Meeting the Criterion (Collection): #594 Godzilla

Godzilla (1954), directed by Ishiro Honda, Spine #594 of the Criterion Collection

I must qualify this post and the next.  This will be Part 1 of my review of Godzilla since there are actually two films included on the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray.  The first is the original 1954 Japanese horror film Godzilla, the second is the re-cut 1956 American horror film Godzilla: King of the Monsters!.

It would be easy to write about the shocking representation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It would also be easy to focus on the special effects.  It would be hard to come up with anything else, and that’s the problem I face as I write this review of the film Godzilla.

There is nothing interesting or instructive about this original Godzilla picture other than the obvious.  Characters are flat, the story is routine, and the destruction is laughable.  And what is the film saying?  Monsters are unleashed with atomic testing?

The film is dated and clunky.  The emotions evoked from the analogy of the atomic bomb are lost on a modern audience.  What’s left is a nostalgia for a bad movie and a desire to see how a franchise started.  Unfortunately, this picture reminds me of many modern big-budget films: effects that will surely be dated, with shallow characters and a thin story.

Sadly, the manifestation of the supposed grand analogy of post-war Japan and its fear of the atomic bomb turns out to be nothing more than a man in a suit knocking over models of buildings and bridges.

Up Next: #594 Godzilla Part 2

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