Godzilla

I think this is the first time I’ve ever chosen a monster to be part of my Wednesday Warriors series. Of course, there is always a first time for everything. After all, in the past I’ve featured cartoons, therefore monsters weren’t too far behind.

Godzilla
Godzilla

Yet, some may not consider Godzilla a monster at all. He, and I use the term “he” loosely here, is more like a superhero lumbering ashore when a city falls prey to the destruction of a malevolent creature. A rescuer. Check. He’s more than a monster; he’s a force of vengeance against foes threatening humanity’s very existence.

How did Godzilla become a cultural icon for good versus evil? Had he always been this cuddly?

There was a time Godzilla was an evil monster the army wanted to kill. As a spawn of nuclear testing, he trampled all over Japan in his first sighting in 1954. After that, he became a film sensation. Kids loved him and the Japanese audience couldn’t get enough of the semi-dino biped.

Godzilla
Godzilla

Years later, in the 1960’s, other monsters came to challenge the towering beast. Names like Rodan, Ghidorah and Mothra became mainstays for viewers. The secret was out, a Godzilla movie wasn’t all about saving the planet, but it was about the fights between the creatures that gave the films its appeal. What could have been a hokey series, turned into a glorified franchise with all the accolades that went with it.

Godzilla became a movie favorite.

Somewhere along the line however, things changed. In an effort to cash in on the popularity of the Godzilla phenomenon, the studios, with their ever-watchful eye on the bottom dollar, pushed to the theaters sequel after sequel of absolute nonsense. Godzilla soon transformed from the hero every kid wanted to play with to a watered-down image with little substance to carry the franchise forward.

It wasn’t until the failure of 1998’s Godzilla at the box office that the studios decided to hold off on producing any more monster movies for a while. Oh, sure, there was Godzilla 2000, but we won’t talk about that.

Then 2014 happens. Godzilla is back and he is pissed. Gone are the funky Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do moves earlier versions of the brute possessed. This time, he is here to settle old scores and purge the world of not only the monsters that threaten the U.S. west coast, but also to shatter his previous image as a weak follow-up to an impoverished genre.

This time, Godzilla brings it, yet not without controversy. Folks complained for the little screen time the hero actually had. To those detractors I say, all good things are worth the wait. In a time when everyone wants to see superheroes from the first frame of film, Godzilla was a welcome change away from today’s convention. Reminiscent of the old movies where the big reveal takes place in the final act of the film, Godzilla rocks in a classic monster movie with all the fixings.

And the best part about the whole thing? He is bigger and better than ever.

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Have you seen any Godzilla movies? What do you think of him?

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17 thoughts on “Godzilla

  1. the latest version was just awful, a basic rehash of the 1998 version, just better effects and more monsters, they that they pushed Bryan Cranstons role so heavily in the trailers but yet had him die so soon into the film was blow that it couldnt recover from,

  2. I got dragged to theaters by my husband to see this. It wasn’t even on my list of might want to see eventually, but he had to go, and I’m glad we did. It turned out really awesome, and not at all cheesy like I was expecting. It gave an interesting and semi realistic approach to Godzilla, with the whole balance of nature thing going on. Godzilla is like the enforcer to make sure that creatures that should’ve gone extinct stay extinct. I just wonder where exactly does he hide out?

  3. I dare not think back on the first Godzilla movies I saw as a child. Seen through the rose tinted glasses of youth … they were AMAZING ! Now? Yeeshh, Yikes and Really?
    The thing I think most about the old movies was the clay stop animation they utilized in the making of them.
    As to the new versions, is it just me or are all the mega-sized character movies using the same “large” sounds to donate the presence of these behemoths?
    Oh what was the movie, where the monster doesn’t actually appear, fully, at all? Oh yes, Cloverfield (?).
    I kind of like the fact that Godzilla doesn’t make a full appearance until close to the end of the movie.

  4. Great post, Jack. Haven’t seen more than bits and pieces of the Godzilla movie, original or otherwise. I think at the time I couldn’t get past the ‘cheesyness’ of it, though I now embrace camp a lot more in cinema than I used to. I hear they’re ‘remaking’ [yet again] King Kong as well. Sigh. I think, if nothing else, Godzilla provided a decent entree into Asian cultures, specifically Japanese, for the people in America back in the 1950s and 1960s, though it’s sad that, from what I understand, the Americanized version in 1956 removed some (if not all) of the social commentary (anti-nuke and so forth) of the Japanese version. Yikes, we Americans tinkering with stuff and messing it up, not an uncommon thing!

  5. Loved the old Godzilla movies (and still remember some of the Godzilla cartoon – vaguely). The camp was a highlight to Saturday morning transition into afternoon (along with kung-fu movies). When they started having Godzilla and Anguirus talk to each other (ala Godzilla v. Gigan), that’s when it gets way too much. Well, maybe too much. Son of Godzilla is also a bit much – with Godzilla trying to be the mentoring papa. Still, they are entertaining.

  6. I haven’t seen the last few Godzilla movies yet, but I grew up with him too. I saw all of the movies from the 50s-70s. Godzilla was one of my favorite things when I was a kid. I still have my 2-foot tall toy with the flame tongue and the hand that could eject (which is long lost). My daughter plays with him now, and she’s 3 – almost the age I was when I got it (I think I was 5).

  7. The delayed reveal is a must for a good monster movie, but the monster has to be impressive when shown. I would have given this post a like for the pictures if nothing else. Obviously, I’m a fan despite the inconsistencies in the plot of the 2014 movie.

  8. Godzilla was one of my favorites as a kid and I tried to watch as many of the movies as I could. Not easy to find on VHS or TV back in the 80’s. I actually didn’t mind the camp that appeared, but I was maybe 10 when I was watching. The 1998 one was definitely a low point, but that was America trying to cash in. Not sure if you saw it, but in 2004 was ‘Godzilla: Final Wars’. This has mixed reviews, but had him going up against MOST (if not all) of his enemies in a global battle. It was an end of that era of movies and the director, who I believe did Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, wanted to recapture the old magic. I haven’t seen it, but I read that ‘Zilla’ from the 1998 movie is in there too for the quickest fight in Godzilla history. A better swan song at the time than just letting it die.

    As far as his limited movie time in the new movie, I put that in the same category of people complaining that Mad Max didn’t have many lines in Fury Road. Watch the originals and you’ll see it was the same back then. Many times it’s about how the humans are planning, surviving, or escaping from Godzilla and whatever monster he’s fighting.

    • My introduction to Godzilla movies came on an old black & white my dad purchased on a meager welder’s salary. Sunday afternoons were amazing. The whole series of films at the time played on WUTV Buffalo. We’d get the shows over antennae. I was in my element. One TV and my dad would relinquish it for that afternoon. Seriously, it was an awesome time.

      I’ll have to check out Godzilla: Final Wars. Maybe Netflix has it, but I’ll see. Looking forward to watch it.

      • I should see if the local library has the movie too. My introduction was my dad finding the original on TV along with the first King Kong. I forgot the channel that seemed to always have those old adventure movies, but Godzilla turned up there a lot. Remember Rodan too. They did marathons at some point. Amazing how TV has changed so much. As a kid I had maybe 10-13 channels and could usually find something. Now I have nearly 400 and I tend to be bored.

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