Thursday, July 23, 2015

Godzilla (1954)

Well I did say I wanted a monster movie, so how about the original King of the Monsters, Godzilla!

The original Godzilla made in 1954, directed by acclaimed Japanese director Ishiro Honda is a not so typical monster movie focusing more on human emotions and their consequences on testing nuclear weapons. The story of the movie follows mysterious disappearances of fishing boats and the subsequent investigation soon discovering a giant prehistoric monster mutated by testing of underwater atomic bombs, and the destruction that this famous monster wreaks on Japan and the humans efforts to try and destroy the beast once and for all. The main shining point of this movie besides the incredible special effects of Eiji Tsubaraya and the King of the Monsters himself is the outstanding cast of characters. We have Takashi Shimura as our main lead who is father to a young woman played by Momoko Kochi, who has been engaged to a strange and mysterious scientist played by Akihiko Harata who has actually developed a weapon that could kill Godzilla but because of it's terrible power of destruction he is hesitant to use it, thinking it could be used as a weapon more powerful than a hydrogen bomb. Suprisingly, there is lots of human conflict in this movie but only once is it physical. It's more of an internal conflict based on how the characters are dealing with the situation and what they should do next. It's a very well made film, with great acting, outstanding effects, memorable music by Akira Ifukube, gritty cinematography, and an overall foreboding mood. The film is very dark, treating it's subject matter completely seriously, we see Godzilla trample through several cities but after that we see the disturbing aftermath of it all. We see hundreds of people in a hospital, people dying, families embracing knowing that their lives will end soon, a memorial chorus for the dead, and so very much more. It is nothing like the Godzilla movies made in the 60s and the 70s where they were more campy and made for kids. This is the best Godzilla film ever made, and if you have never seen a Godzilla movie before, this is the one you need to watch. And if you don't even know what he looks like, it makes the movie even better because you don't see him at all until past the twenty minute mark, and it builds this suspense as to what this creature looks like. I love it. This is a truly remarkable film that many more people should see. And here's a fun fact: This movie premiered in the United States on April 27th, 1955. 40 years to the day before I was born! That makes me proud! So if you want to buy this movie, buy only one version which is The Criterion Collection. Best version you can buy, worth every dollar, go see this movie. See you next time.

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