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Godzilla King of the Monsters


Title: Godzilla King of the Monsters
Year Of Release: 1956 (original Gojira 1954)
Running Time: 80 minutes
DVD Released By: Sony
Directed By: Ishirô Honda, Terry O. Morse (U.S. version)
Writing Credits: Ishirô Honda, Shigeru Kayama, Takeo Murata

Starring: Raymond Burr, Takashi Shimura, Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata
Taglines:
1. It's Alive!
2
. Makes KING KONG look like a Midget!
3. Incredible, Unstoppable Titan of Terror!
4. An Enraged Monsters Wipes Out An Entire City!
Alternate Titles:
Godzilla the Sea Beast (USA) (working title)
Kaijû-ô Gojira (Japan)

Review Date: 1.1.10

Shadow's Title: "The Greatest Monster Who Ever Lived"

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Characters
Steve Martin - An American reporter who stops briefly in Tokyo and then gets caught up in the mystery of missing ships. This eventually leads to the discovery of Godzilla, who ultimately trashes Tokyo while Martin reports live over the radio. He's the only gaijin of importance in the entire film.
Dr. Kyohei Yamane - He is Japan’s leading paleontologist. He is brought in with many others to help solve the mystery of the missing ships. Once Godzilla is discovered, he wants to study the great beast rather than destroy him, but after Tokyo is leveled, he agrees that Godzilla must be eliminated.
Emiko Yamane - Doctor Yamane's daughter. She doesn't really do anything in this version of the film except overreact to things. She was engaged to marry Dr. Serizawa as a child, but as an adult she has fallen in love with Naval Officer Ogata. D'oh! As if a giant lizard wasn't trouble enough.
Hideto Ogata - Some sort of Naval officer or sailor. He's in love with Emiko Yamane, which poses something of a problem, as she has been engaged to Dr. Serizawa since they were kids. Eventually, Serizawa wishes them to be happy together before he dies.
Dr. Daisuke Serizawa - A scientist who invents a powerful weapon called the Oxygen Destroyer, which disintegrates flesh. He doesn't want the destructive power unleashed on the world and after deploying the weapon against Godzilla, he sacrifices himself so the knowldge will die with him.
Godzilla - The King of the Monsters! I don't care what the third film in the franchise implied, there is no doubt in my mind that Godzilla would whip King Kong's ass so severely, that ape would take up a job with an organ grinder out of the sheer embarassment. Long live the King!

 

The Plot Hold your cursor over an image for a pop-up caption

Kneel before the king! That means YOU, Kong!After a couple of loud Booms from the percussion section (meant to simulate the sound of giant footsteps, perhaps?) and the movie title, we open with shots of total devastation, a city in absolute ruins. Immediately, reporter Steve Martin is heard:

"This is Tokyo. Once a city of six million people. What has happened here was caused by a force which up until a few days ago was entirely beyond the scope of Man's imagination. Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world. There were once many people here who could've told of what they saw... now there are only a few. My name is Steve Martin. I am a foreign correspondent for United World News. I was headed for an assignment in Cairo, when I stopped off in Tokyo for a social call; but it turned out to be a visit to the living HELL of another world."

As he speaks, we see him pulling himself from the wreckage, dead bodies strewn about. Too weak, he collapses. Next we see people in a hospital being treated for radiation exposure. People are dying left and right. Here we see Emiko Yamane helping out as Martin is brought in. She recognizes Steve and asks what brought this upon them. He in turn asks about her father and she tells him that he is meeting with some security officials. Emiko walks off to find a doctor and while Martin lies there he thinks back to how he came to be in this situation.

A few days earlier he was en route to Cairo with a few days layover in Tokyo. Martin was looking forward to meeting up with an old college friend, Dr. Serizawa. Smoking happily on the plane (they actually allowed that back then), he was unaware of events transpiring ten thousand feet below on the ocean surface.

Next we see a Japanese fishing boat. The workday seems to be over, as everyone is relaxing on deck. A bright light suddenly flares to life. Everyone looks and sees a powerful glow from beneath the surface. A deafening roar can be heard. The light flashes again and everyone shields their eyes. The next thing you know, the ship is on fire and sinking.

