Quick Links: Report from a Godzilla Movie Marathon

Remember how I said a while back that the Shōwa Godzilla series would make for an excellent 24-hour movie marathon? Well, the fellas over at Flickering Myth did it! It clocked in at a brutal 26 hours and 6 minutes, and it wasn’t just Tokyo that was devastated:

The other side of the coin is that, perhaps watching 15 movies in a row is just too much. Speaking to co-founder Jon yesterday he said that if we’d split this marathon into two, he may have enjoyed it a bit more than he did. I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think we’ll be doing one of this length again…Perhaps if my co-founders had seen each film individually this could have been a different story, but as it stands I didn’t convert them to the kaiju way of cinema.

These guys have had six other respectable 12+ hour movie marathons too. I’ll have to check out their other reports from the front lines.

I love Godzilla!

As a childhood fan of Godzilla films in all of their mid-twentieth century hokeyness, I immensely enjoyed the new American Godzilla film.

I had always hoped for a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster version of the Godzilla films. But even as a 17-year-old, I could tell that the putrid 1998 Godzilla film wasn’t it. A small version of Godzilla that runs away from everything, doesn’t have fire breath, and eats tuna? Please. It was so bad, the Japanese had to kill him in a real Godzilla film (see below).

I think the biggest reason I liked this year’s Godzilla film so much is that it felt like one of the best representations yet of what Godzilla is. He’s a force of nature. You can fight him if you want. You can bomb him if you want. But for what? You may as well be Xerxes ordering his troops to whip the ocean.

In the original Godzilla film, Godzilla was Nature mutated by the power of the atomic bomb. Over several more movies, his image improved to be a “good guy” – a general protector of Earth. In this movie, this idea is successfully blended in by introducing Godzilla as the alpha predator among ancient monsters awakened by modern man’s activities. Godzilla fights other monsters because that’s what he does to survive. That’s the most coherent explanation I’ve seen yet to reconcile his indifferent-yet-protective nature.

The film nails this idea visually multiple times. My favorite were the images of Godzilla swimming along, surrounded by an entourage of Navy ships. He doesn’t attack them, because they are insignificant. The ships follow him so that we humans can feel as if we are in control of the situation. Sometimes we attack him, with no effect.

Godzilla swimming with ships

Of course, being true to the Godzilla source material is only half the fun. The other half is some rollicking monster fights. This film offered some spectacular fight scenes, even if it did leave me wishing for more.

Well, if I want more, the internet informs me that a prequel graphic novel and a movie art book are out there for my consumption (thanks Internet!). They are on my Amazon wish list already!

Anyway – I had a lot of fun watching this movie, and it was satisfying to see such a great incarnation of my childhood’s favorite monster.

What does this have to do with movie marathons? Not much! What can I say? I was inspired by this film!

Godzilla Movie Marathon

The current edition of my movie marathon book claims that box sets don’t make for good 24-hour movie marathons because, among other reasons, none of them have runtimes long enough to support a 24-hour movie marathon.

However, childhood memories of guys in rubber suits wrestling each other came bubbling up, and a quick internet search confirmed it – Godzilla is one of the longest running film franchises with an astounding 28 films. 15 were made between 1954 to 1975 (the “Shōwa” series), seven between 1984-1995 (“Heisei” series), and six between 1999 and 2004 (the “Millennium” series).

The Godzilla Movies

Here is the complete list with movie length in minutes (Your mileage may vary. These are the Japanese version times):


Godzilla 1954 PosterRuntime: 95 minutes

My take: The movie that started it all. Despite how hokey many of the entries in the franchise would get, this movie was filmed with utmost seriousness and gravity. To get the full effect, seek out the original Japanese version, not the splice-and-dice American version starring Raymond Burr.

Godzilla Raids Again

Runtime: Godzilla Raids Again82 minutes

My take: Godzilla is back and fighting Anguirus, a giant, prehistoric….hedgehog? Unusually spiky Armadillo? Spoiler alert: After this movie Godzilla and Anguirus are best friends who have lots of adventures fighting other monsters.

King Kong vs. Godzilla

King Kong Vs GodzillaRuntime: 97 minutes

My take: King Kong gets a 3x-5x size boost and lightning powers for some reason to take on the big G. Legend has it who wins depends on what release you are watching.

Mothra vs. Godzilla

Mothra Vs GodzillaRuntime: 88 minutes

My take: Mothra is a giant moth. Thus, is the lamest of the giant monsters. Sure, she’s got those two fairy girl sidekicks and an island full of worshippers. Plus, she’s got cocoon spinner powers and whatever that magic dust stuff is. But c’mon. That versus atomic fire breath? Please. Mothra would fly right into it. Its her nature!

