Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

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

Post by Shobijin »

The Japanese version is the only watchable one. There is a huge drop off in quality from the original Godzilla film, so it has the Son of Kong vibe. There is too much snow and "sky" in this movie and the criminal car chase is very jolting and boring. That said, it is not that good due to the rushing of production and not having the same creators as opposed to having poor plot, special effects, or acting.

I like it better than some of the real corny Showa movies. The monster fight scene is primal and "realistic".

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

Post by Zarm »

Godzilla Raids Again has a reputation as perhaps the weakest Showa Godzilla film (perhaps bar-ring Godzilla’s Revenge). Well, I’m a little early on in my re-watching to make or challenge a comparative statement like that, but… I didn’t think it was that bad. Certainly, I enjoyed it more than Rodan.

Sure, it lacks the epic sweep of the original. The story is less consequential. And it suffers from 2 major slowdowns… the pre-refinery-fire Godzilla landing, and the ending (more on that later). But otherwise, the characters are likable, and their story is engaging enough; Tsukioka is the guy who has it all, and his friend Kobayashi wishes he did. Their friendship is at the core of the film, with Kobayashi’s loneliness a subtle but persistent theme throughout that really makes you pull for the guy. Both Tsukioka and his fiancé Hidemi are trying to help him- but their lives are complicated by the arrival of Godzilla. Sure, it’s not the deepest story; no one’s going to say this one’s better than Mothra vs. Godzilla or Ghidrah the Three-headed Monster. But it’s engaging enough that I seldom felt impatient, except for the long stretches of rampage. The criminal-escape added a nice bit of action, the dance was effectively romantic (and the interruption effectively mood-breaking, giving at least a hint of the dismay that the characters must be feeling at a much-higher level), the character-building and empathy were really brought by the restaurant scene… and hey, a Dr. Yamane cameo- fun! There were a lot of little moments that really worked, including Kobayashi’s fumbling attempts to find out from Hidemi how best he might woo his crush. (Though a more jaded, genre-savvy audience immediately know he’s going to die at this point…)

Okay, so there were some lagging points. The silent film reel of stock footage form Gojira? A bit too long. The evacuation procedural before the criminals mess everything up? A bit too long. And the ending… I understand why they went back to base (so Tsukioka could become a fighter pilot and avenge his friend personally, and to try and set up a major ‘spectacle ending’- however, just like the bombardment in Rodan, a ‘spectacle’ of a lot of subsequent explosions just gets numbing after a while), but the film would have ended a lot stronger if, after Kobayashi crashed, and everyone got the idea, their coordinated attack buried Godzilla. Narrative momentum would have been kept, the key inspiration of Kobayashi’s unintended sacrifice would have resonated a lot stronger- it would have been tight plotting. As it is, the sidetrack and protracted bombardment just kill the pacing a bit.

The effects are… actually quite good. Okay, the scout planes have visible wires far too often… but the miniatures look pretty great, the demise of the criminals in the subway is clever and effective miniature/live set overlaying, and the ending locale is well-realized. Those chunks of ice look a bit plastic, but other than that, the production values are high. A similar panning-through-the-ruins aftermath shot as the original is appreciated (and highlights nicely the terrain differences between Tokyoi and Osaka), the ‘centerpiece’ castle destruction is nicely achieved, with the shot of roof-tiles tumbling adding an extra ‘oomph’ to what would have otherwise been a run-of-the-mill miniature destruction, giving it a little extra scope and impact, and the choice to establish a (slightly fake-looking rear-screen projection, but we can for-give that) balcony view of the cityscape, then revisit it as ruins, was an excellent choice. The location was memorable enough the first time to stick, and really drive home the before-and-after nature of the destruction.

The music, meanwhile, is a bit repetitive, but still stirring and quite appropriate to the musical style created by the original film. I just wish the soundtrack had far fewer announcements preceded by grating buzzer-noises in the middle section.

Godzilla was a slightly more brutish, animal-type presence in this film, lacking his usual cunning and intelligence… but overall, he looked pretty good. The slimmer suit looked good. The puppet head was a bit lifeless, but he was well-articulated. The overcranked motion (accidental, and then decided to go with it) is a strange look for a kaiju that we’re used to seeing move slowly; I was reminded of the CGI Godzilla in Shin Godzilla, who likewise had some much faster movements than the lumbering slow-mo we’re traditionally used to. It does work against the sense of scale, unfortunately… but not *too* distractingly-so.

Anguirus doesn’t look quite as good here as he later would, with a larger, goofier crown of horns and much longer limbs keeping him higher off the ground. He looks much more like… well, a man in a suit, than later incarnations would. And the tradition of getting bit on the neck and soaked in his own blood comes right at the start, I see. Poor Anguirus. His resistance to the atomic ray is notable, at least- for as long as he was living.

A scrappy little fellow, but his end was FAR more decisive than I remembered. All the early Kaiju come in pairs, it seems, with at least one very clearly and definitively dying, and the second appearing with little explanation later on. Just as this is a second Godzilla, and we’ll see a later apparent survival of a second (or, if they both perished in the volcano, third) Rodan, we clearly have an inexplicable second Anguirus in later films. Perhaps ancient dinosaurs operated by Star Wars’ Rule of Two? (‘No more, no less- a master, and an apprentice…’)

My wife suggested that Godzilla and Mrs. Anguirus (the 70s Anguirus) were having an affair, and this was Godzilla taking out Mr. Anguirus so that the two of them could be together. That’s certainly a new way of looking at their relationship…!

Overall, Godzilla Raids Again was not nearly so flawed as its reputation led me to expect. Certainly, it lacks that ‘certain something’ to make it great… but it also lacks any major flaws or irritants to make it unwatchable. It is solid, middle-of-the-line, average daikaiju fare- with only the occasional pacing problems, especially at the end, keeping it from nosing up to ‘pretty good’ status. (That sounds like ‘damning with faint praise,’ but that is not my intent.) Still, it’s watchable, I found the character drama and interplay engaging, and I was invested in the human storyline, which is more than I can say for a number of Showa entries (like, sorry to pick on it again, Rodan). So if it’s not as good as its peers, that’s a testament to their exceeding quality, not to any inherent shabbiness of Godzilla Raids Again. It does not transcend as some of the more classic entries do, and for that, it often gets dumped-on by comparison. But standing on its own, it’s a perfectly enjoyable little flick that satisfies nearly all the requirements of a classic, and falls short only on lacking a ‘spark’ or quality to elevate it to that level.

In a world where some kaiju films are actively hated (SpaceGodzilla, Final Wars, Megaguirus-if-you’re-like-me), this film should definitely not get any flack, because while ‘innocuous’ may sound again like faint praise, it is definitely on the positive side of neutral, and that automatically puts it head-and-shoulders among some of the G-films that have actual issues. It’s fun, it’s watchable, I care about the characters; that’s really all you can ask of a movie. With some of the momentum-snags edited out and slightly broader imagination to its scope, it could well have been remembered as fondly as many of the entries that surround it.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Ivo-goji »

I can honestly say I like Godzilla Raids Again more than Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster. GTTHM is good but I don't feel it has the same depth as Raids Again. I also prefer the human cast of the latter movie.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

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Zarm wrote:Certainly, it lacks that ‘certain something’ to make it great… but it also lacks any major flaws or irritants to make it unwatchable. It is solid, middle-of-the-line, average daikaiju fare- with only the occasional pacing problems, especially at the end, keeping it from nosing up to ‘pretty good’ status.
While I am generally a defender of this movie (mostly for a few specific scenes where the tone and atmosphere work well), I think its greatest failing is more-or-less what you identify here, its unremarkable nature. It takes very few risks, which gives it little opportunity to be awful, but also little opportunity to be special. I will always favor an interesting failure over a bland success, and I think that's true of a lot of fans; we don't want a movie that's a passable time-waster, we want a movie that makes an impact, that gives us things to chew on, to weigh, to be in some respect interesting or challenging.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Legion1979 »

I don't think it's a bad movie, and I don't dislike it. But it's the last Showa film I'd choose to watch if I had a choice.

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

Post by akanes_kiryu »

I agree that it's not a bad movie but everything about it to me is just so middle of the road. I only watch the Japanese version when I marathon the whole series. I've watched the US version more because that dub puts it into "so bad, it's good" territory for me.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Legion1979 »

I only put on the American version when I want to watch the commentary, which is very entertaining.

