Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1956) = By age 10, I had seen most of the Showa Godzilla films. The only ones left: Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla's Revenge, and the US version of the original film (which at the time I was not aware was actually an Americanized Re-edit). One Christmas, my brother and I got two gifts: VHS tapes Godzilla's Revenge and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The collection was nearing completion! Anyways, that Christmas night, we watched both films (nothing screams Merry Christmas like Kaijus, right?). I was especially happy to finally be seeing (what I thought) was the very first Godzilla movie. It was pretty much what I expected it to be, though I will always remember Raymond Burr's narration being chilling in the opening scene.
Godzilla Raids Again (1955) = I saw this not long after I saw my first Godzilla movie, and I was ready to dive head first into the series. This one was probably the most jarring to my 5 year old brain because the title screen instantly confused me. "Gigantis"....who is Gigantis? Why are they calling Godzilla by the wrong name? Why does it say Godzilla on the box, but Gigantis in the movie? As a kid, I just couldn't get passed the title. I initially thought my parents gave me the wrong tape or something. After a while, I finally sat down and watched it and I was bored out of my mind. I typically liked 50s monster movies, but this one just didn't work for me. Its a shame I didn't see this for the first time in my teens when I was into MST3K and was able to appreciate it for how silly the US edit was.
King Kong Vs. Godzilla (1962) = This was the first Godzilla movie I ever saw. I was 4 years old and already a Kong fan and my brother got a copy of the film and insisted that I watch it with him. I thought Kong would have no trouble with a big T-Rex looking thing. All he has to do is break its jaws, right? Well, I start watching the film and after I get passed the "Oooooh, Kong is in color this time!" and all of that excitement, I found myself totally getting sucked into it. I was 4 and this was more magical to me than The Wizard of Oz. The scene with the octopus was awesome (again, I was 4) and I jumped for joy at seeing Kong in another movie. I also found myself laughing at all the jokes provided in the English dub ("I don't care about your corns!", again, kid me thought this was hilarious).
But the big moment came when Godzilla finally showed up. I had seen dinosaurs before, but I'd never seen one that breaths blue fire and stomps on tanks. I was like "Okay, Godzilla is pretty cool" and then for the first confrontation between the two titans, Godzilla burns Kong and KK hightails it! I was like "Did...did he just make Kong run away!". Instead of getting upset that the monster I was a fan of ran away, I became a little traitor and immediately switched sides. Godzilla became my guy and almost 30 years later, I am still a fan. Granted, I paid for my betrayal when Kong won out in the end, but what can you do? lol.
Mothra Vs. Godzilla (1964) = It is funny how things change with time as this is widely considered to be one of the best Godzilla movies ever made, and I'm definitely in that same boat now, but in my youth, it was one of the ones I hated. In jumping into the monster fandom, up to this point I saw KK Vs. G, GRA, and a couple stand alones like Mothra and Rodan (which I loved by the way). The idea of Mothra and Godzilla appearing in the same film appealed to me and made me realize that these films were bigger than I could imagine.
But yeah, I wasn't a fan of this one. Why? Because Mothra beat Godzilla in the end, and not just any Mothra, but two baby Mothras. I was SOOOOOO upset. Try explaining to a 5 year old that Godzilla is the bad monster and has to lose. No no, I wasn't having it, and I don't think I watched this one again for a few years. At this point I was just sick of seeing Godzilla lose. I loved him, but in the end he'd always lose, and to me, he was becoming like Wile E. Coyote. But unlike goofy cartoon characters, to me, Godzilla was the best! He should win! Fortunately, the next film would start a trend that would get young me to keep watching.
Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster (1964) = I saw this one for the first time not long after seeing Mothra Vs. Godzilla. If crossing over two big monsters blew my mind, how about throwing Rodan into that mix, and oh wait, they also have a golden three headed space dragon too! Yeeeeees! Like I said earlier, I loved the original Rodan and seeing him face off against Godzilla was great because I loved them both, so I almost didn't care who won. But I was blown away by King Ghidorah and just thought he was unstoppable. And then the film gets to the pivotal moment where the monsters converse with each other. Its funny how weird that seems now, but as a kid, I was like "Well yeah, why wouldn't they talk to each other?". Kids just don't question stuff I guess, lol. Anyway, a moment I will never forget is when Godzilla and Rodan joined in the fight with Mothra to take down Ghidorah, I clapped and cheered like crazy (keep in mind I was watching this movie by myself with only my parents in earshot). My monster was finally the hero of his story and he finally won! I'll never forget how happy I was and that is one of the reasons I will always have a soft spot for superhero Godzilla. No matter how silly the films got, Godzilla is always fun to root for, and this was my first taste of it where I was in his corner and so was the plot of the movie.
