Must See: Gojira (AKA Godzilla)

Illustration for article titled Must See: Gojira (AKA Godzilla)

Must-see movies are futuristic classics that shouldn't be missed. Of course, not every must-see is perfect. That's why we've rated them 1-5 on the patented "crunchy goodness" scale.

Title: Gojira (AKA Godzilla)
Date: 1954

Vitals: In this tale that launched a half-century franchise, Gojira is a dinosaur reawakened and spurred to Toyko-mashing, fire-breathing action after being exposed to "radiation." All the flaming death directed at Japanese cities is a thinly-veiled allegory for the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the original Gojira is dark and disturbing, though later giant monster films became more like kiddie wrestling movies. Admittedly, even in this disturbing movie, it's hard to keep a straight face when scientists strike back at Big G with the "oxygen destroyer."


Famous names: Ishiro Honda

Crunchy goodness: 4

Spinoffs/Sequels/Copycats: Toho Studios created a massive franchise with Gojira movies, and new ones continue to come out regularly to this day. Gamera, another giant monster with a multi-decade franchise, was developed by Daiei Motion Pictures to star in a set of rival titles


Most painfully dated moment: American distributor Jewell Enterprises spent a ton of money to create the American re-edit of Gojira, released in 1956 under the title Godzilla. Footage with Raymond Burr was spliced randomly into the movie to whiten up the situation, a move studio execs believed was required to make Westerners care about giant monsters with flaming breath. Luckily a digitally-remastered and Burr-free DVD of Gojira is now widely available in the US.

Life lesson: Raymond Burr does not belong in a giant monster movie from Japan.

Gojira on DVD

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