A 164-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) monster reptile with radioactive breath is revived, thanks to nuclear testing. It goes on a mad rampage, destroying Tokyo - can it be stopped? Should it be killed? Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Since no film like this had ever been made in Japan, they had never attempted a suit like the one needed for Godzilla. Much of the attention on the first version was on visual design. They had neglected to consider the requirements of the performer inside. Some of the poured latex was very inflexible. This factor in the 6 1/2- foot tall and over 200-pound suit made it almost impossible to move. A new suit had to be constructed that would be somewhat lighter and more flexible at the appropriate points. See more »
In one shot, the Godzilla suit actually catches fire due to the pyrotechnics. Before the scene cuts, you can see the actor inside the suit waving his arm around, trying to put out the fire. See more »
I can't believe that Godzilla was the only surviving member of its species... But if we continue conducting nuclear tests, it's possible that another Godzilla might appear somewhere in the world again.
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Essentially a Japanese remake of Hollywood's 1953 classic 'The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms', 'Gojira' took the same formula and became so much more than simple giant-monster entertainment.
Both films told stories about a pre-historic creature released/mutated by atomic testing. 'The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms' followed the appearance of a dinosaur released by an atomic blast. This dinosaur proceeded to destroy some stuff, turned up in New York, and destroyed New York too. Fun, but that was it, and not much more (I'm not saying its a bad film).
On the other hand, 'Gojira' used the same idea, and had a great impact in Japan. Gojira represented a real threat, a danger that Japanese of the time knew all too well. The message behind 'Gojira' was warning of the dangers of nuclear testing and nuclear weapons. Conversely, the message of 'The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms' is one for aspiring comic-book writers: exposure to radiation is a cheap but easy way to explain your character's freaky superpowers.
'Gojira' starts off with several boats going missing. One old man claims that Godzilla has returned, and in surprisingly un-Godzilla movie like fashion, no one believes him. I can understand this, Japan wasn't accustomed to giant-monster attacks yet. Anyway, Japan asks an imminent paleontologist, Dr. Yamane, to investigate the disappearances around Ohto Island. He discovers a two-million year old shellfish and lots of radiation. Oh, and a dinosaur the locals have dubbed Gojira. Back in Japan, Dr. Yamane is convinced that Gojira has been released by atomic testing, and that it should be isolated and studied. Obviously, no one else shares his view, and they all look for a way to destroy Gojira.
The key to Gojira's destruction lies in the hands of Dr. Serizawa. You can tell he is mad scientist because of his eye-patch. He is arranged to be married to Emiko Yamane, but she is in love with Hideto Ogata, a naval officer. Meanwhile, Gojira is turning Tokyo into a fiery crater.
Story-wise, its pretty similar to any irradiated monster movie of the 1950s. However, what all the other movies lack is the gripping images of destruction. Gojira is depicted as an evil force of nature - instead of wanting to see cities get crushed, we see Tokyo in Gojira's wake: it resembles a nuclear wasteland, and then we are treated to hospital scenes where medical staff try their best to deal with the scores of Gojira's victims. I can only imagine how terrifying scenes like those would have been so soon after World War Two. These are scenes we don't to see, in contrast to the sheer joy of watching two giant monsters have at each other in a big metropolis with no apparent consequences (see: nearly every other Godzilla movie ever made, for starters) Interestingly enough, Godzilla was only 50 metres tall in this, and he left radioactive fallout wherever he went. Somewhere along the along the line in the following movies, he got significantly taller, and lost the radioactive fallout. I guess it was a good career move seeing as he wanted to become a super-hero later on.
Great film, worthy of a 10/10
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