Godzilla Vs. Monster Zero (1965) = This was actually one of the last Showa films I saw and the title caught my interest. Monster Zero? Who or what is Monster Zero? By this time, I had already seen most of the 70s films and the appeal of Godzilla movies for me had become "What wacky and awesome thing is he going to fight this time?". To make a weird comparison, I was also a wrestling fan at the time, and a big Hulk Hogan fan, and Hogan kind of had a similar appeal where I was just excited to see what weirdo monster the WWF could feed to The Hulkster next. So the name "Monster Zero" really stuck with me as I started to imagine what it might look like. Turns out the joke was on me as it turned out to be King Ghidorah. Now, I loved me some Ghidorah at that age, and yes Godzilla and Ghidorah were the only monsters depicted on the VHS cover sleeve (which should have been a clue, right?), but I thought they were just keeping the real big bad monster a secret and Ghidorah would team up with a monster like he did with Gigan. But no, it was just Ghidorah. So I was let down by that, but once I got passed that, I found myself really enjoying the film. The over the top aliens were very memorable and colorful, and I jumped for joy getting to see Rodan and Godzilla team up again. My mom also commented that she knew who Nick Adams was, so it was kind of neat that my mom and I could share some appreciation for the same actor but for completely different reasons.
Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster (1966) = This is one I did not enjoy watching as a kid. I first saw it when my brother got a VHS copy a couple years into my Godzilla fandom, and it just never clicked with me the way some of the other ones did. Again, I had seen some of the 70s films by this point and, I remember thinking "Uh, I'm pretty sure Godzilla can kill a giant lobster without even trying" and sure enough, Ebirah was never much of a match for him. One memory I do have is being SUPER TICKED at Mothra for attacking Godzilla at the end of the film. (Gee, I really had it in for Mothra, didn't I?). I was like, "you two are friends, and Godzilla wasn't going to hurt those people. He just saved them!". Now that I'm older, I understand that Godzilla wasn't strictly a full on good guy yet, but at the time, it just confused me.
One thing I do credit this movie for is how it sparked my imagination in this way. See I'm from Maryland where Hardshell Crabs are like the greatest thing on Earth. Not a summer goes by where my family isn't either attending or hosting a crab feast. Well, not long after seeing Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster, I got the brilliant idea to snitch one of the crabs out of the barrel and use it to fight my Godzilla toy as a stand in for Ebirah. And because we were going to eat it anyway, I could have Godzilla rip its limbs off and smash it to bits. Ah, good times.
Son of Godzilla (1967) = I saw this one not long after Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster, so I was ready to keep rooting for the big guy. And the "Son of" idea seemed perfectly normal to me. Frankenstein, Dracula, Lassie, and Kong all had "Son of" movies, so why not Godzilla? As a youngster that also liked Disney films, this really appealed to me and proved to be one of the Godzilla films I would rewatch the most. Back then, I didn't care that Minilla looked almost nothing Godzilla, or that the movie was sillier. I liked the movie because it was silly. Scenes of Godzilla teaching Minilla how to breath fire or scolding him were just comedy gold to me, and like I said, I rewatched this one a lot because of it. This was also the first time I remember thinking "How'd they do that?". Even as a kid, I always knew the monsters were fake, and I could tell that it was guys in suits, but "Gimantis" and "Spiga" clearly weren't rubber suits and it amazed me at how well they were able to get the things to work and move.
Destroy All Monsters (1968) = For years, this was the lost Godzilla film. It was my white whale. A movie with over 10 monsters in it...I have to see it! But for some reason I could never catch it on TV and I could never find a VHS copy of it. But I heard about it in Godzilla books I had read and in things like the video games and other merch, I would see Baragon and Varan featured, and Gorosauras appeared in stock footage in other movies, and I'd ask "Who are they?" "Oh those were monsters in Destroy All Monsters". By the time I was about 12 or maybe even early teens, I had seen all the Showa Godzilla films except for this one, which is strangely appropriate given the grand finale feel to it. I remember one time, I got a call from a friend of mine saying that he just finished watching DAM on TV and I was like "Did you tape it?!" and he said no...curses! Foiled again!