Martin arrives in Tokyo and is greeted by Serizawa’s assistant, who explains that the Doctor has been delayed. Martin is then questioned by airport security, asking if he had noticed anything odd on the flight. The security officer explains about a ship having gone missing at about three thirty in the morning, but the authorities are confused as to what occurred. Wait a sec…if it was the same boat that we just saw, then the crew sure was busy at three thirty in the morning! They were playing musical instruments, playing games, eating, drinking and having a blast. You’d think at that time most would be asleep. Anyway, Martin says that he would like to help, so he is taken to the Nankai shipping company, who owns the missing ship.

"I very much appreciate you pulling me from the sea, but could you possibly stop cradling me? It's been over an hour."Out at sea, the rescue ship arriving on the scene suddenly bursts into flame after a bright flash of light from the ocean depths. In Tokyo, the media is going nuts, reporting on the disaster. We learn that eight ships have now been obliterated by the blinding flash of fire, with no survivors found from any of the ships. Well, no living survivors, as those found quickly die from shock and strange burns. Shipping comes to a halt as all scheduled voyages are cancelled. With the public frightened and demanding answers, the government calls together security officials and scientists to tackle the problem. This group includes Emiko’s father, Dr. Yamane, Japan’s leading paleontologist. As part of the media, Martin is there to observe this meeting.

Dr. Yamane speaks, but since Martin’s Japanese is a bit rusty, he depends on security officer Iwanaga to translate. Yamane notes that there is a small island close to the area where the shipping disasters have taken place. He suggests they talk to the natives of this island – Oto Island – and see what they have to say. We cut to Oto Island, home to a few hundred people who make their living from the sea. We see them pull a survivor from the sea, but he doesn’t last too long before dying.

The next day, a few officials from Tokyo set out via helicopter to Oto Island. Security Officer Iwanaga makes it possible for Martin to accompany the group. The Islanders are obviously frightened when questioned, one claiming he has seen a monster. While watching a local ceremony that night, Martin learns that the locals believe a monster named Godzilla is responsible for all the ship disasters.

Later that night, a storm blows in, the wind and rain working themselves up something fierce. Lost amongst the sound of the raging wind are these loud, booming thuds.

BOOM.

BOOM.

BOOM.

Looks like Rosie got caught streaking again.One local rises from his sleep and runs outside, screaming when he spots something…and I don’t think it’s the number the rain is doing on his car’s new wash. A loud roar is heard and the house begins to shake and collapse. Everyone runs around screaming for a few minutes. The wind continues to blow, so hard in fact that it knocks over the (toy) helicopter that brought everyone out to this island.

The next day, the officials bring some of the islanders back to Tokyo to make a direct report. Um..how? Their helicopter was blown over on its side, so how did they get back? Did they all push on one side of the copter until it righted itself?

Anyway, the islanders are paraded before the officials, each one giving his own report, but all of them agreeing that the damage was caused by a living creature. Dr. Yamane gets up to address the crowd and begins speaking...in English! Wow, he learned that fast! Just two days back he was only speaking in Japanese. That just goes to show you how kick ass their educational system is over there.

Yamane draws parallels to the Abominable Snowmen of the Himalayas, saying that no one can be sure of what strange creatures exist in the world. He believes a research party should be put together in order to investigate Oto Island further. Later, Martin meets up with Yamane and finagles his way into the expedition.

Now we see this scientific expedition preparing to leave…on a ship. Wait a sec...on a ship? Eight sea-going vessels have sunk, with no survivors…all in the same area and you’re going to take a ship to go investigate? Does that make any sense?

Whatever the thinking may be, the ship heads out from Tokyo with all the hoopla of the Love Boat leaving port. I’m serious! Who remembers how on the Love Boat, in the beginning of each episode, when the ship was pulling away from dock, there were crowds of people waving as it sailed away? There were also people on deck waving to those left behind. Plus, there was about fifty tons of confetti and banners being thrown through the air as the Pacific Princess got underway. Well, the same is true here. People on deck are waving, people on the dock are waving and everyone seems to be doing their best to litter the place up something terrible.

My only question is this: why all the fanfare and joyous faces? Everyone is acting like the ship is heading out for a five week long party cruise and not sailing for an area of the sea where no one has returned from alive. Are the people on shore that eager to get rid of those on the ship?

