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Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Reviews

Page 2 of 23
Maineutral R.
July 19, 2014
The 1956 American version is exactly what you think: Unnecessarily changed. Instead of simply dubbing the damn thing, our dear manipulator America adds an American actor as the main human character and tosses all Japanese stuff as the supporting cast. Well, it sounds bad, but it isn't for the most part. King of the Monsters still presents the wonder of Godzilla and his power, and that established him for the American audience, and much like Japan in 1954, since then it had never leaved us.

The film suffers from a mix between narration and all-out exposition, and even narrating things that are obviously happening on-screen, most of this happens in the famous Godzilla attack on Tokyo. Being an Americanization, the film also has some hilarious editing and some crappy over-dubbing. Many of the shots featuring Raymond Burr try to stick with the rest of the Japanese shots, but clearly there's a lot of difference between both, both in audio and image quality. Some actors replace the Japanese crew, but of course, we never see their faces talking to Burr, that only happens by cutting to a Japanese angle. It's hilarious, and that somehow adds a LOL factor to this version of the film. It makes it funnier, but not better than the Japanese original.

Those are very few details, but the Americanization alone depletes the original characters of some of their emotional power, which they had in the original and worked on the third act. It still has the spirit of the original, however weaker. It's one version most of the Americans remember, and it has a nostalgic value, but also since then, they have learned to appreciate the Japanese better with all reason. It doesn't hurt to check this American version, especially if you loved the Japanese original, it ultimately causes a bit of laughter and no hate, and for an Americanized version of a foreign film, that's hard to achieve. Both versions are a worth watch overall, so we all end up winning. Let it pass.
July 18, 2014
'Godzilla' (1954), the original...
Do not be fooled by the big lizard-monster's poster.
From what it may seem to be a monster movie one is able to understand that the movie 'Godzilla' is a rendition of Japanese post war times, when the nuke's unknown power was unlashed on the land of the rising sun pervading unforeseen incomprehensible destruction.
However the premises, 'Godzilla' is a monster unknown dinosaur-like beast of undeniable size, wreaking havoc in Tokyo believed to be the result of the American nuclear weapons testing. Godzilla unleashes (like a nuclear weapon) great power of incomprehensible destruction.

The movie looks dated with its effects and its melodramatic acting; but yet we were still mesmerized by the excellent craft exhibit by its creators.
The film holds up well, the gray scale photography renders in a very respectable and convincing way the model's cityscapes and Godzilla's costume?(and monster's hand glove).
Exploring the human 'radioactive horror' of such terrible times by means of allegoric representation does not always work, but in 'Godzilla', the filmmakers brought in with great effort a very entertaining believable story.

Even further, interesting is the question that the movie posits. 'Why does every great human's discovery used to create destruction?'

There is a lot to be taken from this film, from the use of such ingenious effects, to the themes the story unravels carrying on with its compelling characters through the use of a wonderful heart-felt soundtrack.

Truly 'Godzilla' is a great cinematographic experience; there is great pathos and that really allows you to overlook the old design effects and suspend disbelief.
There is a tremendous emotional impact for the monster and the people that are facing this catastrophic event.
At one point your senses even get switched to empathize with the menacing monster, like when Godzilla sits underwater resembling a lost harmless kid looking for its way home. ! Beautiful !

'Godzilla' or in its native title "Gojira" is the best giant monster film we've ever seen.

Watch it, you will not be disappointed.
June 22, 2014
This movie is just great....It's got a suspense and chemistry that you do not see in the 2 American made remakes in 1998 and 2014....Raymond Burr is great as the American reporter Steve Austin.....Godzilla...Everyone's favorite monster...
June 17, 2014
All I can say is that Godzilla: King of the Monsters is dull.

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.
May 13, 2014
Having not seen all the "Godzilla" movies, I don't know if this is the best one. But, I'm guessing that it does have the best story and characters. There are two versions of this: The original Japanese version ("Gojira"), and the "Americanized" version, where Raymond Burr is inserted into the story, and other cuts are made.

I've seen both versions (available from Criterion, by the way). As you'd expect, the original version is better. In this case, however, the Japanese version (which has a separate IMDb page), is far superior. This is because we get to know the characters much better. There is a lot more human emotion in the original. Also, the cutaways to Raymond Burr (shot separately, two years later in the U.S.) don't distract from the story. The cuts from the original are critical, since they are about the characters.

A thematic difference is that there is the angle of Godzilla being the product of American Hydrogen Bomb testing. Definitely guessing that Americans didn't want to hear that part, which is why those comments are deleted from the Americanized version.

Of course, the 1950's American monster movies blame their monsters on radioactivity, so in that way, there isn't too much of a difference!

