Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Godzilla 1985 Sayonara Tokyo!
Year: 1984
Director: Koji Hashimoto
Stars: Keiju Kobayashi, Ken Tanaka, Yasuko Sawaguchi, Shin Takuma, Yosuke Natsuki, Raymond Burr, Travis Swords, Warren Kemmerling, James Hess
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: During a turbulent storm a fishing boat crew witness a vast, terrifying shape rising out of the ocean. Reporter Goro Maki (Ken Tanaka) discovers the vessel the next day, but finds the crew are a bloody mess of shrivelled corpses, attacked by mutated flesh-eating bugs. All except for the traumatised Ken Okumura (Shin Takuma) who claims to have witnessed the return of Godzilla, the giant radioactive monster that wreaked havoc across Japan thirty years ago. Okumura is placed under quarantine but Maki cynically arranges a reunion with his sister, Naoko (Yasuko Sawaguchi), so he can leak the Godzilla story to the general public. As Godzilla ravages Tokyo, Professor Hayashida (Yosuke Natsuki) hatches a brilliant (well, not really) idea to lure the beast to its doom, little realising the world’s super-powers have a more drastic solution in mind…

For their first new Godzilla movie in nine years, Toho decided to ignore the last fourteen films and start from scratch. Godzilla 1985, or The Return of Godzilla as it is known in Japan, restores everyone’s favourite radioactive reptile back to his old, evil, city-wrecking ways with a story that is deadly serious, even dour for the most part. Not that you could tell from the campy ad campaign New World supremo Roger Corman devised for the American release. New World also trimmed the film down from one-hundred and three to ninety-one minutes, inserted new scenes with an American cast, and preceded the feature with Marv Newland’s infamous thirty second cartoon Bambi Meets Godzilla (1969), which some maintain is an ingenious allegorical satire and others consider a one-joke novelty now barely worth a YouTube rating.

Corman’s one stroke of genius was having Raymond Burr recreate his role as American reporter Steve Martin, renamed simply Martin for obvious reasons. For those readers only familiar with the now-widely available Japanese cut of the original Godzilla (1954), Burr’s character was edited into the international version by producer Joseph E. Levine, who worried drive-in audiences would not respond to a film with an all-Japanese cast. Burr did an array of interviews to promote Godzilla 1985 and seemed genuinely pleased to have been part of Godzilla’s legacy. Nevertheless, it has to be said, his scenes add nothing to the film beyond occasional grimaces at monitor screens and prominent product placement for Dr. Pepper. In fact the New World cut does everything except have Big G kick back with a skyscraper sized can of the soft drink or say something like: “Mm, nothing else quenches my thirst after a hard day stomping Tokyo to dust.” Another problem is the inclusion of sarcastic Major McDonough (Travis Swords) who makes crass jokes while watching dozens of Japanese citizens die. If he can’t take Godzilla seriously, why should we?

Even without these ill-judged additions, the original cut was far from the triumphant return Godzilla fans had hoped for. Embarrassed by the campy tone of the Seventies Godzilla films, series producer Tomoyuki Tanaka swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. The Return of Godzilla aims for sober suspense rather than comic book thrills, but aside from the ominous build-up and a small handful of nicely staged sequences, it is a sluggish and joyless monster movie with an illogical plot that limps along to an anticlimactic finale. Forty minutes in, Professor Hayashida figures out how to lure Godzilla to his doom but it takes another meandering hour before they put his idea into practice. Two thirds of the film involve serious men in serious suits sitting in serious rooms engaging in serious debate. The Cold War satire was truncated in the American version, but remains one of the original film’s more successful, if heavy-handed aspects. Once again, Godzilla becomes the living embodiment of nuclear holocaust. Not only does he consume nuclear energy but his assault triggers a Soviet nuclear missile that that soon heads towards Tokyo. Still, as later films proved, Godzilla functions best when he has a personality and a goal beyond simple, mindless destruction.

The human drama is the worst kind of daytime soap opera nonsense, poorly written and performed with even less conviction by lacklustre leading man Ken Tanaka and blank-eyed zombie Yasuko Sawaguchi. Reijiro Koroku and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra supply a suitably menacing score, although one misses Akira Ifukube’s epic themes. Ifukube returned in the superior second sequel Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). Just to shoot themselves in the other foot, Toho also included an incongruous J-pop ballad called “Goodbye, My Love” sung in English by (yes, her again) Yasuko Sawaguchi, whose lyrics include (and I kid you not): “Goodbye Godzilla! Sayonara! Till we meet again!”

Special effects were supervised Teruyoshi Nakano, a veteran of the series since the late Sixties. In spite of the large budget allotted to Nakano, his miniatures look exactly like what they are, although there is one neat scene where Godzilla grabs the famous Bullet Train. Look out for the Catholic priest who inexplicably grins while his fellow passengers are about to die. Godzilla’s initial appearance as a shadowy shape emerging out of the ocean is quite effective, but undone once we glimpse the new suit in all its goofy glory with those comical ping-pong eyes. This film also introduced Super-X, or Capital City Defence Fighter Super-X to give its full title. Either way it is a rather humdrum mecha design, unlikely to excite anyone and its battle with Big G is a non-event. There are Godzilla movies more slapdash than this one, but none are as boring.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 4131 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: