nothing.


Wow, really Legion? I guess to each his own, but I am at the edge of my seat whenever I see that battle and it's dreadful (in a good way of course) conclusion.
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Postby Legion » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:59 pm

Flame of Udin wrote:Wow, really Legion? I guess to each his own, but I am at the edge of my seat whenever I see that battle and it's dreadful (in a good way of course) conclusion.


It's no more dreadful than all the tanks and aircraft Godzilla blows up on a regular basis. I don't know who any of the guys in the Super X were and since I have no emotional investment in them I really don't care when they die. I just don't see what's so dramatic and tense about Godzilla's battle with the Super X. Godzilla lumbers around, there's an exchange of weaponry and he casually knocks an entire building on it that falls with a dull thud.

To me that's not interesting at all.
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Postby badism » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:15 am

I only said I was worried about them. I also said I was 8 years old at the time. :lol:

I guess it really depends on one's connection to this film as well. For me it was my first Godzilla film in theaters and my first "serious" G film other then KOTM.

I will never say a bad word about 1985 other then Godzilla's eyes being silly at times. It's a charished childhood memory that has never diminished and for me personally is the measuring stick that no other Heisei Godzilla film can even come close to measuring up to. Biollante is second in my eyes, the rest are all distant.
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Postby armandv » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:59 pm

Summer 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Godzilla 1985...

http://armandsrancho.blogspot.com/2010/ ... -1985.html
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Postby walshiam » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:29 pm

Where did the past 25 years go? It seems like yesterday.
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Postby zekend01 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:07 am

walshiam wrote:Where did the past 25 years go? It seems like yesterday.


Yep, doesn't seem that long ago. I was 9!
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Postby metal_bryan » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:31 pm

I was only a year old. :) As were a ton of other members here. We reaped the benefits of the heightened Godzilla market at the time in the years to follow.
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Postby jellydonut25 » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:20 pm

I was 0...well, technically I was just over 2 months old...
Gills.

My DVD/Blu-Ray Collection:
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Postby canofhumdingers » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:13 pm

My very first Godzilla memory is of this movie. Well, more specifically one of the tv spots. I was only 3, but I distinctly remember being at my grandparents house watching tv with my cousins. the preview came on & of course, being a big dinosaur fan, I was instantly captivated.

I don't remember much, but I DO remember the shot of Godzilla blasting the dock/military from the water & how awesome it was! I was actually chewing grape bubble gum & pulled it out in a long string to mimic the breath.

Crazy how you remember stuff like that. I didn't actually see my first godzilla movie until 7 years later when I was 10.
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Postby armandv » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:50 pm

canofhumdingers wrote:My very first Godzilla memory is of this movie. Well, more specifically one of the tv spots. I was only 3, but I distinctly remember being at my grandparents house watching tv with my cousins. the preview came on & of course, being a big dinosaur fan, I was instantly captivated.

I don't remember much, but I DO remember the shot of Godzilla blasting the dock/military from the water & how awesome it was! I was actually chewing grape bubble gum & pulled it out in a long string to mimic the breath.

Crazy how you remember stuff like that. I didn't actually see my first godzilla movie until 7 years later when I was 10.


Sounds like it definitely left an impression on a very young mind.

I posted an addendum to my blog of yesterday on the movie:

http://armandsrancho.blogspot.com/2010/ ... endum.html
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Postby canofhumdingers » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:25 pm

Your blog about the building reminded me Armand. When in Japan last October, we spent 3 nights in Shinjuku and one day walked through the skyscraper district specifically because it was featured so prominently in the movie and I pointed out several buildings I recognized to my wife. It was my goal to find the building that Godzilla passed out into and later knocked over on the Super X. With a little help from google maps, I was successful! (and to top it off, our next item that afternoon was going to a godzilla toy store in Akihabara!)

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Postby armandv » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:16 pm

^That's a great shot! I can see the tax towers in the background.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:25 am

That is a very awesome picture!

I think G 1985 really brought a new generation of G-Fans to the table including myself, although I was born that year it came out in the US as I grew older they were still promoting the film. Toys 'R' Us still had half an isle of nothing but Godzilla merchandise from the Imperial figures to the various punching bags and blow up dolls. I specifically remember in the check out lanes there were boxes of the 6" Imperial figures on display and the box they were in depicted an artist's interpretation of the bridge battle (and I remember it being very well done). White Castle had a happy meal campaign as well.

The film was bought for me on laser disc and I remember it was selling well and the store video store I got it in still had the Poster in the window. Of course this was back in the day where you had to wait some time to get a release on video so I am sure it wasn't that old of a release. Also we were not to see the US release Biollante until 1993, and on TV only. So for a long time G 1985 was the essential Godzilla movie.

The late 80's was a great time to be into Godzilla as a kid, he was everywhere!
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Postby Goji 84 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:15 pm

Flame of Udin wrote:That is a very awesome picture!