One fateful day, the Sci-Fi channel FINALLY put this movie in as part of their lineup for a Godzilla movie marathon and I was NOT going to miss it. (BTW, it was this one)
My brother and I made a big deal out of it too. We got pizza, sodas, and had a grand old time enjoying what we thought was the last Godzilla film we had never seen. I also distinctly remember begging my parents "Look, I am very good about doing my chores and normally I wouldn't mind getting called away from the TV to help you with something but tonight, for the love of God tonight, please don't drag me away from the TV!". I literally got down on my hands and knees and begged them for that...kind of pathetic in hindsight, but hey. Fortunately, they complied. My brother and I saw it and we loved it. Okay, I was disappointed that Baragon didn't do jack, but all in all, I had a blast watching this and it was a joy to watch. And my brother and I really felt like we found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. "We've seen all the Godzilla movies!".
Now imagine my disappointment when I got on the internet a year later and found out there were 5 Godzilla movies in the 90s that never got released in the states! Ugh! lol.
Godzilla's Revenge (1969) = Go back to what I said about Godzilla: KOTM and its pretty much the same. Got this one as a Christmas present and my brother and I watched both this and KOTM that night. We watched KOTM first because we wanted to finally see the first Godzilla movie. Interestingly, I had hardly seen any footage of KOTM prior to seeing it, but for Godzilla's Revenge, I distinctly remember seeing a preview for it on one of the other Godzilla tapes we had. Even in my youth I thought it looked weird. Minilla talks? There is a kid running around Monster Island by himself? What is going on? Well we watched it and we were kind of confused. So Godzilla isn't really in the movie? And the kid uses advice he got from his hallucinations to fight off bank robbers? Whaaaaaaat? And Gabara was about the dumbest looking thing I had ever seen in a Godzilla movie up this point (and keep in mind, I had seen Jet Jaguar already). I don't want to say that we hated it, but I think we were utterly perplexed by it, like we thought somebody played a joke on us and we were trying to figure out who did it and why.
Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster (1971) = One Saturday morning, I woke up in the morning and saw my brother in the living room watching TV. He sees me walk in and goes "Hey, we have two new Godzilla movies". It was Godzilla Vs. Megalon and of course, this one. He was watching Godzilla Vs. Megalon, so I came into that film in progress and watched the rest of it. Then we popped in Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster. Looking back on it, I'm actually amazed it didn't scare me. I was a bit of a scaredy cat and would freak out over stupid nonsense (for example, GI Joe the Movie scared me because of the screams Cobra Commander made when he got transformed into a snake). So to have a movie with this blob monster going around and killing people and turning them into skeletons, you'd think I'd have been more freaked out by it. But I guess as a kid, when Godzilla is your hero, you can make it through the bad stuff to see him win. Anyways, I loved this one and Hedorah fascinated me. I was a fan of The Blob too, so he really reminded me of that and him being a transforming/evolving monster kept him interesting throughout the film. Going back to what I said earlier about how kids don't question things, it is kind of funny how the wackier moments like Godzilla flying were "awesome" to me back then. I was like "Oh cool Godzilla can fly!". I actually remember talking to be my dad after seeing the film and going "It was great! Godzilla flew! He could fly!" and Dad said he was glad I enjoyed it, though deep down he was probably second guessing his decision to let me watch these films. lol, great times.
Godzilla Vs. Gigan (1972) = As an older fan, the reuse of stock footage is one of my biggest pet peeves with the older films, but in my youth, I didn't care at all. This was the first Godzilla film I saw after seeing GTTHM, so I was fully onboard with the Godzilla superhero hype train. I took one look at the VHS sleeve of Godzilla dueling with this weird cyborg chicken thing and I was sold. Ghidorah and Anguiras were a welcomed added bonus for me as well. The thing I remember most were all my reactions to the fight at the end. My jaw dropped when Gigan made Godzilla bleed, something I didn't even know was possible. I also remember getting upset when the Godzilla Tower took down Godzilla and being fearful that he was going to die. And this is also the movie that made me fall in love with Anguiras, who I would refer to as Godzilla's sidekick. I would never say this is one of my favorite entries nowadays, but as a kid, this one was one of the ones I revisited the most along with Son of Godzilla, and that counts for something.
