The second film on our list of kaiju/tokusatsu films to watch before the new Godzilla film opens in May, Godzilla Raids Again (1955).
My thoughts first; my ten-year-old son James’ thoughts after.
After watching a classic like Gojira, I guess it would be easy to end up disappointed.
Godzilla Raids Again is not directed by Ishiro Honda and does not feature music by Akira Ifukube. That’s two strikes right there.
Add to that the fact that the first time I saw the film it was as the bastardized American version, Gigantis the Fire Monster, and you might be able to understand why I’m down on the film.
Upsides? Well … it features the debut of Anguirus and the first monster-on-monster action we’ve seen. It also has Dr. Yamane back from the first film.
Motoyoshi Oda directed this movie and, for whatever reason, decided to speed up the film for the scenes featuring the monsters fighting. This is the exact opposite of what most films featuring giant monsters do. The result is, as you might expect, silly. It is fun, though, to see Anguirus. A bit odd to see him killed so mercilessly, too.
The famed battle scene at Osaka castle is poorly framed, I thought, and doesn’t fully show off the fantastic model being demolished by these guys in suits. That’s a shame. (On another special effects note, the “cute” puppet, as James puts it, is back and is employed when Godzilla uses his atomic breath. Apparently, the big suit wasn’t able to open its mouth sufficiently for the job.)
Musically speaking … I’m drawing a blank. The score is just kind of there. That’s no good, especially when I’m trying to compare you to Ifukube.
As I type, I realize I’m sounding harsh. That has to be because we watched the 1959 American re-edit Gigantis the Fire Monster the first time we watched this about five years ago. In case you don’t know, for whatever stupid reason, American distributors wanted to sell “Gigantis” as a new monster, so his name was changed in the marketing and in the dialogue. Plus, Godzilla/Gigantis was given Anguirus’ roars and Anguirus was given Godzilla’s. George Takei (Mr. Sulu) voiced one of the newly dubbed characters and Yogi Bear himself, Daws Butler, tried his best to do a non-offensive Japanese accent for another. It was very distracting. AND, the American edit made the hero of the Japanese version, Kobayashi, into a goof. Just bad choices all around.
I’m willing to think that Gigantis has colored my perception of the film and that it may be better than I’m giving it credit for. But just having watched the Japanese version again, it’s not too much better.
Thanks to Anguirus and the possibility that I’m being too hard on it, I’m going to go middle-of-the-road on this one: 2.5 out of five atomic breath blasts.OK. Now here’s James:
I thought it was pretty good, but my dad was right, it was sped it up a little.
And the american-version made me pissed >:(! Godzilla’s roar was wrong and so was Anguirus’s roar!!!
And how did they beat Godzilla w/ ice?!! He survived a h-bomb for pete’s sake!!!!!!!
I give (the Japan version) 3.7 atomic breaths of awesomeness!!I’m going to have to talk to him about his language.
Up next: Warning From Space.