Review Godzilla Raids Again film review by The King of the Monsters
Written By The King of the Monsters on 2014-08-17 21:40:18
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At its core, Godzilla Raids Again is just an attempt to cash in on the success of the original. It was released just months after Godzilla (1954), and lacks the quality and careful construction of its predecessor. Godzilla Raids Again was the last Godzilla film I saw prior to the new one, and it is one of my least favorite. That's not to say I think it is a bad film, but it is one of the poorest entries in the series.
*SPOILERS* Pilots Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi are scouting the ocean for schools of fish when Kobayashi's plane engine fails and he is forced to make an emergency landing on a deserted island. Tsukioka lands his plane meets up with Kobayashi on the island. Suddenly, the two pilots hear loud noises on the island. When they look, they see two giant monsters fighting viciously, one of which Tsukioka recognizes as Godzilla. Soon, the monsters fall into the ocean and vanish. When the pilots return to Japan, they report their story to the government. Leading scientists confirm that one of the monsters was in fact Godzilla, another member of the same species as the creature that annihilated Tokyo a year before. The other monster is identified as Anguirus, a type of giant vicious ankylosaur that lived at the same time as Godzilla's species. The government asks Dr. Kyohei Yamane, who discovered Godzilla a year before, how they can hope to stop Godzilla. Yamane regretfully states that there is no way to destroy Godzilla now that the Oxygen Destroyer and its creator are gone. The self-defense forces begin mobilization to prepare for the arrrival of both monsters. Because Godzilla is enraged by light, which reminds him of the atomic bomb that awakened him, the defense forces attemt to lure him away from Osaka with flares while the citizens are evacuated. The plan works, until a fire erupts at an oil refinery, which attracts Godzilla into the city. Anguirus soon arrives in the city and resumes his battle with Godzilla. The monsters' battle decimates Osaka, including the Osaka Castle. Eventually, Godzilla defeats Anguirus and returns to the sea, but not after reducing Osaka to a smoldering pile of rubble. Fearing that Godzilla will continue to ravage Japan, the defense forces begin to search the ocean hoping to find him. When Godzilla is sighted on an ice-covered island, the defense forces quickly form an attack plan. Tsukioka and Kobayashi try to distract Godzilla with their planes, but Kobayashi is shot down by Godzilla's atomic breath and killed. Tsukioka determines that it may be possible bury Godzilla in ice by blasting the icy slopes of the island with missiles. The defense forces commence the plan and successfully bury Godzilla in a pile of ice. Tsukioka laments the loss of his friend and tearfully says that they buried Godzilla for Kobayashi. *END SPOILERS*
The plot of this movie suffers for one major reason, anticlimax. Godzilla and Anguirus' battle in Osaka occurs during the end of the film's second act. After Godzilla defeats Anguirus, there is still at least 20 more minutes left in the movie. As a result, the remainder of the movie is extremely boring, even the climactic showdown between Godzilla and the Japanese self-defense forces. This sequence is just incredibly repetitive and drags on for far too long. The film should have been structured so that the battle between Godzilla and Anguirus was the climax.
The acting is adequate, but a step down from the previous film. Hiroshi Koizumi is a great actor, but he was still somewhat new in this movie. He does a good job as the lead, and I have no major issues with his performance. His character is just not that interesting. Minoru Chiaki, of Seven Samurai fame, delivers a solid performance as the tragic hero Kobayashi. His character is likable and probably the most interesting in the film, and the viewer actually feels somewhat saddened when his character dies. The only other notable actor is Takashi Shimura, who reprises his role as Dr. Kyohei Yamane from the previous film. However, his role is limited to a brief cameo, but he still does his best in this bit role.
The effects in Godzilla Raids Again are a mixed bag. The miniatures and sets are very well-constructed, almost on par with those from the original. The Anguirus suit looks a little goofy, especially with the bizzare looking face and floppy carapace, but overall it looks acceptable. The Godzilla suit, however, is one of the poorest suits in the series. It attempts to retain the overall appearance of the previous suit while being slimmed down so as to be able to fight Anguirus. Unfortunately, it just looks cheap and baggy. The face lacks the menacing look of the previous suit, and instead just looks plain goofy. The fights between the monsters are unique in this movie, as they were filmed sped up faster than in subsequent films. It makes the fights look very feral and animalistic, but just unrealistically fast for such large creatures.
Masaru Sato composes his first score for the Godzilla series, and also his least memorable. His main theme for the movie is probably the best piece, but the rest of the soundtrack is low-key and forgettable. Thankfully, Sato's later scores would be much better.
Godzilla Raids Again is not a bad movie, but not one of the better entries in the series. It attempts to retain the seriousness and dark tone of the previous film, but ultimately looks like a cheap cash-in on the original's success. Still, it was the first Godzilla sequel, it introduced the fan-favorite Anguirus, and started the tradition of Godzilla fighting another monster. It deserves credit for these accomplishments, but it fails to deserve mention among the better films in the franchise.