The original version also has a bit more Godzilla smashy-smashy action! If you are in a hurry to see it, you are in for a wait. 'Zilla doesn't show up (except for a quick head shot) until about the 42-minute mark in both versions.

I definitely recommend the Japanese version. Yes, there are subtitles, but it's worth it! The American version runs 1:20 and the Japanese version runs 1:36.

Japanese version: 4 stars.
American version: 2 1/2 stars.
May 25, 2014
Molto meglio rispetto ai suoi successori; i motivi sono nella trama del film che non si limita a prendere un mostro gigante e a fargli spaccare tutto, ma dietro c'è una riflessione sull'uso delle armi da parte dell'uomo (il film prodotto relativamente poco dopo la fine della seconda guerra mondiale in Giappone). Inoltre gli effetti speciali sono molto buoni (per l'epoca si intende) e Godzilla si muove in maniera naturale e fluida nell'ambiente circostante (ottimo l'uso dei modelli in scala). L'unica pecca sta nel girato normale, le scene dei dialoghi ricordano molto i film di scarsa qualità e la regia in questo non alza il livello del film.
May 21, 2014
I have to admit, I still have not seen GOJIRA which is the unedited, non-Perry Mason version of the greatest monster movie of all time. This movie is so much fun with that dude in the rubber suit just stomping the shit out of Tokyo. He is here to punish the world for the nuclear power we are abusing, I think. Either way, the point of the America version is just to watch Godzilla smash things. He does it here and it's awesome to watch.
October 21, 2011
It's a good movie, but the Americanized version of the original Godzilla has been chopped up so much that the poignant and thought-provoking message of the Japanese version.
May 17, 2014
Very interesting reworking of Gojira for an american audience, adding Raymond Burr to the original Japanese film. It takes a lot of the strength of the story away, but still good enough to watch
May 16, 2014
Quite simply the best that Godzilla has ever bee and probably will ever be. Yes, it's pretty campy by today's standards, but this was the innovation by which we still compare other monster genre movies, and it's still that way for a reason.
May 12, 2014
A crappier American version of the original film with awkward additional scenes from Raymond Burr. Skip this and watch the original Japanese version instead!
May 13, 2014
The American version that I watched was obviously spliced and re-cut to help the "dumber" American audiences understand it more. It's still Godzilla however, so it's a blast.
April 9, 2014
Enjoyable B-movie that, while butchering the Japanese classic, still survives thanks to much of Honda's original work & fairly solid edits. Raymond Burr gives a solid though stiff performance as the American reporter inserted into the story and the edits actual fit (at least on first viewing). While the film somehow manages to be 16 minutes shorter even with the additional footage, much of the Godzilla action is still left intact. The result is a classic B-movie, though not the true brilliance of the Japanese original.
April 8, 2014
For every film genre, be it slasher, rom-com or heist, there's always an iconic film that embodies everything that's great about the genre. When it comes to the Kaiju (or giant monster) movies, the great one, which all others owe praise to is the original 1954 "Godzilla". It's a film that has aged remarkably well and that is surprisingly effective and deep, even if some of the special effects are a bit dated. The premise is simple: When a Japanese fishing boat is attacked at sea, no one can figure out what has happened. Ship after ship is sent to investigate, but all are sunk down before any information can be collected. Finally, the cause of these attacks is revealed, an enormous dinosaur-like creature dubbed "Godzilla". Awakened by atomic testing, the creature attacks Japan like a malicious hurricane, deliberately reducing cities to rubble and leaving deadly radiation in its wake while the government scrambles to find a way to fight against it.

To really understand why this is not just another movie about a giant monster attacking Tokyo, you need to know a bit about what was happening in Japan at the time of the film's release. Picture a country that's been utterly defeated during the Second World War. It's the only country to experience firsthand the destructive power of Nuclear Weapons, with an atomic bomb being dropped on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not only that, but the country is now under strict sanctions after its defeat and the inhabitants of the country have to accept that the people that they would have hailed as war heroes are now villains. Now flash to March 1954. Even with the nuclear weapons successful being deployed and the war over, the United States government continues to develop an even deadlier weapon, the H-Bomb. Testing of the H-Bomb is very secretive and done on islands near Japan, in areas that are off-limits to the Japanese. No one is told why these areas as off-limits however and on March 1st, the Daigo Fukury? Maru or Lucky Dragon No. 5, a tuna fishing ship wanders near the U.S. Castle Bravo nuclear test. The crew and their cargo are contaminated and suddenly, the fear of nuclear radiation is brought to the front line once again. Forward to November 3 of the same year, "Godzilla" is released in theatres across Japan. Once again, the first victims of the nuclear fallout is a small fishing ship who wanders accidentally in the path of a radioactive monster who destroys everything that comes anywhere near it. The scenes of people running away in terror as their homes are destroyed and of mass evacuations of cities, something already fresh in the minds of the Japanese appear once again on the big screen when Godzilla makes its attack on the mainland. These are just a few examples of the iconic imagery in the film that brought flashbacks to the people in the theatre (something not entirely unlike the effect that "Cloverfield" had on the residents of New York decades later).

