Godzilla, also known as Gojira, was the main character of the long-running Godzilla film series and was a fictional dinosaur called the Godzillasaurus that was mutated by nuclear radiation and became one of the most famous monsters in the world. It was eventually revealed that there was actually a species of Godzilla.
The Showa-era Godzilla films were among the first of the entire film series. In total, there are fifteen Showa-era films, amounting to over half the total Godzilla movies currently in existence. The first film, made in 1954, was simply titled Godzilla. In the original film, Godzilla was portrayed as a terrible and destructive monster. Following the success of Godzilla, Toho started filming a quickie sequel called Godzilla Raids Again. In this film, a new Godzilla was set up to fight another dinosaur-like creature, Anguirus. This second film started a trend for Godzilla films, where Godzilla would fight other giant monsters. In the 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla served as the main antagonist with King Kong being the protagonist. In his fifth film, Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla took the role of a hero. From that point on, to the end of the Showa series, Godzilla stayed a hero, protecting Japan against attacks from other monsters, aliens, etc. At one point, Godzilla even adopted a son, Minilla, in Son of Godzilla, who would make appearances in later Showa-era films. The Showa-era movies played on a lot of fears and interests of people during the period in which they were made. For instance, Godzilla was a movie designed to warn people about the use and testing of nuclear weapons. Likewise, Godzilla vs. Hedorah was designed to carry a message about the dangers of pollution. As space exploration and the Space Age were extremely popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many of Godzilla's films revolved around Godzilla fighting alien monsters, or involved an alien invasion in some shape or form. For instance, in the movie Destroy All Monsters, an alien race had managed to take control of all of Earth's monsters, who were eventually freed from their control, and destroyed the aliens who had put them under control.
The Heisei-era Godzilla films were the second of the film series. In total, there were seven Heisei-era films, making them amount to one fourth of the total Godzilla movies in existence. The Heisei-era films differed drastically from the Showa-era films in a variety of ways. The most prominent difference is that Toho did away with Godzilla being the hero of the films. While occasionally Godzilla would take the role of an antihero, he was still consistenly portrayed as hazardous to humanity throughtout the films. The Godzilla outfit was updated to look more realistic and much more intimidating than previous suits. Another significant difference is that the series was given an overall plotline with story arcs. Each movie happened in some sort of sequence, and generally referenced previous movies to further the plot of the series. As in the Showa era, in the first movie of the Heisei era, The Return of Godzilla, Godzilla was the only monster to make an appearance. All succeeding Heisei-era movies would have Godzilla fight other giant monsters.
Like the Showa series, Godzilla adopted a son, Baby Godzilla, as his own child. In the final Heisei-era movie, Godzilla vs. Destroyah, Godzilla dies after undergoing a nuclear meltdown, and his son (by that point almost half as tall as his father and called Godzilla Junior) absorbs the radiation and quickly matures to become the new King of the Monsters. In much the same way that the Showa-era played on fears and interests of people during of production, Heisei-era Godzilla films made some attempts at making statements on popular topics for their time period. One good example would be Godzilla vs. Biolante, which made explicit warnings against research involving genetic engineering. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah touched on US-Japanese relations stemming from World War II and introduced a time-travel plot. Other themes in the movies included commenting on research into hazardous material and making environmental statements.
In 1998, TriStar Pictures produced a remake set in New York City, directed by Roland Emmerich and starting Matthew Broderick; the film's name was simply 'Godzilla'. Despite negative reviews from critics and negative reception from the fans of the original Japanese Godzilla: the film made over $379 million at the box office, and spawned an animated television series called Godzilla: The Series, which drew much better reception all-around. However, the 1998 film was still a weak leak in the franchise and being a complete flop, all sequels were cancelled. Toho classifies the monster in this movie as Zilla, and it was featured briefly in their film Godzilla: Final Wars. Makers of this film stated in cinematic magazine interviews that the American incarnation of the monster did not merit having "God" in his name.
The Millennium series of Godzilla films are the third and currently last of the films series. There are six of these films, making them slightly under a fourth the total of the series. The Millennium series attempted to bring Godzilla back to his roots by eliminating a few of the things that the Heisei-era films had done. The most notable of these changes are, with one exception, the lack of any real continuity in the movies. Godzilla is, however, still a hazard in the Millennium series, and is always a destructive force. Template:Clear
Legendary Pictures Reboot
In the 2014 Legendary Pictures reboot, Godzilla is a ancient prehistoric dinosaur-like amphibious monster who fed off of Earth's natural radiation and was the true main protagonist; the true main antagonist is the Female Mite.
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