Godzilla ★★★★


Following my love affair with Pacific Rim and after the news of the upcoming Godzilla reboot, I knew that sooner or later I would be walking into Barnes and Noble to pick up that b-e-a-utiful Godzilla Criterion BluRay.

And my prophecy came true.

Even when opening up the criterion and seeing the popup of the big Godzilla head unfolding in front of me, I was smiling. Reading the booklet I was smiling. At the menu I was smiling. I was never not smiling watching this massive reptile stomp around Tokyo. Even saying the name "Godzilla" gets my blood pumping faster and my imagination kicked into top gear.

I'm 150 feet tall. I am virtually indestructible. I'm strong. I can breathe fire. I can knock over and destroy a whole city of I wanted to.

I'm Godzilla.

The original 1954 classic remains today a love letter to everything magical about old Japanese cinema, but also a strong cautionary tale with a surprisingly strong human front. Godzilla is not a perfect film. There are some people *cough, cough Roger Ebert cough* who are quick to dismiss the original Toho film as being idiotic or boring, but for me it remains an interesting little monster movie that is still a lot of fun on its own; even when its not riding on the shoulders of its 60 years of cultural impact and nearly 30 films and spinoffs. Ishiro Honda's monster flick made a massive reputation for itself and Godzilla pretty much has become an immediately recognizable character who Im sure will live on to entertain a whole new generation. But that huge monstrous success did not just pop up out of nowhere. The original film had to have been doing something right.


Well, yes and no.

Godzilla might put some younger, more ADD riddled fans to sleep as it is a large focus on character and the stressful situation that the monster himself creates among the people and government of Japan. Its thick with choppy 50's hokiness and classic Japanese melodrama. There is even a little love triangle type things that actually ends pretty tragically and honesty kind of depressingly in the climax of the film. Once Godzilla is brought down you realize the human cost and great emotional toll it takes on the people involved. You actually leave the film feeling a little sad and defeated. But that's the end. I got a little ahead of myself. The rest of Godzilla is an allusion to nuclear dangers and a massive achievement in special effects. Two strange things coming together as one, but like Godzilla himself, its a chemical combination that towers tall and confidently past its competition. Unlike its sequels, the original film is a Saturday night monster movie but was also very important thematically to the people of Japan. Its easy to giddily enjoy the big rubber reptile using buildings as toys and using his classic roar to make people flee from his massive earth shaking footsteps, but the message to the film is hard to ignore as well. Its cheap thrills and big monster madness but its got a heart and a brain, unlike most films that tried to copy its success.

The human element may be inconsistent and some moments unfortunately lack polish, but whenever the big guy is on screen, it all goes right out the window. It goes running out into the night time Tokyo air shrieking and flailing its arms. Nothing stands in the way of Godzilla. And this has remained true for about 60 years.

"Old Godzilla was hoppin around, Tokyo city like a big play ground."

Anyone remember the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny?

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