Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships are sunk near Odo Island. An expedition to the island led by Dr. Yemani soon discover something far more devastating than imagined in the form of a 50 meter tall monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan, but the rest of the world as well.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN December 05, 2019 at 03:41 PM
A film that works because of its campy monster and its budget-limited special effects (they couldn't afford stop motion so it's all a dude wearing a rubber suit tromping on miniatures), but is made special because of its deep meaning and the warnings and questions it has for the nuclear age.
It's telling that it was the most advanced scientific breakthrough made by the most brilliant minds on the planet, the harnessing of the atom, that led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in turn, in this movie, to the unleashing of a two million year old monster. It warns humanity that in stepping forward in its understanding of the universe, it was also taking a step backwards, and unleashing irrational, destructive violence upon the world. That's all pretty obvious I guess, but the scenes of fleeing people being incinerated by Godzilla, women and children huddling together in fear, and the destruction of Tokyo looking like an atomic bomb had gone off must have reverberated especially with the original audiences of the time. It certainly did for me. There is something deeply painful about this film.
In a fascinating development, it's a Japanese scientist who has to wrestle with the morality of having developed a weapon of mass destruction called the 'Oxygen Destroyer', knowing that its use to stop Godzilla in the short term may lead to its use to further horrific destruction in the long term. It seems to put the Japanese in the same position as the Americans in 1945, one where there are no easy answers. How does one put the lid back on the box of an arms race, where one technology or act of violence leads to another in a crazy, unending spiral? The solution offered may or may not be all that realistic, but I thought just raising the question in the way the film did - and so soon after the war - was incredibly thought-provoking and brave. The film thus works on emotional and philosophical levels that one normally wouldn't get in a monster film, or at least, with this level of meaning and intensity. Definitely recommended.
Reviewed by Coventry9 / 10
A Gigantic Classic!
Along with the 1933-version of "King Kong", this original Japanese release of "Gojira" is THE most essential giant monster movie ever and one the very few horror movies that every film lover in general has to see at least once. Why? Because, it's so much more than just silly drive-in cinema with a cheap looking monster! This is dark and apocalyptic Sci-Fi with a nearly allegorical rant about nuclear warfare and the honest fear for new types of weaponry. But I really don't feel like going into the deeper meaning behind "Gojira", as it primarily is an adrenalin rushing and overpowering action classic that doesn't need intellectual defense at all. One of the many reasons why I love this film so much (and same goes for "King Kong") is that we don't have to wait a dreadfully long time and/or endure a large amount of tedious speeches before we see the monster we want to see! Godzilla makes his highly memorable first appearance after approximately 20 minutes (by stretching his neck over a cliff!) and, from then on, this is deliciously hectic and paranoid monster-madness! The little bugger is presumably the result of too much H-bomb radiation and lives in the depths of the ocean, near the island of Odo. But now he's heading for Tokyo with his unnameable strength, fiery breath and oh yeah insatiable appetite for destruction! Particularly this extended sequence in which Godzilla blasts his way through the Japanese capital, crushing buildings and setting monuments on fire, is very impressive and legendary. The actor-in-monster-costume works a lot better than any form of computer engineered effects and the carefully imitated Tokyo sets are truly enchanting. The absolute best aspect about this production is its powerful score, which makes Godzilla even more threatening. Great stuff!
This milestone simultaneously meant the go-ahead for an innumerable amount of quickly shot sequels ("Son of Gozilla", "Godzilla vs. Mothra"), spin-offs ("Godzilla VS. King Kong"), remakes ("Godzilla 1984", the hi-tech American version) and of course an overload of pathetic imitations ("Reptilicus", "Monster from a Prehistoric Planet"). I still have to see all the direct sequels but don't really know what to expect from them. I guess that even if they're only half as good as this original, I'll be very satisfied.
Reviewed by MartinHafer8 / 10
the only Japanese dino-monster movie worth your time
If you want to know how I feel about most Godzilla movies, try reading my review of King Kong Versus Godzilla. Saying I HATE THEM would be very charitable to say the least! However, because of the intensity of my hatred of this genre, I must in good conscience say that the original Godzilla flick is pretty good. At this point, the franchise had not yet been ruined by pointless repetition and the crappy special effects were just fine for the 1950s. However, even in the most recent incarnations, the special effects have NOT improved. What was acceptable in the 1950s is unforgivable going into the 21st century! So, going back to the original. The Japanese decided to intersperse some new material integrating Raymond Burr into the flick to make it more understandable and more palatable to Western audiences. This was a good decision, though a few of the Burr scenes do look VERY much like an afterthought. This was parodied hilariously in a Pinky and the Brain episode where every few minutes, the exact same scene with Raymond Burr is spliced into it--"yes,...yes,...I see" was repeated each time! Despite this, it is still original, interesting and worth a look. However, DON'T assume that this gets better with repetition. Not every movie deserves a sequel!!
PLEASE NOTE: Do not confuse this review of the American version of Godzilla with the Japanese version. Due to MASSIVE editing, they are far different films.
UPDATE: I watched "Gojira" (the Japanese version) and it is a better film. The interruptions by Raymond Burr's character were distracting and I'd score it a 9 in the original form.