Look!!! It's Godzilla!!!


Best Godzilla movie ever (#38 in a series -- and there's another Godzilla film coming in MARCH for Godzilla's sake) -- and the best overall Creature Feature since Cloverfield -- a really enjoyable MOVIE (unlike the lame 1998 Roland Emmerich reboot with that inane Puff Daddy / Jimmy Page rap), lovingly recreating a post-war Japanese milieu. Directed by Takashi Yamazaki and produced on a shoestring (15 million bucks, as opposed to a typical 200 million dollar Hollywood extravaganza) by Japan's TOHO Studios, who got the franchise rolling in 1954 with Godzilla: The Sea Beast (in Japanese, Gojira -- a specially coined word denoting a cross between a gorilla and a whale) before Joe Levine Americanized the film with insertion of newly-filmed scenes with Raymond Burr. What makes this so compelling an entry in the big G sweepstakes is the emphasis here on human drama as opposed to mere special effects (which are reliably awesome, needless to say). Thematic concerns dovetail snd elaborate on actual historic events and super "what if?" moments -- including the supposed recalcitrance of the American and Japanese governments to even mention the existence of Godzilla to an already devastated post-war Japanese populace for fear of "spreading panic". So renegades of the remnants of the Japanese Navy take the matter in hand and cook up a potentially hare-brained scheme involving encircling and weighing Godzilla down with a bunch of bubbling Freon canisters, and--well, I don't want to spoil the fun here. I saw it with our friend Jon Surgal last night at the DGA Theater in midtown, and even Caroline Sinclair was entertained (and she pretty much hates monster movies). A rousing orchestral score by Naoki Satō was complemented Tarantino-style by using music tracks from the first Godzilla film by composer Akira Ifukube. Godzilla's roar was actually beefed up here by sound designer Natsuko Inoue running a sample of Godz's original high-pitched, almost birdlike-like bellow through monster-sized speakers in the echoey confines of the ZOZO Marine Stadium (a baseball stadium in Chiba Japan). From an aesthetic design standpoint, this is the most malevolent-looking Godzilla to date, way past original director Ishiro Honda's "guy in the rubber suit" conception. Sorry to say, there's no mention or appearance of Godzilla's cute adopted son Minya -- but maybe there's a sequel on the way?? Probably so, as the (spoiler alert!) final shot centers on a submerged piece of the destroyed Godzilla starting to, um, regenerate (come to think of it, this shot was absolutely copped from the last shot of the 1961 Danish-American co-production Reptilicus). It only goes to show that everything New is OLD! You're welcome.

Add new comment