Godzilla Vs. Megalon (1973) = Like I said for Smog Monster, I first saw this film in progress one Saturday morning as my brother was watching the new tapes we got. Coming into it halfway or so kind of confused me, but I was happy to see Gigan again for sure. This was also the first time I remember noticing the use of stock footage as alot of Gigan's footage was pulled from his earlier film. I also hated Jet Jaguar, with a passion. I just thought he was the dumbest looking thing and Godzilla was slumming it for a partner this time around. I remember thinking "Why not get Rodan or Anguiras to help him?" haha.
I do have another memory with this film from a few years later, and it has to do with the Sci-Fi Godzilla movie marathon that happened one year. It was a 24 hour deal this time and I spent that weekend watching Godzilla movies. GVMegalon came on around 2AM or so and my sister came out to get a glass of water and we had an exchange that went like this.
Sis: "still watching Godzilla, huh?"
"Hey, I remember this movie. Don't you hate this one?"
Me: "Its one of the worst ones"
Sis: "Then why are you watching it?"
Me: "Because its on!"
And the incredulous look she gave me was the stuff of legend. It was at that moment I realized my monster fandom had bordered on obsession, lol.
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) = Earlier I said that part of the appeal of the Godzilla films for me in my youth was just seeing what wacky monsters Godzilla would fight next. It felt like the possibilities were endless. One day, my parents gave us yet another Godzilla tape, this time showing him fighting a robot version of himself. A robot Godzilla....my kid brain couldn't fully process how much I loved that idea. I remember looking at my brother and going "Can we watch it now?!" and of course we did.
I remember how smug I was during the early portion of the film when "Godzilla" started attacking the city and Anguiras and, proclaiming it like I had just solved the crime of the century and like Sherlock Holmes needed to bow before my greatness, I said "That isn't the real Godzilla! That's the robot fake". Yup! Nothing was getting by me! lol. What surprised me though was how violent the movie got. I mean I saw blood in Godzilla Vs. Gigan, but this took it to another level. Watching one of my favorites, Anguiras, get beaten to a pulp legit disturbed me (I actually thought Mechagodzilla killed him). This was made worse by Godzilla getting left in a pool of blood and aliens getting shot and killed and bleeding green every where. It was the first time I remember thinking "Am I a little young for this?". Again, I was kind of a wimpy kid, but I kept telling myself "Godzilla's going to win in the end and it'll be okay" and I made it through.
Anyways, the last battle really blew my mind. Mechagodzilla was quite the spectacle and it felt like they'd need 3 or 4 monsters to stop him. But Godzilla SOMEHOW generated a magnetic force to beat him, which again, was one of those things that I did not question at all. Godzilla won, I was happy, but it was quite the ride for 7 year old me. As for King Ceasar, I liked him alot more than Jet Jaguar, but not as much as Anguiras or Rodan.
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) = This one was another Christmas present, probably a year or so after seeing Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla for the first time. I remember seeing a preview for this film and really wanting to watch it. I mean Mechagodzilla comes back and he's got a dinosaur partner? Bring it! Remembering how bloody the first Mechagodzilla film got, I asked my brother to watch it first to let me know how violent it got so I could prepare for it, lol. Fortunately, this one was nowhere near as graphic and after he watched it, I got the assurance to check it out. I loved it and even back then it immediately became one of my favorite Godzilla movies. This is one of the first times I remember liking the monster movie for the non-monster stuff. Dr. Mafune (which I thought was spelled Maphoony...English Phonics for the loss!) at Katsura were two intriguing characters to me. A cyborg lady torn between her alien controllers and her own humanity? A mad scientist angry at the world and questing revenge? This movie was probably a gateway for me into more complex action and Sci-Fi a couple years later. But still, the monster fights were cool. I distinctly remember thinking Godzilla's entrance was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Along with Son of Godzilla and Godzilla Vs. Gigan, this was one I rewatched a lot as well in my youth.
