Godzilla 1985 was a reboot that was released in 1984 after the Showa series that ran from 1954 to 1968. Godzilla 1984 was the beginning of the Heisei series that ran from 1984 to 1995. Like with the original 1954 Godzilla, the first Godzilla film. America recut and redubbed it and called it Godzilla: king of the monsters. In turn, they recut and redubbed Godzilla 1984, or Return of Godzilla and the US made Godzilla 1985.
Godzilla 1985 takes Godzilla back to its dark roots as a monster of mass destruction. To heighten the film experience, it was developed with a dark tone. By having dark tones there is a sense of realism as the world is in shades of grey and dark grey that bring the film to life and make Godzilla fearful and something that is not to be messed with.
The film opens up with a fishing boat in a heavy storm in the ocean off the coast of Japan. Hiroshi “Kenny” Okumura played by Shin Takuma plays one of the fishermen aboard the boat. The radioman is trying to radio for help while also giving the coordinates of their current position. The ship Yahata Maru no.5 is aloft and heading towards a uncharted island off the coast. In a flash of blue light, the surface of the island rose, a horrific roar rises louder than the storm and another more powerful flash of lights hits the ship.
A hand covers an old man’s eyes as he looks through the curtains in his office. The man glances to his left at a dragon statue in a box. Steve Martin or Mr Martin as he is called in the film is played by Raymond Burr who was in Godzilla: king of the monsters returns as a reporter. When he looks over at the statue a small chord chimes in that has a tone of dread and mystery.
The next day a yacht is sailing along the coast. The ship is being piloted by Goro Maki, played by Ken Tanaka who is listening to a radio on the deck and hears the news of a missing ship boat called the Yahata Maru. To distance sees the ship that matches the description on the radio and goes aboard. The film lighting using a lot of black and reds. He finds a man sitting by the radio station. He turns the body around, he sees that the man’s juices have been sucked out. Investigating further he finds Kenny hiding in a storage locker with an axe in his hand. Without thinking Goro checks for a pulse and seeing that he is alive he takes a couple of photos for the paper. Suddenly he is attacked by a giant sea louse and before it can kill him it is killed by Kenny. On deck Goro is attending Kenny wounds and looking at a photo of Kenny and a woman. He asks Kenny what happened. Kenny still in shock says “It was a monster, suddenly the rocks rose. Alive.” Goro not understanding if he is referring to the giant sea louse or something out, but before he could ask a coast guard chopper flies overhead. Goro waves it down.
Elsewhere in Japan Prime Minister Seiki Mitamura played by Keiji Kobayashi is informed of the reports by the coast guard of the possibility of a resurgence by Godzilla. He orders that at for now it is to remain hush-hush for now until they have confirmation of Godzilla. He also doesn’t want to cause a panic if Godzilla was not to attack Japan.
At Tohto Times Goro is told that his story will not be made public, he argues “that its news!?” he askes the editor of the paper what the big secret is and without waiting the editor tells him “Godzilla.” Naturally, he doesn’t believe it, from this it confirms that the stories thirty years ago were true. Unsure of what to do next the editor suggests that he go and speak to Professor Makoto Hayashida, a Biophysicist played by Yosuke Natsuki.
Goro follows the lead and goes to see Professor Hiyashida. Inside, he finds Professor Hiyashida looking though a microscope. He introduces himself, but Hiyashida ignores him when Goro mentions that he is a Reporting for the Tohto Times. Trying to get some answers and start a dialogue Goro asks what he is working on. Professor Hiyashida humouring him tells him that he is working on mutant genetic designs. Goro asks if it has anything got do with Godzilla, finally getting his attention. They sit and chat where Hiyashida goes into the possible origins of Godzilla and that it is indestructible, not only that but is a living nuclear weapon that is destined to walk to Earth forever. During their exchange a female secretary, Naoko Okomura played by Yasuko Sawaguchi asks if they want some tea. Goro ignoring her at first since he was still interested in what the Professor had to say about Godzilla. When he does look at the woman, he recognizes her from the photo that he got from Kenny. Professor Hiyashida notices that he knows seems to know her. Goro shows Professor Hiyashida the photo and tells him that girl is Kenny’s sister and that she isn’t to know that her brother is still alive. Goro asks how many people have to be hurt to keep the secret of Godzilla’s existence.
Later that night Naoko is leaving work when she is stopped by Goro, he asks her if she has heard any news of her brother. Although she informs him that she doesn’t like Reporters she tells him that she hasn’t heard anything and that Kenny is paying for her education and her lively hood and that he is all the family she has left. Not taking any more Goro talking out loud says that “it isn’t fair that the government won’t even tell her that her brother is alive.” She thanks Goro for his kindness and goes off to find her brother. She finds Kenny in a local hospital under government security and is blocking her as she pushes her way past them while she calls out for Kenny. Kenny not sure who’s voice it is that is calling out his name. She manages to poke her head through the door and they make eye contact. Kenny calls off the guards and Naoko runs to him hugging him tight in her arms, thankful that he is alright.
