Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Postby eabaker » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:29 pm

Terasawa wrote:
Angilasman wrote:I used to not be so hot on this one, but I've warmed up to it considerably. I think the domestic drama trappings make it a bit too dull for most, but it has some subtle charms , and I absolutely love the finale on the glacier.

Exactly how I feel. It took a lot of time to come around on it.

I especially like the sense of dreadful anticipation that permeates most of the movie. I think the movie is very much inviting comparisons to the US’s bombing of Japan in the later years of WWII. The civilian perspective only enhances this.

Of course there are poor aspects of it: Tsuburaya’s FX aren’t nearly as refined as they’d eventually be, and Sato’s score frankly sucks. The screenplay’s structure is a bit awkward too, especially with the return to business as usual after Osaka is destroyed. All of these things would be ironed out by the time the series returned in the 60s, but I don’t think it’s fair to compare GRA to the later Godzillas. It’s the Godzilla movie most like the typical non-sfx programmers Toho was producing during this period.

It's a movie with some serious structural problems, but figuring out a structure with which to sequelize Godzilla was inherently going to present some challenges, and require some trial and error. The fact that they succeeded so well by movie three, and more-or-less perfect a formula by movie four (and then had the wisdom to immediately vary it) is pretty stunning.

Where GRA most succeeds is in its atmosphere. The tension really is palpable, even during many of the more mundane stretches (until the ending becomes a little too drawn out).
Tokyo, a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world.

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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Postby Angilasman » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:33 pm

I think the recent covid situation has made me think how, in real life large-scale disasters, sure there's fear and whatnot, but there's also a lot of sitting around and making small talk with your family and people you know. When chaos happens it's not all action; a lot of things pause for most people, and at a certain level life goes on because you got to keep doing stuff. Godzilla Raids Again ends up tapping into that.

I think my favorite part of the movie is before the finale when Koizumi's character ends up meeting all his old airforce buddies. Sure, it's setting up something that'll be important to the plot, but it always struck me as a very genuine moment.

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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Postby Terasawa » Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:08 pm

^ It’s true to life but I don’t like that Godzilla then becomes an afterthought until he shows up again. I think they could have amplified their point by having the characters mention that Godzilla could show up again any time, but in the meantime they have lives to live. The shift to Hokkaido in the movie is just awkward.

But I can look past most of the flaws because there’s still a lot to like about this one that’s uncommon for its genre. For example, as with Rodan, the semi-documentary style sequences giving us a rare look into blue collar Japanese life in the ‘50s. There are precious few kaiju movies that depict the lives of “normal” people, and this is one of them.
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