My biggest hesitation in writing my thoughts as I go through these films is thinking about what in the world I’m going to find to say about entries like this one. I really don’t like this one. In all honesty, I’d be content with having that previous sentence be my entire summary for Godzilla Raids Again, but I suppose that woudn’t make for very entertaining reading. So, for the purpose of giving people something mildly entertaining to read, I’ll give my thoughts on this oddball film.
While it actually took several sentences to describe the first film, this film can somewhat accurately be summed up in a couple. Some fishermen in planes go down on a random island only to find two giant monsters, Godzilla and Anguirus, duking it out. After reporting to the Japanese government, the two giant monsters attack, leaving the Japanese no choice but to bury Godzilla in an iceberg. Obviously, I left out several details about this film, but I assure you, most aren’t worth knowing. To be fair, I’m watching the horrendus English dub of the film, so regardless of the acting ability of the original Japanese actors, everyone here sounds like idiots. This voice acting is unbearably bad. What’s worse is that, based on what happens to one of our chief characters later, we were supposed to care about these people. We don’t, or at least I didn’t. The tone of the film is desperately trying to strike a balance between the gritty one of the first, and a more light hearted monster movie. The result is a movie that is neither, but evidently the English dub actors never got the memo that said this movie was supposed to have at least a modicum of seriousness, as they mostly read their lines in goofy, over dramatic voices.
As I said before, the plot is pretty bare minimum with this one. Dr. Yamane returns from the first film and he appears to be the only person trying to take this movie seriously, though he had his work more cut out for this one, because it’s a lot sillier this time around. He explains the origins of these creatures by way of a video of the big bang and the dinosaurs that initially inhabited the earth. This scene almost makes the movie worthwhile, as the video features guys dressed up in t-rex costumes, and few things rival it in terms of comedy. A scientist in the film offers his theory on Godzillla’s species’ origin, stating that they were most likely the result of a stegasaurus and a t-rex having… um, yeah. Also, while Anguirus doesn’t get as full an origin story, his species is given one of the most hypocritical characteristics. Apparantly, the Anguiruses…Anguirai? apparantly they hate war mongering monsters, like the Godzillas, so much that any time they see one, their initial instinct is to kill it. Anguirus’ inclusion in this film was somewhat pointless. He has a dumb looking fight with Godzilla at the beginning, and a slightly less but still dumb looking fight again with him later. The second time, however, Godzilla ends up killing him, leaving the plot to be once again the Japanese military verses a solo Godzilla. Instead of killing him this time, they decided to drop an avalanche on him, leaving him frozen until Toho needed more money later.
As you will begin to learn by watching these films, the plot doesn’t really matter. For the most part, these movies are really just excuses to watch guys in rubber monster costumes beat the crap out of each other. So how does this movie fair in that department? Not particularly well, in my opinion. The suit is trimmed down a good bit this time, allowing quicker movement for the actor, and the film is a bit sped up. With this new suit, Godzilla looks far less threatening than he did prior. And with the quicker movements and a sped up effect, any illusion of him being huge is completely gone. It’s hard to imagine him as a giant monster with him zipping about like a boxer in round one. Godzilla’s opponent, Anguirus, walks on all fours, which makes him hard to take seriously at all given the fact that this makes it even more abundantly clear that this is just a guy in a suit. Their initial fight lacks any sort of discernable choreography, and their second one is essentially a less somber stroll of destruction through a Japanese city than the first film.
Overall, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but it has neither the gritty and somber tone of the original, nor the B-movie charm of later entries, making it a forgettable installment in the series. This wouldn’t be the case for the next installment, though, as it would be nothing but campy fun.