When the ocean's surface begins to boil white-hot and a Japanese freighter vanishes into the Pacific, the superstitious villagers of Odo Island fear an ancient legend has come true the legend of Godzilla!Awakened from an H-bomb explosion!
(C) 1954 Toho Company, Ltd.
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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 34see all Gojira reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Fresh: While the acting is hit-and-miss and the story jumps around somewhat confusingly, Honda's film is a one-of-a-kind experience all the way through, one that stands the test of time better than I had expected.
- Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, Friday, April 18, 2014
Fresh: a pioneering behemoth in the history of Japanese cinema, leaving giant footprints in its trail that many have followed but few have filled so impressively.
- Anton Bitel, Eye for Film, Thursday, June 24, 2010
Fresh: Maybe it's 50 years late, but we're finally getting to see Godzilla as it was meant to be seen.
- Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thursday, July 22, 2004
Damn perfect monster chaos. It's easy to look at all the Godzilla references in popular culture and forget the social relevance of the original. It's a wonderfully constructed film, that makes the existence of this monster important. If any country knows the horror of nuclear weapons it's Japan. Here they express concerns over continuing tests, without wallowing in self pity or reverting to anti-American propaganda. This film genuinely looks at the humans as a single race, and how Godzilla's existence will impact the world. Godzilla is kept off screen for quite some time, allowing for the mystery and suspense to build. It also introduces us to a range of interesting characters and relationships, giving us that human connection essential to a monster movie. Reporters, politicians, scientists are all represented, but not in the usual cliched ways. Hirata plays the most interesting character, a man whom develops a weapon to destroy Godzilla, which is just as destructive as the one that created him. His morals in using such a weapon are well played out and add to a beautiful finale. The final scenes are scored with such serene bittersweet sounds, it really emphasizes the emotional battle going on. Sound effects are lowered at this point, as Godzilla and his human enemies come into conflict, without resorting to a battle. It's a sad moment that begs the question "Why must all movies be loud an obnoxious these days?". The model work is brilliant, as is Godzilla in his suit. People would seem to prefer a CGI creation to a man in a suit these days, but this suit looks real, the threat is really destroying these buildings. It may look ridiculous sometimes, but in black and white it's hard to tell. You can criticize the science all you want, but it's much more important to this viewer to make sure you have interesting and engaging events, plus characters.
- kiriyamakazou, Saturday, July 31, 2010
The definitive Japanese monster movie sees mother nature hitting back in the form of a 150ft 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 just full of decidedly suspect pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo, and the characters are pretty stereotypical; only Takashi Shimura's scientist who is the only one who wants to keep the creature alive 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 "climax" underwater is rubbish. 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 Kong was released over two decades earlier. As a whole it's really only worth it for the nostalgic and those wanting a good laugh at the expense of some dodgy model effects.
- garyX, Sunday, June 1, 2008