"Godzilla" Versus "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters"
Everybody loves "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters", right? You saw it when you were a little kid and went out of your friggin' mind, right? I remember the first time I saw it one Saturday afternoon at the Fat Kid Who Lived Down The Street's House. It flew me for a loop! When it was over I went home and my Dad looked at me and said "You look like you been thrown for a loop! Where you been? That Fat Kid Who Lives Down The Street's House? I'm callin' the Cops!" So The Fat Kid's Parent's spent ten years in Prison and The Fat Kid was sent to live with a Family where the Mom was The Dad's Sister. I don't want to tell you about the time I saw "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" at THEIR House. Yeah, THAT'S how good "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" is! Want to tell YOUR "First Time I Saw 'Godzilla, King Of The Monsters'" Story? Write it up and send it to those queers at McSweeney's, we don't give a shit.
The only thing crazier than the first time I saw "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" was when I realized it was a JAPANESE Movie! I thought the Land Of Cute Foreign Folks in that Movie was something all those weirdos in Hollywood just made up - Like Oz. There really was such a place as Japan!?! Was there really such a place as Oz . . . And then I remembered the Flying Monkeys and ran screaming down the street. After two and a half years they found me living in the Woods living on Doodle Bugs. First thing I did when I was returned to Civilization was watch "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters". Not that I even remembered the damn thing, it just happened to be on that afternoon. Yeah, it was definitely a Foreign Film (I had been living in the French Woods) but, unlike Jacques Tati, the Japanese had the Marketing savvy to include an American Reporter to interpret all that Un-American Activity for all us World War Winners in the audience. So that was "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters", one of the Favorite Films Of My Childhood until "Night Of The Living Dead" pulled up in a van one day and asked if I wanted to see a kitty. Everything was ruined for me after that. The only way to deal with "Night Of The Living Dead" was to read everything I could get my hands on about The Art Form We Call Cinema in a desperate attempt to understand what had happened to me. And that's how I discovered the truth about "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" - Before it was "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" it was simply "Godzilla", a Japanese Monster Movie which had been bought by an American Producer and re-edited with huge chunks cut out and replaced with new scenes Directed by An American Director named Terry Morse and Starring an American Actor named Raymond Burr. Weird! "Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" had been completely demystified! Well, not completely. That didn't happen until I was Thirty Eight and found out that there was no such Monster as Godzilla. SHIT!
So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the original "Godzilla" was finally coming out on DVD! This would be even better than seeing Dario Argento's European version of "Dawn Of The Dead", right? Right? After all these years American Godzilla fans would see The King Of The Monsters in his debut appearance un-cut, un-censored, and One Hundred Raymond Burr Free! And a DVD of that crappy ol' American version was included in the package so we could watch it and make Hipster "Mystery Theater 3000" style jokes about how dopey it is now that we've finally seen The Original Japanese Super Classic! Yay!
Well, I've watched "Godzilla" (For the rest of the article the original Japanese film will be referred to as "Godzilla", the US version will be referred to as "King Of The Monsters", and the recent remake with Matthew Broderick will be referred to as "Shit") a couple of times and all I can say is "Hooray For Terry Morse! Three Cheers For Raymond Burr! God Bless America!" And, after all the ENDLESS talking in "Godzilla" I know how to say all that in Japanese. People mock Morse and Burr's work in "King Of The Monsters" but once you've seen "Godzilla" they come off as geniuses. If it wasn't for their example Mel Gibson never would have been able to make "The Road Warrior" out of "Mad Max"!
The main character in "Godzilla" is a cute lil' Japanese chick named Emiko who's Dad is the Most Prominent Scientist in Japan and who's fiancee is a Mad Scientist with an eye patch who has invented an "Oxygen Destroyer". Oh, that sounds good! Emiko! That guy is trouble! That eye patch is such a red flag that if this Movie was in Technicolor it would be red! Fortunately, Emiko is just like all the other girls and is in Love with a real nice Naval Officer named . . . Who gives a shit? This guy and the Mad Scientist are so much alike that if it wasn't for the eye patch we wouldn't be able to tell em apart. Emiko's damn fool Old Man wants Godzilla to be captured and studied so everybody makes the same kind of jokes about him that Americans make about Jimmy Carter. Fuck him! Emiko and her boyfriend persuade Doctor Eye Patch to use his "Oxygen Destroyer" to kill Godzilla and Eye Patch puts one bitch of a Guilt Trip on them by committing suicide as the Monster dies. The End. And if you think reading all that was tedious just wait until you try sitting through all that misery in "Godzilla". SHEESH!!
