King Of The Reviews

A review on ‘Godzilla, King Of The Monsters!’

Sims Vincent

Everyone knows the terrifyingly colossal lizard that is Godzilla.  However, there are not many people can say that they’ve seen the original Japanese film called “Gojira” released in 1954. “Gojira” is the classic film that inspired more than 30 movies based on the character Godzilla. “Gojira” popularized its kaiju movie genre, which changed the film industry all together. In 1956, the first ever Americanized version of “Gojira” was released. This film is an edited and dubbed English version titled: “Godzilla, King Of The Monsters!”


“Gojira” was such a huge hit in Japan that it was time to take it to the United States. Film company Jewell Enterprises re-edited the original Japanese “Gojira” and released it in America in 1956. This Americanized version was about 30 minutes shorter in length due to all of the controversial World War II topics that were edited out.


In this remake, a new character is introduced via post production editing. His name is Steve Martin, played by Raymond Burr.  Martin is an American journalist reporting on all of the Godzilla events to America.


Martin tells the story of Godzilla through his own flashbacks and narrations. His main purpose in the story is to portray the story of Godzilla in English to the American audience. English dubbing was minimized because of this. They also changed the name of the film from “Gojira” to “Godzilla, King Of The Monsters!”


The story goes like this: Steve Martin arrives in Japan just in time to hear the news of an awakened giant monster wreaking havoc around the coast of the country. That’s right: it’s Godzilla.


Martin follows the destruction of Godzilla and reports everything he witnesses in the devastation. At the same time, Hideo Ogata (Akira Takarada), and his lady friend Emiko Yamane (Momoko Kochi), attempt to think of a way to defeat Godzilla with scientist Dr. Yamane (Takashi Shimura), and the military. On Godzilla’s way to Tokyo, the Japanese military attack him with everything they have, but to no avail.

Finally a cool looking Japanese scientist with an eyepatch named Dr. Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata), is convinced by Emiko to use an amazing oxygen bomb invention of his aptly titled ‘Oxygen Destroyer’ to destroy Godzilla. This bomb destroys oxygen atoms which causes living things in its area to rot away into nothing but a pile of bones. Seems legit, right?


The military lures Godzilla into the water, while Hideo and Dr. Serizawa place the bomb at the bottom of the ocean. Upon doing so Dr. Serizawa sacrifices himself with the oxygen bomb, concealing the secret of the bomb in order to protect the world from such an advanced and dangerous weapon.

Sure enough the bomb works and Godzilla is defeated in the same place he awoke.


In the end most of Tokyo is reduced to rubble and Steve Martin concludes his report while not only being  severely injured but surrounded by an entire civilization in worse conditions than he is.


So, is it worth watching? The movie is clearly very old. Black and white, not very impressive acting, funny looking special effects, unsynced English translations, and messy sound. I mean, Godzilla is literally a man in a big dino suit marching around a small scale model of Tokyo. If you’re unable to see beyond these obvious shortcomings in such early film forms, this movie may not be for you.


However, many would say you’d be missing out.


Despite these antiquated 1950’s era features, the movie is quite enjoyable. Or I should say, Godzilla himself is quite enjoyable. At first, the movie seems weak and boring. There’s a lot of dull English dubbing, Raymond Burr is awkward and stiff with his acting, and the story is so unorganized and uninteresting that it’s almost nonexistent.


You’re about ready to shut this movie off when suddenly Godzilla emerges from the ocean in all his glory. The low quality sound enhances his terrifying roar while he’s destroying houses and shacks with every step. You will wonder how on earth the people of Japan will be capable of vanquishing such a gigantic beast.


In short, this movie is an unimpressive remake that nearly bores you to death until you’re reminded how awesome, terrifying and intriguing Godzilla really is.


However, if you have the ability to watch the original “Gojira”, I highly recommend you do so. Without all the uncut scenes you truly get immersed in the grim scene of nuclear Japan. There are so many scenes that didn’t need to be taken out that really help set the mood. The subtitles are much more detailed and allow you to understand the film much better. You won’t have to listen to a dull Raymond Burr narrate everything either. The changes that were made to “King Of The Monsters” really is embarrassing compared to the original. It’s kind of silly, in a way.


Nonetheless, both are worth watching at least once. If you enjoy Godzilla as a whole, you should absolutely see this movie. If you’re bored and can deal with a bit of outdated movie magic, why not give it a shot? Who knows, maybe you’ll continue to watch some of the masterful Godzilla films that follow.