Godzilla 1985 = After finally seeing all the Showa films, I initially thought I was done with the Godzilla series. I knew this film existed, but I completely rejected both this film and Godzilla Vs. Biollante, despite the fact that they were available to me (unlike the rest of the Heisei films as I would soon discover). For some reason I had it in my head that this was a pointless remake/revision/reboot and it wouldn't be as good and I would only stick with the "True" Godzilla, warts and all. I think after witnessing Godzilla's character development throughout the course of the Showa films from destroyer to hero, I rejected the idea of making him a destructive villain again. Some fans said him turning good "felt wrong" but again, I appreciated the development there and undoing it felt wrong to me.
But I was at a party at one of my friends' houses and he rented both this and Godzilla Vs. Biollante. I kind of rolled my eyes but it was his party and decided to sit down and watch them. Honestly, I liked it alot! I loved Raymond Burr in the movie, despite the fact that even back then, I knew the other American actors were terrible, and seeing a scary and destructive Godzilla actually worked for me. I guess that just goes to show ya, don't completely reject change because you might just stop yourself from having a good time.
Godzilla Vs. Biollante (1989) = Well after we all watched Godzilla 1985 at the party, we had to watch the immediate sequel. And hey Godzilla fights another monster in this one, so it has to be better, right? Well, as it turns out, YES! I loved Biollante and the fight with Godzilla at the end just blew me away. There was just so much cool in this movie. The Super X-2, assassins, spy movie elements, genetic experimentation, and cool scenes with the monsters. I was a happy monster fan that night and again, I was happy I let my guard down and be more open to a reimagining of the franchise. If G:TTHM gave me appreciation for superhero Godzilla, I think this film and its predecessor made me appreciate the villainous and destructive Godzilla.
Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah (1991) = Maybe a year or so after seeing G85 and GVB, my family got its first computer with dial up internet. One of the first things I looked up on good ol' AOL was Godzilla. Now just imagine how ticked off I was when I went to a website (Barry's Temple of Godzilla, oh those were the days) when I found out there were FIVE Godzilla movies that never got released in the states. Boy I was mad.
I was even angrier when I realized there were hints about these movies for years. The Super Godzilla video game had monsters like Battra and Mecha King Ghidorah, and then there was the Trendmasters Godzilla toyline which had both of them, plus Spacegodzilla, and new looks and origin stories for the classics like King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla. Honestly, I thought it was some kind of marketing initiative or they were pulling from some comic series I wasn't aware of or something. God, the toy commercials even had footage from Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla, and I did not even realize they were all from unseen movies. Also, Godzilla's death in Godzilla Vs. Destroyah was reported on the friggin news and it still escaped my notice!
So not only was I mad that these movies were continuing without my knowledge, but I was too dumb to put two and two together and realize I was getting hosed. So when I first made this discovery, i was furious and started searching around. When are they getting released? When will I get to see these things? When?! Where?! How?!
I was told by the online community to check my local video stores or mall kiosks and see if I could get subbed copies of the films, but I had no such luck. I waited a few years and still nothing, and the Tristar film came out in 1998, and we all know how that went. Sad to say, but I was a very ticked off Godzilla fan. It also didn't help that I was going through puberty and all sorts of other hormonal upheavals, so I was just a pissed off little walking erection with acne. It was a bad time.
One day, I got into Blockbuster and as per habit, I check the Godzilla films to see what was on the shelf and to my delight, Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah was on the rack! The Heisei films were finally making their way to the states! I pulled a "Shut up and take my money" bit before that was even a meme, rushed back home and watched the film, and I loved it. It felt so refreshing at the time and getting to finally see the updated version of King Ghidorah, as well as he Mecha-Cyborg version in film. I found myself really loving the scene with Godzilla and Mr. Shindo, and all the twists and turns in the story. Godzilla is the good guy again!...until he's not and now Ghidorah is the hero?!?! What?! It was quite the wild ride. It had its cheesy moments sure, but most Godzilla movies do, and at this point in my Godzilla fandom, it was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Also, it held me over until I could finally see the other Heisei films. 1 down, 4 to go.
Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992) = Now I found this one for rent in a Mom and Pop video store. I also rented He-Man and She-Ra: Secret of the Sword, Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye (The pilot 3 parter for the series), and Wrestlemania IV, so I was all about the nostalgia at this point, haha. Godzilla Vs. Mothra was the first one I watched, and its funny to look back on because even at this point in my teens, I was still in the "F*** Mothra" mode for beating Godzilla in the 64 film. I didn't enjoy this as much as GVs.KG, but I liked Battra a lot and, to use a wrestling term, I liked the "Triple Threat" aspect to the final fight, which was new and different. But of course we get to the ending where Mothra and Battra team up on Godzilla and I'm like "That's bulls***!". Its so funny to think about how angry Mothra used to make me, lol. Heisei series completion quest: 2 down, 3 to go.
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) = I get home from school one day and my sister calls me into the living room. She's like "Hey, so this PPV channel is showing Godzilla movies on all week it seems. Does that interest you". I look at it and sure enough, it has Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla 93 and Godzilla Vs. Destroyah in the line up (With Rebirth of Mothra thrown in as a bonus). Well....that's two more down! Thanks sis! I looked at the schedule and picked the best times to watch both films (and Rebirth of Mothra too, because, why not?) and make a day of it. Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah and Godzilla & Mothra: BFE were also in the line up so I wondered why Spacegodzilla wans't there too. Come on! Let me complete the set!
Anyways, I watched GVsMG2 first and I loved almost every second of it. It was probably the most action packed Godzilla film I had ever seen up to that point (Final Wars wasn't out yet) with Godzilla, Rodan, and Mechagodzilla all having fights with each other and most of them being really cool. It was also nice to see the action figure description for the Trendmasters Mechagodzilla actually play out on film. This was also the first time I really appreciated the continuity of the Heisei series as the events of one film might have an impact 2 or 3 entries later and that was just so cool to me. Even though it was probably my least favorite design for the character, it was nice seeing Rodan again and getting another huge fight between Godzilla and Mechagodzilla again was a treat. I also remember being amazed that there really was no bad guy in the movie. The government wants to protect the world from Godzilla and Godzilla and Rodan want to protect the egg/offspring of his species. That was kind of refreshing in a way too. The last battle was nuts to see for the first time as well as I thought "Okay, I know Godzilla doesn't die because there are two movies after this, but they really cut it close, didn't they?". Overall, a fun time was had with this film.
Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla (1994) = As I said, Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla wasn't in the PPV line up the night I saw GVMGII and GVD for the first time, so I had to wait a little while longer to see all the Heisei films. For my 14th birthday, my sister surprised me with a VHS copy of the film. Well, her present meant more to me than simply having another Godzilla movie as now, finally, I could say I have seen all the Godzilla films (again).
Watching it for the first time, it didn't win me over like some of the other Heisei films did. Something about it felt...off. At 14 I probably couldn't properly verbalize it, but I couldn't fully dig it like I hoped I would and I wanted to murder Little Godzilla with a hatchet. Still, I did like Spacegodzilla, if nothing else. It is kind of sad that the last Godzilla film I needed to see to finish the Heisei films was kind of flat, but still, I did it! I saw them all, and that was good enough for me. Fortunately, after the 90s, it never took too long for Godzilla films to be released in the states and I had the internet to track the production and news of release of any new Godzilla films coming out, so no more scavenger hunting for this guy!
Godzilla Vs. Destroyah (1995) = Like I said, I saw this one the same night I saw GVMGII on PPV, and this was the one I wanted to see the most. I mean...Godzilla dies!!! That wasn't really a spoiler either as the film was basically advertised with that tagline. Godzilla will die! In this movie! Bye bye Big G! I had to see how it would play out and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I loved the whole idea of Godzilla basically being a ticking time bomb that had to be diffused before the whole planet was killed. Technically this made Godzilla more dangerous than he's ever been. Destroyah also had the same appeal for me that Hedorah did back in the day, but with even cooler and more devilish designs to each form. He looked like a monstrosity and I loved getting to see him in action. Also, I loved all the tie ins to the 54 film, making it seem like a nice book end to the series. Godzilla's death scene felt like a fitting farewell too and is one of the major highlights of the series to this day.
Now that night I also "saw" Rebirth of Mothra. I put "saw" in quotations because I was so busy nerding out over the two Godzilla films I saw that I basically only half paid attention to the Mothra film. My biggest memory of watching it was my mom coming in and laughing when the mother Mothra died.
