Monday, May 26, 2014

"Gojira" (1954) A Mini Review

I remember seeing a couple Godzilla movies on Saturday afternoons as a kid, syndicated on television with other “horror” flicks involving giant ants or colonies of tarantulas. It was never a case where I sat down to watch them, and I don’t know that I ever sat through one in its entirety. They just weren’t good enough to capture my vivid, childhood imagination. The three-foot-tall toy model of Godzilla a friend of mine had demanded that they come up with a better film. The 1998 debacle Hollywood attempted was not that film. And, while this year’s effort appears to be more promising, I always had a desire to go back and see the original film. Something had to be right in it for it to spawn 30+ sequels, right?

Well, it turns out that it is a great film, considering the time and what Japan had to work with back then. The themes are serious. The imagery, especially in 1954 so close to WWII had to be tremendously impacting. And, the filmmaking is very well done. There are a pair of sequences, where a promise of secrecy is made and we are initially not shown the secret that has to be a pioneering moment and something that more directors should study and imitate in their storytelling.

Things fall apart and get a little too preachy at the climax, but this is a classic that more people should see. Especially before they jump into the current version in theaters.

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