American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast.
It isn't too surprising that the film is actually a thinly-veiled allegory for the threat of the escalating weapons race circa 1954. After all, other sci-fi films of the era covered similar ground. However, what I find interesting about this film is how it gives equal consideration to both sides of the argument.
The script does a good job of building suspense around the creature until we get to his inevitable rampage. From that point on I find that the action flags a little but that may be due in part to the sometimes unconvincing special effects. Then again, what do you expect from a 54 year old monster movie from Japan? The miniatures often look like miniatures and Godzilla is, after all, a guy in a rubber suit. Nevertheless, while the effects aren't even as convincing as 1933's "King Kong" I think that they still hold a certain charm.
The cast isn't bad and it does include Takashi Shimura of "Seven Samurai" fame. The acting didn't grab my attention much but, then again, I couldn't exactly catch every nuance while paying attention to the subtitles at the same time. Ishirô Honda's direction is solid and the Akira Ifukube score provides pretty good support to the action. I thought that the sound was a bit sub-par at times, though.
Ultimately, "Gojira" is worth watching despite its rudimentary special effects. In my mind, it's the underlying symbolism that makes the film special. By the way, forget about the American-ized version, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters"; it's a sometimes clumsy reworking that ignores most of the original film's complexity.
- Sep 1, 2009