I'm probably the only one who prefers the Americanized "King of The Monsters" version, although I'll admit that it's partly because I grew up with it. This movie is rushed, the monster rampage is stop and start, its structure felt maligned and it's honestly just plain boring to sit through; the Americanized one felt more focused.
The visual effect is dazzling for a movie that released in 1954. GODZILLA isn't just merely a monster movie. It has a critique to nuclear bomb as a military weapon (especially that Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombing). It also served as a story about the struggle of Japanese people after World War II. About how paranoid they are. From the entertainment aspect, GODZILLA works pretty well. The horror was present in the movie...
I'd never seen the original Godzilla before, so was expecting the delights of his rampages. And we get those, a kinda adorably terrifying monstrosity. But what we get as well is an exorcism almost of the Japanese psyche after horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some scenes in this are devastating and powerful in an almost tearjerking way. We may love to watch his destruction but underneath his feet are consequenecs.
As a modern viewer, you’ll find Godzilla slow, even at a paltry 96 minutes. However, this is THE monster movie of monster movies. The iconic kaiju film that spawned an inimitable legacy. Its political, anti-nuclear overtones bearing as much emotional weight now as when it made its debut for Japanese audiences nearly 70 years ago.
3.5-4. If we take the ending to carry the major dramatic answer to a movie's themes, then Godzilla's ending betrays the movie's remarkably multi-faceted nature. It's ultimately a matter of humane people using dangerous science to eliminate dangerous science; but in the process, science ultimately destroys something ancient, primal, and uniquely Japanese. Side note: the effects hold up remarkably well!
3.5/5 - The never-ending, vicious cycle of human hubris vs nature. Even if I couldn't ignore how outdated and archaic it is in some aspects (and I'm not talking about the VFX here, which sometimes still impress), it left a deep and wide imprint in my mind with its unflinching look and exploration of the Japanese nationwide trauma that was the Hiroshima catastrophe.
Surprised at how upfront the subtext of the film actually is! Honda's proto-blockbuster frames its monster-movie carnage against an ongoing discussion on the use of nuclear warfare to such a bold degree that it could almost be taken as a didactic cine-essay as opposed to a science-fiction fantasy. While smaller details of the narrative don't really hang together, the film offers a profound & deeply moral commentary.
The king of monsters is born in this movie and delivers a powerful punch. while the movie is slightly campy in nature, its to be expected in giant monster movies so the acting is the best you can find without having an actual monster attack your city. the plot is entertaining but its anti-war message is not lost throughout the entire movie.
The Godzilla franchise, though way before my time, awakened my interest in film. The use of cheap practical effects to achieve insane, unrealistic scenarios was amazing to even a twelve-year-old me, and that fascination has continued to this day. However, none of the later films even approach the quality of the one that began the franchise.
Anything with Takashi Shimura puts a beaming smile on my face. Watched on 35mm at Prince Charles Cinema in London's West-End, and the size of Godzilla, the drama and destruction were amplified! I was frequently unnerved by the terror; often touched by the anti-nuclear sentiment. It's rewatchable, too.
Great social commentary about Japan's fears about total destruction - just take away the A-bomb and replace it with a monster. It has some memorable aftermath imagery that still deliver a punch and is excellent edited. The film is great but it feels copied to death even decades later - making the story a little too slow and predictable today. It is still a classic of it's kind though.