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Godzilla is 65 and going strong

Mendalla

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No mandatory retirement for radioactive fire-breathing monsters, it seems. 65 years after the release of Gojira, the Japanese movie that introduced the monster (its English debut came two years later with Godzilla, King of the Monsters, a re-edit of Gojira adding scenes featuring Raymond Burr as an American reporter covering Godzilla's rampage), the Big G is still a familiar figure in popular culture. While giant monsters stomping cities had existed before Gojira, like King Kong and Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (which was an inspiration for Gojira), Godzilla became kind of the primal image of it. And part of that was that, unlike Kong and the rhedosaurus in Beast, Godzilla was basically indestructible. In the original, this product of man's ultimate weapon, the H-Bomb, could only be stopped by another, equally devastating weapon called the oxygen destroyer. And it is this Godzilla, the image of atomic weapons made flesh, that stands out the strongest for me. While Godzilla eventually became a kind of giant superhero, resulting in some extreme silliness (Godzilla doing a victory dance), in the late sixties and seventies, it was the powerful scenes of destruction in Gojira (inspired by the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) that remain the stand-out Godzilla image for me. They remained unequalled until the release of Shin Godzilla (aka Godzilla Resurgence) in 2016, when Toho Studios (Japanese producer of Godzilla since the beginning) finally went back to the roots of the series and reimagined a Godzilla for the post-Fukushima world. This Godzilla was the product of nuclear waste, not nuclear weapons, but spread destruction and terror with equal force to its H-Bomb spawned fifties' version.

The new American Godzilla has gone in a very different direction, with Godzilla as a primal force of nature rather than the accidental product of human folly. I cheered the moment in the 2014 when the plates on Godzilla's back started glowing in prelude to unleashing his "atomic breath", signalling that, unlike the half-arsed 1997 American attempt at a Godzilla movie, this one was the real deal. There is still an environmental message, but Godzilla is now explicitly Nature fighting back against the monsters we unleash, rather than the monster itself. I enjoyed the 2014 Godzilla and am eager to see the upcoming Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

A Japanese Youtuber has prepared a tribute to the monster on its 65th birthday. All I can say, "Happy Birthday and hope the world learns the lesson you tried to teach someday."

 

Mendalla

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One week to go until the kaiju Apocalypse, aka Godzilla, King of the Monsters. At least that's what the trailers make it look like and the general tenor of what little I know about the plot. Hoping they've done good. The next movie in the monsterverse, Godzilla vs. Kong (so a sequel to both this movie and Kong : Skull Island), is already underway, I believe.
 

Luce NDs

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More hairy aping of old stories about collapse and falling from the tree ...
 

Mendalla

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I've seen an interesting point made about the original Japanese Godzilla movies (specifically the 1954-1979 period): They were really the first cinematic universe and used many of the story-telling tricks we see in Marvel and DC today.

- Introduce characters in solo films and then bring them together. Both Rodan and Mothra started out in their own movies before appearing in Godzilla movies (Mothra in Godzilla vs. Mothra, Rodan and Mothra both in Ghidorah, the Three-headed Monster).

- Have supporting characters that appear from movie to movie (Gigan, for instance, battled Godzilla twice in the 1970s, and Ghidorah is a classic returning villain, appearing in multiple Godzilla movies over the years)

- Spin off characters from the main series into their own movies. The Japanese version of King Kong first appeared in Godzilla vs. King Kong, then in his own movie, King Kong Escapes.

- Build up to a big "monster mash". The various Godzilla-verse monsters came together in the epic battle called "Destroy All Monsters", kind of a monstrous Avengers.
 
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