Ok so now you know why the film made such an impact when it was first released, it was a very topical issue. But what else is there to it? First, let's talk about the titular creature, Godzilla. So usually, when you have a giant monster rampaging through a city, it's depicted as confused and just trying to do its thing while accidentally stepping on people. Not here. Godzilla is more like a cross between Michael Myers and a nuclear bomb than an actual animal. The reason I chose Michael Myers, the killer from "Halloween" is because it isn't enough that Godzilla goes around toppling buildings and crushing the population of Japan beneath its feet, it deliberately goes out of its way to kill and destroy. Several times during its rampage we see Godzilla avoid areas that are not populated or streets that are relatively easy to walk on in favor of buildings and skyscrapers filled with people. The monster looks for survivors and seeks them out, unlike a natural disaster which just kills and destroys at random; there is something deliberate about this creature's rampage. Its sheer size isn't its only weapon though, Godzilla is also radioactive. Like a nuclear bomb, the immediate destruction it causes is only a preview. Its presence will irradiate the land and give cancers to the survivors. Everyone knows about Godzilla's radioactive breath (which it uses at least once on a single family it spots on the ground) but what you don't realize is that it represents an invisible fear that was present at the time, the deadly radiation emitted by atomic weapons. So, how do we defend ourselves against it? Well, that's a big problem. The instinct in any monster movie is to try conventional war machines. Tanks, planes, mortars, flamethrowers and bullets prove completely ineffective against Godzilla (as they often do against giant monsters). So the next step is the ultimate weapon, the nuclear bomb but this is just as ineffective. Godzilla was awakened/mutated by nuclear weapons and itself uses radiation as a weapon. The most powerful weapon mankind has ever developed is therefore useless against it. All we can do is run away from the creature and hope that it will eventually move and even then, being within eyesight of the creature likely means that you will eventually die from radiation poisoning.

So we've got our opponent, what about our heroes? We've actually got a pretty compelling story from the human's point of view. Archeologist Kyohei Yamane (Takashi Shimura) is the one that discovers Godzilla's origin. He sees the potential for science that Godzilla shows: if this creature is able to not only survive, but thrive in nuclear fallout, would it not be beneficial for mankind to study it and discover what's special about it? Instinctually you would associate this guy with either one of those mad scientists or tree-huggers that refuse to accept the idea that the threat must be killed no matter what the human casualties are but it's not the case here. Remember that this story is set within a society that has been devastated by radiation. Despite the risks it poses to not only Japan, but the world, this is a unique creature, the last of its kind and it surely holds untold ways to benefit mankind despite its malicious nature (the idea that he wouldn't understand or realize the danger that Godzilla poses is also moot because after one of Godzilla's first attacks, he actually adopts one of the few child survivors). He is linked through his daughter Emiko (Momoko Kochi) to Dr. Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata). Serizawa's character really comes into play during the conclusion of the film so I don't want to say too much about him, but he's a character that has a lot of inner turmoil and is akin to the scientists responsible to the development of the weapons that were used on Japan. His character and the reasoning behind his actions will really make you think and wonder how people who happen upon scientific breakthroughs, only to see them used for war or other evils must feel. His role in the film is important, so your instinct would be to believe that he's the romantic lead, but he isn't. His fiancé Emiko is actually in love with another man, Hideto Ogata (Akira Takarada). Ogata plays a larger role in the story than just the third side of the romantic triangle, he's the one that more than any of the other lead characters sees first-hand the destruction of Godzilla and, like the rest of the world rushes to find a way to destroy it, regardless of the consequences. He's the human character that upsets all three of the people he is tied to, Yamane, Emiko and Serizawa. All three of these are torn between two decisions that weigh heavily on their shoulders.