While the ship is en route, Martin says that the last time he saw Emiko Yamane, she had just become engaged to marry Dr. Serizawa. Now he notices how she seems more interested in a young naval officer named Hideto Ogata than anything else. Of course! Girls love a man in uniform! Ah, yes...the mysterious Dr. Serizawa, who we have heard mentioned several times now, but who has yet to put in an appearance in this movie.

"Wow, that is some seriously radioactive shit."The expedition finally reaches Oto Island unscathed, and begins taking stock of the devastation. While surveying, they discover that some areas of soil as well as some water wells are contaminated with radiation. Deep depressions in the earth are also emitting radiation and someone realizes that these holes are the colossal footprints of a living creature. Oh, snap! Dr. Yamane finds a trilobite in one such footprint, a creature which was thought to be extinct.

A local suddenly begins banging a bell. This seems to be the signal for everybody on the island to run up the tallest hill. Sheesh, I hope that bell doesn’t get rung too often. I’d hate to be in the middle of dinner or worse, on the crapper, when some fool decides to ring the Run-Up-The-Tallest-Hill-Bell. What an unexpected workout!

As everyone is hauling ass up the hillside like it’s a new Olympic event, we hear in the distance a steady rhythmic booming sound.

BOOM.

BOOM.

BOOM.

"Raar! I'm da king of da monstas!"If you think those are footsteps, you win the grand prize! Anyway, everyone nears the top of the hill when suddenly a gigantic form rises into view from the other side. It’s the very first appearance of Godzilla! The huge lizard look down at the screaming people – who have now decided that it is in their best interests to run as fast as they can down the hill – and roars at them. In the mad dash to see who can reach the foot of the hill first, Emiko trips and falls, but Ogata comes to her rescue.

Godzilla drops back down on the other side of the hill and everyone runs to a vantage point where they can watch him walk back into the sea. We don’t see this, but we do hear the constant BOOM, BOOM, BOOM made by his footfalls and then are finally treated to a shot of the beach which shows giant footprints (along with a line which was probably made by Godzilla’s tail is it dragged behind him) heading into the waters of the South Pacific.

POW. We’re back in Tokyo where Dr. Yamane is presenting a slide show to a large group of officials. The slides feature drawings of dinosaurs and the Doctor goes on to espouse the opinion that Godzilla, as the newly named monster had been dubbed in accordance with the legends of Oto Island, is some sort of intermediary creature that developed in the Jurassic age, part land animal and part water animal. Judging by the photo snapped of Godzilla at Oto Island, the monster is over four hundred feet tall. Yamane further expands on his theory and says that it is his belief that the repeated testing of H Bombs in the area has resurrected this ancient beast.

Martin contacts his editor in the states and explains that the decision has been made to kill Godzilla with depth charges. Then he calls his pal Dr. Serizawa and makes dinner plans for the next evening, the Doctor already having plans with Emiko that evening. We finally see Serizawa and note that he wears an eye patch over one eye.

Now we get to the sappy stuff. We learn that Emiko and Serizawa’s engagement was arranged when they were kids. She doesn’t love him, but she does respect him. She’s in love with Ogata (we knew that) and is finding it difficult to break the news to Serizawa. Before she can tell him her big news, he wants to show her something important as well, and takes her to his lab. Amongst all his scientific doodads is a tank full of fish. He drops something into the tank that causes the water to foam and boil. Watching, Emiko screams and covers her eyes in reaction to what she sees.

Next we see the two leaving the lab, Serizawa stressing to her that the world must not know of what he has just shown her. She promises to tell no one, not even her father. I know that you want to know what she saw happen in that fish tank, but the movie is not ready to tell us just yet. Emiko returns home where Ogata is waiting for her. He sees her long face and asks what happened, but she just says it was nothing.

Reality TV in Japan sucks just as much as it does here...only, an hour later it sucks again.New for cable subscribers: The Ocean Channel.The time has come for the naval forces to bombard Godzilla, so fire up the upbeat, patriotic music from Akira Ifukube. Stock footage is rolled out to showcase ships at sea dropping depth charges. Dr. Yamane, Emiko, Ogata and some other dude ( I think he’s one of the guys from Oto Island) watch on television as this unfolds. The Doctor is troubled and when pressed by his daughter, admits to thinking that Godzilla should be studied, rather than destroyed.

