aka Gojira (Original Title)
103 min., 1984
Written by Hideichi Nagahara
Directed by Koji Hashimoto
My rating: ★★★★★
No more Mr. Nice Godzilla!
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It’s been thirty years since Godzilla first appeared and he seems to be rearing his ugly head. A reporter named Goro (Ken Tanaka) finds a destroyed ship and it turns out that giant lice may have killed the crew. Everyone thinks that it might be Godzilla, but the government isn’t saying anything. When Godzilla destroys a Russian sub, the tension that has been going on during the Cold War is escalating. The US calls Steve Martin (Raymond Burr) to the Pentagon as a consultant because he was there thirty years ago when Godzilla attacked Tokyo. Godzilla attacks but is distracted by the sound of a flock of birds, which he follows. Everyone needs to work together to stop Godzilla, but will the Cold War stop that from happening?
As far as the acting goes for both versions of the movie, they were really great. Raymond Burr does a far better job in this one by comparison to the first Godzilla movie. He doesn’t mispronounce anything this time and that is a huge step forward. Ken Tanaka is great and puts in an entertaining performance. Now I’d like to bring up the whole lip-syncing thing. What a lot of American audiences don’t realize is that when the US gets movies, they need to get English speaking actors to do the new dialogue and they do the lip-syncing (and yes I know that sometimes the native country does it). So when you watch your next kung-fu flick or an Americanized Godzilla movie, realize that most of the time it’s the US that is making the lip-syncing look like shit and not the native country. Because unlike some other reviewer out there who attacks and trashes Japan and this movie because of the lip-syncing, I realize that the bad lip-syncing is because of the US and not Japan.
The effects are great in this movie. They are a leap forward from the last movie. Godzilla looks great and very menacing. The models are actually really good too. The other effect (if you want to call it that) is that the whole movie is just dark. Dark in tone, yes, but everything seems to be shot in very dark environments. When Godzilla is marching through Tokyo, it’s at night and he looks awesome. His eyes are glowing and terrifying (okay, that is probably just me, but they still look really cool) and the use of low lighting makes him even more menacing than ever.
Now it may be strange that I’m bringing up both versions of the movie, but there is actually a reason behind this. A lot of the time when the US gets a movie from a foreign country, they like to mess with it by deleting, adding or altering scenes. This movie is a great example of the US fucking with a movie to make the US look better. Considering the fact that the Cold War was going on, the US couldn’t help but take the movie and make the Russians look like people that are ready to fire nuclear weapons without a second thought. In the original the Russians accidentally fire the nuke, but in the US version they fire it on purpose. Why the change? You can make your own reason behind it. Along those lines, there was a shot of an American nuclear missile satellite in the original, but in the US version it doesn’t appear at all. Again, why? It’s something that I find extremely silly and pointless to mess with.
Overall this is a great movie. The problem with me is that this was the first Godzilla movie I ever saw. So this one has a huge place in my heart. Being eight years old and watching it on TV with the lights out really made an impact on me. Godzilla was terrifying to me, but at the same time he was awesome. SPOILER–When Godzilla falls into the volcano at the end–SPOILER END, I was genuinely sad, hell almost teary eyed. So this movie is something completely different to me as compared to the average movie viewer. To the regular movie watcher you won’t find anything really different or that spectacular. It’s another monster movie with a bit better acting and a bit better effects. I can suggest this one to anyone that is thinking about getting into giant monster movies, but other than that it’s not for most.Have You Read...?