Gail’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched for Hooptober 6 on the Criterion channel.
This has been on my list since the beginning (which in specific was Hooptober 2, but in general I've wanted to see it since I knew it was a thing). I saw it was on Criterion, my husband admitted he hadn't seen the original yet either, and now it's finally happened. We've both seen it. High five.
I'm not sure where the images I had in my head for this movie before I saw it came from. My husband said there have been loads of remakes, and sequels, and a similar series from a competing studio, so lots of choices. I was thinking it would be in color, super goofy, poorly dubbed. I've seen clips like that somewhere. (Possibly only in my imagination? My brain rolls like that sometimes so it's possible.)
Seeing it was in black and white, and in Japanese, dropped the expectation that this would match the image in my head. Seeing Takashi Shimura perked me right up. (the guy from Ikiru! and a whole lot of other Kurosawa movies! basically the Chishu Ryu of Kurosawa! ...so hopefully I'll remember his name without looking it up next time, even though I'm not great at names...ahem.) He can show so much, so quietly. I seriously wonder how he would've studied Godzilla though, if everybody else had been like 'oh, by all means sir, go ahead' instead of being like 'but we gotta kill it.'
I suppose there are people who would be disappointed or dismissive about the effects, that you can tell how they were done--miniatures, a dude in a rubber stegosaurus suit, planes on strings, possibly some rear projection. Not me though. I like figuring out how they did it without cgi (and I really like when I can't figure it out--nobody tell me how Mary Poppins got lamps and a coat rack out of her carpet bag, ok?)