A giant dinosaur, disturbed by atomic testing, begins destroying fishing boats. When the military steps into end this threat, the beast leaves its hunting grounds to wreck havoc on Japan. Its downbeat nature really sets it apart from the other monster movies of the period.
It took 50 years, but Gojira can now be recognized not as a vintage science fiction movie, but an epic postwar tragedy.
— Godzilla’s Footprint
Godzilla’s Footprint appears as a booklet that comes with the new Gojira DVD collection, and I quote it to illustrate yet another thing I never thought I’d see connected with the mighty Kaiju. For instance, I never thought I would be able to see the entire series. I never thought I would see a Gamera movie that was better than a Godzilla movie. I never thought I would view the first movie, Raymond Burr free and subtitled. So many things I never thought I’d see.
But the quote… Now that is something else. I never thought I’d see literary snobbery in defense of Godzilla. It kind of takes the breath away.
Gojira is a Science Fiction movie, in fact a very good Science Fiction movie. While the science is questionable (Gojira himself, the Oxygen Destroyer), it poses questions like a good Science Fiction story should. The initial concerns about what revealing the H-Bomb caused Gojira’s appearance would do on an international level, the argument to spare Godzilla, not as a prehistoric relic but as a survivor of a massive H-bomb explosion, and, finally, whether or not to use the Oxygen Destroyer, are all discussed in various places. All serious stuff, especially to someone more used to lighter stuff like Son of Godzilla.
I was most pleased to find that I like the original version better than the Americanized one I grew up with. This doesn’t mean that I won’t ever watch Godzilla: King of the Monsters again, mind you.
On a more technical front, I found some of the subtitles devilishly hard to read. Worse, in a few (rare) instances they didn’t match the people speaking, or, worse, they went by too fast. I’m a speed reader, so it’s not that big a deal for me, but combined that with fighting to read it at all… Woof.
Those gripes aside, Gojira is an excellent purchase, on that I suspect every Godzilla fan will want to make.
Oh, and about Godzilla’s Footprint? Other than the occasional bit of light snobbery, it’s excellent. Very informative.