Godzilla (gojira) may be one of the best known Japanese monster movies to ever hit the big screen. The original film was released in 1954 and was directed by Ishiro Honda, who also co-wrote the movie. Because of its popularity, an entire genre of films was named after it. Called kaiju, these giant monster movies reigned in Japan breaking box office records for a very long time. Godzilla has spawned numerous sequels including an American version in 1998 that was entitled simply Godzilla. The American version did not do as well as planned at the box office, but did make enough to make a profit.
The legendary Godzilla starts when a fishing boat is attacked and destroyed by something that is under the water. A rescue boat head out to help but is attacked as well. A nearby fishing community on Odo Island is upset because they have not had a good catch of fish in a long time. A village elder claims that Godzilla, a monster god that lives in the sea, is keeping the fish away. He tells the story of how, in the old days, villagers would sacrifice a young girl to Godzilla in order to make the fish return. It was also meant to keep Godzilla from destroying the village, as it was said he had a taste for human flesh.
A helicopter arrives on Odo Island. It is reporters covering the story of the destroyed ships. Most of the younger natives do not believe in the stories that are being told, but the village is attacked late in the night, which makes the survivors very aware that something is out in the sea. A Paleontologist named Dr. Kyohei Yamane, is sent to see what is going on and discovers a giant footprint on the island. He realizes that the footprint is emitting a high amount of a radioactive substance. When he is doing his examination, Godzilla pops his head out from the ocean and roars.
It is Dr. Yamane’s investigation that leads him to believe that Godzilla is a monster that has been around since the prehistoric days. He believes that the monster was sleeping, and has been roused from his slumber by atomic explosions. The world quickly finds out about Godzilla and men travel from all over to come and kill the giant beast. Yamane does not want Godzilla killed, but instead wants him kept alive so that he can study the giant monster. After another attack, the government questions Yamane about how to kill the beast. Yamane tells them that he has no idea what will kill the monster.
Godzilla heads to Tokyo where he causes massive amounts of destruction and damage. Nothing the military can do seems to kill him, and they believe that they are doomed. Godzilla eventually shows that he can spit out an atomic ray which means that even tanks can not get near him. Their only hope lies in an invention of Dr. Daisuke Serizawa’s. He is a colleague of Yamane’s how has invented a new type of super weapon that they hope will save the world from Godzilla.