Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk. At first, the authorities think its either underwater mines or underwater volcanic activity. The authorities soon head to Odo Island, close to where several of the ships were sunk. One night, something comes onshore and destroys several houses and kills several people. A later expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Kyôhei Yamane, his daughter Emiko, and young navy frogman Hideto Ogata (who also happens to be Emiko's lover, even though she is betrothed to Dr. Daisuke Serizawa) soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164-foot-tall (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. Can the monster be destroyed before it is too late, and what role will the mysterious Serizawa play in the battle? Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
In 2004, for his 50th anniversary, Godzilla was given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. See more »
When the second fire engine crashes, the model turns on its side and very obviously falls off the table on which it was being filmed. There is nothing depicted on screen from which it could have fallen off. See more »
If my device can serve a good purpose, i would announce it to everyone in the world! But in its current form, it's just a weapon of horrible destruction. Please understand, Ogata!
I understand. But if we don't use your device against Godzilla, what are we going to do?
Ogata, if the oxygen destroyer is used even once, politicians from around the world will see it. Of course, they'll want to use it as a weapon. Bombs versus bombs, missiles versus missiles, and now a new superweapon to throw upon ...
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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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