Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

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Overall Rating 58%
Overall Rating
Ranked #4,883
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Connections: Godzilla

Koji Kobayashi, a spotter for a Japanese fishing fleet crash lands his plane on a barren island. His best friend, Shoichi Tsukioka, manages to find him and lands his plane next to his so he can be rescued. The two pilots are shocked when they see two giant monsters waging war before falling into the ocean. The two pilots race back to Japan to inform the government what they saw. Soon the world comes to the realization, that a monster closely related to the original Godzilla is on the loose as well as a new monster named Angilas. Soon, the two monsters arrive in Osaka where they resume their battle. Will the two monsters destroy Osaka before they ultimately destroy each other? --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: September 10, 2007
A year after Ishiro Honda brought his terrifying metaphor to Japan's big screens, the sequel was already in the works. Directed by first-timer, Motoyoshi Oda, Godzilla Raids Again lost a lot of the menace behind the creature that Honda had created. Less than a year after its creation, the franchise was already starting down the path to becoming the cheesy monster movies it is most known for.

Koboyashi is a pilot in trouble. His plane's engine has failed and he's forced to land on a desert island, but he's able to send an S.O.S. to his fellow pilot, Tsukioka, who sets out to pick his friend up. On this island, the two of them discover not one, but two giant monsters, beating the shit out of each other like only two 200 foot tall monsters can. Obviously, the aviators decide not to hang out and head back to civilization to report the two creatures. The scientists, including Dr. Yamane of the previous movie, agree that this is a second Godzilla, and the other creature is a mutated angilosaurus, which they name Angilas. He is a spiky armadillo looking monster that would later become better known as Anguirus. They somehow know that Angilas hates aggression which is why he lashed out against Godzilla. They also come to the conclusion that there is no way to kill Godzilla since they have no way of recreating Serizawa's Oxygen Destroyer, so instead they'll have to come up with more preventative measures. They've deduced from the original attack that Godzilla is angered by bright lights, so they set up a system to lure Godzilla away from the major cities. This plan all goes to pot, however, when a botched prison break involves a huge explosion right in the middle of the city, drawing Godzilla right where the military was trying to keep him out of. Angilas also shows up, challenging his aggressive foe to a fight to the death in the heart of a burning Osaka.

Godzilla has become known in his later movies for battling other monsters. Hell, most of his movies are named "Godzilla vs. Opponent." This was a good way to ease into things, since his conflict with Angilas is not the major plotline going on here. Their battle lasts a grand total of less than ten minutes. It's nothing like Godzilla's future battles to come, which rely more on the uniqueness of his opponents and more theatrical techniques. Here, both monsters stick to a more instinctual battle strategy, as both creatures are content to stay in a clutch biting each other. Considering this was before Godzilla was given his personality, this was probably the best choice, but unfortunately it wasn't handled very well. That type of fight should have been a slow one, as each creature tries to grind down the other. Instead of noting this, Oda sped up the reel trying to make the battle faster and more intense, I guess. Unfortunately, it sort of backlashed and gave it that Benny Hill comedy routine feel. The effects weren't quite there for this battle. While I've no doubt it could have been done better, it looks like it was rushed to theatres, leaving little time to worry about the details. Hell, there are a few times I think it's two hand puppets biting each other. Another gripe lies in the pacing of the movie. There are a couple of scenes that could have easily been trimmed down. For example, during the initial meeting they bring up a reel of Godzilla's last romp. We're then treated to some choice scenes from Gojira, all without any sound at all except the clicking of the projector. What we have is maybe a little less than an hour worth of movie stretched out over an hour and twenty minutes.

Still, this isn't a bad movie by any means. Just don't make the mistake I made. I was expecting the Godzilla of the 60s and 70s right off the bat, and this is not it. The main focus isn't even Godzilla directly. It's actually on our two pilots, Tsukioka and Koboyashi, who just can't seem to get out of Godzilla's path. Tsukioka is getting married soon and Koboyashi has a secret admirer; neither one of them want anything to do with the creature. This approach works very well given the chemistry between the three of them; including Hidemi, Tsukioka's fiancÚ. Hiroshi Koizumi, Minoru Chiaki, Setsuko Wakayama (Tsukioka, Koboyashi, and Hidemi respectively) work so well together. The relationship between Tsukioka and Hidemi is very believable, as is their friendship with Koboyashi.

Out of all the Godzilla movies, Godzilla Raids Again currently holds the honor of being the third most attended movie in theatres, however it wasn't held too high in the eyes of critics and fans alike. In fact, Godzilla wouldn't appear in another movie for another seven years. Personally, I wouldn't call Godzilla's second outing on par with his first, but it's still a damn good movie. Sure, it's lost most of its meaning and tone that the first one had, but standing alone, it's a damn fine monster movie. And even though it's a lighter film than Gojira, I wouldn't call it happy either; it ends on quite the somber note. Worth a shot for all Godzilla fans. 6.5/10.
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