Thursday, 28 July 2011

Gojira (Godzilla) 1954

Written by Happywax   July 2011
Rating 9 out of 10

Director - Ishiro Honda

Akira Takarada - Hideto Ogata
Momoko Kochi - Emiko Yamane
Akihiko Hirata - Dr Serizawa
Takashi Shimura - Yamane-Hakase
Fuyuki Murakami - Prof Tanabe

Hey all you Giant Monster Maniacs Happys back and i've brought with me the Greatest Giant Monster Movie Ever Made. Ever since King Kong was shot down from the top of the Empire State Building in 1933, giant monsters have become a staying addition amongst the movie monsters. The "huge monsters attack and destroy cities" idea is one I truly enjoy , The already said original King Kong is a definite classic, but it is the 1954 original Gojira, commonly Godzilla, that is closest to my building smashing  heart.

The opening of the film alone is memorable. Just the bold title "Gojira" on the screen, with the sound of the famous roar in the background. Cut to a peaceful shipping boat on a sunny day, that is suddenly attacked and destroyed by something mysterious. More ships follow the same path, and government of Japan is facing a crisis. Meantime, on a nearby island all the fishes seem to have disappeared from the sea. Old superstitious people tell it is Gojira, legendary monster from their myths. The said island is soon attacked by a huge dinosaur like monster that breathes fire and is radioactive. It's an unseen creature from pre-historic era, awakened and mutated by atomic bombs, and it's heading towards Tokyo.

Unlike its 30 or so sequels, the original Gojira was never meant as cheap entertainment movie. There are no aliens, super vehicles or other monsters fighting Godzilla here. This film was meant as a very direct objection against nuclear tests and wars in general, warning men that nothing good will come out of them. The shots of destroyed Tokyo, injured people being treated and the girl chore singing in the background, must have had a pretty strong effect on Japanese people, who were still recovering from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The black and white cinematography gives a nightmarish, almost apocalyptic feeling, and it helps hiding some of the out-dated special effects. Thanks to it most of the miniatures and Godzilla's rubber suit do not bother in the film. Also worth mentioning is the music score, one of the greatest I've heard, and that was still used as Godzilla's theme music in many of the later films. The final scene, where Godzilla gives his dying roar before sinking to the depths of the ocean, is strangely melancholic and sad.

Godzilla itself still deserves the title "king of the monsters". A gigantic fire breathing mutant dinosaur that destroys everything from its way, like a force of nature, is astonishing to say the least. Not to mention that unlike King Kong, army can't do anything to this guy. Godzilla is shot with tanks, missiles, airplanes, high-voltage electricity fences and what else, nothing works. In the end it is brilliant Dr. Serizawa's kamikaze-attack with his life work that stops the monster.

The original Japanese "Gojira"(1954)  in my opinion remains as one of the best monster movies of all time, its just to bad they didn't make more like this one...

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