1998 & 2006 Lawrence Tuczynski

Title: Godzilla vs. Destroyer
Japanese Title: Gojira Tai Desutoroia
Movie also known as: Godzilla vs. Destroyah
CD Label: Futureland / Toshiba EMI Japan
CD Number: TYCY-5468
Music by: Akira Ifukube
Number of tracks: 38
Running time: Approx. 50:22
Number of discs: 1
Year of release/manufacture: 1995
Year Movie Released in Japan: 1995
Year Movie Released in U.S.: Jan.1999 (VHS Video)
Columbia/Tri-Star
DVD Released in U.S.: Double DVD, Columbia/Tri-Star #04690, Feb. 2000
Also has 1994 "Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla"

REVIEW

This is a good sounding disc with quite a few new pieces and many familiar cues from other films that have been reworked. Especially nice is the short reprise of the Oxygen Destroyer music from the original Godzilla 1954 movie. This CD is a condensed version of the 2 disc set without the too much repetition of cues that are found on the 2 disc set.

If you can find this single CD and don't already have the 2 disc set, then go for. I'm sure you'll enjoy it and it's a worthwhile addition to your collection.

April 15, 2006 - Courtesy of Evan Sizemore

Forty one years and twenty two films after his original debut, Godzilla meet the end of his second round of movies with a bang. After the franchise's rebirth in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla--starting the "Heisei Series"--and enjoying more than two decades of financial success, Toho Studios decided to call it quits in light of both creative writer's block to produce more movies and the pending release of the first (and only) American-made Godzilla flick. Hence, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, the seventh entry in the Heisei era, was marked as being the Big G's final Japanese outing. In fact, to drive home the point, the movie was to stage Godzilla's actual demise. Boosting good special effects, decent acting, an intriguing plot linked closely to the 1954 classic and a new cast of kaiju (monsters), the motion picture was well on its way to making monster movie history. However, to fully round out the creative crew and complete the film properly, it was only fitting that the great composer Akira Ifukube return to finish what he had started over forty years ago, resulting in a score which the Maestro himself considered being one of his best works.

The soundtrack bursts to life with a thundering drum roll that quickly leads into low brass which dominates the remainder of the "Main Title" until rising into a harp glissando and an Asian-flavored crescendo. The heavy pounding of drums and low adagietto-like pulsing of the oboes gives the piece a dark and dangerous feel as it quotes Godzilla's theme from the original 1954 movie. That theme had been given a more up-beat and faster tempo in many other Godzilla films, most often in connection with "Rodan's Theme." However, for this movie it was retuned to its darker roots and intertwined with the "Godzilla Appears" motif written for 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla which ultimately was morphed with two other leitmotifs to form the famous "Godzilla's Theme." Both motifs are effectively weaved into the "Main Title," creating the perfect introduction for what was thought to be the final act of the King of the Monsters.

Equally as dark and dominate on the soundtrack is the theme music for the antagonist of the story, Destoroyah, whose origins lie with the weapon that liquefied the original Godzilla. In fact, the motif makes its first appearance in part as the crescendo of the "Main Title." The music perfectly reflects Destoroyah's evil and sadistic personality as it morphs from one deadly form to another, bringing death and destruction everywhere it walks, crawls, flies or swims. However, on the down side, the theme seems a bit overused in the film, and by the last time it's played it can become a little annoying, especially as a stand alone listening experience. Nonetheless, that's not to say that it fails to convey to death-wielding power of the monster and reinforce the climactic struggle between it and Godzilla.

With the return of the Monster King's adopted son to the film in the form of Godzilla Junior, Ifukube brings back his "Baby Godzilla Theme" from the 1993 kaiju eiga, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II. The sad, melancholy song brings an added level emotion to the movie, even more so than in the previously mentioned film. Though Junior has grown into a beast to much better resemble his adopted father both in appearance and aggression, the beautifully lento-played music gives his character great compassion and draws sympathy from the viewer.

Rounding out the monster themes in the movie is none other than "Godzilla's Theme" itself as revamped in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). The theme, as usual, starts off with the "Godzilla appears" movement, then moves into a slowly progressing up-tempo march that eventually becomes the "Main Title" from Godzilla (1954).

