Godzilla is a cultural icon, and is even more well known around the world than any of the slashers to come out of the 80s, but who among us can say they're actually seen the original Godzilla? I have to admit, this was my first viewing, and I have probably only seen 2-3 other entries in a series containing more than 20 films. My thoughts?
Coming off of the giant monster B-Movie extravaganza that was the 40s and 50s, Godzilla takes a familiar plot, but introduces a biting social and political commentary that reflects the fears of the nuclear fallout that were ever-present in post-World War II Japan. After the disappearances of several ships, scientists discover that their nuclear testing has awoken an ancient creature from the Cretaceous period, the legendary Godzilla, who returns to destroy Tokyo on a feeding frenzy. All of the basic elements of the classic giant monster movies are present in the film, but what sets it apart are the stunning special FX and the sinister looking beast that leaves a trail of destruction in its path. The filmmakers employed a range of different techniques to create the illusion of the towering giant, from stop motion animation, to puppetry, to forced perspective, to scale models that are so meticulous and intricate that they are indistinguishable from the actual buildings. When each of these methods are combined, the results are simply spectacular. As much as everyone laughs at the camp value in the later films when Godzilla gets into the ring with other Kaiju monstrosities, it cannot be denied that the FX work in the series is unlike anything of its time. In terms of the human element in the film, there is a mild love triangle and struggle between three leads, as well as the interactions between government officials and the scientists trying to stop the rampaging monster. The performances are all played straight and never fall into the cheesiness of other efforts like The Giant Gila Monster, but there are several stereotypical moments that have been imitated in the media for decades since. For the time in which it was made and the ingenious methods used in its filmmaking, Godzilla truly stands the test of time, and will always remain to be one of the greatest monster movies ever made.
Number of views: 1.
*This review was based on the original, uncut Japanese version of Gojira, and not the Americanized Godzilla: King of the Monsters.