Gojira (1954)


The definitive Japanese monster movie sees mother nature fighting back in the form of a 150ft tall radioactive dinosaur after atomic tests contaminate the seas around a Japanese island.

Considered something of a classic, I was curious as to how this film had stood the test of time and the answer is…not very well. The script is brimming with decidedly suspect pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo, and the characters are very two dimensional; only Takashi Shimura’s scientist – and the only one who wants the creature to live – holds any dramatic gravitas at all. It’s really just an excuse for a bit of mindless destruction and because the effects are so poor, the action ends up looking plain silly and rather dull. There is some nice nocturnal photography but by the same measure, the underwhelming  underwater “climax” is a real disappointment. There is some attempt at intelligence as there is a clear analogy between Serizawa’s aquatic doomsday weapon and the ethical dilemmas thrown up by the atomic age, but it lacks the character dynamics and pathos of King Kong and the effects are considerably inferior despite the fact that the landmark monster movie was released over two decades earlier.

As a whole Gojira is only worth the time as curiosity value for the nostalgic or those wanting a good laugh at the expense of some dodgy model effects.



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