Godzilla Raids Again~ 1955 (1959 in America, as Gigantis The Fire Monster), Motoyoshi Oda – Japan
(NOTE: For this review I only had access to the American version of Godzilla Raids Again. It’s widely known to be worse than the Japanese version, so I thought it was only fair to point out which version I had seen. The Japanese version is also not regarded as a classic. Guess Big G can’t win ’em all.)
Godzilla Raids Again is the somewhat shabby sequel to the masterfully crafted Gojira, as well as its slightly less awesome American counterpart; Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It’s not very good. I think they just wanted money. Fair enough!
THE PLOT: A couple of tuna cannery pilots land on a remote Japanese island only to see two giant monsters kicking each others ass like crazy. They promptly return home and tell everyone that they just saw some sweet dragon combat, and of course, everyone believes them without hesitation. Scientists have been living in fear of this day, which they somehow knew was coming, and sure enough, soon the two monsters are in Osaka, Japan, duking it out like Popeye and whoever that guy is that Popeye used to fight. In this battle, Osaka is destroyed, and Anguirus, one of the two monsters, is killed leaving only Gigantis to be dealt with. Yeah, in the American version he’s called Gigantis. Apparently they thought he was more valuable as a completely new monster. They also changed his iconic ass roar, which is stupid. So, Gigantis/Godzilla returns to his damn iceberg island for some reason, and our tuna cannery pilots assist in an effort to blast him with rockets and bury him in an avalanche, thereby ridding the world of him forever (for like, a week.)
So, there are a lot of things about Godzilla Raids Again that are terrible. Firstly, the attempt to establish this as being Gigantis, and not Godzilla. That sucks, but is isolated only to the American version. Screw the American version. Secondly, and much worse, this movie is excruciatingly over-narrated. Seriously, our cartoonish and racist sounding narrator drones on and on and on, eventually transforming Godzilla Raids Again into something more like an audio book with visual accompaniment than a movie. I can only hope he shuts the hell up in the Japanese cut. The visual effects also kind of suck, but maybe the worst thing about Godzilla Raids Again is that it just isn’t that interesting. It feels like the slap dash cash in that it is.
That having been said, this is the debut of the ‘Godzilla fights another giant monster’ scenario, so that is absolutely something we can point to as being a positive contribution that is credited to Godzilla Raids Again. Also, Anguirus is a cool monster, and he would go on to become a fan favorite, so there are some aspects of the movie that deserve to be appreciated.
The verdict is a little muddy. I want to like Godzilla Raids Again, and I really, really want to like the Japanese version, but even that has a reputation for being a sub-par entry in the series, and based on the Gigantis: The Fire Monster, it’s just not very good. On to bigger and better things, Godzilla fans.