The real Godzilla finally arrives


When I was in kindergarten, I allegedly scared the other children in my class by imitating Godzilla, Gamera, and the other gargantuan monsters that routinely crushed Japan on the Saturday Creature Double Feature. I was simply having a good time imitating the disasters unfolding on television, which both mesmerized and frightened me. Recently, I was thinking about how Godzilla and his brethren do not possess the same kind of power to awe us that they did in the '60s and '70s - although they certainly scare up some fond personal memories. But then some good news arrived.

Gojira was coming!

When I found out that Sony/Classic Media was finally releasing a DVD double-disc set of Gojira, the original version of Godzilla before it was sliced and diced by its Hollywood distributor, I was enthralled. The original is far superior - the acting, story line, political subtext - than the shoddy dubbing and editing hack job of Godzilla, which deleted 40 minutes of original material and inserted 20 minutes of new footage with reporter/narrator Raymond Burr. Here is a chance for Americans to finally see that this was not just a monster movie that redefined the term lizard breath but a serious metaphor for the lethal weaponry of the nuclear age and a criticism of our atomic follies.

Following the release of the remastered Gojira (currently out on DVD), Sony/Classic Media plans to reissue six other films - including Godzilla Raids Again and Mothra vs. Godzilla (Mothra being everyone's favorite giant butterfly-moth hybrid), which are arriving in November - with both the American and original Japanese versions on single dual-layer DVDs. This is like the holy grail for Godzilla fans here, most of whom have never seen Gojira or any of the undubbed originals before. And now he can win over new converts.