I got a box set of Godzilla movies for Christmas and I had to share. This review will touch on all six movies in the box set. There are seven in the set, but two are the same movie; the second being the Western release with Raymond Burr. There’s an IMBd link for each movie, as well as a link to the Toho Kingdom site in case you would like to learn more about them. I’ve been a Godzilla fan since I was a little girl. I’ve seen just about every movie in this collection except for one, and it’s the last movie in the set. After watching the first three, I came to the conclusion that I must own all the Godzilla movies. This could be quite the feat as there are around 32 movies in the franchise. That includes the two made by Hollywood.
It is an honourable quest to be sure.
IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047034/
Toho Kingdom Link: http://www.tohokingdom.com/movies/godzilla_1954.htm
This is the original movie and the whole thing is subtitled. Released in 1954, it’s meant to be a warning about the dangers of atomic testing. It was re-released in 1956 to the world as Gozilla; King of the Monsters, with Raymond Burr.
It’s nice to see that after all these years the movie and the franchise is still popular. Even with the corny acting, the set designs are incredible for special effects for the day. I can only imagine what the audience of the day must have thought while watching Tokyo set on fire. This is also (as far as I know) the first of the daikaiju (big monster) movies from Japan. It’s quite clear throughout the movie that the producers wanted to make a strong connection to the monster and man’s self-destructiveness, with several dialogue pieces hinting at a connection, but whether or not the monster represents the evil of the atom bomb or man, I don’t know.
Godzilla Raids Again!
IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048127
Toho Kingdom Link: http://www.tohokingdom.com/movies/godzilla_raids_again.htm
Billed as Gigantis, The Fire Monster for Western audiences, this second Godzilla movie introduces the ‘monster vs. monster’ theme that prevails in all future Godzilla movies. It’s not much on plot, and the translated dialogue is cringeworthy, but for the era and genre, it was popular. Trivia note; George Takei did several voices for the Western re-release. Husband and I picked up on his voice right away.
While the movie has the same tone as the first, much of the anti-atom/nuclear speeches are gone. Also, this Godzilla is referred to as the second and not the same creature that destroyed Tokyo. It was nice to see some characters from the first movie in the second, and they referenced the first movie as well; using footage of Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo as a newsreel. In the end, Godzilla defeats the second monster before returning to his home and being buried in an ice avalanche.
Godzilla Vs. Mothra
IMBd Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058379/
Toho Kingdom Link: http://www.tohokingdom.com/movies/mothra_vs_godzilla.htm
Billed as Godzilla vs. The Thing (again for Western audiences) this is the fourth Godzilla in the franchise, (the third being Godzilla Vs. King Kong) and again our hero is deemed ‘the bad guy’. It also focuses more on Mothra and the egg than on Godzilla with our hero receiving less screen time than the other movies. It also marks the first time Godzilla was defeated by another monster, showing that while he may be called ‘king’ he can still get his butt kicked. The only thing I found puzzling is was where Godzilla appeared from, as the last time I saw him he was buried under ice not sand. I did some research and found that the third movie answered that question.
Godzilla is coming into his own in this movie. He looks different from the original movie; now taking the shape of the creature we all love. This movie also shows that the monsters aren’t bad and that they can help mankind, that is, when they’re not destroying cities in Japan.
Next month I will review the remaining three movies in the box set.