Godzilla thru the years – The many ‘looks’ of Godzilla
aka: my big-ass Godzilla post!
A little known fact is that by the end of shooting any Godzilla film, the suit is quite damaged and has to be rebuilt. This is partly the reason that in every film, Godzilla looks a little different when using the same design. At other times the suit designer and film team purposely change the look of Godzilla.
Shōwa series (1954–1975)
The original Godzilla (Gojira 1954) was a slow moving giant reptile. The suit weighed over 200 pounds which made it difficult to maneuver. In the second film Godzilla Raids Again (Gigantis the Fire Monster 1956), the suit was streamlined for greater fluidity but was made with the same design.
The first big change came in 1962 with the design for King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Godzilla had a flatter head, a more snake-like face. He also had very wide legs with an overlap in the knee area. The design was only used for this one film but is one of the faves of Godzilla fans. It was also the design copied for the Aurora Godzilla model kit.
In 1964, Mothra vs. Godzilla (Godzilla vs. the Thing) had Godzilla’s face with heavier eyebrow bones which were also a bit smoother than the rest of his skin texture. Toho kept this design for the film, Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster (1964).
1966 saw a softer face for Godzilla as he became the good guy in films, not the enemy. Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster and Godzilla vs. Monster Zero/Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965) had him with bigger eyes and less angry features.
Similar suits carried through to Son of Godzilla. He also had longer human-like arms. Toho was aiming for more children to watch as they realized they had lost interest of the adult sci-fi audience. In these films, Godzilla looked closer to the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street than a dangerous radioactive mutant dinosaur. Destroy All Monsters (1968), Son Of Godzilla (1968), Godzilla’s Revenge (1969).
The 1970’s had a new look with Godzilla once again sporting a heavier brow, but his face looked almost like a puppy dog in these films. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster (1971), Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974), Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975).
Heisei series (1984–1995)
Godzilla wasn’t seen again until Godzilla 1985. He returned as a negative force in this one and his face was meaner looking but still resembled the 1970’s Godzilla style.
It was 1989’s Godzilla vs. Biollante that saw a completely new design that would take Godzilla through the 1990’s in some of the best films since the early days. Godzilla was bigger, with more fierce features, smaller eyes and a double row of teeth.
In Godzilla vs. Destroyah, Godzilla was going through a radioactive meltdown and glowed orange. His fire-breath was red/orange and changed during the course of the film for some fantastic Godzilla-breath special-fx.
Millennium series (1999–2004)
From 2000 – 2004, Godzilla saw several changes.
In Godzilla 2000 (1999), we had a completely revamped Godzilla design. Most notable were its blade-like spike fins. This design was used for a total of 4 films, including: Godzilla x Megaguirus (2000), Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002), Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003).
In between those films was a completely different film and storyline in Godzilla, Mothra And King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001). This film took on a mythological approach equating the monsters to dragon, butterfly, and demon (Ghidorah, Mothra, and Godzilla). The Godzilla costume in this harkened back to earlier days with a more bulky look and old style fins. He had demonic eyes which showed only whites. This film is one of the favorites amongst Godzilla fans.
With the announcement of another film, fans bombarded Toho Studios with what Godzilla should look like. One of the main sticking points for fans were his fins. Fans told the studios that the old style fins is what made Godzilla what he was. For the final Godzilla film the studio created one last costume which combined the look of the ‘1990’s’ films with the ‘Millennium’ films, making sure it had the old style fins. The Film, Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). was a modern day Destroy All Monsters. Godzilla even fights the American Godzilla (which they dubbed ‘Zilla).
Always Sunset on Third Street (2007) - featured a wonderful CGI Godzilla in a short sequence. The movie was a drama but Godzilla fans clamored to see the short monster sequence. It is at the very beginning of the film if you’re interested in catching it.
Other Godzilla incarnations
The 1st ‘other’ Godzilla to be shown was Baby Godzilla – Minilla/Mingya – films: Son of Godzilla, Godzilla’s Revenge, Destroy all Monsters (ending stock footage only).
In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) we get a in-depth look at the actual Dinosaur that went thru radioactive mutation. He was dubbed Godzillasaurus.
In Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, we get a look at a new baby Godzilla that would grow up in sequential films. We also find Space Godzilla which was formed by Godzilla’s DNA combining with material from a comet.
In Godzilla vs. Destroyer we have Godzilla Jr. the Baby Godzilla from Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla has grown up quite a bit. At the end of the film the radioactive isotopes are passed from Godzilla to Godzilla Jr, who then becomes the adult Godzilla.
In Final Wars (2004) we get the American Godzilla, here dubbed, ‘Zilla.
Mechagodzilla was the robot version of Godzilla, thought to be the only formidable weapon against the monster. Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, The Terror of Mechagodzilla, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II, and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
And Finally, Godzilla 2014