Godzilla (1954)

The original, 1954 Godzilla/Gojira film is much more of a science-fiction movie than a monster movie. Partially this is due to the movie codifying the monster genre, so there wasn’t a tradition to draw from yet, but also because it very much subscribes to the science-fiction convention of using outlandish yet at least seemingly semi-plausible scientific happenings as a vehicle for social commentary, here on the nuclear bombs dropped on Japanese cities in World War II.

As with the other 1940s/1950s Japanese cinema I’ve been watching lately (in the form of Kurosawa films), there’s a focus on melodrama and very emotive acting here. I was pleased to see frequent Kurosawa collaborator Takashi Shimura in a lead role, his character often espousing dialogue relating to the hubris of man and scientific achievement.

gojira_1954_japanese_poster

The characters all embody the post-war feelings of Japan as a nation, the paranoia, the discontent, the fear, but also the resolve, the drive to secure a better and safer future, and so on. The ending is surprisingly tragic for many of the human lead characters, but the film ends in a strong and cohesive manner, nothing like the sequel-hook endings of the later Godzilla films when it became a franchise unto itself.

It’s quite an affecting movie, and a great insight into Japanese cinema and mentality of the time. I give it three and a half diving suits, and an Oxygen Destroyer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s