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Reliving Godzilla, One Movie at a Time

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You know that scene in “City Slickers” where one of them, maybe Billy Crystal’s character, talks about that magical father/son moment when his dad to took him to his first Yankees game and they emerged from the walkway to the open stadium? With my son, that moment won’t come at a baseball stadium, partly because the local club is the Cleveland Indians, partly because we both find baseball pretty boring. Rather, that moment will come May 16, 2014, when the theater lights dim and Sam and I first hear the iconic roar of Godzilla in the new movie from Legendary Pictures, directed by Gareth Edwards.

Godzilla

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. © 2013 LEGENDARY PICTURES PRODUCTIONS LLC & WARNER BROS ENTERTAINMENT INC.

Sam and I are fans of Godzilla movies. We say that unapologetically, and without irony. I have been a fan of Godzilla movies since the mid-70s, and I owe it mostly to three people: Big Chuck, Lil John, and Superhost. I won’t bother explaining who they are. If you grew up near Cleveland, Ohio at a time when TVs only picked up five channels, you know these guys well. If not, you don’t need to. Sam’s a fan because of me and my DVD / Bluray collection.

You also don’t need to about my history with the Godzilla franchise. You don’t need to know why when most kids grew up and decided men in latex suits destroying model tanks, buildings and high tension wires isn’t so cool after all, I held on. Some of us retained our childhood loves for cars. For “Star Wars.” For the aforementioned Yankees. I retained my love for Godzilla.

My older brother, Matt, was a fan, too, but he lost interest in the mid-’80s when Toho Pictures started to take the creature seriously again (or at least tried to). Matt liked bad special effects, dorky aliens and oddly placed Academy Award nominated American actors. Sam just likes the fights (or, more accurately, “I hate when they talk.”). I like the monster. The mythos. The metaphor. Divided by what we love, we’re united in the geeky knowledge that Godzilla is not green, it’s charcoal gray. That it doesn’t spit fire, it spits thermonuclear breath. That it never had a son named Godzuki.

And so, leading up to the release of the new “Godzilla” on May 16, Sam and I (and sometimes Matt) are going to have our own Godzilla movie marathon. We’re going to watch every movie in the series—all 28 of them (I’m not sure if I can stomach the 1998 American movie again, which would make it 29)—and I’m going to review them all here. Well, maybe not so much review, but remember.

For those who aren’t too familiar with Godzilla, here’s your chance to discover what you’ve been missing, and why it’s sometimes good that you’ve missed it. For fans of Godzilla, you’ll learn why I think Godzilla Vs. Megalon is not the worst of the series, as is widely believed, and why the original Godzilla is not the best.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

I’ll link this article to each review as it’s written, so come back here weekly and have some fun with me and Sam. If you’re lucky, I may even toss in a sketch or music video in honor of Superhost and Big Chuck and Little John.

  • Godzilla (Godzilla, King of the Monsters) [1954]
  • Godzilla Raids Again (Gigantis, the Fire Monster) [1955]
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla [1962]
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla (Godzilla vs. the Thing) [1964]
  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster [1964]
  • Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero) [1965]
  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster) [1966]
  • Son of Godzilla [1967]
  • Destroy All Monsters [1968]
  • All Monsters Attack (Godzilla’s Revenge) [1969]
  • Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) [1971]
  • Godzilla vs. Gigan (Godzilla on Monster Island) [1972]
  • Godzilla vs. Megalon [1973]
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster) [1974]
  • Terror of Mechagodzilla [1975]
  • The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985) [1984]
  • Godzilla vs. Biollante [1989]
  • Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah [1991]
  • Godzilla vs. Mothra (Godzilla & Mothra: The Battle for Earth) [1992]
  • Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II [1993]
  • Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla [1994]
  • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah [1995]
  • Godzilla 2000: Millennium (Godzilla 2000) [1999]
  • Godzilla vs. Megaguirus [2000]
  • Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack [2001]
  • Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla [2002]
  • Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. [2003]
  • Godzilla: Final Wars [2004]
  • And maybe GINO [1998]
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