A reporter investigates the disappearance of a ship. He finds the ship and discovers that all the hands have been killed by a giant sea louse except for one. The lone survivor then tells the reporter that the ship was attacked by Godzilla (Gojira). Fearing a panic, the Japanese government then takes the survivor into custody to keep him from revealing that Godzilla has returned. However, a Soviet nuclear submarine is destroyed and the situation puts them and the United States on the brink of nuclear war, until the Japanese decide to come clean and admit that it was Godzilla. Soon the Japan and the rest of the world are on red alert as they wait for Godzilla to begin his rampage anew. Written by
Brian Washington <Sargebri@att.net>
Far superior in its original, Japanese version, which I can only describe as a masterpiece
For a long time, when it came to Godzilla's famous 1984 return, I was only familiar with the Americanized, box office-failure version dubbed "Godzilla 1985", starring Raymond Burr. It wasn't until much later that I realize I was watching a butchered, practically raped version, of a classic allegorical monster movie.
The original, Japanese version, called "The Return of Godzilla" is by far superior. It just has so much more power than the Americanized version, symbolizing the horrors of nuclear war and violence in a fresh new perspective almost as powerful as that achieved in the very first Godzilla film. First of all, it has a lot of more scenes involving the characters, thus leading to more plot and character development. So many questions are answered, including the origins of the giant sea louse on board the ship, and most importantly of all, why Godzilla would suddenly appear out of the blue after thirty long years of absence. And acting is a plus, a rare thing found in any Godzilla film.
And as for the main star himself, Godzilla, he looked great! True, he didn't look perfect in every single scene (he is after all a man in a rubber suit). So to make up for this, Godzilla was only shown in two scenes of the movie and to make it more dark and terrifying, they were both at night. Throughout the rest of the movie, as a result, it brings this more chilling feeling where you know the monster's out there and that it truly is dangerous. It's not the old feeling where monsters appear almost every day. The graphics used for Godzilla's death-ray are perfect, just as realistic as the effects used for the plasma beams in "The Terminator" which was made at the same time. Godzilla's final attack on Tokyo is spectacular, also with great new scenes, and no longer is Godzilla stomping through a cardboard city!
The music score, conducted and composed by Reijiro Koroku, is arguably the best in any Godzilla film to date. The soundtrack is a collection of pieces of all emotions: horror, emotional, love, tranquility, sadness. The ending theme is heartbreaking, even to non-Godzilla fans.
The Americanized version had scenes of Raymond Burr and other American actors (who were terrible at their job) inserted and they ruined the overall power of the film. And also, subtitles spoken by the Russians were altered in the Americanized version, to make the Soviet Union seem like the enemy of the world. But in the original masterpiece, nobody is the enemy. Not even Godzilla, who is just an innocent creature trying to survive and is bringing the world together in an ironic way.
There are only two aspects to the Americanized version that were good: one, a replacement of sound effects. I have to agree that some of the sound effects, mostly explosions, needed replacing. Including the scene where Godzilla fights the jets in Tokyo Bay. That, and also Raymond Burr's somber speech at the end. Although this is a cool feature, it really wasn't necessary. And the original, silent ending of the Japanese version is by far better.
Overall, "The Return of Godzilla" is an underrated classic and it definitely deserves more recognition in the U.S. Critics and audiences just need to put the campy Godzilla films of the 60s and 70s behind them and learn that the series had changed. This 1980s classic is definitely one of the best monster movies ever made and it has everything a Hollywood movie has. Highly recommended.
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