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Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Reviews

Page 1 of 22
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

March 5, 2012
The debased Americanized version of the original Japanese film, re-edited to include Raymond Burr as reporter Steve Martin. It is relatively well done but has inconsistencies, bad re-dubbing and a lot of terrible exposition, with Steve annoyingly narrating all the time what we can easily see.

Super Reviewer

September 21, 2011
This is the Americanized version of the original Godzilla film. While not a terrible piece of cinematic entertainment, I felt rather let down, and suspect (since I haven't actually seen it) that the Japanese original (which came out two years before this one) is probably far better.

The story (if you need to know it), concerns a giant reptiallian creature who emerges from the sea surrounding Japan and raises all manner of hell and devastation. In this version, it's told in a documenatry style format and is presented from the view of an American journalist in Japan named Steve Martin. He was only passing through Japan for some fun while headed to Cairo for business, but gets stuck there after the giant monster starts attacking.

I kinda liked the format here, though research tells me that the big differences between this version and the original is that this one takes footage from the original and splices new footage of Raymond Burr as Steve Martin into it. Also, this version is shorter and a bit more PC as a way of making it more watered down for American audiences. The biggest changes being dubbing it into English, and removing all references to the atomic attacks at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the firebombing of Tokyo. Okay, so maybe at the time people worried about appeasing WWII veterans, so they removed some material to ease the guilt or whatever.

I don't like that because I've always found Godzilla to be fascinating because it's about the byproducts of nuclear horror from a country who experienced actual nuclear horror and devastation firsthand. Removing the references and showing Japan struggling in the aftermath of a huge disaster (but at the hands of a fictional monster) lessens some of the emotional impact, as well as the effects of history on the public conscience.

All that scholarly rambling aside, this is still an okay movie though, like I said, the original version is probably far better. Unlike some of the later films though, this one comes off as far more scary and serious, with a more somber tone, aided by the grainy black and white cinematogrpahy and dramatic music.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
This is the original (American version) Godzilla movie. It's pretty cool, and Perry Mason's Raymond Burr is in it too. A really good monster movie. It's much better than it's sequels.
Joey S

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2012
The definitive monster movie, Godzilla (or Gojira as it's known in Japan) has not aged perfectly, but it's still incredibly fun and exciting 56 years later. This movie could never be matched by any other monster movie, not even by the countless sequels and remakes it spawned. If you're looking for some campy destructive fun, this is the movie to watch.
Bryan D

Super Reviewer

October 24, 2012
The original film is a masterpiece. The American version has famous actor Raymond Burr edited into the Japanese footage....which makes the Japanese version far superior to the edited US release. Either version is still good fun and this is the kaiju movie that STILL rules them all.
Steven V

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2007
Great movie. Godzilla still stands head and shoulders above every subsequent version. The original Godzilla is really a quite serious film with a well-developed plot.
Juan C

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2011
the classic that started it all! the monster from hell's first debut! a face like this is something you'll never forget! a smart 50's monster film! A+
Christopher B

Super Reviewer

January 17, 2008
The one I grew up with. I haven't seen this in a long while, but after finally seeing the Japanese version I'm very curious to revisit it. As a side note, before I saw the Japanese version, this was a five star film.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2007
See the Japanese version. It's better.
April 8, 2013
The 1950s was the era of atomic horror in cinema with giant monsters rampaging through various iconic cities throughout the world. At the head of the pack was the King of the Monsters himself Godzilla, also known as Gorjira in original Japanese. What better country to lead the way than one that experienced nuclear devastation first hand in less than a decade before. Inspired by recent "giant monsters running amok" fare like "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" and a recent re-release of "King Kong", famed Japanese film studio Toho took these simple concepts and interlaced their experience with nuclear ruin to present a film uniquely their own showcasing the terror of nuclear warfare that resulted in an iconic film legend with it's towering title character.

Recent hydrogen bomb testing in the South Pacific awakens a radioactive dinosaur in the form of Godzilla. This towering scaly bastard isn't just content on stomping the living hell out of major cities on the Japanese coastline but also incinerating inhabitants with its atomic fire breath. Desperate to rid the land of this beast, the Japanese turn to a scientist that may have the key to destroying the seemingly invincible monster with an oxygen disintegrator.

Unlike "King Kong" and "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", Toho didn't have the budget or time to showcase stop-motion animation thus they had to settle for "a guy in a rubber suit" stomping on miniature urban models, a staple for every entry into the franchise to come. Despite its lower tier special effects, director Ishirô Honda does his best to hide the fact with atmospheric usage of black and white photography and low angles to make our titular beast look as massive as possible. Honda, mixed with a well written script, also reveals the beast at a nice pace, giving hints of the monster throughout the film before finally showcasing his rampage through Tokyo. The characters are also surprisingly well written (unlike its many sequels to come), complex and a love triangle is a welcome diversion to the carnage happing on the countryside.

