Director: Ishirou Honda
Written by: Ishirou Honda, Takeo Murata
Threat: Radioactive Dinosaur (Godzilla)
Weapon of Choice: The Oxygen Destroyer
Based upon: original
Other movies in this series:
A friend of mine invited me to see Gojira with him the other night, and though I wasn't thrilled with the idea, I gave it a shot. And I'm glad I went. For its fiftieth anniversary, a few prints of an extended, subtitled, fully-Japanese version have been making the rounds, and it was quite interesting.
When several Japanese ships are destroyed at sea, our heroes discover that a gigantic radioactive reptile is to blame, having been created/mutated/annoyed by recent nuclear attacks. When the creature rampages through Tokyo, our heroes have to destroy it before it's too late.
The parallel between the H-bomb and Godzilla was very clear and I couldn't help but feel a lot of the movie was a reaction to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I'm not a student of Japanese culture like tyranist is, and I found a couple of moments puzzling. But the premise, threat, and basic sentiment of the film was universal.
There was practically none of the light-heartedness and silly fun of the later Godzilla movies. He was clearly the villain, and though you feel a bit sorry for him at the end, it's clearly him or us in this scenario.
While primitive, some of the Godzilla special effects were quite impressive, and a few looked good even today. Still, there were a lot of chortles from the audience, even for scenes that looked fine.
The film was long. Both of us were tired, and I have to admit to nodding off for a few seconds. I leaned over to tell my friend to make sure I didn't fall asleep again only to find that his eyes were closed and he was gradually curling into fetal position. Whoops.
Released in America in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters, that version had new scenes starring Raymond Burr and a lot of the story pared down.
I'd Recommend It To: This is commonly regarded as the best of the Godzilla movies, so if you're at all a fan, you owe it to yourself to see this version.
Posted: August 24, 2004
Total Skulls: 7
|Rips off earlier film|
|Horror film showing on TV/in theater in movie|
|Future celebrity appears|
|Former celebrity appears|
|Girl unnecessarily gets naked|
|Death associated with sex|
|Unfulfilled promise of nudity|
|Characters forget about threat|
|Power is cut|
|Phone lines are cut|
|Someone investigates a strange noise|
|Someone runs up stairs instead of going out front door|
|Camera is the killer|
|Victims cower in front of a window/door|
|Victim locks self in with killer|
|Victim running from killer inexplicably falls|
|Toilet stall scene|
|Car stalls or won't start|
|Cat jumps out|
|Stupid discovery of corpse|
|No one believes only witness|
|Crazy, drunk, old man knows the truth|
|Warning goes unheeded|
|Music detracts from scene|
|Death in first five minutes|
|x years before/later|
|Dark and stormy night|
|Killer doesn't stay dead|
|Killer wears a mask|
|Killer is in closet|
|Killer is in car with victim|
|Villain is more sympathetic than heroes|
|Blood spatters - camera, wall, etc.|
|Poor death effect|
|No one dies at all|
|Little kid lamely survives|
|Dog/Pet miraculously survives|
|"It was all a dream" ending|
|Unbelievably happy ending|
|Unbelievably crappy ending|
|What the hell?|