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Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk near Odo Island. An expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yemani soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164 foot tall monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan, but the rest of the world as well.
Following my love affair with Pacific Rim and after the news of the upcoming Godzilla reboot, I knew that sooner or later I would be walking into Barnes and Noble to pick up that b-e-a-utiful Godzilla Criterion BluRay.
And my prophecy came true.
Even when opening up the criterion and seeing the popup of the big Godzilla head unfolding in front of me, I was smiling. Reading the booklet I was smiling. At the menu I was smiling. I was never not smiling watching this massive reptile stomp around Tokyo. Even saying the name "Godzilla" gets my blood pumping faster and my imagination kicked into top gear.
I'm 150 feet tall. I am virtually indestructible. I'm strong. I can…
Of all the metaphors for nuclear holocaust, Godzilla was perhaps the most unlikely and indeed one of the more memorable in cinematic history. Developed by the now iconic Toho Studios in Japan, Ishiro Honda's legendary introduction to the titular 'monster' spawned an enormous franchise of creature features that have since spanned decades, and look in no danger of abating in their various forms. Honda's film may of course be dated sixty years on when it comes to effects but it remains a striking and effective piece of work in many places, a towering B-movie shot like a black & white film noir and touching on several universal themes that give the piece a level of depth missing from many other movies…
All hail the king of the monsters.
Overflowing with Japanese postwar paranoia, Godzilla is without a doubt the king granddaddy of the modern monster movie. Without this gem, millions of kids would be deprived of the simple thrill of watching a 100-foot tall mutated lizard crushing a house with a swipe of his tail. But what's more, so many standards of the monster movie genre would probably be set a lot differently, if not ending up completely nonexistent. There is a specific formula present in this Godzilla that so many other disaster monster movies follow nowadays, but none ever managed to touch the greatness that this film achieved.
I was one of the few avid supporters of Gareth Edwards' Godzilla…
I'm a newcomer to the original Godzilla flick and seeing it on the big screen for my first time was the perfect experience for such an amazing film.
Seriously can't wait to see what Gareth Edwards brings to the remake next week.
***Long Live the King - G-Marathon 2014, Film 1/30***
Few films could claim to have the legacy that Godzilla has. 60 years and almost 30 sequels and remakes later, and the big guy is still going strong. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard of Godzilla, even if they've never seen a single one of his movies. With all that history and pop culture penetration it would be easy to loose sight of something important, before he fought epic battles, before he saved the world from aliens, before he came to America, Godzilla was featured in one of the greatest films ever made.
It started with a simple idea, a few men wanted to make…
I showed this to my dad for the first time tonight, and this was his response after the final frame:
"Well, that wasn't about Godzilla at all."
I think I may have a new convert on my hands.
I was expecting this film to be pretty weak nonsense, with some silly "special" effects and a clunking storyline. Actually, its pretty decent. Obviously with today's eyes the effects aren't amazing, but the model work is pretty cool. The monster's roar is unlike anything I have ever heard before and it does scare to the core.
Also, the whole anti-nuclear angle is very well done. When people brought this up, it seemed to me like a veil to excuse watching a dumb monster film, but actually it is properly weaved into the movie.
The original Japanese classic before it was re-edited for the American audience is this fun catastrophe movie that offers a smart commentary on nuclear tests in a postwar era, showing a Tokyo devastated by a monster born as a consequence of the destructive actions of man.
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Watched the original Japanese film with English subtitles, not the Americanized version. Some of the effects are truly amazing and some look like your little brother did them, adding unintentional levity. Most interesting to watch and think about WWII and the bombs, and the cost of human intervention in nature.
Tense, captivating, and heartbreaking. Godzilla (1954) is a phenomenal film. The miniatures and effects work belie the time period it was made in. They still stand up very well to this day.
"Takarada swaggered onto the set and introduced himself as the star. The grizzled crew chuckled, 'Godzilla's the star.'"
I really, really appreciated film historian David Kalat's commentary on the Criterion Edition, so much so that I'm going to buy his book. I especially appreciate that he made clear at the outset that he takes these films seriously, that they should be taken seriously, and that he will happily defend that position against all comers. I also appreciated some of his insights into Japanese language (including the ridiculous Godzilla vs Gojira debate), history, and culture, as well as the biographical information he provided about basically every principle member of the cast and crew.
Ordinarily I might be inclined to ask why…
The moral quandary of Godzilla is actually quite strong. Would you use a super weapon against Godzilla if it meant adding it to mankind's arsenal in the future? I feel like these are the kinds of choices rarely weighed by anyone in large scale action/adventure movies.
Felt just a *little* let down coming into this fresh off the heels of the fantastic Shin Godzilla, but that's definitely on my own expectations and not the film itself. Already looking forward to revisiting this now that I know where the bar is set. Anticipating my appreciation will go up over time...
Sincèrement, c'est peut-être le plus grand conte du vingtième siècle.
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UPDATED: October 21, 2016
The Criterion Collection is a video distribution company that sells "important classic and contemporary films" in…