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The legend begins...
Released to coincide with the film's 50th anniversary - the original unexpurgated uncut and subtitles version of the film has rarely seen by British audiences.
After American nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean several ships are sunk in mysterious circumstances. The Japanese authorities close in on the neaby Odo island where natives relate tales of a devastating monster whom they call 'Gojira'.
An expedition to the island by Professor Kyohei Yamane (Shimura), his daughter Emiko (Kochi) and a young navy frogman Hideto Ogata (Takarada) soon discovers the 150 foot tall beast whose rage and destructive capability is rapidly increasing. As Gojira begins a rampage that threatens to destroy not only Japan, but the rest of the world, can the monster be destroyed before it is too late and what role will the mysterious scientist Serizawa (Hirata) play in the battle?
Engrossing as a social commentary a (addressing the issue of possible marital infidelity) and entertaining as a science fiction thriller, Gojira, made less than a decade after the appalling atomic catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is an allegory of the awful consequences of nuclear use. Benefitting immensely from a sharp script and the appearance of regular Akira Kurosawa collaborator Takashi Shimura, this film lays bare a serious critical streak that most of its successors lack.
The film, the first in a series of sci-fi creature features which became synonymous with the Toho studio, was actually nominated for the Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture in 1954 and only lost out to Kurosawa'sSeven Samurai!