A fishing vessel at sea is being battered by a fierce storm and is run aground on an island with an exploding volcano. The sailors hear a horrendous roar. The following morning, a man in a passing sailboat discovers the remains of the wrecked fishing vessel, finding a lone, shocked survivor. He relates his story of seeing a giant monster to authorities, who are certain Godzilla has reappeared.
After his story on the crashed ship is spiked due to national security issues, reporter Maki continues his investigation and visits Professor Hayashida. The scientist is studying genetic mutations, specifically Godzilla, who he says is indestructible and is a victim of the modern nuclear age. A sister to the survivor of the boat disaster is an aide to Prof Hayashida. Maki breaks the embargo on information about the ship, and tells Naoko that her brother survived. She runs to the hospital and cannot be restrained from reuniting with Ken.
A Soviet submarine makes sonar contact with a mysterious underwater shape. They fire torpedoes, but to no effect. The sub is attacked, explodes, and sinks. The sub disaster puts U.S. forces on alert. Japanese leaders report that Godzilla has reappeared, in an attempt to stop an escalation of superpower mobilization. The Japanese Prime Minister rejects U.S. and Soviet demands to use nuclear weapons against Godzilla.
Professor Hayashida speculates that Godzilla must feed on nuclear material, and will likely return to Japan soon. The military swings into action. Godzilla makes landfall at near nuclear power station. Feverish attempts are made to shut down the reactor. The beast rampages through the facility and consumes the radiation. He is distracted by a flock of birds and returns to the sea.
Steve Martin, who survived Godzilla’s first attack in Tokyo 30 years earlier, is summoned to Washington D.C. He tells the U.S. Commander that man-made weapons cannot stop Godzilla, he must be treated as a force of nature. Hayashida reports that Godzilla may be able to be lured to a volcano by using the same bird sounds that distracted him at the power station. Tokyo is evacuated when The King of the Monsters is spotted heading toward town..
Several war planes fire missiles at Godzilla in Tokyo Bay. He destroys a few of the planes, but continues onward. Ground based missiles are fired at the monster but he vaporizes the defense line with his nuclear breath. A Soviet ship captain, fatally wounded in the attack in the bay, sends a launch command to a nuclear missile on an orbiting platform. Godzilla enters the city and heads downtown, with the remaining citizens fleeing ahead of him. He presses on crashing into buildings and pulling a train off its tracks.
Watching at the U.S. Command Center, Martin says Godzilla is looking for something, and the key may be finding it. Meanwhile, the Japanese Defense Force begins its efforts to lure Godzilla to the volcano. As Godzilla passes their building, Hayashida, Mika, and Naoko use their bird-call device to distract Godzilla. The monster rips the lower floors of the building, forcing the three to escape to the roof. Laser cannons deployed by the army are unable to stop the beast from its rampage. A super-secret high-tech warcraft, the Super-X, is dispatched to battle Godzilla. It’s able to fire cadmium missiles into Godzilla’s mouth. He collapses into a building. But Steve Martin is not convinced Godzilla is dead.
The Soviet missile launches from orbit, and will explode over Tokyo in 30 minutes. The Japanese Foreign Minister asks the U.S. to try to shoot down the Soviet missile. As the nuclear missile continues on its deadly trajectory, Hayashida is rescued from the rooftop, but air turbulence is too strong to pick up the others. Mika and Naoko begin making their way to the street.
The American missile collides with the Soviet missile, causing a massive nuclear blast above the atmosphere. A radiation storm awakens Godzilla. The monster and the Super-X battle through the downtown. The ship uses its lasers against Godzilla while he unleashes his nuclear blast against the heavily armored aircraft. The ship is damaged and lands, but Godzilla drops a skyscraper on it. Having reached street level, Mika and Naoko flee through a burning city.
Hayashida turns on the bird-call machine. Godzilla hears the siren sound and stomps toward the volcano, which is on a nearby island. When he arrives, the volcano is reactivated by a series of explosions. With a mournful roar, Godzilla sinks into the molten lava.
Human Cast: Raymond Burr (Steve Martin), Keiju Kobayashi (Prime Minster Mitamura), Ken Tenaka (Goro Maki), Yasuko Sawaguchi (Naoko Okumura), Shin Takuma (Hiroshi Okumura), Yosuke Natsuki (Dr. Hayashida)
Monster Cast: Godzilla
Notes: After an absence of nine years, the producers brought Godzilla back to his roots as an unstoppable elemental force in a movie that ushered in the Heisei era. The North American distributor heavily re-edited 1984’s The Return Of Godzilla to create Godzilla 1985. There has not been a North American release on DVD of either The Return Of Godzilla or Godzilla 1985.
LogBook entry by Robert Parson