Godzilla movies I have watched, in order, and why they mattered to me.
1) Godzilla (1998): The first Godzilla film I’ve seen was Roland Emmerich’s much reviled American Godzilla adaptation. I loved it, and I must have watched it dozens of times (maybe as much as twenty) over my childhood. The following Godzilla Animated Series set in the same Universe was also one of my favourite cartoons.
2) Godzilla 2000 (1999). The 24th Japanese Godzilla Film, and the 1st Film in the Millennium Series (in this series, almost every faith has no continuity with previous films, except the Original 1954 Godzilla). Strangely enough, to my child-like mind, I though Godzilla 2000 was somehow a “new” and better, more epic version of the American Godzilla. I was blown away. It was much later that I found out that the Japanese Godzilla was…the original.
3) Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975). The 15th Film in the Godzilla Franchise. Found in a VHS in Value Village back when I was a child. It was something of a prized possession of mine. Remarkably, this film happens to be the final Godzilla film of the Shōwa series, and the last feature film directed by Ishirō Honda, the original and visionary director of the 1954 Godzilla Film before he retired. It’s strange how this was the only Godzilla film from the “classical” era that I had seen, but it happened to be iconic, despite being poorly received.
4) Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002). The 27th Film in the Godzilla Franchise. And the 4th film in the Millennium Series. Mechagodzilla was piloted by humans and this film turned out to be something of a Mecha film as a result. I was suffering extensive depression and anxiety during this period of my childhood, and this film helped— a good family friend rented this film for me on DVD and I must have watched it…dozens of times. My all time favourite was the next entry on this list however.
5) Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003). The 28th film in the Godzilla Franchise, and the 5th film in the Millennium Series. It was notably the direct sequel to 2002’s Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, and these two films are the only films in the Millennium Series to share the same continuity. An epic and cinematic clash between Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Mothra. This film was rented at the same time as Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, and I watched them back to back. Did wonders for my depression.
6) Godzilla (2014). The first entry in Legendary’s MonsterVerse Franchise. The first Godzilla film I had ever seen on the Big Screen. Previously, everything I had watched was on Satellite TV, VHS, or DVDs. Hollywood tried once again to adapt Godzilla, and this time they managed to pull it off, creating a compelling sci-fi film, although the fans clamoured for more Heisei era Kaiju-on-Kaiju action. Godzilla’s enemies in this film, the MUTOs, being original home-brewed monsters and not classic TOHO Property, didn’t quite deliver the Kaiju-on-Kaiju spectacle we had hoped for. But it signalled the rebirth of the Franchise, because the film was a success, and TOHO decided to resurrect Godzilla in Hideaki Anno’s Shin Godzilla (2016), which I haven’t seen yet. This film is certainly an excellent stand-alone sci-fi horror movie (of sorts), it might have been better if Godzilla was firmly a bad guy, but that didn’t jive with the direction the MonsterVerse was going into.
7) Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). The 3rd Film in Legendary’s MonsterVerse Franchise. As I write this, I had just returned from an IMAX theatre where I feasted my eyes on the Kaiju action that had the world hyped. Critics were pretty harsh on this film, although the audience seemed to love it. But the Box Office, despite opening at #1, was low. This film, I have to be honest, emulated the Heisei Era Godzilla films probably too well. It’s a B-movie, make no mistake. But it is a B-movie with a huge budget and it knows exactly what it is. Any Godzilla fan will feel right at home. The Director clearly knows what Godzilla is all about, and have taken the effort to seed the film with lore, references, and homages to the TOHO Godzilla movies. And the music was the best part, bringing back themes that was near and dear to Godzilla fans and the Franchise’s History as a whole. Ken Watanabe absolutely steals this film. However, from an objective point of view, this film wasn’t as well constructed as Godzilla (2014) or it’s direct precursor in the MonsterVerse, Kong: Skull Island. I hope the total box office haul is monstrous, and I eagerly await the upcoming Godzilla vs King Kong (2020).