was essentially a "lost" Godzilla film to me as a kid; I was merely aware of its existence. I did see it once (and was excited to realize at the end that this was the film which tied into Biollante), but otherwise the film was something of an enigma.
At some point this year I found out the movie was up on Dailymotion, so I finally got around to watching it this past week.
What did I think of it? Well, I'm not quite sure. I guess I would say that, like he later Godzilla 2000
, Godzilla 1985
is a film with plenty of good concepts, visually and story related, but doesn't always meet its own ambition - although in the case of Godzilla 1985
, I suspect the American editing is partly to blame.
First off, the opening was neat. It is certainly a different style from anything else in the franchise before or since. I also love Reijiro Koroku's soundtrack - it's one of my favorites in the entire franchise. However, the editing of the music in film left something to be desired. I could clearly hear the music stop and restart in the opening titles, and later on there were several scenes when music cut in abruptly, or two tracks would run into each other. I don't know whether or not this is present in the original version, but it's awkward to listen to.
Generally speaking, the special effects were quite good. I'd like to say they were great, but Dailymotion's video quality wasn't the best.
Nevertheless, there were some impressive sequences. Godzilla's emergence from the island was very cool, as was his attack on the nuclear plant. The city sets were impressive as well, conveying a proper sense of enormity without diminishing the sense of Godzilla's size (at least so I think). The Super-X was nicely executed as well, and I appreciated that the military was able to consistently hit
Godzilla with their fire.
Having seen the 84-Goji suit in action, I think this suit has become one of my favorites. Although it is, unfortunately, not much more mobile than the later 90's suits, it is much better proportioned. Every part of the body appears properly sized with the rest. Godzilla looks greatly massive here without looking ridiculously fat or muscled. If I were to make one criticism, it's that the eyes need work; they're unfocused and fail to convey much intelligence. The cybot had good eyes, but as a whole I don't think it aged well. Every time it's used, its motions look too jerky or shaky.
I have fewer positive comments to give regarding the cast - in fact, I don't have much to say about them at all. They're just - there. None are developed enough for me to get invested in them. At least none of the original cast are particularly dis
-likeable, unlike the additional American cast. Raymond Burr does a decent job, but the rest are annoying - especially that ginger-dunderhead. "That's quite some urban renewal project they've got goin'." WHHHAAT?!?!
His superior officer should have smacked him for that.
That brings me to biggest point of the story - the atmosphere and pacing. To be honest, I actually thought a lot of the introductory scenes happened slightly too quickly. I almost
got the hang of what was happening, but not quite; or I felt information was given too easily. For example, almost right off the bat we see the Japanese officials debating Godzilla, before much news is known at all. Once Godzilla shows up, though (and in this case, the abruptness was very effective), events play out at a satisfactory pace. Just how dark and moody is it really, though? Although the visuals and music lend greatly to the mood, I don't think the film is all that "dark". The political drama is well handled, but Godzilla's attack doesn't come across as disastrous as it should have . The tone is further hampered by the American additions. The dubbing is, well, dubbing; none of the voice actors portray the proper level of emotion, and several times it sounded like they could barely even remember their lines. On top of that, we have the fully new American military scenes, which are barely serious and feel as tacked on as they were.
Overall, Godzilla 1985
was a decent film, but it didn't impress me as much as I had wished. However, I still hope to see the original edit at some point in the near future. I believe this film would benefit from a longer screen time and slower pace (and no dubbing or American idiots). This film had a lot of potential, and I would like to see how much more it met that potential in the original cut.