And as with his past three Heisei scores, Ifukube gives us an array of up-beat military marches. However, also as with the past films, the Maestro was forced to use music previously written for other movies because of the tight schedule and hence lack of time to write up new material. For example, "Mesa Tank Super Freeze Attack" is actually the army march from another Ifukube soundtrack, War of the Gargantuas (1966). Nonetheless, it makes a dignified return to the silver screen in accompaniment with Japan's Self-Defense Force. Another up-beat march is "Attack of Super X III," played in presto-style passing. This very lively motif enhances the excitement of the moment, whether it is our heroes swinging into action or engaging Godzilla in combat. Thankfully Mr. Ifukube did not overuse this melody as it is rather long and repetitious despite the catchy tune and could weigh heavily on the listener's ears.

Without doubt, the cream of the crop here is Godzilla's death march. One of the saddest pieces composed by Akira Ifukube, "Requiem" stands all on its own as the moment of truth. That the soundtrack climaxes with such a depressing note after nearly an hour of bombastic, dramatic tones, is pure genius in itself. Ifukube's grand score shines its brightest here, reinforcing the emotional apex and scope of the scene. The song begins with a harpist playing a downward glissando, when suddenly a woodwind instrument picks up the motif at a grave tempo and is eventually overtaken by first and second violins when ultimately a female vocal dominates the theme, which then repeats. The motif, like the scene and that which follows it, is heartbreaking, yet hopeful.

Rounding off the soundtrack is, of course, the "Ending Title," signifying both the end of the movie and the closure of the second set of G-Series altogether. This is an interesting piece which plays off the main title from Godzilla that in turn gives way, oddly enough, to the "Faro Island Chant" from King Kong vs. Godzilla which in turn leads back to the Godzilla theme. Why Ifukube chose to incorporate the King Kong leitmotif into the piece is anyone's guess, but it regardless is a spectacular movement which he was certainly proud of.

In conclusion, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah remains one of Akira Ifukube's great scores. As the book The Official Godzilla Compendium observed: "His [Ifukube's] pounding, ominous, tragic score dramatically accented the action of the film." And not only that but also giving the movie far more emotional impact then it might otherwise have received without the Maestro waving the baton. Perhaps saddest of all, though, is that Godzilla vs. Destoroyah also marks the end of the composer's film career, for he went back into retirement for a second and last time*. It is clearly evident that Mr. Ifukube wrote this score from his heart, as he once remarked that composing the music for Godzilla's death was like writing his own. Truly, a more personal work could not possibly exist in popular culture.

*Editor's note: Even though Ifukube went into "retirement" after scoring Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, he continued to compose concert works for several years, all of which were chamber pieces

English Title: Godzilla vs. Destroyer (Original Soundtrack)
Japanese Title: Gojira vs. Desutoroia (Orijinaru Saundotorakku)

Translations by Silver Bridges - http://www.silverbridges.com/
  1. Toho Logo
  2. The Disappearance of Birth Island
  3. Main Title: The Destruction of Hong Kong
  4. The Oxygen Destroyer
  5. Incident at the Underwater Tunnel
  6. Godzilla Makes His Way off the Coast of Taiwan
  7. Nuclear Explosion: The Earth Goes Up In Flames
  8. The Terror of the Oxygen Destroyer
  9. The Aquarium Nightmare
  10. Discovery of the Tiny Creatures
  11. Godzilla Makes His Way off the Coast of Okinawa
  12. The Mystery Creatures Destroyed
  13. The Special Forces Swing Into Action
  14. Appearance of the Mystery Creatures
  15. The Plan to Incinerate the Mystery Creatures
  16. Godzilla Heads Towards the Nuclear Plant
  17. Super-X III Prepares to Attack
  18. Super-X III Attacks
  19. Little [Godzilla] is Still Alive
  20. Meltdown
  21. Maser Tank Cryogenic Attack
  22. The Birth of Destroyer
  23. Leading Junior Along
  24. Junior's First Crisis
  25. Junior vs. Destroyer
  26. Godzilla and Junior Reunited
  27. Destroyer Grows Enormous
  28. Junior Carried Off
  29. Junior at Death's Door
  30. Godzilla's Decision
  31. Godzilla vs. Destroyer 1
  32. Destroyer Counterattacks
  33. Roar of Sadness
  34. Godzilla vs. Destroyer 2
  35. Maser Corps: Full-Scale Offensive
  36. Requiem
  37. Birth of the New Godzilla
  38. End Titles