We are only a week away from the release of the all new Godzilla film! I loved these movies as a kid, but have not seen them in decades. To celebrate the return of everyone’s favorite monster I am watching whatever is available to me. Netflix has a few of the 28 films in the series available on instant. I started at the beginning.
The original!…sort of. This is the American version of “Gojira”. Actor Raymond Burr, of Perry Mason fame, plays reporter Steve Martin (unfortunate choice of name), who is in Tokyo as Godzilla attacks. They basically shot scenes of him and edited it into the movie. All in all, a good first movie, but unfortunately bastardized by Hollywood.
This one is another American cock up. For some reason, American distributors did not want to call him Godzilla in “Godzilla raids again”. It was instead changed to “Giganticus”. Why? I have no idea. It’s Godzilla, everyone knows it’s Godzilla. This one has one of my favorite “human” plot of the early movies with the story of the two pilots working to stop Godzilla’s rampage.
Now we get nuts. My wife was trying to make heads or tails of this one and gave up. This is one of the entries that will help you decide if you are a fan of this genre or not. The fairies, the two little women, or “Shobijin” are definitely an insane element in these movies. What makes it all the more incredible is how easily everyone in this universe accepts that they exist. Godzilla rampages and the fairies call upon Mothra to stop him. The human story centers around a Mothra egg that washed ashore in Japan. Greedy businessmen buy the egg to exploit it for profit. Mothra dies protecting the egg, and 2 baby mothras hatch and defeat Godzilla. While the American tampering seems less with this entry, they foolishly never refer to Mothra as anything but “The Thing”.
This one really strikes the “Godzilla as hero” theme that would dominate the remainder of the series. Godzilla and Rodan are fighting it out. The Mothra baby is too weak to interfere. Ghidorah, the three headed monster rampages and threatens the Earth. The Shobijin convince Mothra to intercede. He does and translates a conversation between the monsters. Godzilla and Rodan join with Mothra to defeat Ghidorah.
These movies hold up amazingly well.Yes, they are cheesy but they are indicative of a particular place and time. They still work as films, and that is awesome.