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The Two pilots Kobayashi and Tsukioka must land on a remote
Pacific Island and become witnesses of the fight between
giant monsters. After the battle, they both disappear into the
Tsukioka informs scientists (including Dr. Yamane from the
"Godzilla" film) and the army about Godzilla and an unknown
monster that looks like a prehistoric Ankylosaurus. The
monster therefor is named Angilas.
Meanwhile, some bandits escape near Osaka and cause a car
crash that is followed by large explosions. The fire attracts
to Osaka. The Japanese army tries to stop the monster using
tanks, missiles and the air force. Then Angilas shows up too!
two monsters fight each other in the middle of the city in a
battle which is won by Godzilla. In order to stop him, the
Defense Corps (and the two friends Kobayashi and Tsukioka)
follow Godzilla to a snowy island near Hokkaido in northern
Many pilots die in the final battle against the monster, as the
tries to cause an avalanche to bury Godzilla...
This is the little-known second film of the legendary Japanese Godzilla series, and the last that was filmed in black & white. It lacks, of course, most of the metaphoric meaning the first film had and is just a very entertaining, classic monster movie. The beautiful music score was composed by Masaru Satô, the favourite composer of Akira Kurosawa. It sounds a bit like a softer version of Akira Ifukube's great theme music for the first film. Like in the first "Godzilla", the black & white photography adds to the plausibility of the special effects, therefor they work really good most of the time. Probably the biggest problem with the effects is that the monsters move by far too fast in their fight scenes. But fortunately "Gojira no gyakushû" was the only Japanese monster movie ever to use this technique. Please note that this commentary is based on the original, uncut Japanese version of the film which really is the ONLY way to see it!! The American version is badly dubbed, has half of the movie cut out, inserts new scenes that don't make ANY sense, and has special effects footage stolen from other movies... it's just total crap. Everybody who is interested in seeing this film should look for the Japanese version, it's definitely worth the effort. Unfortunately, it is probably very hard to find. Despite the success of the film in Japan, the next "Godzilla" movie was not made for seven years.
This film is a decent follow up to the original film. It pretty much
shows that you don't have to be a scientist or a major military figure
to be a hero. The only thing negative criticism I have about it is that
it tends to slow down when it gets to the scenes that feature only the
human characters. However, the film really picks up steam when the
fight between the two monsters begins.
Also, there is an interesting fact about this film. When it was first proposed that this film would be released in the United States, the title was for the American version was to be called "The Volcano Monsters" and it was to be written by noted schlock master Ib Melchior, the man behind such B classics as "Reptilicus" and "The Angry Red Planet", and his partner Edwin Watson. The proposed production would have used some of the footage from "Godzilla's Counterattack." The premise for the story was to involve the discovery of a tyrannosaurus (Godzilla) and an ankylosaurus (Angillas) in a cave on a remote island. The two monsters are then brought to San Francisco (the Japanese buildings would have been explained as being San Francisco's Chinatown) and then escape and start to fight all over the city. The ankylosaurus is killed during the battle and the tyrannosaurus is then left to rampage all over the city until it escapes to the Artic Circle where in the climatic battle it is covered in ice and preserved forever.
An interesting note, Melchior used several of the intended plot devices for "The Volcano Monsters" in Reptilicus, including the ending which showed the claw of another monster, which was poking out of the cave where the two monsters were found.
As stated in the first film, the Godzilla killed by the oxygen destroyer was not the only one of its species. This time another of the Godzilla species is back with a spike-backed monster named Angilas. Unlike the first film and its subtext of nuclear horror, this is just a typical monster on the loose film of the 50's. You can easily tell this film was rushed and the hurried nature in which it was assembled. The only thing really bad in this film was the speed at which the fighting scenes were filmed. It looked too comical and the radioactive rays are poorly animated and very crude. The Godzilla suit used this time was very strange, his teeth stick out too much and has very thin wrists and ankles. The Japanese version of this film was excellent compared the the horrible version Warner Brothers put out. Warner dubbed Godzilla's roar with Angilas' sometimes and Dr. Yamane sounds like Elmer Fudd. They replaced Sato's score with horrible stock music and added this STUPID scene of how the 'fire monsters' were created in the conference room. And they dubbed this film so bad, they made the hero of the film (Kobayashi), sound like a complete idiot. Spend your money on the Japanese version of this film, not the American.
Picked up the remastered version recently released. It has the Japanese and American versions of the film. I watched the longer Japanese version which is oh so much better. Gone is the stupid narration. The voices actually match the characters and don't come off dopey. There are also scenes with silences, something the American version seemed afraid to have. I used to think this was a dull and boring film, but it actually held my attention this time out, even when my brother was kibitzing to get me to go shopping with him. If you like these sort of movies and get the chance watch this in Japanese and see it for the first time. (FYI- the new remasters do not allow toggling between versions because the Japanese versions are usually longer, even by a minute or two than the Americans so you can only see the differences by watching the versions back to back.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The sequel to the 1954 phenomenon, made only 4 months later, "Godzilla
Raids Again". This is the only other black-and-white G-film in
existence, and a very rare one at that. Probably due to the VERY poorly
received American version. Thankfully, Classic Media one more comes
through, even including the Japanese version. This film was decent at
best, no where near as powerful as the first. The four fathers of
Godzilla weren't all here, Honda and Ifukbe, probably a major factor in
the sharp contrast. The score by Masaru Sato was't as striking as Akira
Ifukube's score, but it was still all right.
