The Vintage Tempest’s List of Top 5 Gojira Films!

15 May

gojira

Today is the day that will rekindle interest in Gojira (ゴジラ), Toho Studio‘s iconic beast to a North American audience. Nevermind the fact that it’s a reboot by Legendary Pictures so people can forget Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s film, this new version (better known to English-speaking audiences as Godzilla) by British director Gareth Edwards looks like it’s going to be very promising!

To those people who have not been exposed to the original films, they may well want to check out the best of what Gojira has done over the past sixty years. Yes, ten years was spent in dormancy.

Presented here is a list of personal favourites that must be picked up first for any new fan’s beginning collection. 28 films have been made, and to boil down what is the best was not too hard of a task.

91RtvCOGBqL._SL1500_Godzilla (Criterion Release)ir?t=wiupgeatthmo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B005VU9LKE (1954)  Without a doubt, seeing the original product by director Ishiro Honda and effects maister Eiji Tsuburaya is required. It sets up what the beast is truly a metaphor for: the nuclear bomb. It’s been unleashed upon a country, Japan, still recovering from the effects of World War II. The scar left by the West will take a long time to heal.

But there’s also another subplot: this film succeeds at showing how courage can overcome even the most challenging of obstacles. When Daisuke Serizawa fears how his future tech (his oxygen bomb) can get subverted for military use, all he can do is to perform the honourable thing: to act for a greater good. The beast is not only about the mutant radioactive monster, but also an exploration of what can get created (or subjugated into) by mankind’s ego if not in control.

Perhaps that’s why that the military never wins in the later Gojira films. Try as they might to bring the beast down, no amount of arms and fire power will win the day.

51T3Q5FHAZL-1Destroy All Monsters (1968)  This ultimate tag-team monster brawl has everything a World Wrestling Entertainment fan can want: to see all the Kaiju monsters fighting each other and wrecking havoc all over the world! There’s a reason behind that — although the beasts seem content on Monster Island at first, there’s an alien force intent on destroying humanity and it’s up to a rag-tag team of scientists led by Captain Katsuo Yamabe to discover this plot and reverse the devastation going on.

This film succeeds quite simply by featuring a fun roster of action and adventure. Nearly every beast that the studio have created over the years is featured, minus one turtle (Gamera is owned by Daiei Motion Picture Company).

71NMH2VFpEL._SL1275_Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monsterir?t=wiupgeatthmo 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000OCY7IU (1964)  Oriental dragons have a special quality to them that surpasses their Western cousins. They are sexy and slender. To see their tendrils accost another beast is alluring to the eye.

To see King Ghidorah, a three-headed monstrosity, take on Gojira is a guilty pleasure because this film can be read as a statement in how cultures can clash. But as with any Godzilla film, only one monster shall stand in the end. At least with this beast, it makes an interesting return with a mechanized head to show how traditions can fuse together.

51C4JGCV8SLGodzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)  Honestly, all the films that feature the mechanized version of Gojira must be seen. They are technically marvellous to watch, especially when the music that Akira Ifukube scored in the first two films have a power to them that can be felt.

The fights are really kinetic for the original 70’s incarnation. Although Terror of Mechagodzilla is this film’s direct sequel, the next iteration in the 90’s canon is just as powerful, if not dramatically enhanced. The redesign looks much more sleeker and to choose between which version is best is subject to debate. In this new canon, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Tokyo S.O.S. are perhaps the only films any new fan should look into getting first. They feature the robot version as a defender for humanity. If the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center (UNGCC) can not save the world from Gojira’s rampage then no one can.

91-DPQW9iTL._SL1500_

Godzilla vs Mothra (1964) — Sorry, King Kong, but honestly you just do not make the grade at all. Mothra can probably snare you up in its silky threads, pick you up and toss you deep into the Bering Sea. You would not survive at all — either the freezing cold temperatures or deep-sea volcanoes will do this monkey titan in. The charm with the original film is that this gentle creature represents all that is positive that Mother Earth can deliver, and to see her challenge Godzilla despite facing her own mortality is nothing short of courageous. Any mother would do the same for the eggs she protects.

This film and its 1992 counterpart may well sit on an uneven platform in terms of its overall appeal (the older version is showing its age), but at least Mothra’s signature song (the raw tribal version or its symphonic update) is what keeps either film high up in any top five list.

Gojira vs Mothra Music Video (Unofficial)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: