Friday, 30 May 2014

The Top 5 Godzilla Movies of all Time

Just in case you have been living under a rock, the latest Godzilla film is out. Not only is it a worthy successor to the original Godzilla films, but it's also a fantastic film in its own right. Though a prior knowledge of Godzilla is not needed in order to enjoy the new film, the classic Japanese Godzilla films are great fun and should be enjoyed by all. However, in the almost 30 films produced, a number stand out as truly exceptional. There are others I would have loved to put in this top 5, but they just didn't make the cut. It was tricky only naming 5, but for anyone new to Godzilla, I believe these films offer the best of the best. Enjoy.

5 - Godzilla vs. Biollante

Directed by Kazuki Ōmori and released in 1989, Godzilla vs. Biollante is one of the few examples in a Godzilla film in which the monster Godzilla is fighting is the best part of the film, as opposed to Godzilla himself. Biollante was grown from Godzilla's DNA, and his giant size and countless tentacles make him a force to be reckoned with. Sure, he overshadows the rest of the film, but his awesome encounters with Godzilla easily put this film in the top 5. From the excellent design of Biollante itself to the elaborate sets that both Godzilla and Biollante hurl each other through, Godzilla vs. Biollante is sadly an overlooked entry in the series.

4 - Destroy all Monsters

Directed by Ishiro Honda and released in 1968, Destroy all Monsters always appears on Godzilla fan's top 10 lists. Up until Destroy all Monsters, the Godzilla series, though plentiful with its Kaiju collection, never crammed too many into one film. Destroy all Monsters blasts that notion out of the water, and manages to feature 10 creatures not counting Godzilla! From the awesome Rodan to the cute son of Godzilla, Minilla, to more ferocious foes such as King Ghidorah and the fan favourite, Mothra, Destroy all Monsters delivers by the bucket load. The story to Destroy all Monsters is so over the top it's awesome. It revolves around an alien race, which just happen to be all women, who begin to control the minds of all the monsters on the aptly named “Monster Island”; an island that houses all known monsters. The alien race makes the creatures wig out and attack all the major capitol cities around the world. With more Kaiju than you can shake Godzilla's tail at, Destroy all Monster is a monster mash you just can't miss!

3 - Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

It's not hard to see why King Ghidorah is considered Godzilla's most terrifying foe, as he is the tallest Kaiju in the Godzilla series, with his size being far bigger than even Godzilla himself. While he has appeared in many other Godzilla films, his ultimate battle with Godzilla takes place in 1991's Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Directed by Kazuki Omori, the film is the best and most badass confrontation between these two guys, and includes a pretty trippy story that centres around people from the year 2204 helping modern day Earth destroy Godzilla. How? By sending King Ghidorah, of course! If that wasn't good enough, after King Ghidorah gets his ass handed to him in battle, he's fitted with cybernetic and robotic enhancements, thus turning him into... MECHA-KING GHIDORAH! Awesome, right? This then leads to a balls-to-the-wall confrontation between him and Godzilla, which makes for one of the best fights in the entire series.

2 - Godzilla

I know what you're thinking, “But shouldn't the original film be number 1?” And yes, it technically should, but I think naming it as the best Godzilla film is a little cliché, don't you think? Directed by Ishirō Honda and released in 1954, the original Godzilla didn't have him going head-to-head with another monster, but instead had him terrorizing us! The original film was born out of the end of World War II, with Godzilla himself being a metaphor for nuclear weaponry. Compared to any other Godzilla film, the subtext here is heavy, but the film doesn't beat you over the head with it. It’s more scary than fun, and more informative than awesome, but it still remains possibly the best depiction of Godzilla on screen to date. Considering what year it was made, the special effects here are pretty incredible too, and are a truly terrifying backdrop to the human drama that takes centre stage.

1 - Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

I love this film. Directed by Takao Okawara and released in 1995, the hype surrounding Godzilla vs. Destroyah was that Toho, creator of Godzilla, promised to kill the creature off. Godzilla has “died” before many times over, but always returned at the end of a film. But this wasn't the case with Godzilla vs. Destroyah. To make room for the ill-fated 1998 American Godzilla reboot, Toho were going to kill the creature off... and they did. Spectacularly. The story is superb and focuses on a Godzilla that, much like a failing nuclear reactor, is going into meltdown. His body is lighting up, fiery cracks are appearing on his skin, and as he walks through the ocean he essentially boils all organic life. The humans can't attack him or he'll explode, so they can only just sit back and watch as he carves out a path of destruction.

After being mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer formula (the weapon that killed the original Godzilla in 1954), Precambrian organisms mutate into a creature dubbed Destoroyah; a fearsome foe that quite can quite literally best Godzilla is every way. I won't ruin the ending, but damn, considering it's about a giant monster, it's one of the saddest endings to a film ever. Seriously, if you make your way through every Godzilla film and watch this and don't shed a tear, then you don't love Godzilla, man! Backed up by an incredible soundtrack by Akira Ifukube, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah has it all, and is the perfect send-off for our favourite city stomping Kaiju.

Denis Murphy

Godzilla at CeX

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