Old Timers’ Reviews: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

Image from camelcitydispatch.com

Image from camelcitydispatch.com

You know how it goes: if you’ve seen one Godzilla movie, you probably have seen all you need to see. And what that awkwardly written sentiment means is that these movies are pretty much the same each time out. Big difference? The ever-changing “other creature” that Godzilla must battle. Here, as the big guy Raids Again (!), he goes up against an unnamed angliosaur, which sort of looks like a downtrodden stegasaurus.

Godzilla is first spotted by a Japanese pilot named Tsukioka as the latter attempts the rescue of a fellow flier, Kobayashi, on a remote island in the Pacific. The two think they’re all safe and sound when – suddenly! – they hear the resounding thunder of two mighty beasts fighting. Or, in this case, two well-worn plastic models, or perhaps a couple of guys in suits. It could have been either, frankly. At any rate, back in Japan, scientists explain that the original Godzilla, who was killed in the first film (don’t act like you didn’t know that), died as a result of an “oxygen destroyer”; sadly, the man who invented the device is also dead, and so are any plans. So that answers that. But does it?

All’s fine, with Godzilla still out in the ocean, minding his own beeswax, until he’s rousted by the Japanese air fleet, which makes him head for the island nation. Directly for Osaka, of course, one of the few cities not affected by Godzilla #1. Godzilla wreaks havoc and kicks butt, and then the angliosaur – who they call Angilas, so I guess he wasn’t unnamed after all – returns from the sea to battle Godzilla. Big fight ensues. Mass destruction. Lots of carnage.

Godzilla (who doesn’t do any actual raiding)’s second movie was rushed into production, showing in theaters a scant six months after the first movie. Sometimes, it shows. The effects are comically bad, even by 1955 standards. The film’s dubbed in English, so naturally the audio’s a mismatch. The Godzilla suit that some poor guy has to wear is obviously a Godzilla suit – there are several shots in which the monster turns to a side but the suit doesn’t. Perhaps a seamstress was needed on set. In other shots, a model was transparently used, as the monster has all of the physical range of poor Stephen Hawking. It’s tough to get too excited about the action, but some of the flying scenes do hold up pretty well.

I needed so badly to see this Godzilla movie before I saw others, because of course one must see these things in order. Well, maybe not. Anyway, in this movie, the big fella is referred to as Gigantis. No, I’m not kidding. For reals, now. According to IMDb, this is either because Warner Brothers couldn’t get permission to use the name (but it was okay to use in the title?) or because the producer of the American version wanted to give viewers the impression that this was an entirely new monster. Don’t think he succeeded on that front.

Godzilla Raids Again: *1/2

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2 Responses to Old Timers’ Reviews: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

  1. Ray says:

    I read that as “Godzilla READS Again.” I thought, “What? An educational children’s movie featuring Godzilla?”

  2. frothy says:

    And here I thought it might be “Rides Again” – which would be awesome. A giant dino on a horse? Or maybe he’d ride a triceratops.

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