Night comes and the Tokyo nightlife is booming. People have assumed the naval bombardment has succeeded in ridding the world of Godzilla. Ha, are they in for a nasty surprise. We see a ship cruising around Tokyo harbor, loaded with young couples who are engaged in the fine arts of dancing, drinking and generally having a good time. Until… Everyone screams in horror as Godzilla rises from the deep and splashes around some before vanishing beneath the waves again.

With the realization that Godzilla is still alive comes the need to do something, so another classic Akira Ifukube musical piece is played over more stock footage that shows the military mobilizing.

We get a few brief moments at the Yamane house before the telltale BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of Godzilla’s footsteps are heard, accompanied by an air raid siren. While Dr. Yamane rushes outside, Emiko tells Ogata that she was unable to inform Serizawa of their intentions to marry.

Out in the harbor, Godzilla rises from the deep once again…and is instantly met by a hail of gunfire from the defensive fortifications put in place along the shore. Talk about a warm welcome! Not deterred one bit, Godzilla continues toward shore while the evacuation of Tokyo begins. People watch in shock and awe as Godzilla marches ashore, crushing buildings beneath his feet. Unfortunately for a train loaded with commuters, Godzilla arrives at the tracks at about the same time they are passing by. KAPOW! The train collides with his foot and derails. Perhaps mistaking the train for some sort of colossal sausage link, Godzilla grabs a car in his mouth and waves it around some before letting it crash back to the ground. Godzilla then moves on, stomping over the derailed train in the process. He knocks over a bridge and then decides to head back to sea. “He will be back,” notes Dr. Yamane from his hilltop vantage point.

At a meeting of bigwigs the next day, Martin informs the audience via voiceover that the damage was limited to the docks, though with Godzilla still in the bay there was the very real possibility of his return to land. The hope is that the dozens and dozens of high voltage towers that surround Tokyo will prevent Godzilla from penetrating the city’s perimeter. Yeah, right. Meanwhile, the monumental job of evacuating Tokyo continues. By nightfall the only people on the streets are the military. Martin and the press command a view of the city from their news office.

"First the Abominable Snowman gets stuck putting gold stars atop Christmas trees, now I gotta fix these power lines. Being tall sure can suck at times."Eventually, Big G rises again from the bay and makes for shore. Martin records his thoughts as he watches Godzilla come ashore, heading for the high voltage towers. When he gets there, the switch is flipped and ZAP, the big guy gets hit with all that juice. The military opens up with every gun and canon at their disposal.

Godzilla is not fazed one little bit.

Now somewhat annoyed, Godzilla unleashes his radioactive breath on the towers, melting them into goo. With a hole in the perimeter, Godzilla marches into the city, once again letting loose with his radioactive breath and lighting fire to entire neighborhoods at once. People hit by his breath barely have the time to emit an agonizing scream before they are incinerated (which so reminds me of my dad’s bad breath).

Tanks move in to blast Godzilla, but naturally, they do no good. They might as well be firing spitballs. Another blast of breath and the tanks are gone. Godzilla continues to stomp and blast the city into ruins, the fires raging beyond control. Several minutes of him crushing and/or knocking over Tokyo landmarks ensue, including the moment a bunch of morons high atop Tokyo tower attract his attention with the ceaseless flashes from their cameras. Godzilla heads over and knocks the tower to the ground while one devoted guy continues his radio broadcast, his last echoing scream no doubt sending chills up and down the spines of anyone listening.

Finally, Godzilla makes his way close to the building holding the press. The place partially collapses, burying Martin in the rubble. We see a woman holding two small children close to her, speaking in Japanese (in the original version, we learn that she is telling them that the time has come for them to go join their deceased father, an acknowledgement of their impending death).

In his lab, we see Dr. Serizawa watching the destruction on television.

About now the air force arrives and numerous jets attack Godzilla, firing their deadly missiles. Godzilla dives back under the water, but since he had already made his way back to the shore when the jets arrived, I don’t think it was their attack that persuaded him to leave. I think he was already heading back out of town and the air force missiles were just about as effective as every other weapon fired at him. In a word: useless.

We’re now back at the point where the movie started, with Martin laid up in the hospital. He awakes to see Emiko and Ogata watching over him. There is nothing new to report, but Emiko mentions a weapon she has seen that has the potential to kill Godzilla. She relates the story of how she went to see Serizawa, intending to tell him of her love for Ogata. She describes the weapon he used on the fish in his lab. We now get to see what she saw at that time: within seconds, all their flesh is destroyed, leaving only the small skeletons of the fish in the tank.

