Japan is thrown into a panic after several ships explode and are sunk near Odo Island. An expedition to the island led by paleontologist Professor Kyohei Yemani soon discover something more devastating than imagined in the form of a 164 foot tall monster whom the natives call Gojira. Now the monster begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan, but the rest of the world as well.
The big political atomic lizard is cheesed off! After H bomb testing in the pacific, ships start to go missing and a remote island is apparently under attack from a prehistoric monster. Japanese scientists hasten to find out just what is going on, what they find is Gojira, and he is mightily hell bent on destruction...next stop Tokyo. Gojira is such an influential film, it has spawned many sequels, remakes, copyists, and numerous homages, and of course there is two versions of this film for the viewer to choose from. The American version is a decent enough watch, it has integrated Raymond Burr into this original versions plot, and although it's unintentionally funny at times, it holds up pretty well as a no brainer piece of fluff. But it fails to compare to this original Ishirô Honda classic because this has a wonderful ambiance of fear at its heart, coming some 10 years after the Hiroshima bomb, the Japanese audiences of the time would surely have noted the heavy aura of destruction seaming through the picture. Watching it today, now that it's restored in all its original glory, is still a memorable and exhilarating experience, the build up is perfect, we are practically on the edge of our seats waiting to glimpse the giant atomic creature, and when he/it/she shows up for the first time, it gives us a truly memorable classic piece of cinema. Sadly the film is hampered a touch by a meandering romantic sub-plot, but the performances (notably Takeshi Shimura) are very engaging, while Akira Ifkube's score is poignantly perfect. As man in a rubber suit movies go, Gojira has no peers, it's smart, fun, and above all else, memorable. 8/10