Shigeru Kayama provides a good story, but I wish more of the characters from the first were in it. The escaped convicts was an interesting plot point, but overall the characters simply aren't as involving. Hiroshi Koizumi and Minoru Chiaki star but not even their performances can save the character's overall dullness. Takashi Shimura returns as Dr. Yamane, the only actor reprising his role disappointedly. Kind of a downer. The climatic battle is thrilling but Kobayashi's 'heroic' death was poorly scripted. Him sticking around in a weaponless plane as jets bomb Godzilla, not feelin' it.
Godzilla looked fantastic, the only real difference being his slimness. The puppet's teeth were the only bad point. Anguius was Godzilla's first ever foe and you got to love the echoing roar. The fights are entertaining, the camera speed accident a bit odd, but whatever. The fight ends brutally with Godzilla sinking his teeth in his throat nicely. The effects were nicely done all in all for their time.
The American version is just horrific!!! The constant voice-over is annoying and Kobayashi sounds like a bumbling oaf, despite the acclaimed actor he was in Japan. The score became a jumbled mess along with the story. Gigantis and Anguirus are somehow related and attracted to fire, blah, blah, blah, blah, etc.
Anyways, this film is good,but I warn you the U.S. version is only good for the commentary ( by Steve Ryfle!!!). Stick to the Japanese version!
Perhaps the real reason why "Godzilla Raids Again" is not as popular as
the first film of the series is because most people are more familiar
with the butchered and dubbed English version titled "Gigantis the Fire
Monster". However, when you look at that disaster of a film and compare
it to Toho's original Japanese version, with no dubbing, no narration,
no music or sound effect changes, you have one of the best 1950s
monster movies. "Godzilla Raids Again", or "Godzilla's Counterattack"
as its original title literally translates, is a flawed film. But like
the first Godzilla, it's an allegorical classic. It symbolizes a
different kind of horror that wasn't expressed in the first film.
The original 1954 classic "Godzilla" symbolized the horrors of nuclear war and the way that it can ultimately change the lives of people forever. "Godzilla Raids Again" focuses on a different perspective. It symbolizes the struggles of people still trying to adapt to life after a war and recover and try to resume their normal lives again. Godzilla and his very first opponent, Anguirus, are like weapons of war. They strike, cause enormous damage, leave ruins, and the people have to rebuild and try to get back on line again, until the weapons of war come back to attack them again. And the people still live in fear of the atomic bombs and other nuclear weapons, for they have brought back more horrors from the past and continue to bring them upon the world. While "Godzilla Raids Again" is nowhere near as powerful and allegorical as the first film, it is still one of my favorite Godzilla films. But once again, only in its uncut and undubbed print.
The English language version of the film is just another example of why you should never tamper with somebody else's film. It is an example among other Godzilla films and also Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West", in which the American distributors cut the film down until it wasn't as compelling. When "Godzilla Raids Again" was distributed, they tore the film apart and changed it all. The most horrendous dubbing of any Godzilla film was put in, there was a lot of narration that ruined the original feeling of the film's atmosphere. But what was worst of all, they changed the monsters themselves. Godzilla's name was changed to Gigantis, his dark, chilling roar was changed to Anguirus' roar most of the time. A lot of the great sound effects of the monsters as they fought in Osaka were replaced, as was Masaru Sato's original music score. It was replaced with stock B-music and for what reason, I do not know why. A lot of other sound effects were changed as well. In the original print, Godzilla's death ray creates a loud, destructive kind of sound. But in the dubbed version, for reasons unknown, it was replaced with a wispy sound effect, like a leak in a hose.
Ignoring the existence of "Gigantis the Fire Monster", the special effects used in "Godzilla Raids Again" are very fine for the age. Unfortunately, they weren't as good as the Japanese Academy Award-winning effects presented in the first Godzilla film. At times, Godzilla's head and neck seemed too slender and the hand-operated puppet used in the close ups is just plain not good-looking. However, the suits used for Godzilla and Anguirus in their epic, realistic battle in Osaka looked fantastic! And what I loved most about this battle, is that it was a traditional, physical fight. The monsters bite, claw, and slam each other like real animals. Unlike in the future, when the monsters would mostly just bump into each other and fight with "beam wars". Godzilla's death ray is more like a last resort kind of weapon, something he uses when he's got a sense of victory, and spends the rest of his time biting and clawing at Anguirus, who performs the same actions. And unlike in the English version, the monsters don't continuously roar at each other, they mostly growl and snarl when fighting and roar once they have a brief stand-off every now and again.