I think G 1985 really brought a new generation of G-Fans to the table including myself, although I was born that year it came out in the US as I grew older they were still promoting the film. Toys 'R' Us still had half an isle of nothing but Godzilla merchandise from the Imperial figures to the various punching bags and blow up dolls. I specifically remember in the check out lanes there were boxes of the 6" Imperial figures on display and the box they were in depicted an artist's interpretation of the bridge battle (and I remember it being very well done). White Castle had a happy meal campaign as well.

The film was bought for me on laser disc and I remember it was selling well and the store video store I got it in still had the Poster in the window. Of course this was back in the day where you had to wait some time to get a release on video so I am sure it wasn't that old of a release. Also we were not to see the US release Biollante until 1993, and on TV only. So for a long time G 1985 was the essential Godzilla movie.

The late 80's was a great time to be into Godzilla as a kid, he was everywhere!


I can relate my friend. Godzilla 1985 was also my first G film, and it had a very big impression on me. I loved dinosaurs at the time, and I remember looking at the box art and being very excited. I wasn't born until two months after the film was released in theaters, so I unfortunately don't remember the commercials. I DO remember the Honey Nut Cheerios commercial with footage from the film. And I remember the abundance of the Godzilla Imperial figures at Toys'r'us. (Still have mine somewhere).

Of course by the time I saw the film, it was 1989...but Biollante was still several years away (I didn't see it until the end of 92'). Though I have to agree, it was a fun to be a Godzilla fan at this time. I saw all of the Heisei films get released, and was able to track most of them down at comic conventions. Even after the Heisei series was over, I always found myself going back to Godzilla 1985. There is no other G film like it. It's really a shame we didn't get more G films in the 80's.
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Postby metal_bryan » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:47 pm

I'm also one of this generation of new G-fans which 85 created here in the U.S. I can remember the toys on the shelves and I was huge into monsters/dinosaurs/etc, like most boys.
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Postby Mac » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:11 pm

I love the set design in this film. Nakano's Shinjuku is more visually appealing than Kawakita's skyscrapers for sure. Man, Godzilla needs to destroy more high-rises, I doubt Warner Bros will fail in that respect.
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Postby king_ghidorah » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:50 pm

Mac wrote:I love the set design in this film. Nakano's Shinjuku is more visually appealing than Kawakita's skyscrapers for sure. Man, Godzilla needs to destroy more high-rises, I doubt Warner Bros will fail in that respect.

:D
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Postby Arrow » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:01 pm

I hope it's alright if I bump this. I remember discussing The Return of Godzilla several times on Toho Kingdom and I feel that these two posts I made convey my feelings towards the movie:

The Return of Godzilla delivers in some areas and not in others. On the positive side, the music is excellent and really sets up the grim tone. RoG's soundtracks are amongst my favorite of the Godzilla movies. And the decision to bring back the idea of a threatening Godzilla (in the eyes of some fans, "taking him back to his roots") was a fresh one at the time. The Cold War theme was great and I liked that they tried to make Godzilla relevant to modern times, much like Godzilla (1954). The Super-X and the Volcano scenes were pretty well-done.

Unfortunately, that's about as much as I can offer the movie. Because while it does have its strong points, there are a lot of negatives that bring the movie down. The biggest is the human cast. For a film that tries to be a direct callback to the original movie, The Return of Godzilla lacks any notable characterization. Instead we have wooden human characters that are acted mediocrely. And that really makes the movie bland and we're stuck wishing for Godzilla to show up already.

And when he does show up, the destruction scenes are nothing like the first movie. In the first movie, Godzilla drove home his role as war personified by attacking buildings, soldiers, and innocents. He was truly horrifying and the destruction was spectacular. I forgot I was watching a movie! He turns Tokyo into a sea of fire. It's damn amazing. We didn't get that in RoG. Instead we got a Godzilla that wanders lazily around, accidentally destroying buildings. It lacks the energy of the first movie. I suspect the biggest reason for this would be because they were trying to play up the sympathetic angle for Godzilla, something that was a nonentity in the original film. It tries to be King Kong (1976) and Godzilla (1954) at the same time, resulting in a non-threatening Godzilla and uninspired action sequences. The only time a felt a true sense of menace from Godzilla was during his battle with the Super-X.

The special effects are a hit-and-miss. The new miniature sets look impressive. Unfortunately, Godzilla himself does not. I'm no fan of that design, especially the head. The Super-X and military attack sequences are wonderful, probably the biggest special effects highlight of the film. But on the other hand, we get scenes like the bug attack in the beginning. The effects are inconsistent.

All in all, the movie screams 'hit-and-miss'. Some things are good, others are not.


IMHO, it's not a terrible movie. It's just really, really boring. Like others have said most of the characters aren't interesting, the performances fall flat, the special effects are inconsistent, and even the scenes with Godzilla destroying Tokyo just feel contrived. I loved the movie as a child, but I remember watching the Japanese version and just sitting there, bored, waiting for Godzilla to show up. And even when he did show up, the rampage was just "meh" to me.

In defense of the movie, I do acknowledge it's good points. The idea to bring back Godzilla as a genuine menace after he'd been a superhero for over a decade was a good one, I think. I also like that they tried to bring in a more "realistic" version of the character after he'd been flying, dancing, doing karate, during the '70s films (not that this was a bad thing, mind you). I even like the idea of the Super-X and the way that they attempted to kill Godzilla.

