Godzilla, the King of all monsters, the Japanese Kaiju legend, has had an impressive run. Not so much that the films are remembered as masterpieces, but the fact that his longevity allowed him 28 Toho films in the course of 50 years is noteworthy. And with the (second) American reboot about to hit theatres, I’ve tasked myself with going back into the history of the character and reviewing each of his adventures, for better or worse.
Godzilla Raids Again isn’t by any means a terrible film, or a lackluster sequel. In fact, it feels like neither. It almost feels like a really well done pilot episode for a tv show based off the mythology of the first film. The continuity is kept pretty much intact, although they don’t really elaborate heavily on how another Godzilla creature was erected into the world, but they do make light of the fact that this time he’s arrived with a new friend – Anguirus (or Angilis depending on the translation). Well. More like enemy, actually. Yeah they brawl it out a few times.
The film started out great, with a solid storyline about a pilot getting lost at sea and being found on an island off the coast of Japan, where they find Godzilla and Anguirus going head to head. Back in the “safety” of their home in Japan, they tell the authorities about what they had seen, and they get to work on devising a plan of action. Archaeologist Kyohei Yamane makes a cameo appearance, a welcome face from the original film where he describes the threat they are dealing with. And then they show repeat footage for about 3 minutes, for seemingly no reason but to rehash that Godzilla is dangerous as all hell, and now he’s out brawling on the streets with another Kaiju. The acting in this film is much improved, but you soon realize that a lot of the acting between the humans exists only as filler material. But the side-story is much welcome to the annoying one that inhabited the previous film.
Godzilla’s role in this film was short lived, past the destruction of another Japanese city and the defeat of his Kaiju foe. He stalks off into the mountains where he is followed by planes. The pilots soon devise a plan to get rid of the monster – they’ll bring the mountain down on top of him by creating an avalanche. This works after a very long and drawn out 6 minutes of just shooting rock and ice, and eventually our kaiju friend is taken care of. Unfortunately not all the pilots come back home to celebrate.
This film has a new director in the form of Motoyoshi Oda, and although the budget for the film wasn’t as high as it’s predecessor, most of the destruction looked clean and realistic – black and white really does help you suspend disbelief further. The Godzilla costume did look a ton better this time around, but his scales didn’t light up like they did in the first film which was a downer. The music wasn’t as powerful either. They didn’t have the classic theme tune by Akira Ifukube which just bleeds “Godzilla”. Like I mentioned, it felt very much like a pilot for a television show. Still not a campy movie, but not as good as the first. For a sequel made in less than a year, not bad.
Godzilla films ranked from best to worst:
- Godzilla (1954)
- Godzilla Raids Again (1955)