|"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away."|
Toho’s (the Japanese Studio responsible for Godzilla) Godzilla movies can be broken down into three series:
1. The Showa series: 15 movies from Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954) to Terror of Mechagodzilla(1975). (The term Showa comes from the name of the Japanese emperor of the day.)
2. The Heisei series: 7 movies from Godzilla 1985 (1984) to Godzilla vs. Destroyah (1995) (This series takes its name from the current Japanese emperor.)
3. The Millennium series: 6 movies from Godzilla 2000 (1999) to Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)
This is my top 10 Godzilla movies list. All the movies have their merits, but this is a top 10 list of the most fun to watch. You'll have to forgive me, the original 1954 "Gojira" does not appear here. It's a classic, I know, but when I'm in the mood for Godzilla, it's not usually the first that comes to mind. The same goes for Godzilla 1985. Perhaps it's because neither have any other monsters. It comes as no surprise that you’ll see a lot of Mothra, King Ghidorah, and Mechagodzilla in my list.
10. Godzilla vs. Biollante(1989): One of the most original Godzilla movies, the story was the product of a national contest. The winner was a dentist. The story centers around international corporate espionage over possession of the Godzilla cells. Godzilla goes up against the creation of an unethical scientist, a cross between a rose bush, Godzilla’s own cells, and the soul of a young girl and takes its name from an old Nordic legend. Biollante is an impressive match for Godzilla. The music is bad, but the story is interesting, the special effects are great and it’s probably the best Godzilla suit design.
9. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah(1991):
Probably the most complicated story of any other movie. It features time travel, a new terrestrial origin to King Ghidorah, and is the only movie to fully explain how Godzilla was created and shows us what he looked like before he was mutated by the atomic bomb. It’s the most controversial Godzilla movie, made at a time when economic tensions between America and Japan were at an all time high, it features evil westerners from the future and American soldiers in WWII being killed by the Godzillasaurus. It also has an unforgettable scene where Godzilla cries. Both King Ghidorah and Mecha King Ghidorah are amazing. The battles and music are great.
8. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla/ Godzilla vs. The Bionic Monster (1974):
This is a classic. The first appearance of Godzilla’s robotic nemesis. It’s so fun to watch. It features four monsters including fan favorites King Seesar and Angilas. This is from the days when Godzilla was still a hero. Aliens create a robotic monster to kill Godzilla so they can take over the world. The action is great and fast paced.
7. Godzilla vs. Mothra: Battle for Earth(1992):
The hero is an Indiana Jones like adventurer that gets caught up in the search for the legendary Mothra. Godzilla fights Mothra and her evil twin, newcomer Battra, who was in part inspired by the old Megalon monster. The climactic battle takes place in Yokohama. Are the combined forces of Mothra and Battra enough to stop Godzilla?
6. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II(1993):
The pinnacle of the Heisei series. Mechagodzilla is constructed by man using the technology recovered from Mecha King Ghidorah. It also features Rodan and baby Godzilla. Godzilla is nearly killed and is saved by an unlikely ally in one of the best climaxes to any Godzilla film. A solid story and great special effects make this one a show stopper.
5. Destroy All Monsters(1968):
One of the most famous monster movies of all time. All the Giant monsters are set loose on the world, being controlled by a malevolent race of aliens. Eventually they join forces against a familiar enemy, King Ghidorah. This one features a wonderful score and engaging human story. It also has one of the greatest battle sequences ever set to film. A must see!
4. Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.(2003):
The story is eloquent. It combines high-technology and ancient gods. Mechagodzilla returns from the previous installment. Making Mechagodzilla a cyborg with the first Godzilla’s skeleton inside it, was a stroke of genius. In this one, Godzilla is back along with Mothra. The fairy twins come to plead with the humans to return the restless bones of Godzilla to the sea where they belong. Mothra is impressive and the fight scenes are really well done. The Mothra larvae get their chance at Godzilla, too. Will Tokyo survive the battle?
3. Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster(1964): I love this one. The original appearance of King Ghidorah is still the best. A beautiful foreign princess survives an assassination attempt and afterward believes herself to be a Martian and starts prophesying the appearance of giant monsters. The dashing young policeman Shindo and his sister must protect her from the assassins as the monsters appear one by one. Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra must combine forces to defeat King Ghidorah. Even by today’s standards, this one is amazing. The appearance of each monster is dramatic and the fight sequences are great.
2. Mothra vs. Godzilla(1964):
Still one of the best. A classic tale of evil vs. good, masculine vs. feminine, yin vs. yang. Mothra must defend her egg against a marauding Godzilla. The fight between them is one of the best in Kaiju history. Also, the battles with the Japanese military are very well done. One of the best of all time.
1. Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (GMK)(2001):
My pick for the best Godzilla movie of all time. The one that breaks all the rules. In this one, Godzilla is bad and Ghidorah is good. Three guardian monsters, Ghidorah, Mothra, and Baragon must defend Japan against a truly evil Godzilla. The story is original and the power and special effects are truly riveting. To learn more about this one, read my review