Here, for your consideration, are capsule reviews for the Godzilla movies in the Heisei series, made between the years 1984 to 1992. Only minor spoilers are given, with only the barest of plots to preserve some of the joys of the films. Longer reviews will appear when warranted.
A Note About the Heisei Reviews
Nothing major. Just a bit of trivia.
When worked on the first portion of these reviews, I was unaware that Gojira (1984) was technically a part of the Showa era. However, the Heisei series has a continuity (albeit a loose and confusing one) that starts with that particular movie. So, rather than squeezing it back in the Showa reviews, I’m keeping it here.
aka Godzilla 1985
Director: Koji Hashimoto
A second Godzilla appears, resuming where the first left off with the destruction of fishing vessels and a slow approach towards civilization. A modern Japan must now face an indestructible force from Earth’s prehistory.
A decent, albeit slow, start to the new series, this movie is a combination sequel to and remake of the original Gojira. The special effects are a vast improvement over the earlier movies and the human protagonists are given the rare victory over mighty Godzilla.
Like the original, this movie was graced by the presence of Raymond Burr. Unfortunately his scenes were not inserted with near the care and skill of the first time through. Which, all things considered, says something about the job done.
Gojira tai Biorante (1989)
aka Godzilla v. Biollante
Director: Kazuki Omori
A grieving scientist mixes the cells of his dead daughter with the cells of a rose and Godzilla. Meanwhile, terrorist try to blackmail the Japanese government. Either the government agrees to their demands or they release Godzilla from his volcanic prison.
And what father wouldn’t want to mix his child’s DNA with that of Godzilla’s? Nothing FREAKING BIZARRE about that, now is there?
Questionable motives and science aside, this is an excellent movie and, unfortunately, the best of the Heisei series. There are some great scenes here, from a class of psychic children drawing a very specific figure from their shared dream to Godzilla’s first battle with the massive Biollante. Biollante herself is spectacular, suggesting imaginative possibilities that the Heisei series never quite lives up to.
This film introduces the psychic Miki Saegusa, one of the few reoccurring human characters in Godzilla’s history.
Gojira tai Kingu Gidorâ (1991)
aka Godzilla v. King Ghidorah
Director: Kazuki Omori
A team of scientists from the future come back in time to modern Japan to enlist help in dealing with the Godzilla situation. Their plan: prevent Godzilla from receiving the initial dose of radiation that made him such a terrible force.
After the heights of Gojira tai Biorante, there is this. Widely considered one of the best of the Heisei series, this film makes no sense what so ever and effectively screws up the continuity set up in the previous two films. Consider this: the protagonists go back in time, accomplish what they set out to accomplish, return and are promptly asked by the people they left behind if they were successful in moving Godzilla. It hurts the head.
On this, the only real way this movie works is if some of the characters are absolute morons. That and the villains’ scheme could have been accomplished in a far easier way without the hassle they go through…
Such daft plots and shaky characterizations might have been okay during the Showa series, but that was solely because that series seldom asked to be taken seriously. A waste of opportunity and time.
Also the most likely of the Heisei series to get a full review, for that very reason.
aka Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth
Director: Takao Okawara
As the Earth screams in rage at the damage inflicted upon her, she sends out the Destroyer Battra to punish those involved. Only the Moth Goddess Mothra can stop the end of all life. However, greed humans have stolen her priestess and she before she battles her ancient enemy, she will stop at nothing to get them back.
Note the distinct lack of Godzilla in that summery. While theoretically a remake of Mosura tai Gojira, it is in truth an inferior remake of Mosura with Godzilla in a more or less extended cameo. Again, as with the previous Gojira tai Kingu Gidorâ, character motivations change at a drop of the hat with little to no rational explanation. In fact, the summery above, the complete basis of the whole story, is proven inaccurate by the closing moments of the film. A disappointment.
Mothra would continue from this movie to appear in a series of her own, in which she would take over Gamera’s role as a Friend to Children Everywhere. Lucky girl.
Here ends the first part of the Heisei Godzilla Review series.