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

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Legion1979 wrote:I only put on the American version when I want to watch the commentary, which is very entertaining.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by DaruniaDancing »

I get the impression that people don't think too highly of this film, which I don't completely understand. It's got Godzilla in the snow and Angilas being piledriven through a building! Good stuff. Also, I appreciate the fact it has a straightforward plot.

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

Post by MechaGoji Bro7503 »

I just finished rewatching this film a few days ago.....i actually liked more than i thought i did. Sure the movie is a huge dropoff from the original, but its still entertaining in its own right. I do feel like the ending should of been just one battle, and not returning to base then coming back to fight. The film is still kinda dark to me. Overall 5/10.

Also, i noticed something that this film did really well about Godzilla. At one point they explain the flares or bright lights can bring back horrifying memories to Godzilla about getting bombed by a atomic bomb. I thought that was pretty interesting, as no other Godzilla film builds on that idea if i recall.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by LegendZilla »

Imagine what it would be like if someone could do a re-dub of this movie.

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

Post by Lain Of The Wired »

The pacing would still blow
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Kaijunator »

MechaGoji Bro7503 wrote:I just finished rewatching this film a few days ago.....i actually liked more than i thought i did. Sure the movie is a huge dropoff from the original, but its still entertaining in its own right. I do feel like the ending should of been just one battle, and not returning to base then coming back to fight. The film is still kinda dark to me. Overall 5/10.

Also, i noticed something that this film did really well about Godzilla. At one point they explain the flares or bright lights can bring back horrifying memories to Godzilla about getting bombed by a atomic bomb. I thought that was pretty interesting, as no other Godzilla film builds on that idea if i recall.
I liked the part about the lights too.

I think the final fight should've been Godzilla fighting Anguirus while the humans try to freeze them. Goji would end up killing Angy during the operation.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Maritonic »

I rewatched this yesterday. Japanese version, I always avoid the cringe worthy dub.

I honestly have never understood the hatred for this one. No, it's not perfect. Yes, it has it's flaws. But man I love this film. For me, it is filled with a pure sense of dread and fear the entire time. Maybe that's the music, maybe that's the guttural roar Godzilla uses most of the time. I find that Osaka spends most of the movie in the midst of a black out, only lit by flames of it burning, to be rather eerie. The snow setting mixed with black and white works really well as well. I also LOVE the eerie Anguirus roars and both of the kaijus' costumes in this.

Definitely one of my favorite of the Showa era, and I believe a vastly underrated and misunderstood film.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Lain Of The Wired »

MechaGoji Bro7503 wrote: At one point they explain the flares or bright lights can bring back horrifying memories to Godzilla about getting bombed by a atomic bomb.
I don't remember that part...
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Maritonic »

Lain Of The Wired wrote:
MechaGoji Bro7503 wrote: At one point they explain the flares or bright lights can bring back horrifying memories to Godzilla about getting bombed by a atomic bomb.
I don't remember that part...

It's in the Japanese version, not sure if it's the in the dub. Definitely in there.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by Lain Of The Wired »

I have the combo DVD so I'll have to check it out when I'm not too terribly busy to watch a Toku movie.
The movie bored me so I'm not surprised I missed that
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by MechaGoji Bro7503 »

Maritonic wrote:
Lain Of The Wired wrote:
MechaGoji Bro7503 wrote: At one point they explain the flares or bright lights can bring back horrifying memories to Godzilla about getting bombed by a atomic bomb.
I don't remember that part...

It's in the Japanese version, not sure if it's the in the dub. Definitely in there.
Yeah the Japanese version. Its at the beginning where the dude from the first movie returns and he says that.
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Re: Talkback Thread #2: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Post by ZeppandonConfirmed »

I personally enjoyed the Japanese version of Raids Again.

I mean, yes, it has it's fair share of flaws, but I personally enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the characters, they had a certain charm to them that makes me like them. The music is very underrated, and very creepy and I like that. And the fight scenes were very enjoyable! I also like the final scene of the film with the planes trapping Godzilla with ice. I found that to be pretty clever. Yeah, I enjoyed this film!

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

Post by Billzilla1974 »

I am getting this one on DVD on Monday, I have seen the movie online, but I want to give it a proper watch to see how the Japanese version holds up.
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