Me: "Why is that funny Ma?"
Mom: "Because its so silly!"
Me: "Didn't you cry when Bambi's mother died?"
Mom: "That's different! Bambi is a real animal, not like a giant butterfly"
Me: "Butterflies are as real as Deer"
Mom: "Oh come on, Bambi was realistic and this is just a puppet"
Me: "Oh yes Mom. Tell me how much more realistic the talking cartoon deer is!"
God I was a sarcastic little s***head back then, lol.
Godzilla (1998) = I guess I should mention my first experience with this one. To be honest, I was super excited for this. Granted, I was young and dumb and didn't realize Emmerich and Devlin were hacks. All I knew was "Big Budget American Godzilla movie! YES!". Every new commercial got me pumped. I remember being really happy with the New Years teaser, and Memorial Day weekend couldn't get here fast enough.
And then I saw it in theaters...yeeeeeeah. You want to see innocence killed inside of someone, talk to me before I saw that film and then talk to me again after I saw it. Now by this point, I was willing to accept a lot with Godzilla, but I was not willing to go along with Raptor babies, Godzilla running away from the military, and Godzilla dying when shot at with conventional weapons. It was so disappointing for me that when Phantom Menace came out the next year, it had no impact on me. "Oh boo hoo Star Wars fans. You don't know what pain is!" I would say, lol. It was the movie that taught me to never get your hopes up for a film because ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can go wrong.
After giving it two re-watches and through over two decades of hindsight...yeah, I still don't like the movie, but some good things came out of it. The Heisei films finally got released here state side...with the crap international dubs, sure, but I still got them. We also got Godzilla the Animated Series from it, which was pretty solid. And Toho revived the series to make up for it and we got six new ones. And here we are today, we have both Toho and Hollywood producing Godzilla movies, so I'm not going to get hung up on this thing that happened over two decades ago. Hear that Emmerich and Devlin. I'm not mad anymore. Its fine.
Godzilla 2000 (1999) = Part of the healing process of the Tristar film was getting to see this entry on the big screen. For the first time in my life, I actually got to see a true blue Toho produced Godzilla movie in theaters! It was a nice treat for me. I saw it with my siblings and my sister said I had the "dumbest grin" on my face when the Godzilla theme started playing for Godzilla's big entrance for the climax. Even back then I didn't think of this one as a favorite Godzilla movie, or one of the best, but it was a nice slice of something familiar and it just felt right, ya know? Its like Apple Pie. Its not my favorite desert, but its always good, familiar, and reliable, and who doesn't like a slice of apple pie once in a while?
Godzilla X Megaguiras (2000) = The first viewing of this one was a MISERABLE experience. Not because of the movie, but because of my health at the time. So it was around Christmas time and I was still in high school at this point. I ended up missing the last few days before Winter break and had to be taken to the Emergency Room. I won't give you the details, but it wasn't a fun time. Anyways, the doctors fixed me up, but I was on meds for the next week, and I was basically out of my mind. Christmas rolls around and I get this movie as a present. I spend the day sprawled on the coach with nothing but Godzilla and my pills to keep me company. Well that turned out to be a terrible idea as I started getting drowsy from the medication and coming in and out of sleep during the film, and the meds messed with me so much that I started to think that my body was covered by purple dragonflies and I started freaking out. I think I scared my parents because I was just babbling and I must have sounded like I was either dying or possessed. I've never had a Godzilla movie cause me to lose my mind before, but I think we can blame the pills more than the movie.
I watched the movie again later and was able to appreciate it without going nuts, but that first attempt at viewing it was kind of funny looking back on it.
Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack (2001) = No special memories about this one. I also got it as a Christmas present, but this year I wasn't warped out on pills, so I was able to watch it without freaking out. I watched it and really liked it, but there are no special memories surrounding it.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) = I also got this one as a Christmas present from the family (I'm sensing a pattern here). I was in college at this point and I watched the film when I got back to my dorm. My roommate wasn't back from vacation yet (actually all but one person on my floor were still gone, so the dorm was a ghost town), and it was snowing, so I had the dorm to myself and nowhere to go...might as well watch some Godzilla! There was nothing special about it I guess, but it is funny that while everyone else was either out partying, drinking, getting laid, or still with family, I was just back at the dorm watching Godzilla, lol. I had my priorities straight, huh?