Off the coast, a Soviet nuclear sub is scouting the seas. The radarman reports a large object is heading in their directions. Not sure what it is and unsure how the object has sonar, they believe it to be another sub in the area and fire two torpedoes at it. Before they could celebrate the radarman tells the Captain that object is still heading at them. The crew wait to be stuck side on. Godzilla smashes into them and begins ripping it open. The Captain orders them to report their location and to send a sonar scan of their attacker to Russia. They are drowned and electrocuted as Godzilla crashes the sub in a large explosion.
In the US Major McDonough is talking to General Goodhue about strange weather acting like Hollywood romances and there are unusually large carcasses that have been washing up onshore. The General doesn’t know what’s going on after he hears about the sub’s destruction so he orders Colonel Raschen to get someone that knows “what the hell is going!”
To prevent an International incident the Prime Minister is a council and orders his council men to arrange a meeting with the US and Russia so he can tell them that the sub was destroyed by Godzilla. At the meeting both the US and Russian ambassadors ask and also demand that they have permission to use nuclear weapons on Godzilla on Japanese soil. Considering Hiroshima Prime Minister Seiki Mitamura declines and says he would not allow the use of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil.
After this, it cuts to Tokyo Bay where a Russian ship is docked. The man in charge tells the men that they are to keep the missile option open as he adjusts the trigger on one of the terminals.
Goro, Kenny and Professor Hiyashida are looking at a monitor that shows the Russian sub was attacked further away from Japan. Professor Hiyashida isn’t sure that he won’t attack Japan. The films cuts to a military montage of military choppers and planes dropping sonar in the ocean along the coast.
A light piano chime opens the scene as Godzilla slowly walks through some clouds. Beyond the clouds is the Mihama power plant. Godzilla eyeing his target slowly walks through the building heading for the reactor, crushing men under rubble as it falls on top of them. Goro, Kenny and Professor Hiyashida arrive by helicopter and watch Godzilla rips the roof off like it was nothing. Goro is recording the event with a camera that takes ultra-sonic images. Godzilla lifts up the reactor and begins absorbing the radiation, his spine glowing. A flock of birds fly by. Oddly Godzilla drops the reactor and then follows the birds back to the ocean. The scene starts off slow as we see what Godzilla is seeing. Building in dismay with each death that is caused by Godzilla tearing through the building. Lives are squashed out with each step it takes towards the reactor. Then suddenly it all stops once he reaches the reactor. Godzilla doesn’t see, or acknowledge the humans during its rampage. Showing that we are nothing to him.
Kyle Martin played by Justin Gocke is playing some Zoids and is interrupted when his toys hit Colonel Raschen shoes. He calls for his uncle, Mr Martin appears out of his office. Colonel Rascehn asks for his help. Mr Martin agrees and heads to Washington.
The Japanese are holding a council meeting going over their plan. One of the men informs the council that they have a new weapon called the Super X attack plane. That is loaded with Cadmium missiles that can neutralize Godzilla.
Goro in the Professor office while the Professor looks at the ultra-sonic scans of Godzillas brain. Professor Hiyashida makes a point to say that birds and dinosaurs are genetically similar, which is when Kenny who was taking picture during the Mihama attack argues that when the birds flew by Godzilla seem to follow them. Professor Hiyashida believes that with a “condition response” Godzilla will go anywhere they chose to lead him. He tells Kenny to go to Mt. Mihara and work with a geologist called Minami.
Kenny is with Minami taking samples of Mt. Mihara and testing how active the volcano is. Back in Japan the Prime Minister is talking with his military advisors of the plan to lure Godzilla to Mt. Mihara with the homing beacon created by Professor Hiyashida. The Prime Minister agrees to go ahead with both plans.
General Goodhue, Colonel McDonough and Colonel Raschen are watching footage of the 1954 attack. As Godzilla blast his atomic breath Colonel McDonough suggests that they could use a large dose of horse tranquilizers on Godzilla. Mr Martin interrupts and says “maybe you could use horse sense —.” Mr Martin is interrupted by Generalhue who asks who he is. Colonel Raschen exclaims to the General that he witnessed Godzilla attack in 1954. The General was pleased to meet him and that maybe they had some hope, that maybe Mr Martin had some insight that they didn’t. Mr Martin tells the General that Godzilla is force of nature and that there is no weapon created by man that can kill it. He believes that maybe one day they might find a way to communicate and reason with Godzilla. Mr Martin adds “that for the record they never found any corpse.”