"Godzilla" today is mostly known by its numerous cornball sequels and brings to mind guys in rubber suits fighting to the death. This original film is not like its numerous sequels that people have pre-conceived notions about. This version of Godzilla is serious, bleak and with a dread-like atmosphere about the horrors of nuclear warfare. Don't get me wrong as I do enjoy what the series would evolve into but it's a breath of fresh air to see the character be taken in a serious manner. "Godzilla" of course was a huge hit around the world (including an Americanized edit titled "Godzilla, King of the Monsters" having newly filmed scenes pointlessly added in with actor Raymond Burr to basically explain to English audiences what was going on) and spawned an impressive franchise for a total of 28 films and a crummy American remake in 1998. The sequels go as follows: "Godzilla Raids Again", "King Kong vs. Godzilla", Monthra vs. Godzilla", "Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster", "Invasion of the Astro-Monster", "Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster", "Son of Godzilla", "Destroy All Monsters", "Godzilla's Revenge", "Godzilla vs. Hedorah", "Godzilla vs. Gigan", "Godzilla vs. Megalon", "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla", "Terror of Mechagodzilla", "Godzilla 1985", "Godzilla vs Biollante", "Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah", "Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth", "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II", "Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla", "Godzilla vs. Destroyah", "Godzilla 2000", "Godzilla vs. Megaguirus", "Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack", "Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla", "Godzilla: Tokyo SOS" and "Godzilla: Final Wars".
August 21, 2012
Much more appropriate version of Godzilla than the original Japanese version, "Gojira". Raymond Burr's (who is fantasic) narration adds a level of camp which a film with a premise as absurd as this sorely needs. The pacing is also much more fluid than the stodgy pace of "Gojira", combined with the narration, the film has an almost documentary-like feel.

Of course, a few negative bits include bad dubbing (which has become a staple of the B-movie Godzilla sequels). The footage of each film is also not spliced seamlessly, but what do you expect when you splice footage of 2 different international interpretations of the same film? Overall, a classic, entertaining monster flick.
September 15, 2011
This American Version of the Japanese classic is pretty weak. I think Raymond Burr feels shoehorned in, as well as a character that just seems like a fly on the wall more often than not. His character takes the emotional punch completely out of the film. I personally would rather watch 98 minutes of subtitles than 80 minutes of bad dubbing and a guy constantly asking for a translation, only to take the sort of moral and point of the movie out of commission. Original Japanese versions for me from here on out.
April 28, 2007
This movie was the Japanese attempt to tell the story of World War II without admitting their own guilt in starting the war or the atrocities committed by the Japanese army. They could show the suffering of the Japanese civilians by having the cities of Japan destroyed by a giant fire breathing radioactive dinosaur that rises mysteriously from the sea. Godzilla is in fact the good old US of A. No sea going dinosaur ever burned Japanese cities and spread radioactive fallout across the landscape. It was the U.S. Army Air Force. But the Japanese didn't want to offend us since we were protecting them from communist invasion from Korea. Therefore they had a giant lizard do it in the movie. The version released in America was dubbed into English and extra scenes with Raymond Burr added and scenes that might offend U.S. audiences deleted. The added scenes are obviously out of place and don't fit the Japanese story. The Japanese actors seem to be acting their hearts out but the English dialog seems flat and unemotional. Godzilla is actually seen in less than 30 percent of the movie. Sometimes all you see is his head. In the U.S. version there is actually only about 17 minutes of Godzilla smashing cardboard miniatures of a Tokyo. By using black and white film and keeping everything slightly out of focus it's not as obvious as in later Japanese monster movies made in color and filmed in sharp focus. I guess the only reason this film was popular in America was because it was shown at drive-in movie theaters and the American people of 1954 still enjoyed the sight of Japanese getting smashed even if it was by a giant lizard. Although Godzilla was supposed to be the bad guy, Americans probably saw him as the hero. Americans who lived through World War II know exactly what this country did to Japan and why we did it. If you were to ask someone of that generation they will tell you the Japanese deserved every bit of all the damage we did to them. That was the generation that in the 1950's was having fun driving their new cars to the drive-in movies on Friday nights and watching a guy in a rubber lizard suit smash models of Japanese cities.
July 7, 2009
This is the movie that spawned countless seqeuls and made me the Godzilla fan that I am. The monster Godzilla was inspired by the real life horror of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan during world war II it is quite a chilling theme in the movie. Godzillas rampage through civilization shows just how easily we humans can extinguish life from our own planet.
June 14, 2007
Titled "Gojira" in Japan. Raymond Burr ("Perry Mason", "Ironside" on TV) was spliced into the American Version of this film; decades later, he would reprise the role of "Steve Martin" in "Godzilla 1985", which I believe was his last role. Still a great movie to watch.
February 23, 2007
Ah, the Americanization of the classic. Not terrible by any means, but once you watch the original it loses its luster...
June 14, 2008
Great movie! The special effects aren't as dazzling as more recent versions but there is still a chilling realism to these. Raymond Burr does seem out of place among the Japanese citizens, but I'm sure he was just checking out all the Asian hunks. The writing is indicative of this era, but the acting was almost non-existent in places with stilted dialogue and stiff movement by the actors. Still this is the one that started it all, and it's a great movie and lots of fun!
April 9, 2008
So, I thought this was a better film until I saw the original Japanese version with subtitles. Then I realized how much it had been butchered in the transition to an American release. Still, for it's cultural impact, it rates fairly high.
August 24, 2007
Despite the cheese and cliche that followed wih all the sequels, the original Godzilla is really a quite serious film with a well-developed plot. A Classic.
July 10, 2007
A vastly different film than the original from which it was cut, but for the time and the resources they had to work with, they did a damn fine job of re-cutting the film for an American audience.
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