Emiko explains that Serizawa has found away to destroy all oxygen in water, which in turn leads to the disintegration of all living matter. A man of conscience, Serizawa wants to keep this destructive power a secret until he can find a way to counter it. Emiko and Ogata head off to see if they can persuade Serizawa to use his Oxygen Destroyer on Godzilla.

Note - It is at this point that the movie enters its final segment, so if any of you really feel the need to watch this film and not know the ending ahead of time, skip the rest of this section.

The two confront Serizawa, but he does not want to unleash the power of his weapon. Ogata and Serizawa struggle in the course of the disagreement. When Emiko rushes to aid Ogata, Serizawa apologizes, seeing that the two care for one another. He still does not want to use the Oxygen Destroyer, but after some more arguing on the part of Ogata, as well as a televised national prayer (which goes on forever) for the survivors of Tokyo’s destruction, he is convinced that the weapon must be used. Still, he is adamant that this is the only time the Oxygen Destroyer is deployed. He quickly burns all his notes so that only he retains the knowledge of the weapon. Emiko cries at this point. I’m not sure why. Perhaps at Serizawa’s willingness to destroy so much of his hard work? I dunno. Then again, women cry at the drop of a hat.

Fire up another Ifukube theme, it’s time to show the navy at sea! Well, more like in Tokyo bay. On board the main ship are all the key players: Martin, Dr. Yamane, Emiko, etc. They watch as Serizawa and Ogata gear up in diving suits and descend into the sea with the Oxygen Destroyer. They reach the bottom where Godzilla is kicked back and chilling. They place the weapon into position and then ascend…well, Ogata comes up. Serizawa remains below, activating the Oxygen Destroyer.

The water begins to bubble and froth, but Serizawa makes no move to ascend. He then cuts his own line so that those on the ship cannot pull him up. It seems he is ready to die in order to prevent knowledge of the Oxygen Destroyer from ever being discovered again.

"Ah, now to relax in the jacuzzi after a long day of stomping cities flat."Not according to 27 subsequent films.Godzilla then rises up in a mountain of bubbles and roars before going limp and sinking from view. Within seconds all that is left is a colossal skeleton. Everyone rejoices at the monster’s demise. Emiko holds Ogata close, relived that he is okay, but both of them sad at the loss of Serizawa. Ogata passes on Serizawa’s last message to them both: “Be happy together.” Everyone removes his or her hat in tribute to the fallen hero.

Martine chimes in one last time:

The menace was gone. So was a great man, but the whole world could wake up and live again.

The End.

 

Review

He is arguably the biggest movie star in the world. He has starred in 28th films (as of this writing). His name is known far and wide as a pop culture icon of global proportions. He has inspired song lyrics, plays, novels, comics and numerous jokes on The Simpsons. James Bond? Superman? Michael Jackson? Nope.

Godzilla.

"Ah, now to relax in the jacuzzi after a long day of stomping cities flat." Created in 1954 by Toho studios, Godzilla – or as he is known as in Japan, Gojira – is possibly the most well known of Japan’s exports. The 1950’s was a time when the world was trying to put the horrors of the Second World War behind it. Nuclear power and the dangers inherent in its use was a popular theme in the horror and science fiction films of the day. Many a mutated, giant bug ran rampant across theater screens of this era. However, most of these films were American in origin and despite the monsters unleashed in these movies, nuclear power was still conveyed as a good thing, albeit something that needed careful handling. Then along came Godzilla, from the only country on Earth to have firsthand experience with atomic warfare. Here, it was man’s folly in playing with things beyond his ability to control that leads to the awakening of Godzilla.

The original Gojira was a deeply symbolic and allegorical film, while the Americanized version Godzilla King of the Monsters glosses over much of that in favor or a more straightforward monster flick. The sheer level of destruction visited upon Tokyo by Godzilla and the toll taken in Human lives is still there for all to see, but the connections between Godzilla and his H-bomb origins are not stressed as much as in the original. Here Godzilla is portrayed as a force of nature as uncontrollable as a typhoon or earthquake. That man had a hand in waking him up, is secondary. Despite that, the underlying message from the original is still present: if man tampers with forces beyond his control, bad things can result.

"Ah, now to relax in the jacuzzi after a long day of stomping cities flat."If there is any fault with Godzilla, King of the Monsters, it’s that it is almost a Frankenstein film, cobbled together from two different sources. On one hand we have the original Japanese film and on the other, the American footage shot with Raymond Burr. Western producers tried their best to fashion a story more relatable to Americans, but as a result, the Japanese characters suffer. With very few exceptions, their motivations, fears, desires, etc, are lost to the cutting room floor or changed in the dubbing process. Remove all scenes with Steve Martin from the movie and the remaining footage is disjointed, proving how much was lost when the film was “Americanized.”

Raymond Burr does his best with what he has and even though in many scenes he is interacting with footage shot two years earlier, across the Pacific, he still gives it his all. His character comes across as somewhat calm and humble and not the loud, brash type that would categorize a reporter in a more contemporary film. As a newsman, his curiosity serves the movie well, for it is through him that American audiences view the strange locales and events in the film. That he is a stranger in a strange land is good, for that is how the viewer may feel at times.

At heart, the film is a tragedy of epic proportions. There is no action-packed climax to wrap things up. Instead we get a rather solemn attempt at killing Godzilla. When this is successfully achieved, no one seems thrilled. Sure, the threat is gone, but so much has been lost and these people are so beaten down and full of despair, that it seems only right that they face the future rather stoically. For Americans, this may seem somewhat odd, but for the Japanese who actually suffered and lived through the horrors seen in the film (albeit without a 400-foot lizard being involved) it’s quite fitting. The sense of trauma and fear instilled by the film resonated quite keenly with them, something western audiences cannot relate to very well.

 

Expect To See:
Dinosaurs - Dr. Yamane theorizes that Godzilla is the remnant of some lost dinosaur species from the Jurassic age. He resembles a dinosaur only in that he is a huge lizard.
Giant Monsters - You just can't get much bigger than Godzilla. As the King of the Monsters, he might not be the biggest giant monster, but is certainly the most formidable.
Gunplay - There are enough guns, cannons, rockets and missiles fired in this flick to fill two or three war films. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much.
Kaiju - The very first Daikaiju Eiga film (that I am aware of). You just can't beat a man in a rubber suit jumping all over a model train set. As a kid, how I wanted to be that actor.
Ocean Hijinks - Plenty of cruising up and down the sea here, whether it's from naval ships out to kill Godzilla, scientists out to learn about him or partying youths out for a good time.
Science - As Godzilla is damn near a force of nature, man's might pales in comparison. Thus, science has to discover a way to save our asses. No "twas beauty killed the beast" here.
Sea Terrors - I challenge anyone to name a greater aquatic terror than Godzilla. Cthulhu? Okay, ya got me on that one. Micheal Phelps? Ok, forget I even brought it up.
Stock Footage - Good old stock footage is rolled out to show the Navy launching depth charges at Godzilla. Later it's used again to show the military mobilization on land.
Undersea Hijinks - Not much, but at the end of the movie we get some underwater action as Ogata and Serizawa descend into Tokyo Bay to place and activate the Oxygen Destroyer.
Violence - While we never see many people die directly on screen, the implication is that thousands and thousands perish horribly as a result of Godzilla's attacks and rampages.

 

Movie Stats:
Shadow's Commentary:

Deaths: Thousands
People hit directly by radioactive breath: 9
Times Godzilla exhales radioactive breath: 9
Alcoholic drinks consumed: 9
Cigarettes smoked: 2
Times Martin smokes his pipe: 6
Voiceovers from Martin: 26
Ships sunk: 8
Ships seen sunk: 2
Percentage of movie culled from stock footage: 1.95%
Percentage of film made from American footage: 23.67%

00 Mins – Okay, who left the gas on?
15 Mins – It’s Hiro Nakamura! Where’s Ando?
22 Mins – Wait, they’re clapping at a bunch of testimonials?
23 Mins – The Love Boat soon will be making another run!
27 Mins – Come and get it!
37 Mins – Stock footage alert!
43 Mins – Godzilla catches the train.
51 Mins - A stadium full of breath mints won't cure that halitosis.
62 Mins – I guess sushi is no longer a dinner option.
65 Mins - A fight! What…no karate?!
77 Mins – No bones about, Godzilla is dead.