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Runtime: 92 minutes

My take: Godzilla takes on his coolest foe: a three-headed space dragon. Oh wait, did I say Godzilla? I meant a trio of monsters take him on: Rodan, Mothra, AND Godzilla. A sweet classic Godzilla smackdown.

Invasion of Astro-Monster

Invasion Of The Astro MonsterRuntime: 96 minutes

My take: Aliens control some of the giant monsters in a bid to take over earth. A highly non-memorable entry in the franchise.

Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster

Godzilla Vs Sea MonsterRuntime: 87 minutes

My take: Godzilla takes on a rogue island nation and its guard-crab. Oh, and Mothra is in it too. This movie was goofy enough to get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.

Son of Godzilla

Son Of GodzillaRuntime: 86 minutes

My take: Godzilla has a son! Which means Godzilla is a female, right? Who reproduces asexually? And how did an egg that size come out of Godzilla’s rear end anyway? Oh, and they battle giant preying mantises.  Because why not?

Destroy All Monsters

Destroy All MonstersRuntime: 88 minutes

My take: All monsters in the franchise get controlled by aliens (again) but this time they are all fighting!! Awesome!

All Monsters Attack

All Monsters AttackRuntime: 69 minutes

My take: Don’t get too excited by the title. This movie is all about a boy who is bullied and imagines how Godzilla and his son are strong and stuff and don’t let themselves get bullied in stock footage of earlier Godzilla movies. Also features “King Ceasar” – a furry lion-monkey monster thing.

Godzilla vs. Hedorah

Godzilla Vs HedorahRuntime: 87 minutes

My take:  Godzilla goes all Captain Planet on us and fights a monster made of pollution. Hands down the weirdest Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen.

Godzilla vs. Gigan

Godzilla Vs GiganRuntime: 89 minutes

My take:  King Ghidorah returns with a new space friend: Gigan! Gigan is…a cyborg with hooks for arms, a buzz saw for a front, flight powers, and a laser cyclops eye. And fins. Gotta have speed fins. Why? I guess this is our alien overlords’ ultimate weapon. They don’t stand a chance.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

Godzilla Vs MegalonRuntime: 81 minutes

My take: The most awesomely cheesy Godzilla movie of all time. This movie comes complete with heroic robot sidekick Jet Jaguar and villains Megalon (a giant cockroach with drill hands) and Gigan again – mostly because they could reuse stock footage of Gigan fighting Godzilla. Another Mystery Science Theater 3000 favorite!

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Godzilla Vs MechagodzillaRuntime: 84 minutes

My take: Ape aliens with infinite resources construct a ridiculously inefficient weapon: Mechagodzilla. Godzilla has to team up with Angulus and King Seesar to defeat him.

Terror of Mechagodzilla

Terror Of MechagodzillaRuntime: 83 minutes

My take: The last of the Shōwa series returns somewhat to the darker roots of the original, but still has giant goofy monsters like the newly minted “Titanosaurus”.

The Return of Godzilla

The Return Of GodzillaRuntime: 103 minutes

My take: Godzilla is back with the same basic formula as the original, but updated with 1980s technology and geopolitics. Fun fact: the Russian launches the nuke in the American version but tries to stop the nuke from launching in the Japanese version.

Godzilla vs. Biollante

Godzilla Vs BiolanteRuntime: 105 minutes

My take: Godzilla vs….a very large and angry plant. Not just any plant mind you. It is a plant infused with the essence of Godzilla and the spirit of some dead girl or some nonsense.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah

Godzilla Vs King GhidorahRuntime: 103 minutes

My take: Sure its a retread of the original, but everyone knows reboots are better than the original right? Features a dude poetically killed by the very same monster that saved him decades ago. Ironic.

Godzilla vs. Mothra

Godzilla Vs MothraRuntime: 102 minutes

My take: At this point, I think you know about my feelings about Mothra.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla IIRuntime: 108 minutes

My take: I’m glad the United Nations is finally getting proactive about the whole Godzilla and Rodan thing and building some counter-measures. Sure, they built Mechagodzilla which seems to be about as effective as the Death Star in achieving goals, but at least they are trying.

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

Godzilla Vs Space GodzillaMy take: Godzilla cells go to space, get sucked into a black hole and become….wait for it….Space Godzilla for some reason! Why? Because space!

Also, baby Godzilla goes through a cute phase and the UN builds another giant robot about as effective as the first.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

Godzilla Vs DestoroyahRuntime: 103 minutes

My take: Sure, I’ve made a few snarky comments about the other movies in the Heisei series. But I loved this one. Godzilla…is melting down! Now the G-force has to focus not so much on defeating Godzilla, but getting him the heck out of town before he blows up! Novel concept, done well. Lots of fun.

Godzilla 2000: Millennium

Godzilla 2000Runtime: 107 minutes

My take: Godzilla series reboot of little note. Move along.

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

Godzilla Vs MegaguriusRuntime: 105 minutes

My take: Novel solution to the Godzilla problem: trap him in an artificial black hole. Unfortunately, all lessons learned from Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla have been forgotten because the series rebooted (remember?). Out pops Meganuron bug monsters and the fight is on!

Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack

Giant Monsters All Out AttackRuntime: 105 minutes

My take: Role reversal! King Ghidorah and Baragon awaken to protect Japan against Godzilla, who is now less an impersonal force of nature and more of a personal, vengeful god.

Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla

Godzilla Against MechagodzillaRuntime: 88 minutes

My take: Mechagodzilla built to protect against Godzilla….blah blah blah – oh wait – Mechagodzilla is going crazy and turns on its masters! Will Godzilla be able to (more or less) save the day?

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.Runtime: 91 minutes

My take: And Mechagodzilla and Mothra again. I’m hankering for some new kaiju to be added to the series at this point.

Godzilla: Final Wars

Godzilla Final WarsRuntime: 125 minutes

My take: Godzilla takes on a litany of monsters around the world dispatched by the evil Xillian alien race. Features Godzilla smacking down “Zilla” (Godzilla from American 1998 movie) in mere seconds.

The Godzilla Movie Marathon Schedules

That is a grand total of 2,657 minutes (44.3 hours) of Tokyo-stomping, atomic-breath firing, rubber monster action. If you assume a 15 minute break in between each movie, then you tack on 420 extra minutes (7 hours) of break time. So all told, a Godzilla movie marathon would be a crushing 51.3 hours long (heh – “crushing” – get it?).

However, with a little creativity, you could still make the Godzilla franchise fit into the 24-hour movie marathon format. The Shōwa series is 1,314 minutes (21.9 hours) long. If you squeezed the break time between the movies to an average of 9 minutes each, you would end up with a 24-hour movie marathon like so:

Start TimeTitle
12:00 PMGodzilla
02:00 PMGodzilla Raids Again
03:30 PMKing Kong vs. Godzilla
05:15 PMMothra vs. Godzilla
06:45 PMGhidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
08:30 PMInvasion of the Astro-Monster
10:30 PMGodzilla vs. the Sea Monster
12:00 AMSon of Godzilla
01:30 AMDestroy All Monsters
03:00 AMAll Monsters Attack
04:15 AMGodzilla vs. Hedorah
05:45 AMGodzilla vs. Gigan
07:30 AMGodzilla vs. Megalon
09:00 AMGodzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
10:30 AMTerror of Mechagodzilla
12:00 PMFinish

The same is true for the combination of the Heisei series (732 minutes) and Millenium series (621 minutes). With an average of eight minute breaks between these 13 movies, you have yourself 22.5 hours of movies, 1.7 hours of break, and a 24-hour movie marathon!

Start TimeTitle
12:00 PMThe Return of Godzilla
02:00 PMGodzilla vs. Biollante
04:00 PMGodzilla vs. King Ghidorah
05:45 PMGodzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth
07:30 PMGodzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
09:30 PMGodzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
11:30 PMGodzilla vs. Destoroyah
01:15 AMGodzilla 2000: Millennium
03:15 AMGodzilla vs. Megaguirus
05:00 AMGodzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
06:45 AMGodzilla Against Mechagodzilla
08:15 AMGodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
10:00 AMGodzilla: Final Wars
12:05 PMFinish

One minor problem with this idea is getting all of the movies. I could not find a full box set of any of the 3 series on Amazon.com. The best I could find is this handy listmania list of Godzilla DVDs available on Amazon.com.

So now you know you can. But will you? Could you survive the relentless onslaught of Godzilla?

Any who have, or will, please comment and brag(?) appropriately.

UPDATE: 18 July 2017 – Added movie marathon schedule tables. Also, check out this report from The Flickering Myth – a group of people who completed a 15-movie Godzilla movie marathon. Go team!