We've got a monster that's truly iconic in every way, a compelling story that really gets you thinking (though you might not know it at first, which is why I encourage you to explore, along with the movie some of the bonus materials, particularly the commentaries offered on the Criterion release of the film) and a simple, primal terror that's ever present. The only negative point I have to say is that the special effects vary in quality. Sometimes, they're truly amazing to the point where you won't even realize that there are special effects on the screen (For example the shots where footprints of Godzilla are added to the background) and often even if you know that they have miniatures and tiny sets being stomped on by a guy in a rubber suit you are entranced by the film and you don't care at all. There are at least a couple of instances though where the miniature planes are clearly held up by strings (and it's way too obvious to ignore) and a Godzilla puppet is used to create the special effects, with mediocre results. It's not really enough to warrant any points being taken away from the rating of the film, particularly considering the time and circumstances the film was made in, but I feel the need to mention these just so you know what you're getting into. With the new Godzilla movie coming out soon this year you'll probably be tempted to revisit the older Toho movies and you'll be surprised by how good the first chapter is. Despite the fact that a significant amount of the sequels were cheesy, campy or just straight-up bad, the original is an impactful and very well made film that's culturally and historically significant. (Original Japanese version with subtitles on Blu-ray, March 22, 2014)
March 30, 2014
This was the American release version of the film, which cut out a great deal of the original Japanese version and inserted a great deal of scenes starting Raymond Burr, who also narrated a lot of the film. There was a to more of a political context in the Japanese version, with commentary on American imperialism and the the lasting effects of the a-bomb. In the American version, it's simply a giant monster smashing stuff real good, which actually works pretty well. The story and build up to the Godzilla attacks are all that interesting, but the special effects for the Godzilla attacks work pretty well and are still a to of fun. Since this film was in black and white, Godzilla actually seemed to look more menacing and had a more serious tone, as compared to the color sequels where the rubber suit was more obvious and the target audience for Godzilla fighting King Kong, giant moths or evil robots were squarely aimed at children. The Japanese version "Gojira" was certainly not a kids film and although this Americanized version of the film dumbs down the original with it's Raymond Burr narration and inserts, it's still solid entertainment.
March 29, 2014
I'm not sure if I should review this film which came as an extra in my "Godzilla" Criterion Blu-ray. This is not a remake per se but a recut version of the original classic "Godzilla" picture with scenes involving an American reporter named Steve Martin (hehehe) played by Raymond Burr spliced into the original film. I've seen the original film and I know a thing or two about filmmaking so the inserts are very obvious. It's not a bad movie per se. Just very unnecessary.
March 22, 2014
Gojira, Godzilla, King of the Monsters whatever you want to call it, it will always remain one thing.... A successful franchise
When I was young, The Godzilla films were a bit of a mystery to me, I didn't know where to start in the series so I picked up what I thought looked like the oldest one I could find on VHS.... And sure enough it was the English version of the original film, I had seen a Godzilla film before (that being Godzilla's Revenge) but this one sparked my interest because it is in black and white. I always had a fascination with black and white films and this one was no exception. I watched it and was intrigued even though I didn't get the overall message at the time. The effects were lousy but I was okay with it because even though I was young I knew it had better special effects than some of the Sci-Fi channel films I watched and enjoyed at the time.
The Gore: One cannot actually review this film for its gore so what I'll do is review it for its destruction and special effects value, The destruction scenes and miniature effects are a bit dated even though it is sort of hard to tell because it is in black and white. Godzilla looks awesome and menacing and he seriously know what he is and how much his prey is screwed.
The Acting: It is average for a 50's film and Raymond Burr put on a decent performance, I thought some of his lines were quite iconic and epic even though they never really caught on.... With lines such as "Now it seems Tokyo has no defense" you begin to wonder if he really knew what was going on or was just asked to say a few lines and then grab your paycheck at the exit, because some of the lines are pretty stale like when his editor asks "What's this monster story of yours" and Burr says "Well it's big and horrible."
The Soundtrack: Musical Genius. It has an "I'm coming to destroy you" vibe and it never lets up, there was a piece of happy, joyful music that used to annoy me but I had gotten over it some time ago.... Also the Roar of Godzilla is as horrifying as the sounds of his footsteps coming closer and closer.
The Re-Play Value: 70% out of 100% depending on the person.
My Overall Thoughts: It is a genuinely haunting and scary film that should be viewed by not only die-hard Godzilla fans but by the general public who are accepting of a lot and can tolerate Black and White Picture Shows
March 18, 2014
Compared to the original, this one feels stiff and watered-down more than anything else. Perry Mason wanders around, edited into a story that was great without him, uninspired with him. Effects still shine, but the dub really takes away from the original's message. Watch Gojira instead.
Dylan R.
February 8, 2014
The American remake of the original movie Gojira. Gojira is undisputably better, as some scenes are cut out and Raymond Burr as Steve Martin is casted into the movie with his scenes added in. He does a good job, but was that really necessary? Godzilla isn't treated as a hero, he is treated as a terrible force of nuclear destruction and human error. He destroys Tokyo effortlessly, and mercilessly crushes the military. The characters are superb, and the human efforts to stop Godzilla are actually interesting and worth paying attention to.

9/10, an absolute must-see for any fan of classic monster movies.
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