Godzilla Raids Again. (Gigantis, the Fire Monster) 1955
In Japan the original Godzilla, or Gojira to be precise, was so successful that a sequel was in the theaters within 6 months! Something like that is unheard of today. For the US release of the film the plan was to cut out all references to Japan and film new scenes surrounding the monsters. That plan was eventually shelved and instead a dubbed version with a new title was released. All references to Godzilla were removed and the monster was renamed “Gigantis.” This movie was first time Godzilla was paired fighting another monster, Anguirus, a giant monster that resembles an Ankylosaurus. Godzilla’s famous roar was also removed and replaced with a roar identical to the roar Anguirus has in the film.
The plot to the movie is a little less serious than the original movie. The story surrounds two friends, Shoichi Tsukioka and Koji Kobayashi, who are pilots for a fishing company in Osaka and when one of their planes goes down on a mysterious island he finds the island occupied with two giant fighting monsters. Soon Godzilla ..or Gigantis and Anguirus take their war to the port city of Osaka where Godzilla kills Anguirus. Tsukioka and Kobayashi are transferred to a tuna plant in Hokkaido and while at company party the two are notified that Godzilla destroyed one of the company fishing boats. Tsukioka along with the Japanese military begin searching for Godzilla. Tsukioka sees Godzilla coming on shore to a small icy island. He notifies the cannery plant in Hokkaido and Kobayashi takes off in his plane to switch shifts with Tsukioka. Kobayashi is killed when he flies towards Godzilla who is trying to leave the small island. Godzilla sends Kobayashi and his plane into the side of a mountain with one blast of his atomic breath. In his grief for his friend Tsukioka realizes that his friends death has given him an idea for defeating Godzilla. The plan is to blast away at the mountain and to bury Godzilla in tons of ice and snow. The first round of bombing buries Godzilla up to his waist and after reloading Tsukioka is given the authority to fly his own jet and he along with the rest of the squadron shoots their missiles at the mountain, burying Godzilla to his neck with Tsukioka delivering the final bomb which completely buries Godzilla in the frozen ice. This movie attempts to show how the defeat of Godzilla did not come through the strong arm of the military…in some ways it did…but through the talents of the average person.
One misstep in the movie are the fight scenes with Anguirus. Generally the scenes with Godzilla are filmed at a high rate of speed and when played back at normal speed the slower motions display a sense of size and weight. But in this movie the action sequences are fast which produces fight scenes which are comical in their appearance. This movie is enjoyable although in some aspects there really isn’t anything too special about it either. It is not groundbreaking as the first one and although it does feature the first monster battle in the franchise the fight scenes are not central to the film like they would become in later movies. Sandwiched in between the serious original and the later campier movies Godzilla Raids Again is often a lost and forgotten movie but well worth a viewing. My rating for this movie is B+