When I was a kid, Godzilla (and other monster movies) were a staple of Saturday morning TV. Through the years I've gone to the theaters to watch some of the Godzilla movies and also caught some on late night TV but I was always just a casual viewer. I'm not very well-versed in the whole Godzilla universe. For me they were always just enjoyable (mostly) monster movies.

I recently watched the TV series Monarch:Legacy and it got me excited all over again for Godzilla. I decided that I want to make a journey through the entire collection of Godzilla films - all 38 39 of them. I'm using this article from PC Mag as my viewing guide.

I kind of started at the end as I did go out to the theaters to see Godzilla Minus One when it came out. After that I watched the original 1954 movie (not the American version where they shoehorned Raymond Burr into scenes) and I can see how this movie is an homage to the original.

I'm not going to go into great detail about the Godzilla universe - there is a surprising amount of material out there on the web about him. During the heyday of the old web there were at least 3 webrings dedicated to Godzilla. People have a passion for him! I'm just going to go on a journey through the films and let you know what I think. And if you have any thoughts, I'd like to hear them!

The Journey Begins

Godzilla (1954)

This is the one that started it all. There is an Americanized version, Godzilla, King of Monsters, but I watched the OG film. Since I last saw this when I was a kid, I didn't catch that this was supposed to be an allegory for nuclear war. Now that I've watched it again as an adult, I was surprised at how dark it was. I watched this in January 2024.

Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

This sequel was released only 6 months after the original. I found it to be meandering. I feel like there were two competing story lines, one about a love triangle and one about monsters. The film opens with Godzilla's iconic roar, which is pretty cool. We're introduced to a new kaiju - Anguirus, an anklyosaur-looking creature - as he is fighting Godzilla on a rocky island in one of the quietest kaiju fights I've ever watched. Definitely used to a lot more roaring during kaiju fights. Godzilla was killed in the first film but there are apparently more Godzillas that have been created/awakened by nuclear testing. And other flavors of kaiju, hence Anguirus. When the monsters fight it looks oddly frenetic and that's because a cameraman accidentally filmed in fast motion. In this film Godzilla meets his end by being buried under a snow avalanche but considering it took an oxygen destroyer to get rid of the first one, I think Japan should be aware there are more kaiju in their future.

King Kong vs Godzilla (1962)

I found this Japanese subbed version on YouTube. While the first 2 movies were about the dangers of nuclear war, this one takes a poke at consumerism. Kong and Godzilla meet through a convoluted set-up. An American nuclear submarine crashes into an iceberg which releases Godzilla. Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company executive sends a team to an island to bring back the monster (Kong) living on the island - because it will create good TV ratings and therefore be good for sales? I think we're just supposed to go with it and not think too hard about the details. The island scene is racist and cringey but also, I think, a product of its time. There is a romantic subplot, as in the other movies. Kong is a goofy-ass looking monster although Godzilla is looking pretty legit. Fight scenes are very WWE-reminiscent. Also - bonus giant octopus trying to eat some islanders. Watched April 2024.

Mothra vs Godzilla (1964)

I was able to find this Japanese subbed version on YouTube. Going into this movie, I did not realize that Mothra had already had her own movie and the Japanese were already familiar with her. I was wondering why they were so casual about another monster on the scene and just put it down to kaiju-fatigue. Much like the previous movie, this one also takes a look at greed and capitalism but also has a message that we should be working together to make a better world. This was an excellent film with a more serious tone than the previous one.

We don't have a weird, tacked on love story as we did in previous films although we do have a weird situation where there is a random teacher with a group of kids who need to be rescued from an island where Godzilla and Mothra's offspring are having a showdown. It felt tacked on and unnecessary. The scenes with the native islanders on Infant Island (where Mothra and her spokespeople twins are from) aren't bad like the "native" scenes in King Kong vs Godzilla. The fight scene between the shady businessmen was surprisingly graphic and brutal. The miniatures effects were very nicely done.

Watched May 2024.

Godzilla Links

As I mentioned, Godzilla was quite popular on the old web back in the day. Most of these links are from the Wayback Machine and I found them while I was looking for Godzilla graphics. Surprisingly, as popular as he is, there are not nearly enough graphics out there, in my opinion.

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