Goro is with the professor talking out loud about how the volcano will kill Godzilla and that it will be a painful death. Professor Hiyashida isn’t so sure that the volcano will kill it. Before 1954 Godzilla was just a legend, but after it appeared for the first time no one knew anything about Godzilla. Professor Hiyashida after craving revenge for so long now just want to return Godzilla back to nature where he belongs. Professor Hiyashida says solemnly “when man falls into conflict with nature monsters are born. I’m just trying to send him home.”
A military helicopter by the coast spots Godzilla heading towards Tokyo. The Prime and the council are in a military bunker and a huge monitor opens up on a wall opposite their table, so they can watch Godzilla. The military and are also told Godzilla is on its way towards Tokyo Bay. The military setup rockets by Tokyo Bay, at Mt. Mihara they setup bombs by the base of the volcano and the transmitter device to lure Godzilla. Godzilla rises out of the ocean and is bombarded by missiles from jets that were marshalled to its positions, firing everything at it. Godzilla blasts them out of sky, exploding around him. Godzilla submerges and continues on rising once more by the Tokyo Bay. The Russian ship is shaken and knocked around. The man in charge is heading for the trigger he set earlier but is knocked out. Godzilla meanwhile is hit with every missile they have but it doesn’t affect him in the slightest. Godzilla charges up and lets out a blast of his radioactive breath, melting and burning everything on the bay. Men are burned alive and blow up instantly. The scene ends in small black clouds from the destruction, now silence with the death of all those that opposed it. Triumphant it lets out an almighty roar. The Russian wakes up and finds the security door locked. He is able to pry it open and squeeze through. Before he dies, he pushes the button setting the timer.
Godzilla heads into Tokyo city. It walks by a building were a man is having diner in a restaurant by himself. Godzilla roars at him, the man tell him that he has no manners and that its not such a big shot. A news helicopter moves in close to report on Godzilla current location. In a quick puff Godzilla, it is blasted out of sky, exploding and crashing into a few cars on the highway causing a chain reaction of explosion. Civilians running away in fear as the fire gets closer to them. In the council chamber beneath Tokyo one of the politicians demands they launch the Super X, the General tells them him that it isn’t ready; they are still loading its weaponry. A train fully loaded with civilians after the emergency signal was triggered is heading towards Godzilla who is close to the tracks. The train conductor hits the breaks, the train stopping on a bridge in front of Godzilla. Godzilla reaches down and picks up a carriage; people crushing into one another as the carriage is held horizontally in its hand. Godzilla peaks inside roaring at the people inside before he drops the carriage killing them. Godzilla continues heads further in crashing the rest of the train and the bridge.
Back in the US Colonel McDonough cracks a joke at the carnage of the people that were just killed. Mr Martin is disgusted by joke with a shrug and goes back to watching the footage.
Military trucks with laser cannons on the back shoot red lasers at Godzilla, not doing any damage but moving him closer into the city. From Professor Hiyashida’s office Goro is holding a device that is resting on his shoulder. The device is a mini transmitter. Godzilla steps by the window and Professor Hiyashida turns on the device. He instructs Naoko to keep a record of the data while he increases the settings. When they raise the frequency Godzilla slowly turns and faces them. It roars and is about to attack the source of the sound when it is stopped by the military trucks whom fire lasers at it, making Godzilla turn sharply around. Goro, Naoko and the Professor aren’t killed luckily, but Godzilla tail swipes through the bottom of building taking out half of it. Goro, Professor Hiyashida and Naoko are trying to escape the building however the emergency doors have closed and they are unable to get to the roof.
The trucks lure Godzilla further away from the building. The Super X flies in to confront Godzilla. They fire two flares vertically in the air, distracting Godzilla so when he opens his mouth, they fire several rounds of Cadmium shells in its mouth. After the last round the Cadmium begins to take effect. Godzilla’s heart stops and its collapses into a building nearby.
The US and Japanese are cheering at the sight. But on the Russian ship the timer finishes counting down and a nuclear missile is launched from a Russian satellite. Colonel Raschen hears of the missiles and asks General Goodhue what their orders are. General Goodhue asks for confirmation from NORAD before he makes any decisions. Back in Japan they hear from the US of the missile. They ask if the US can shoot it down. General Goodhue is speaking to the Prime Minister and admits that “they have never shot down an incoming missile, but he says that they will do there best.” The US fires their rocket at the missile.
