Monday, April 5, 2021

Godzilla Raids Again

Yes, we're doing this. I got the Criterion collector set.

Released just 6 months after the original, Godzilla Raids Again is a unfortunately average entry in this series. Which sucks to say because the original is like a 9 if not a 10/10 film, it's a masterpiece. But here? Well let's talk about it. I genuinely did get to thinking before I ever watched this movie, who had the idea to make a sequel to Gojira? I mean it had a pretty strong definitive ending, so who gave the green light to make another? I think that's the most interesting thing about the Showa era is to find the reasoning as to why the series kept going on. Well I sort of have an answer, apparently the executive producer of Toho, Iwao Mori heard of the huge success the first film made and told long time producer Tomoyuki Tanaka to make another. That's right they pulled a Son Of Kong, ironic that the international re-release of King Kong inspired Toho to make Godzilla. But boy that's a decision that changed the scope of cinema forever. The story this time around is two air pilots discover an island where not just another creature of Godzilla's species is found but a mutated Ankylosaurus dubbed Anguirus, who in future films is a trusted ally but here a bitter rival. And that's basically it, the humans try to find a new way to handle Godzilla and minimize damage to Osaka while he battles another monster. Now I'm not going to judge the first kaiju clash, the crew members barely figured out how to make Godzilla work let alone a new monster suit which also had to fight one another. I respect it for introducing such a concept and trying their best to make it work. Which they mostly do but there's no way of getting around it, they goofed hard on production. The camera crew was supposed to undercrank the camera so you would see the appropriate speed for the monsters, but they didn't so when you see Godzilla or Anguirus on screen they move in real time, it's not slowed down to where they look like they are huge monsters with significant weight to them. It literally looks like two guys in suits scuffling in a model city. Yes that's what it is, but there is an art for such special effects, and it's not here. Sometimes it looks totally fine but this does add to the more "cheap" quality of the film. I genuinely don't think it's bad, but there are elements I dislike. Which is two aspects, but they are big important aspects. First is the music, the score is subdued at best with hardly any music throughout, now if this was a film made in 1932 I could forgive it because sound in movies was new, but here it's blatantly obvious. The only scene where it works effectively is when they show news footage from the 54' film where Godzilla levels Tokyo, it makes sense why it wouldn't have sound you needed actual equipment to capture sound back then so if only the footage survived it only makes sense there's no sound recordings with it. But the biggest issue and what drags this movie down so much is the pacing and the movement from scene to scene. This feels more like a film from the 1940s when it comes to the human scenes, they have the full gambit of a romance scene, a scene set in a club with a lounge singer, and even a big group laugh scene and spoiler alert, none of it feels like it's connected to a giant monster movie. They even have this fraking bizzare sequence where for 5 minutes we follow these escaped prisoners from a convoy in the middle of a monster fight scene. Are you real right now?? And it is horrendous writing at that because I know the filmmakers were like, "We need to get Godzilla back on land somehow, how do we do it?" so like the prisoners steal a car, with really noticeable jump cuts as the police pursue them, they crash the vehicle into like a factory or something, everything blows up, and Godzilla sees the mass of flames and goes to it. That is the most bullshit writing I have ever seen in a Godzilla movie. What the fu-, oh my God! I'm absolutely speechless! The best part of the entire movie isn't even in the movie, it's in the english dub, this is the movie that has the line banana oil. Find this clearly early 2000s documentary, it's called It Came From Japan and you will hear George Takei bring this up. It's amazing. And thank God that Toho broadened their horizons and did stuff like Mothra and Rodan before getting back to Godzilla cause they needed time to actually work out a movie. This is a definite skip in the annals of Godzilla history, I'd give it 2 stars, 5.5/10, but they came back swinging with King Kong Vs. Godzilla so balance was achieved. Now we gotta jump alllll the way to Invasion Of The Astro Monster, go read the previous reviews and I'll see you back here next time.

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