When American reporter Steve Martin investigates a series of mysterious disasters off the coast of Japan, he comes face to face with an ancient creature so powerful and so terrifying, it can reduce Tokyo to a smoldering graveyard. Nuclear weapon testing resurrected this relic from the Jurassic age, and now it's rampaging across Japan. At night, Godzilla wades through Tokyo leaving death and destruction in his wake, disappearing into Tokyo Bay when his rage subsides. Coventional weapons are useless against him; but renowned scientist Dr. Serizawa has discovered a weapon that could destroy all life in the bay -- including Godzilla. But which disaster is worse, Godzilla's fury, or the death of Tokyo Bay? Written by
Robert Lynch <email@example.com>
Was the first anamorphic widescreen film ever released by Tôhô Kabushiki Kaisha. See more »
In the American version, during one scene Dr. Yamane's dialogue in Japanese contains the name "Godzilla" even though the monster hasn't appeared yet (revealing that this scene was originally later in the film). See more »
Many prints and videos have absolutely no credits, beyond the title at the start(with a clearly video-generated copyright notice below it) and a "The End" graphic at the close. As of 2006, Classic Media's release of the film in the Gojira/Godzilla: King of the Monsters on DVD has the restored English credits. See more »
American studios obviously believed two things: (1) that Godzilla could be sold to American audiences, and (2) that American audiences wouldn't watch the original Japanese version, and so a familiar American actor would have to be added. The end result was the filming of many scenes incorporating Raymond Burr as American newspaper reporter Steve Martin, who just happened to be in Tokyo when Godzilla struck.
In all honesty, I haven't seen the Japanese original ("Gojira") and so I have no basis on which to compare the two versions, so "Godzilla: King Of The Monsters" has to be looked at on its own merits. Let's admit right off the top that it has a lot of weaknesses. The Burr scenes aren't edited in particularly well, there are some strange decisions about dubbing (sometimes the original scenes are left in, with Japanese language and all and a narration by Burr explaining what's happening and sometimes English is dubbed over the original Japanese, and there didn't seem to me to be any particular rhyme or reason for which decision was made to which scene), the special effects are primitive (but it was made in the 1950's), and the monster stretched credibility a bit (partly the costume, and partly that he was 400 feet tall - how would the link between Jurassic era land animals and sea animals be so big?) Having said that, unless your agenda is simply to bash Americans for Americanizing the movie, you also have to admit that it's not bad. The opening scene is marvellous, with Martin being rescued from a destroyed building and brought to a hospital on a stretcher. If you didn't know the story (and we do, so perhaps this loses its impact) you'd swear off the top that this is a movie about an atomic bomb attack. For all the above weaknesses, the movie's fun pretty much all the way through if not particularly scary, and the casting of Burr accomplished what the studios wanted - Godzilla became as much an American cult classic as a Japanese one.
The ending is a bit abrupt, and seemed pretty decisive, leaving me to puzzle where all the sequels came from, but overall, if not great this was still an enjoyable film, probably undeserving of some of the criticism it gets. 6/10
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