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003) = Another Christmas comes another Godzilla DVD. I watched this one while I was still at home with the folks on Winter break, and aside from enjoying it, I have no special memory about my first viewing.
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) = Now here is a weird one. For the first time in my life, my sister actually saw a Godzilla movie before I did. She called me up one day while I was at college and she was like "Dude, you've seen Final Wars, right?" and she was shocked when I told her I hadn't seen it yet. (Come to think of it, how did she see it? I never asked her that, lol). Anyways, she went on and on about how wacky the film was and how I needed to see it ASAP. Anyways, I went out and picked up the DVD, and watched it later that week and, yeah, she was right. It was certainly a wacky film! It ain't the best by a long shot, but it is certainly one of the most memorable for sure. After I finished it, I made sure to call my sister so we could both go on and on about how insane the film was. That was a nice way to celebrate Godzilla's 50th Anniversary, right?
Godzilla (2014) = A full decade goes by with no new Godzilla films until we get another attempt at a Hollywood film. It looked promising, the trailers were awesome, BUT, I still remembered the 1998 film and I didn't trust it. I mean I've been burned before, so this could just as easily go wrong. I went in opening night to an IMAX theater by myself, said a silent Hail Mary or two (Catholic upbringing), and went in hoping for the best. To be honest, it was one of the best theater experiences I have ever had. To see my cinematic monster hero, Godzilla, get the royal treatment was a sheer delight, and the audience reaction was just magical. I've been to Star Wars and Marvel films on opening night, and it was nothing compared to this. The scene where Godzilla charged up his atomic breath and let it loose was akin to being on a roller coaster with the building of anticipation before the big drop. The reactions to all the Godzilla money moments like the Airport reveal and "The Kiss of Death" were also amazing to be apart of as well. It was fantastic. I'm not going to say the film was perfect, but as a theater experience, it was an awesome night for me. I then proceeded to see the film in theaters four more times as more and more of my friends wanted to go see it.
Shin Godzilla (2016) = Thanks to Fathom events, I was able to see this film in theaters as well and I made sure to invite a bunch of friends. My sister came too and it was nice to see her since he was just two weeks away from getting married, and it was nice to see her right before the wedding. I was the only die hard Godzilla fan in the group, so my buds were asking all sorts of questions before and after the film. I am also told that the look on my face when Godzilla's first form shows up was "priceless". Now while this group of people weren't knowledgeable about Godzilla, they were big Anime nuts, and pointed out all the Evangellion music cues that popped up throughout the film. They asked me about Godzilla stuff, and I asked them if Evangellion was something I would enjoy (to which they said yes, but I still haven't watched it. I should get on that). We then had a late lunch at Red Robins...yum! So yeah, just a really good day, and it was cool of my friends to indulge in my fandom for a bit.
Godzilla: Planet of Monsters (2017) = Nothing too special about this one. I just watched it when I got home from work the day it dropped on Netflix. I guess what I remember the most is watching it right after a new episode of The X Files aired on TV and I couldn't help but think "X-Files and Godzilla, its like middle school never ended" lol.
Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (2018) = Same as above, but without the X-Files. I don't recall anything too special about watching this. I do however remember thinking "Wait...that's it? No Mechagodzilla", but apparently I wasn't the only one who felt that way, lol.
Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018) = Same old, same old. It dropped on Netflix and I watched it that day. I enjoyed it more than the other two, but the trilogy was kind of a lost cause by this point.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) = With all the delays and pushbacks, this film just refused to get released. I started to joke that I would like to see the film before Millie Bobby Brown graduates college. So when a friend of mine hooked me up with information about an early screening of the film, I jumped at the chance. I would get to see the film a week early, but the seating was first come, first serve. I got off work early that day (fortunately I have that flexibility), so I had to rush like a madman to get to the out of state theater early just to get a seat. It was a wild ride and fortunately I got there. The person at the box office told me that there were 10 seats left. Phew! Got it, went to eat and drink at a nearby TGI Fridays and then went to the theater and enjoyed the whole experience.
Go ahead and share your experiences too!