I think the movie is full of good ideas. It's just that the execution of these ideas fall flat.
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Postby ryuuseipro » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:52 pm

Arrow wrote:I hope it's alright if I bump this. I remember discussing The Return of Godzilla several times on Toho Kingdom and I feel that these two posts I made convey my feelings towards the movie:

(snipped for space)


Here's my own review:

The movie is a mixed bag.

Teruyoshi Nakano's SPFX are the best thing about this film. They look a lot more realistic and spectacular than any of Kouichi Kawakita's efforts! Nakano did a great job of presenting Godzilla here so breathtakingly. Even the monster's grand entrance is incredible! Also of note is the Shinjuku miniature set, which looks to be the best miniature set they've done before Godzilla 2000: Millennium. The FX in general (especially the sound FX) have a very old-school feel, like the 70s films, but better.

I really liked the Godzilla used in this film. Indeed, they tried to do an update of the original 1954 design, with the eyes of the Mosu-Goji, although the result looks like the Soushingeki-Goji on steroids! The Cybot Godzilla didn't bother me, either.

But character-wise, Godzilla is far more like the 1965 Gamera than Godzilla! He destroys cities because he's clumsy, not because he's an avatar of destruction. Here, man is the folly of Godzilla, not the other way around! Dr. Hayashida (Yousuke Natsuki), the only compelling human character in this film, is basically the grown-up version of Toshio Sakurai from the first Gamera movie. Who knew Toshio grew up from a turtle-crazed kid into a cool liberal professor, who goes on about how man is the real monster, and how they will fail to kill Godzilla. (He wanted to send Godzilla back home, as he had sympathy for him.)

Another thing: Notice that both the 1984 Godzilla and 1965 Gamera met their fate on Ooshima Island! Both plans (the Z-Plan and the Mount Mihara trap), though stopping the monster, never killed them.

The only scenes where Godzilla hearkens back to the 1954 version is the power plant scene, the Tokyo Bay scene, and the final confrontation with the Super X. Absolutely incredible!

I actually liked the Super X, which I thought was very plausible as a mecha. (Its design was an in-joke on Hedorah's flying form!) I would've liked to see a launch sequence (ala Atragon), but there probably wasn't enough time to do it, I guess. It just bursts right into the film, Jerry Bruckheimer style (and subsequently sneaks around mid-air through the city with Godzilla nearby, like a cute little toy with a bombastic Thunderbirds-style theme).

The human characters are indeed a problem, and somewhat of a trendsetter for the subsequent VS Series. The older veteran actors can only sit around and watch everything on a TV screen, just like most other films that follow. Yousuke Natsuki, the only veteran actually busting his chops, is babysitting newcomers Ken Tanaka, Yasuko Sawaguchi, and Shin Takuma, who seem more like ripoffs of characters from Macross. Count me as one who thought the Super X pilots should've had more personality (even though one of the pilots was played by Tetsuya Ushio of Lion Maru fame)!

Reijirou Koroku's music is very powerful and ominous. It seems reminiscent of Basil Poledouris' work. Some parts of it don't work (like the finale track, which accentuates Godzilla's sympathetic character), but it was still a very serviceable score, and one that didn't have to rely on Akira Ifukube tracks, which most subsequent films made mandatory (very unlike past films, where individual composers did their own thing).

Despite the story's problems, it is perhaps the most realistic and grounded of all Godzilla films. And that's scary, compared to the subsequent films in the VS Series, which had fantastic elements that contradict whatever realism the filmmakers were going for.

Overall, after watching the Japanese version, I like the film now more than I did before, even though it seems more like a remake of Gamera the Giant Monster than a Godzilla film! A somewhat worthy film for the last Godzilla film made in the Showa era.
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Postby Flame of Udin » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:38 am

While I agree with alot of what you said Ryuuseipro, I believe you couldn't be more wrong with comparing Godzilla to Gamera in this film.

From what I remember there is only one instance where you see a goof in Godzilla's advance, that being when he steps on the porting or road that can not support his weight, causing him to crash into the nearby building but IMO that is only adding realism to the situation, there are many things beneath the city streets such as subways, sewers, ect. and it is never explored what would happen if a creature that big would add all of its weight before, it obviously wouldn't be pretty.

Aside from that blunder this Godzilla across as the most malevolent and omnipotent force in the entire series in my eyes.
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Postby Legion » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:45 am

It's really towards the bottom of my favorite list. It's got some good points but it's booooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing.
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Postby MouthForWar » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:52 am

The worst part about this movies is the bird call thing.
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Postby baragon123 » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:58 am

I just got a copy of the latest G-Fan and they Interview the dude who played the captain of the Russian Submarine.
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Postby Legion » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:02 am

baragon123 wrote:I just got a copy of the latest G-Fan and they Interview the dude who played the captain of the Russian Submarine.


Holy crap really!? I need to get that issue. I'm sure I'd learn so much. 8-)
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