Written by Ken Hulsey
Godzilla 1984 Drawing 21954 would see the birth of Japan’s number one international movie sensation Gojira. godzeeda) American fans would come to know the monster (Pronounced as Godzilla. (Correct translation from Japanese to English) After twenty seven sequels Godzilla still reigns as Monster Movie King. No movie icon can boast as much stamina as this behemoth with its nearly as many have failed to topple the king. Yet it all started simply enough as a movie designed to show the horrors that could arise from the use of nuclear weapons. Godzilla was awakened from its million year sleep by nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific. Ships at sea began to disappear and tribes on far away islands began to report sightings of an ancient Sea God. Known to them as Gojira. Steve Martin (Raymond Burr added to the original Japanese version to satisfy American audiences), a Chicago newspaper reporter, is in Tokyo to visit an old friend when these strange events begin to occur.
Being a reporter Martin begins his own investigation smelling a hot story. Martin pulls a few strings and tags along on a mission to Odo Island to get to the bottom of the disappearances. A sudden tropical storm brings more than just rain and wind. The three hundred foot tall terror known as Godzilla makes his first appearance to the terrified mass of villagers and government officials. Godzilla would take little time to reach Japan. One night he rises from Tokyo Bay and destroys half the city. The Japanese military is no match for the monster. Conventional weapons have no effect. The Air Force does manage to chase the beast back into the bay but, the destruction left behind was without equal. The following night he would return to finish the job. Martin himself, with microphone in hand, would fall victim to the destruction. Japan would seem to be helpless. The last hope for the nation would come from a little known invention of Dr. Serizawa that removes oxygen from sea water. In a last ditch effort two brave divers, one Dr. Serizawa himself, locate Godzilla in the bay and place the Oxygen Destroyer near the monster. Once activated the device kills everything alive in the bay including Godzilla. Serizawa chooses to die alongside the monster so that the world could not learn the plans for the weapon he had created.
A true classic in the history of monster films. Some little known facts about the film. The original Japanese version did not include scenes with Raymond Burr. The additional footage was shot by Terry Morse and inserted into a re-edited version that was dubbed in English. Also cut from the US print was a scene where Hideto gets a phone call informing him of a ship being sunk. The scene also introduced Emiko. The Japanese print contained references to both atomic bombings, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus the firebombing of Japanese cities during the Second World War. These scenes were cut from the US print. In 1977 a colorized version of Gojira was released in Italy. Gojira (1954)
- Tomoyuki Tanaka wanted Godzilla to be fire breathing ape.
- The original costume weighed around 200 pounds.
- Haruo Nakajima could only walk about 30 feet in the suit.
- Eiji Tsuburaya wanted Godzilla to be a giant octopus.
- The film was nominated for “Best Picture” in Japan
My Thoughts on this Movie
Gojira is true triumph in the history of monster films. Never had destruction in such a large scale been shown in a monster film. Although most American fans have only seen the reworked Godzilla: King of the Monsters the original film paints even a darker picture with more carnage and a somewhat anti-American theme. A truly scary film to watch in its original form. Gojira would spawn decades of giant monster films including 27 starring the monster himself.
The history of film was forever changed by this epic. Its ground breaking effects of using a man in a suite and miniature sets were a cheaper alternative to the standard stop-motion effects being used in American monster films of the day. Several other filmmakers have tried to imitate this style, but none have been able to recreate the true feel of horror displayed in Gojira. Overall Gojira has been an overlooked masterpiece due to the B movie stamp that has been placed on all kaiju films. Upon a deeper review film historians would discover this films unique list of classic monster films.
I would recommend this film to anyone who has not seen it in either it’s original Japanese or American versions. Even with the added footage the American cut still retains most of the feel of terror and carnage. In my opinion a “must see” monster film for any sci-fi fan.
Written by Ken Hulsey