Sunday, April 2, 2017

Godzilla (1954)

Director: Ishiro Honda

Starring: Takashi Shimura, Akihito Hirata, Akira Takarada

Run time: 1:36

Rant: So basically there are two versions of the original Godzilla movie. Godzilla or Gojira in Japan was was directed by legendary kaiju director Ishiro Honda and released in 1954. Two years later in 1956 there was an American version released that used the same monster footage in the original but added an American reporter played by Raymond Burr. This review will be about the 1954 Japanese version.

This is only the second time I've watched this version and I gotta say it's pretty damn good. Godzilla was awaken by H-bomb tests near the ocean and the movie really tries to make you think about war and nuclear weapons. His atomic breath doesn't look like a laser blast in this one, it looks more like radiation or some kind of gas. It's a pretty depressing movie actually and it's really dark. Not dark like Godzilla 2014 where you can't see shit but dark and depressing. You might have to be in the right state of mind to enjoy it. There's no fun. You won't be seeing any monsters giving each other suplexes or Stone Cold stunners. Godzilla hasn't become a hero or The King of the Monsters like he's portrayed in the following films. He's a giant, scary, indestructible monster that just destroys everything in his path.

The story is pretty simple. A freighter is destroyed near and island and some locals think it's "Godzilla," who to them is just a legend. The government send a paleontologist named Kyohei Yamane (played by legendary actor Takashi Shimura) to find out what the hell is going on. He finds Godzilla and tells everyone that repeated H-bomb testing has awaken the monster. At the same time there's this mad scientist with an eye patch named Serizawa who's invented a weapon of mass destruction called the Oxygen Destroyer. Yamane's daughter Emiko and her fiance Ogata now have to convince Serizawa to use the weapon to destroy Godzilla.

The rubber suit isn't bad but it depends on what angles it's shot in. Some scenes Godzilla looks like a burn-victim Barney the dinosaur, but in others, especially with the grainy black and white film, he looks really scary. There's one shot at about the hour and four minute mark that is excellent.

This movie is great. You can't go wrong with Godzilla. The theme is one of the best ever, the characters are great and the sense of dread throughout is very well done. At the end of the movie, they use the Oxygen Destroyer and kill Godzilla. There will probably never be another film with him ever again. This is a classic and an excellent awful horror movie.

Fun Fact: Gojira is a combination of the words gorira (gorilla) and kujira (whale).

Monster Appearances

             Film: 8.5
             Entertainment: 8
             Effects: 7
             Overall: 8.0