But still, "Godzilla Raids Again", while it's an amazing monster film, has its flaws. Mostly, it's the fact that the monsters of the film do not have a whole lot to do with the story. In fact, Anguirus screen time ends after the first third of the movie is over. Maybe, he could have been used a bit longer for a more effective first appearance into the series. Godzilla himself, while the main plot point of the story, doesn't get as much screen time and scenes as he should get. The storyline just strays from him after the battle for too long and he doesn't really get anything else until the ending of the film.
But that doesn't mean a whole lot. Yes, "Godzilla Raids Again" is not the most action-packed Godzilla film there is. But it is, in its original version, one of the best monster movies there is. It presents a great symbolic message and should be examined by everybody for this reason. It is a dark compelling film, not as great as the first Godzilla film, but definitely one of the best.
I finally now have seen this the second Godzilla movie made. The first where Godzilla takes on another monster...the other monster presented is Anguirus. The story was pretty good for the most part as they make it clear in the Japanese cut anyway, that this is a new Godzilla and not the one destroyed by the oxygen destroyer. Also, this new monster is also discovered. The cities just off the coast are on alert, everything seems to go well until a bunch of prisoners escape and start a large fire (light apparently attracts Godzilla)and not only does he come, but so does Anguirus and they battle in the city. After the battle there is time to relax as Godzilla leaves peaceful like enough and the city was evacuated very well this time too. Everything is going well until Godzilla reappears in a more northern town, however at one point he is in the middle of a bunch of snow capped mountains and a plan is hatched to stop Godzilla's onslaught again. This movie could have been better though, there is a lot of filler in this movie, I am thinking they felt they needed more scenes to pad out a rather short running time film. However, with this movie coming out only six months after the original, the extra scenes had to be scenes of people rather than of the monsters. Also, the film goes on a bit to long well after the battle between the two monsters. So much so that the threat of Godzilla seems to even evaporate for a time. I also think the plane scene at the end went on to long as their plan should have to worked after they figured it out rather than going back to base to load up on missiles. However, the fight between the two monsters is rather good, and unlike the professional wrestling like quality of the next movie "Godzilla vs King Kong" in this one the monsters fighting seems to be like that of two actual animals and not men in costumes. I think this one would have been much better though if they did not rush to complete it.
Not the overpowering mandate against technological advances that Gozilla was, but nonetheless a good sequel that treats the Godzilla story reverently with realistic horrors of destruction, subtle humour, and interesting characters. The movie has some pockets of slow moving action, but the finale is a beautifully filmed scene of the creature being thwarted on an island of mountains and ice. The film has a Godzilla with a different look as well as another creature with a spiked back that destroy Osaka together. Characterization, as with the first Godzilla, lends the film some seriousness and realism. The destruction scenes in particular are nicely filmed, as they show a city in fear...and then destroyed. The film lacks Inshiro Hondo's directorial flair, but is well-shot and has a nice musical score to enhance it.
Even thought it shows Godzilla's new slim look and features fast paced
action and sequences, it still kind of passes as a sequel but doesn't
live up to what a sequel should live up to since it takes place maybe
several months or a year after Godzilla's first attack.
The first Godzilla set fear into the heart of the Japanese people in the year it came out. Godzilla was a symbol of how cruel us men were to create destruction and war along with the creation of the atom bomb, which was used against Japanese, and mutated a lizard like creature into the terrifying Godzilla (Gojira).
Godzilla's Counterattack (or Godzilla Raids Again in the official English title) features not one, but two monsters created by the same origins. A new Godzilla is awaken along with a mutated fictional mutated Ankylosaur who are both brawling it out to destroy one another for whatever reason. The thing that irritates me about this film is that two monsters fighting and destroying a city in the process should be scary but there's no scenes that would frighten anyone. The monster battles are fast paced, a little to fast paced because the camera man put it on fast mode. The camera shots made it obviously look like men in monster suits fighting. The shots in Gojira were incredible as it shot Godzilla below the jaw most of the film and filmed him from a further distance and never an up close shot. Maybe a few close shots but he's usually behind something or something like that bird cage is covering up his face. Anyways, the tone of the film is however suppose to be more lighthearted but still scary even though it's not. Even Godzilla looks ridiculous in this film. They had to tone down the suit yeah but didn't have to make him look like a dog. But hey, it's an entertaining film and the first of the many Godzilla sequels to come. So if you want something dark and gloomy like the first film that has Godzilla, don't go to this one but if you want something with awesome monster action, then hey check it out. It ain't all that bad anyway.
Let me just begin this review by saying that I never intended to like
this movie. I only got the DVD to add to my Godzilla collection. I knew
that it was old and some of the stuff in the movie looks cheesy and the
gave Godzilla the name Gigantis, but I misjudged this movie.
Godzilla Raids Again is definitely one of the top contenders for my favorite Godzilla movie (right with Final Wars, Gojira and Godzilla 2000.) Seeing as this is one of Godzilla's rarer movies, I consider myself lucky that I saw it.
So, to sum up my review in 1 sentence, I guess I'll say this. This movie wasn't what I expected, in a good way.
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