A typhoon washes ashore a gigantic egg. It's soon claimed by greedy entrepreneurs who refuse to return it to its rightful owner, Mothra. Soon Godzilla arises near Nagoya, washed ashore by the same typhoon.
A newspaper and television station funded by a pharmaceutical company want a sensation, which happens to be the discovery of King Kong on an island. He is captured and brought to Japan, where he escapes from captivity and battles Godzilla.
When seventeen vessels blow-up and sink nearby Odo Island, Professor Kyohei Yamane, his daughter Emiko Yamane and the marine Hideto Ogata head to the island to investigate. Soon they witness a giant monster called Gojira by the locals destroying the spot. Meanwhile Emiko meets her boyfriend, the secluded scientist Serizawa, and he makes she promise to keep a secret about his research with oxygen. She agrees and he discloses the lethal weapon Oxygen Destroyer that he had developed. When Gojira threatens Tokyo and other Japanese cities and the army and the navy are incapable to stop the monster, Emiko discloses Serizawa's secret to her lover Ogata. Now they want to convince Serizawa to use the Oxygen Destroyer to stop Gojira.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Godzilla's general design was partially based on the work of Czech painter Zdenek Burian, specifically his outdated, early 20th century reconstruction of the dinosaur Iguanodon. Godzilla's posture, the way he holds his hands and, to a degree, his skin texture were taken directly from Burian's artwork. Interestingly, the dinosaurs in Burian's pieces also have folds in their skin, much like Godzilla due to him being a rubber suit. See more »
When the jets attack Gojira as he's walking out to sea after destroying Tokyo, the rockets they fire at the monster can be seen bouncing off the sky backdrop. 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.
See more »
The bon voyage scene in the American version was heavilly edited with the scene of Serizawa silently watching as Emiko and the rest of the party is deleted. See more »
The original, Japanese version of "Gojira" is the best giant monster film I've ever seen. Some fans get carried away and call it one of the best movies ever made; I wouldn't go quite that far, but it's damn good.
This film is quite different from the 20+ sequels that followed. Here, Godzilla is not so much a creature as he is a walking incarnation of the atomic bomb. His death ray, which became a rather amusing cartoon laser blast in later films, is here depicted as a sort of radioactive mist that sets its victims on fire. These "radioactive horror" images still resonate today - and imagine the impact they must've had on Japanese audiences fifty years ago.
From a production standpoint, the film holds up well. Godzilla's costume is much more convincing than the silly monkey suits that featured in the 60s and 70s Toho films, and due to the grayscale photography, the model cityscapes look convincing in most shots - or at least respectable. Ifkube's music score is stirring (you know it has to be good, as they kept recycling it in later movies), and director Honda makes great use of camera angles and imaginative special effects to give Godzilla a genuine aura of menace.
For once, the human characters don't let the side down. There's a compelling love triangle, and a dramatic sacrifice made at the end of the film that adds enormously to its emotional impact. The American version ("Godzilla: King of the Monsters") cut out much of the character development, and is thus clearly inferior; but never fear, Rialto is apparently releasing "Gojira," in all its original glory, sometime this year (2004).
In the later Godzilla films, the destruction he causes is almost incidental. Here, it's the whole point - he's a force of nature. Impressive.
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