Luckily in "King Of The Monsters" Raymond Burr as Reporter Steve Martin comes to Japan to use the miracle of Voice Over Narration to sum up three or four hours of Japanese Soap Opera in less than ten seconds - "These Japanese people got a lotta problems that nobody gives a shit about. Hey, look! It's GODZILLA!!" Thank you! Some of that stuff is still in "King Of The Monsters" but the Main Attraction of this thing is Godzilla and Raymond Burr is here to keep Emiko and all those other showboats off of the stage so Godzilla can really do his act "Ssshh, Emiko! Godzilla is gonna juggle a coupla freight cars!"
And, yeah, the name of Burr's character is Steve Martin. I could make a ton of silly jokes about that but it would be too easy, wouldn't it? I mean, I contributed to the National Lampoon when I was a mere teenager. Jokes about a character in a 1954 Movie having the same name as a Comedian who was popular from the late Seventies until the early Nineties are beneath a Humorist as accomplished as myself. Although I do have thirty seven pages about how crazy it would have been if Burr in "King Of The Monsters" had been named TOMMY CHONG!!! Oh, man! Would that have been CRAZY or would that have been CRAZY!?! Oh, WOW!!! Like Burr would have a BEARD and a HEAD BAND and HE'D BE STONED ALL THE TIME!!! HA HA HA!!!! "Oh, WOW, what happened to Tokyo, man? I didn't do that, did I? Sorry, man, I was really WASTED last night, man!" Okay! Okay! I'll demean myself and I'll do the Steve Martin jokes. Oh, but I don't have enough room in the article. Sorry!
One big problem with "Godzilla" is that Emiko and her Stooges are in one Movie and Godzilla is off in a completely different Movie of his own. You know, like Lisa Kudrow on "Friends". Here we are, watching a typical Motion Picture of the early Fifties and then - OH MY GOD!! - We're lookin' at a fuckin' MONSTER!!! WOW!!! He's like a DINOSAUR!!! He . . . Oh, we're back in the Movie with the emotional Asians. Sure would like to see that Monster again. Is that girl gonna show us some boobies? But Morse is so brilliant that his new scenes with Raymond Burr provide a visual and psychological gateway between the Viewer and Godzilla that was never there before. My God, if Sam Peckinpah had been involved he'd have Godzilla stepping on your house!
The best part of "King Of The Monsters" is obviously when Godzilla destroys the entire city of Tokyo while Raymond Burr does the Play By Play from a skyscraper window "I'm saying a prayer, George! A prayer for the World!" Great Stuff! I've enjoyed this sequence so many times that when I first saw it in "Godzilla" without Burr there to describe the action I had no idea what the hell was going on "Wha . . . Why do they have real tanks in one shot and then toy tanks in the next shot? And . . . And . . . How big is this City that Chinatown is the size of an entire City? Is that man in the rubber monster suit supposed to be Godzilla? Kind of a shitty Special Effect, if you ask me. Where is that trampy girl with her two boyfriends? I bet she's using all this confusion to run around with a THIRD GUY! What a WHORE!" The Big Moment is when Burr is standing in the window, Godzilla looks down at Burr, and . . . If this was "Zodiac" it would be like when Jake Gyllengoof went into the store where the Killer works, they look at each other for a second, and THEY START MAKING OUT!!! "You are watching MAD TV!!" HA HA HA!! No, no, Burr and Godzilla don't start making out. Godzilla just knocks the building down on top of Burr, kills a few million other people, and goes back into Tokyo Bay. That's why "King Of The Monsters" is a Great Movie and "Zodiac" . . . Oh, "Zodiac" is pretty good.
But nobody in "Godzilla" has that sort of personal interaction with the Monster Star. Yeah, the first scene with Godzilla has a Big Close Up of Emiko going "OOOHHH!!!" but there are about five hundred other people going "OOOHHH!!!" at the same time so we can't say that she and Godzilla are really looking right at each other. Then she would be like the girl right after the concert saying "Tommy Shaw looked right at me while he was singing 'Come Sail Away'! He DID! He looked RIGHT AT ME! Yeah! Tommy Shaw! He DID!!" "Shut up!" But "King Of The Monsters" opens with the day after Godzilla attacks Tokyo and when we first see Burr he is face down in the wreckage thus immediately establishing an intimacy with the Monster which is not to be found in "Godzilla".
Do I sound like a homo when I write stuff like that? Is that why all The Guys made fun of me after I wrote about Renoir's "Rules Of The Game"? Should I throw in a joke about some chick blowing me while I'm Writing this? No wonder Siskel And Ebert used to walk the Streets Of Chicago beating people up with baseball bats! Although they didn't actually delve into Formal Theory in their Criticism . . . Oh, there I go again! Hey, I'm in bed with that J Wow chick from "The Jersey Shore" right now! I'm dictating this article into a Reel To Reel Tape Recorder Combination Brassiere that she's wearing! Or WAS wearing!
"Godzilla, King Of The Monsters" beats "Godzilla"!
I'm having sex with J Wow! And Brenda Song!
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