Movie Review: Godzilla: King of Monsters (1956)

Synopsis: Atomic bomb testing awakens a 400-foot dinosaur-like monster that quickly makes its way to Japan and attacks Tokyo.

Who's in it? The movie stars Raymond Burr, Takashi Shimura, Momoko Kochi, Akira Takarada and Akihiko Hirata.

Review: I had the house to myself today, while my wife and daughters went out shopping. I found myself with some free time as a result and came across this movie.

It's not the first time I have seen this film. However, it had been a long time since I have watched any Godzilla movie and I wound up taking advantage of the opportunity to do so. After watching it, my opinion of it remains the same as it did the last time, the film has some good things going for it, but also some things that aren't so great.

First of all, and this is just my opinion, the original Godzilla films remain the best. Sure, the newer CGI versions of this movie can get away with a bit more, but I've always felt the giant lizard always had a bit more personality when it was portrayed by someone wearing a costume. This first movie is no exception to that.

I also do like Raymond Burr's inclusion in this film. Knowing my Godzilla history, I am fully aware he was a last-second addition to the Americanized version of the movie. Despite that, I do think both his star quality and the way he was edited into the film both brought a lot to the final product.

My biggest complaint about this movie is the same one I find I have with most classic Japanese monster films, it takes way too long for the action to happen. Let's face it, the only reason anybody watches movies like this is for the wanton destruction. The title character in this film doesn't even make an appearance until after way too much talking. I was actually tempted to fast forward through a lot of that.

Final Opinion: There is a lot of build up until you get to see Godzilla attack Tokyo, but this movie (and the original Japanese version, Gojira) is worth taking the time to watch if you have never seen it.

My Grade: B+


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