Godzilla (Gojira) (1954)

Movie Title: Godzilla (Gojira)

Year Released: 1954

Rated: Not Rated

Runtime: 1h 36min

Genre: Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Director: Ishirô Honda

Writer: Takeo Murata and Ishirô Honda

Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kôchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura, Fuyuki Murakami, Sachio Sakai, Toranosuke Ogawa, Ren Yamamoto, Hiroshi Hayashi, Seijirô Onda, Tsuruko Mano, Takeo Oikawa, Toyoaki Suzuki

Review: In a time when Japan was recovering from nuclear attack a radioactive beast rises from the sea and threatens all life in the Pacific. Most regard Godzilla as just a giant monster movie, and it is, but the original Japanese film from 1954 is a melancholic tale of an entire nation's fear.

As I kid I enjoyed watching as Godzilla destroyed buildings, stepped on cars, and breathed fire to cause even more destruction, but when you see the original and get involved in the story you realize just how scary, devastating, and perilous this monstrous creature truly was to the people of Japan. He is the embodiment of the nuclear devastation that the nation endured during the second world war. And this movie is a true testament to the frightening nature of a threat that was unavoidable and unstoppable.

I will say that the movie is dramatic, thrilling, and a roaring good watch. The spectacular effects still look amazing! The Godzilla suit, the miniature sets, and the pyrotechnics are remarkable and really dial you in to what it would be like to experience the destruction that only this icon monster could bring about.

What I find most interesting is that Godzilla is a rampaging monstrosity that is fear itself, but soon he became a beloved mascot of sorts and representative for the people of Japan. So much so that over 30 sequels have been produced and feature Godzilla as the protector of Japan, and in some cases, the entire human race.

The imagery of the creature and how his orgy of destruction has truly taken its toll on the people is haunting and unforgettable. Godzilla is the ultimate monster movie, but it has real stakes, interesting characters, and a creature creation that is still relevant to audiences to this day. Try and check out the original, you won't be disappointed.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The simultaneous production of this film and Seven Samurai (1954) nearly forced Tôhô Kabushiki Kaisha into bankruptcy.


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