Director: Motoyoshi Oda
Writers: Takeo Murata and Shigeaki Hidaka
Cast: Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayamaminoru, Minoru Chiaki, Takashi Shimura, Masao Shimizu, Seijiro Onnda, Sounosuke Sawamura, Yoshio Tsuchiya, Mayuri Kitakumi, Tatsunosuke Yamada, Yukio Kasama, Sennkichi Omura, Kan Yamamoto, Shin Otomo, Hirotoshi Tsuchiya, Takeo Oikawa, Soukichi Maki, Shouichi Hirose, Shin Yoshida, Junpei Natsuki, Teruko Mita, Katsumi Tezuka, Haruo Nakajima, and Miyoko Hoshino
Composer: Masaru Sato
Release Date: 4/24/1955
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
While searching for large amounts of tuna fish, pilots Koji Kobayashi (Minoru Chiaki) and Shoichi Tsukioka (Hiroshi Koizumi) are temporarily stranded on a body of rocks near Iwato Island. Upon landing, Tsukioka and Kobayashi discover a second Godzilla along with the monster Anguirus—an akylosaurus with extremely hostile tendencies. Attracted to a fire started by escaped convicts, Godzilla and Anguirus eventually finish their battle in the city of Osaka.
Godzilla Raids Again is a mediocre sequel to Gojira. Fans of the kaiju eiga genre may, however, enjoy this film for its riveting monster action, the technical details of which are among the best in the entire Godzilla series.
Though primitive by today’s standards, the final showdown between Anguirus and Godzilla benefits from a (somewhat) convincing manner of choreography. Especially worth praising is the ferocity with which Godzilla and Anguirus attack each other, giving Godzilla Raids Again a more realistic atmosphere than daikaiju films of a similar nature. (For instance, Godzilla’s fight with King Kong seven years later comes across as overly fluid and rehearsed. The match with Anguirus, on the other hand, consists primarily of clawing, scratching, and biting, with no regard for stance or technique—exactly what one would expect of two Jurassic-age monsters locked in mortal combat.)
In order to compensate for a lack of plot substance, Godzilla Raids Again contains a number of sequences that are drawn out to the point of tediousness. For example, the frozen island climax takes far longer than necessary to resolve, thereby lessening the tension that should result from Godzilla’s confrontation with a swarm of fighter jets. (The problems with pacing are even more abundant in the Americanized version, distributed under the title of Gigantis the Fire Monster. Specifically, Gigantis the Fire Monster complements the Japanese film with a superfluous amount of stock footage and voiceover narration, exacerbating the issues that were present in the original Toho release.)
By emphasizing creature antics over penetrating social commentary, Godzilla Raids Again fails to deliver a lasting impact. This film does, however, maintain the serious tone that defined its predecessor, allowing audiences to accept the central conflict as real and genuine—an important aspect of every classic monster movie.
A generic but watchable installment in the Godzilla franchise, Godzilla Raids Again will likely appeal to the most passionate of monster movie enthusiasts. Casual fans, in contrast, may wish to avoid this entry for its languid pacing and forgettable character interactions.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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