Shinsei or Millennium series (1999–2004)
In 1998, Sony’s TriStar Pictures attempted to tell the story of Godzilla in an American fashion, but did not succeed. With the dawn of the new millennium, Toho Co. Ltd. rebooted the franchise for a second time with the 1999 film Godzilla 2000: Millennium starting the third era of Godzilla films, known as the Millennium series.
- Godzilla 2000 (1999)
- American Godzilla (1998 )
The Millennium series is treated similarly to an anthology series where each film is a standalone story, with the 1954 film serving as the only previous point of reference. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. are the only films in the series to share continuity with each other. It is often called the “Shinsei” series by Western fans (meaning “rebirth”) however the name is not recognized by Toho. In Japan, rather, many call it the “X” series, due to the Japanese titles containing “X” instead of “Vs”.
Tsutomu Kitagawa portrayed Godzilla for the majority of the Millennium films, with the exception of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in which Godzilla was portrayed by Mizuho Yoshida. Unlike the Showa and later Heisei films, the special effects for the Millennium films were directed by multiple effects directors such as Kenji Suzuki (Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), Makoto Kamiya (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack), Yuichi Kikuchi (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), and Eiichi Asada (Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Godzilla: Final Wars).
After the release of 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho decided to put the series on hiatus for another 10 years.