In the building Goro, Professor Hiyashida and Naoko are looking at Godzilla, Naoko asking the Professor if Godzilla was really dead. The Professor replying that Godzilla doesn’t die so easily. A military helicopter flies by the window, Kenny is inside and he instructs them to back away from the window. A soldier fires a rod at the window that opens up and explodes, destroying the window. Kenny hops into a rubber vest that is attached to winch and is hoist down. Kenny tells them of the missile the US shot, Professor Hiyashida believing it will work loops his arms in the vest and before he can grab the equipment from Naoko a gust of winds pulls him out of the building. The Professor safe they send the vest back down. Kenny goes to put Naoko in the vest but she admits she can’t hold the weight of the device. Time and fuel running short Kenny takes the device. Kenny looks at Goro, without saying a word Goro knew that Kenny wanted him to protect his sister. Kenny exits the window. The winch struggles at first as he is slammed into the building and almost drops the devices. Kenny manages to get aboard the helicopter, he stares back at his sister hoping to save her, but he had no choice. Sad music cuts in as the chopper flies away. A man in the chopper tells Goro and Naoko on a speaker that they will send another chopper to pick them up.
Time slows down as the counter go down to the missiles hit. The missiles hit and due it being a high atmosphere blast it creates and electrical storm. Mr Martin is watching the sky turn red and is wondering what is happening. Colonel McDonough takes it upon himself to inform Mr Martin what he is witnessing is absolutely harmless. Mr Martins responds, informing Colonel McDonough of a similar event that wiped communication from the US to the coast of Australia. The Colonel taken a back by the brashness of Mr Martin and that his assurances meant little when it comes to the power of nature and man’s effect on it.
The Super X still new technology, hasn’t been properly tested yet and still needs some refining as the power to the engines overheated. The Captain orders the men to put the ship down gently. They begin the process of venting the engines. A large storm rages over head and Godzilla acting like a lightning rod gets struck twice, recharging him and waking him up. Godzilla roars in anger, it sees the Super X on the ground and begins moving towards it. One of the men informs the Captain of Godzilla and begin to raise the Super X back in the air. They shoot lasers and rockets with no result. The Super X hides behind a building, Godzilla blast a hole though it to the other side revealing its target. The shockwave knocks the building that Goro and Naoko are still in as they are trying to escape. Godzilla continues to blast the Super X.
Goro and Naoko reach the bottom of the building that is now missing. Goro figures to use a fire hose as rope. The same civilian from the restaurant walks by the building and Goro yells at him to get his attention. Goro asks him to hold the line steady so Naoko and himself can climb down. Godzilla blast the Super X, short circuiting it and causing it to go down. One of the men is electrocuted by his controls as the plane lowers to the ground several blocks away from Godzilla behind the building that Godzilla had blast a hole through earlier. The men continue to get shocked and burned as their terminals explode in their faces. In one push Godzilla drops the building on the Super X, completely crushing it. The camera closes into Godzilla face as it sees Goro and Naoko. It roars and begins giving chase.
Professor Hiyashida and Kenny arrive at Mt. Mihara and begin prepping the magnetic transmitter with the data he, Goro and Naoko had collected earlier with the right frequency to lure Godzilla.
Goro, Naoko and the stranger are running to together, the stranger stops when he sees an abandon handbag and snatches it. Godzilla chases him to a dead end after the stranger trips and falls. The stranger tells Godzilla to “back off, back off’ till Godzilla steps on him. Goro and Naoko are running any where they can to get away from Godzilla, they are however running out of places to run as the city is covered in rabble from the building Godzilla pushed over. Professor Hiyashida is finished and sends the signal. Godzilla only another step away from stepping Goro and Naoko when he receives the signal. Godzilla turns and heads for Mt. Mihara. Goro says that he should be there and he asks if Naoko will go with. Naoko nods and smiles at Goro, glad that he protected her and that he isn’t just a reporter. She was aware of his affections for her, but up till then she wasn’t sure if she would return them or not.
Godzilla approaches the mouth of the volcano; it stops when it sees the transmitter, not sure of what it is. Before it could do anything, the ground gives way and Godzilla falls deeper inside the mouth. Professor Hiyashida gives Kenny the detonator and he sets of the bombs, triggering the volcano. Godzilla falls further in. The Prime Minister and the council are standing in front of the monitor watching Godzilla in the Volcano crying at the loss of the creature and also that they have survived. Mr. Martin narrates over what Godzilla meant to Earth if humans are to continue on there current path. Would there be more monsters, or would Godzilla come back again? Godzilla with no where to go jumps into the lava. What happened to him unknown.
The tone is generally dark throughout. There are a few points where the American director believed it would be better with some jokes. The tone is dark though, from the black and red lighting throughout. The slow rising of the camera showing how big Godzilla is. To the music with its ominous tenors of mystery and horror. The American version isn’t readily available and one would understand why at the tone and meaning of the film almost being lost in the edit. When watching such film as Godzilla the feel of the movie and it themes must remain consistent otherwise the end result is a mess. The parts of the film that are set in Japan maintains its theme throughout. For an American dub and edit its not bad and it is a good way to introduce people to the monster, but with that being said the original Japanese cut is the better version. So to finish, dark tones, and/or themes in the film gives it a sense of realism that grounds you in that universe and to the nature of what it is about.