With the new Godzilla film lighting up the box office this month, it's a good time to catch up with some of the better Godzilla movies of the past:
GOJIRA (1954): The one that began it all, GOJIRA is a serious-minded movie in which Godzilla is really a metaphor for the horrors caused by the atomic bombs America dropped on Japan to end World War II. The American version, titled GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, with new footage shot featuring Raymond Burr as an America reporter in Japan, is not a bad film at all, but Ishirô Honda’s original GOJIRA is the one to watch.
KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962): Although Toho Studio developed several other giant monsters such as Mothra and Rodan after GOJIRA, KING KONG VS. GODZILLA represents the first time the big guy had been back on screen since 1954’s GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN. KING KONG VS. GODZILLA is a very silly movie, sometimes intentionally so, and a heck of a lot of fun.
GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1964): The first ever matchup of two Toho Studio monsters in one film, GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA pits a weary Godzilla (he had just been rudely dispatched by King Kong in his previous film) against that most mystical of all Japanese monsters, Mothra. Look for the moment when the Godzilla suit actually catches fire. Director Honda kept the camera rolling because he knew it was a great shot. Known in America as GODZILLA VS. THE THING.
GODZILLA VS. MONSTER ZERO (1964): The silliest, wackiest, nuttiest Godzilla movie ever made, and that’s saying a lot. It stars American actor Nick Adams as an astronaut whom the evil aliens in the film call “Mr. Astronaut Glenn”. Making this film could not have been easy for Adams, as he said all of his dialog in English while everybody else in the cast, including the beautiful and popular actress Kumi Mizuno, answered him back in Japanese. The film features Godzilla, the flying monster Rodan and the three-headed creature known as Ghidorah, battling Earth and each other. Also known as INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER.
GODZILLA 2000 (1999): Japan’s answer to Roland Emmerich’s horrible American Godzilla film of 1998, GODZILLA 2000 features an exciting ten-minute opening that is more entertaining than Emmerich’s entire Matthew Broderick-led abomination. The film contains many good-natured jokey references to that film, and stands on its own as one of the best of all Godzilla movies.