Review: Best of Godzilla: 1954-1975, The
2 / 5 Stars
The first CD covers the films created between 1954 and 1975, including GODZILLA, GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, MOTHRA, SON OF GODZILLA, GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH, and GODZILLA VS. MECHAGODZILLA, among others. The CD opens with the sounds of footsteps, followed by the classic Godzilla roar. I found this opening to be very similar to the LOST WORLD teaser - but perhaps that's what Spielberg was trying to copy?
The theme from GODZILLA is a march which immediately opened a flood of memories of the films. Back in the 1980s a good friend of mine would watch Godzilla movies for his birthday parties. That was basically my only exposure to the films, and hearing the main march brought all those memories of the films coming back.
The end music from GODZILLA is sad music - composer Akira Ifukube has been called the "John Williams of Japan", and I can see why he's received the comparison. The music is very tragic because, after all, Godzilla is defeated in the end. Throughout the rest of the CD, which featured music from different composers over the series, including Ifukube, it was interesting to note that a majority of the music was sad - perhaps because in the end, the entire series is tragic. (After all, these monsters keep dying then coming back only to die again!)
For me the joy was to finally have Mothra's Song available. This nicely harmonized female chorus sings upon Mothra's arrival, and I think it's one of the few specific things I remember (perhaps incorrectly) about the films. Sound effects are intersperced throughout the CD, which is a pretty good thing to do, since it's a good way to trigger memories from the series.
Unfortunately, as in the Bond films (when Roger Moore came on board), after a number of films the original feeling got lost. They began to lose their edge, and sadly Godzilla entered the world of camp. Yes, we hit the late 60's / early 70's. With this quasi-disco scoring, Godzilla became the cheesy, man-in-the-suit-destroying-a-model schlockfests which were all to prevalent in the United States at the time. However, these scores (as cheesy as they may be) do belong in any compilation CD of the GODZILLA films, so it was a pleasure to have them, even though I found myself more inclined to move on and listen again to the first part of the CD.
There is an exta bonus: Neil Norman and his Cosmic Orchestra have a track at the end of the CD performing the GODZILLA theme - it's a fun listen, and nice to have. In addition to that, the extensive liner notes are also worth mentioning - they aided in reminding me what these films were about.
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