Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Reviews
Godzilla siempre ha sido todo un referente del cine de ciencia ficción, en especial cuando es usado como crítica sobre los problemas del armamento de destrucción masiva. Sin embargo siempre he pensado que su mensaje no siempre queda tan claro como en otras películas del género.
También, a pesar de sus grandes logros técnicos en la época, creo firmemente que el King Kong de 1933, de la que esta es completa deudora, consiguió mucho más en este aspecto.
Sea como fuere, se trata de una película maravillosa que consiguió dar a luz uno de los géneros más extraños y divertidos del cine japonés.
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.
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 movie...an 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.
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.
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.