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Godzilla Raids Again DVD Review

Godzilla Raids Again

December 18, 2006

Director: Motoyoshi Oda,
Starring: Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayama, Minoru Chiaki, Takashi Shimura, Masao Shimizu, Seijiro Onda, Sonosuke Sawamura,

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DVD Review

You just can’t keep a good monster down. After the success of Gojira (1954), Toho quickly put a sequel into production and Godzilla Raids Again (1955) pitted a newly resurrected Godzilla (hey, didn’t he die in the first film?) against another monster for the first time. Two Japanese pilots (Tsukioka and Kobayashi) spot the big guy duking it out with Anguirus, a spiky dinosaur on a remote island. Their fight sends the two giant monsters tumbling into the sea only for them to resurface later in Osaka where they continue their epic battle trashing the city in the process.

Dr. Yamane (Shimura) is back to yet again warn the powers that be of Godzilla’s unstoppable nature and to show us a few clips of the big G in action from the first film (for those who might be watching a Godzilla film for the first time). Apparently, the Oxygen Destroyer from the first film didn’t kill off Godzilla or there’s another one of him (the film isn’t completely clear on this point) but you can bet that Yamane wishes that the Oxygen Destroyer wasn’t ruined or that its creator didn’t also meet his untimely demise as they have to think up another way to get rid of Godzilla or hope that he and Anguirus take each other out (yeah, right).

Godzilla Raids Again even manages to inject some romance as our hero and his love interest share a slow dance but halfway through Godzilla, the ultimate party pooper, makes his presence known. The film was not well received by the fans or critics and the American version (included on this DVD) was cut by two and half minutes with Godzilla renamed Gigantis (?!) and George Takei of Star Trek fame lent his vocal talents to the dubbing process. The film’s poor reception, coupled with an embarrassing U.S. version, sank the series for several years until 1962 with King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Special Features:

“The Art of Suit Acting” provides a profile of the two men that were brave enough to don the awkward and very hot Godzilla suit – the “200 pound sweat box” as the voiceover narration puts it so well. This extra goes on to examine how these actors brought Godzilla to life and gave him a personality. We also see what other creatures these guys inhabited and how dedicated they were to their job.

“Poster Slide Show” features a variety of poster art for the movie.

Finally, there is an audio commentary for the U.S. version by Steve Ryfle and friends. He talks about the insertion of stock footage from a variety of sources, the generic music culled from a library of tracks, needless voiceover narration and the laughably bad dialogue that reflected America’s perception (at the time) of Japan and their attitude towards atomic power. Ryfle also talks at length about the superior Japanese version but is honest in his assessment that it is pretty standard fare compared to Gojira. He certainly knows his Godzilla lore and speaks with considerable authority and in an engaging way.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 79%

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