Shadow's Drinking Game: Every time Godzilla's thundering footsteps or deafening roar can be heard, take a drink.

 

Images Click for larger image

You should see the aftermath when
the Oakland Raiders lose a game.


"Damn it, I told that fool he was
using too much lighter fluid on the BBQ."



A new testing device for use on
kids: the cootie detector.

"That's the last time I book one of
these cheap vacation cruises." 

The very first Nintendo design team.

"Dude, WTF? Get your hand
off me."



 
"She bangs...she bangs..."

 
"Peek-a-boo!"

"Dude, seriously...you can let me
go now."

The press announcement for
Jurassic Park IV was less than inspiring.


"Wait! Come back! I won't fart
again, I swear!"

"Is this the A train?"

"There he goes with his
'medicinal need' excuse again."

"Check it out, the sorority next
door is having their nude
aerobics class again."


"Be honest, does my breath smell?"

"Excuse me, but could you point
me in the direction of the
nearest Taco Bell?"

"Really, what does a guy have to
do to get directions to the
museum around here?"

Praying to the radio won't make
the bad news go away.

Ogata prepared for his first day as
a Bennihanna chef.

"I accidentally dropped my copy
of Eclipse into the fire. Now I'll
never know if Bella chooses
Edward or Jacob."

 

Immortal Dialog

Martin talks to George, his editor in the States.

George: “Now let’s have it Steve, what about this monster story of yours?”
Martin: “Well, it’s big and terrible. More frightening than I ever thought possible.”

Shadow’s Comment: Has Britney gained weight again?


Martin’s final words.

Martin: “The menace was gone... so was a great man. But the whole world can wake up and live again.”

Shadow’s Comment: Insert Michael Jackson joke here.

 

Keep In Mind
  • The thundering footsteps of a monster ambulating across the ocean floor can be heard quite clearly at the surface or on land.
  • Paleontologists are called in when ships at sea go missing.
  • English can be learned overnight.
  • It's possible to outrun radiation.
  • Blankly staring off into the sea is a group activity on some small South Pacific islands.
  • It's quite easy to stand in wind that is strong enough to blow over a helicopter.
  • The most difficult word in the English language to pronounce is "phenomenon."
  • Certain pieces of lab equipment sound like violin strings when powered up.
  • 400-foot tall lizards can easily sneak up and surprise a group of unsuspecting people.
  • Godzilla hates to be reminded of the time.



This Film & Me

Godzilla, plain and simple, is one of my earliest memories, period. I can think back to a time when I was around four and five years of age, absolutely enthralled by Toho's Titan. I loved all giant monster films from Japan, but naturally, Godzilla was my favorite. I would set up my model railroad (HO scale), complete with tiny buildings, cars and people and then proceed to (quite carefully) stomp over it like I was Big G himself. Back in the mid 70's, it seemed a Godzilla film was on TV nearly every week (it was probably more like once a month) so I never had to go too long without a Godzilla fix. I had seen the original film numerous times by the time 1980 rolled around, but after that it vanished from TV schedules. Naturally, at that age I had no idea that Godzilla, King of the Monsters was an American version of Gojira. It wasn't until the late 80's or early 90's that I learned that. It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally saw the original Japanese version. Still, despite the orginal being superior, the Americanized version is still pretty damn good in its own right, and it was this version I chose for my first Godzilla review on this site as well as to help kickstart the return of the Graveyard after its long hiatus. I credit Godzilla with really starting my love for and obsession with monsters, and while the annals of film history are filled with some truly creepy, hideous and wonderful beasts, for me there will be only one true KING of the monsters – Godzilla.

Shadow's rating: Eight Tombstones



The Good

  • A true classic
  • Akira Ifukube's awesome music
  • Eiji Tsuburaya's impressive miniature FX
  • Godzilla's roar: distinctive and all his own
  • Powerful allegory for runaway science and technology

The Bad

  • Men in rubber suits have never been 100% believable
  • Splicing Raymond Burr into existing Japanese footage is not always seamless
  • Burr's character provides too many voiceovers. Show, don't tell!

The Ugly

  • Film prints have not survived as well as one would hope since 1954 and 56
  • Some FX are truly archaic by modern standards

 

 

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