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
The film received a Japanese Academy Award nomination for Best Picture but lost to Seven Samurai (1954). However, the film did win the award for Best Visual Effects. It is the only Godzilla movie to receive a nomination for Best Picture. See more »
When the Yemanes arrive on Odo Island, Emiko is wearing a skirt and Doctor Yemane is wearing a suit and a tie. However, a few minutes later, Emiko is wearing slacks and Doctor Yemane's tie is gone. See more »
Chief of Emergency Headquarters:
This is quite a problem, professor. If this keeps up, we'll have to suspend the international shipping routes. Have you found a way? Is there something we can do to defeat it?
So, that's it...
Chairman of Diet Committee:
Professor Yamane, let's be honest. If there's a way to defeat Godzilla, we need to know.
It's impossible! Godzilla absorbed massive amounts of atomic radiation and yet it still survived! What do you think could kill it? Instead, we should focus on why it is still alive. That should be our top priority!
See more »
The German version significantly toned down the movie's dark and tragic tone and its thematic allegory, removing scenes referencing the A-bombs and H-bombs and altering the dialogue -- for example, in the famous scene during Godzilla's rampage, where a mother attempts to comfort her children by saying that they will soon be reunited with their deceased father, the woman's line is changed to "Don't worry, the mean Godzilla won't get you, your mother will protect you." 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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