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Did you know there are 30 "Godzilla" movies?

Writer: Casey Chong

"Gojira", or internationally known as, "Godzilla", is more than just a monster movie. First appearing in 1954, "Godzilla" is famously known for revolutionising the kaiju genre in the history of Japanese cinema. The black-and-white classic, in turn, became so successful at the Japan box office during its original release in 1954 and subsequently paved the way for more sequels and reboots over the course of 60 years. Since then, "Godzilla" is hailed as a Japanese icon and also became a mass inspiration for many future filmmakers around the world, including Mexican director Guillermo del Toro for his kaiju-inspired Hollywood blockbuster, "Pacific Rim" in 2013. To date, there are 30 feature movies of Godzilla made in Japan and Hollywood (the 1998 American remake directed by Roland Emmerich and the 2014 reboot by Gareth Edwards). Following the success of Edwards' version of "Godzilla" two years ago, the Japanese version has finally made its own huge comeback with "Godzilla: Resurgence" this year. Otherwise known as "Shin Godzilla" in Japan, the brand new reboot had already attracted positive reception both critically and financially when it first premiered in its native country back in July. Thankfully, local fans and audiences can finally witness the return of Japanese Godzilla stomping into our cinemas this 22 September. To honour the upcoming release of "Godzilla: Resurgence", let's take a step back towards the past and check out every Godzilla movie examined and evaluated from its successful black-and-white origin in 1954 to the recent Gareth Edwards' Hollywood reboot in 2014.


4. "Mothra vs. Godzilla" (1964)



This fourth Godzilla movie follows reporter Ichiro (Akira Takarada) and his rookie female photographer Junko (Yuriko Hoshi) in covering a story about a mysterious giant egg emerging ashore following a typhoon. The giant egg actually belongs to a monstrous moth creature known as Mothra, which in turn is guarded under the care of twin fairies a.k.a. The Shobijin (Emi and Yumi Ito) from Infant Island. When Godzilla strikes again, Ichiro and Junko plead for the twin fairies' help to defeat the monster by summoning Mothra. Often cited as one of the best Godzilla sequels, "Mothra vs. Godzilla" is also famously known for introducing the series' greatest kaiju monster, Mothra. Unlike the cheesy take of "King Kong vs. Godzilla" two years prior, this fourth Godzilla movie is improved in many aspects. The Mothra design itself is iconic, complete with its flapping giant wings capable of releasing poisonous dust. The battle between Mothra and Godzilla towards the climactic finale is both fun and engaging. The movie also features the twin fairies' eerie yet strangely addictive theme song of Mothra, while director Ishiro Honda manages to slip in some relevant moral allegories involving corporate greed and world peace.

5. "Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster" (1964)



The fifth Godzilla movie sees a Japanese policeman Shindo (Yosuke Natsuki) assigned to protect Princess Selina Salno of Selgina (Akiko Wakabayashi) during her royal visit to Japan. However, her plane explodes midway over the ocean but she is somehow alive and mysteriously emerges as a prophet from planet Venus to warn about the impending disaster. It all starts with the rise of a prehistoric monster known as Rodan and the re-emergence of Godzilla. Then comes a new threat in the form of a three-headed space dragon known as King Ghidorah. As if two monsters in one movie as seen in three prior Godzilla movies ("Godzilla Raids Again", "King Kong vs. Godzilla" and "Mothra vs. Godzilla") are not enough, this fifth Godzilla movie features a spectacular fight between Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra against the King Ghidorah! It was also known as the first movie to depict Godzilla more than just a terrifying monster destroying the city, but also an unlikely saviour who works together with other monsters to fight their common enemy. Although the movie tends to be slow-paced and is cheesy at many levels (including a scene where Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra converse with each other in 'monster language'!), "Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster" remains an entertaining kaiju entry that introduces the famous King Ghidorah.

6. "Invasion Of Astro-Monster" (1965)



Following the events of "Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster", this direct follow-up deals with two astronauts, Fuji (Akira Takarada) and Glenn (Nick Adams) who are sent to outer space to investigate the enigmatic Planet X. They encounter a group of alien humanoids known as the Xiliens. Led by their leader, Controller (Yoshio Tsuchiya), he requests the astronauts to use Godzilla and Rodan to defeat the King Ghidorah, in which he claims the wrath of the three-headed space dragon caused the Xiliens to live in fear. In return, he will grant a formula that can help the human race cure cancer. In an attempt to rejuvenate the franchise, "Invasion Of Astro-Monster" also features an intergalactic mix of science fiction tropes and space exploration. Apart from witnessing the return of the three monsters including Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah, this sixth Godzilla movie introduced a different kind of antagonist in the form of the Xiliens. Although not everything worked well with each other, credit should be given for combining various genres in an otherwise straightforward kaiju movie.
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Cinema Online, 19 September 2016

Related Movies:
Shin Godzilla (Japanese) (22 Sep 2016)
Godzilla (15 May 2014)

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