Gigantis, the Fire Monster (1955)

Genres - Action, Horror, Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film  |   Release Date - Apr 24, 1955 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - Japan, United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Bruce Eder

Tsukioka (Hiroshi Koizumi) and Kobayashi (Minoru Chiaki) fly scout planes for a small fishing fleet, based in Osaka. A mechanical problem forces Kobayashi to set his plane down on remote Iwato island, and as he and Tsukioka are trying to make repairs, they are drawn to the sound of a horrendous conflagration and discover two enormous dinosaurs battling each other amid the snowy wastes of the island. After successfully taking off, they report their findings to the government in Tokyo, and Dr. Yamane (Takashi Shimura) determines that one of the dinosaurs is the same species as Godzilla, and both creatures are just as dangerous as the first Godzilla. The two dinosaurs' battle and chase carries them across the ocean and to Osaka, where they destroy the city, and in the process, Anguirus is killed and incinerated by Godzilla, who escapes out to the sea. Tsukioka and Kobayashi are later flying a patrol when they spot Godzilla on a frozen island. Kobayashi's plane is hit by the monster's incendiary breath and he is killed, and as his plane crashes, a small amount of ice rains down on the creature. Tsukioka gets an idea from his friend's death and directs the military aircraft to fire their missiles -- which have proved ineffective when used directly against Godzilla -- at the icy slopes. Godzilla is soon overwhelmed and buried by the ever-rising cascade of ice, and the dinosaur is frozen solid and immobile in the center of the glacier-size sheet of ice. Motoyoshi Oda's Gojira No Gyakushu (aka Godzilla Raids Again, 1955), issued in Japan six months after the original Gojira and released in America redubbed as Gigantis the Fire Monster four years later, was about as different from its predecessor, Ishiro Honda's Gojira (1954), as could possibly be imagined. Where Honda's film, from a screenplay co-authored by Takeo Murata and the director (based on a story by Shigeru Kayama), found a good balance and linkage between the larger story of the monster's appearance and attacks and the human side of the story, Oda's movie never finds that balance. It offers far too disjointed a plot, involving a pair of pilots, the women they love, the sighting of a second Godzilla and the giant ankylosaurus Anguirus, and their city-destroying battle in Osaka, and even the escape of a group of prisoners. The presence of Takashi Shimura in the Japanese edition of the movie, very briefly reprising his role as Dr. Yamane, only serves to highlight the difference in quality between the two movies and the decided creative poverty of the second film.




Godzilla, monster, radioactivity, creature, destruction, giant, Japan, dinosaurs, forces [military]