#6 and 7 in the “Watch Every DVD In Here Project” - GOJIRA and GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN
# 6 & 7 in the DVD project: GOJIRA and GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, taken out of order when Pippin Poppins declared yesterday to be Godzilla Day. GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (1955 - as old as me!) a/k/a GODZILLA’S COUNTERATTACK, which was released in the USA as GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER as an attempt to pass it off as starring an entrirely new monster, is the 2nd ‘Zilla movie and I’m afraid it makes clear why the big guy didn’t get another feature till the 60s. It’s pretty much a drag, even with an adversary monster - Anguiras - thrown in. Slow-paced and disorganized, it does unexpectedly touching character work with its cast, but Godzilla doesn’t even seem to belong in the film and the whole thing just grinds to a stop. GOJIRA, however, remains a classic, dark, tragic and haunting, with a heart-wrenching performance by Akihiko Hirata as the brilliant, tormented and self-sacrificing Dr. Daisuke Serizawa. Tying the folkloric past (dancers in tengu masks; the islanders’ story that ages ago human sacrifices were offered to appease the sea monster) to the terrifying nuclear present, much of it happening at night to bring the towering beast into and out of scenes from pitch blackness, it feels like a modern legend, and still resonates with power a half-century later. It’s quite an experience to watch it followed by the American dub, GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS (starring Raymond Burr!) and realize just what a trashed mess was all we got to see of this film for so long.