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Gojira (Godzilla)

Movie Information

In Brief: Well, the big boy is back -- proving that you can't keep the mightiest of all monsters down. It's only been about three months since our pal Gojira -- or Godzilla as he came to be known over here -- was in town to stomp and blast his way through Tokyo. World Cinema, realizes you can't have enough kaiju — especially in this first one, here seen in its original Japanese version. There were countless sequels and imitations, but no subsequent film got anywhere near the darkly grim tone of this one.
Score:

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
Director: Ishirô Honda (The H-Man)
Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami
Rated: NR

From the review from January: “Perhaps no series in the history of movies ever went to hell as fast as the seemingly endless spawn of Gojira (1954) — or Godzilla as it came to be known in the West. Oh, sure, the immediate cheapjack sequel Godzilla Raids Again (1955) — which made it to the U.S. in 1959 as Gigantis the Fire Monster — was at least seriously-intended, but it was a cheapjack sequel that showed up in Japanese theaters about four months after Gojira. It also had none of the first film’s genuine sense of dread or weightiness of theme — perhaps because co-writer-director Ishirô Honda was nowhere to be found. However, this first film is a kind of post-war masterpiece. And there is very much the specter of the war haunting the film. One of the early scenes — after Gojira has made his presence known — involves people on a commuter train talking about bomb shelters, with one commenting, ‘The shelters again. That stinks.’ The whole very anti-nuclear tone (a staple in Honda’s films) is plugged into that mindset and the ghost of the atomic bomb. Gojira is even said to have been released by nuclear testing — and you hardly have to reflect to find the allegory in an unstoppable force that can incinerate people and level entire cities with its radioactive blast.”

Full review: http://avl.mx/sc

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Gojira (Godzilla) Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

2 thoughts on “Gojira (Godzilla)

  1. DrSerizawa

    Some of the later Godzilla movies attempted to become serious again. Not that they were good, just not so terribly childish. At least GODZILLA2000 was better than SKYLINE. Not that that would be difficult.

  2. Ken Hanke

    In that regard, the THPS is running Godzilla Raids Again in May.

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