Like many monster movie buffs, I have heard that there was an original Japanese version of Hollywood' "Godzilla", that didn't have Raymond Burr. Watching Gojira and Godzilla back to back, it is fascinating to see just what an incredible difference 'perspective' makes in the narrative of the film--not to mention the addition of several deleted scenes. In Godzilla you are basically in a third-person situation: the entire story told through the eyes of an American reporter. In Gojira, you are much less removed, much closer to a first person perspective, where you are moving right along with the characters in the film. I think what makes this even more significant in this case is that you are left puzzling over just what Gojira is, why it is here, what does it all mean. In Godzilla, this question is asked, but it is asked *for you*. As a result, the difference in emotional impact between the two films is staggering; I had seen Godzilla over a dozen times, but I felt like I was experiencing it all over again, only in a fresh, scarier way.
Godzilla is not a bad monster movie really--I think it holds up quite well (considering the period). However, it is a monster movie, first and foremost; Gojira is that and more. Watch Jurassic Park or Frankenstein again after this film: we create 'monsters' when our fascination with power and technology exceeds our wisdom to use them.
Not to be missed for monster movie buffs (the audio commentary is quite good), or anyone who appreciates another culture's perspective on something perhaps (too) familiar to North Americans.