Godzilla – Back On The Big Screen

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Godzilla: Review

If there’s one monster that simply refuses to die, it’s Godzilla. The Japanese gorilla-whale, who has been rampaging across movie screens for over six decades, returned this past weekend. Along with “The King of Monsters,” we saw Bryan Cranston for the first time on screen since the Breaking Bad finale. From good guy, to bad guy, and now to hero – it’s interesting to see how Cranston holds himself in an action film. He is joined by Aaron Taylor (of Kick-Ass fame) and Elizabeth Olsen (who gave a standout performance in Oldboy).

Still, the true star of the film is Godzilla himself, who after 60 years of films has completely engrained himself into popular culture, shows, and even video games. He’s even inspired the use of “zilla,” meaning a destructive force, in terms such as Bridezilla or Momzilla.

The first film featuring the cold-blooded star was released in 1954 in Japan, under the title Gojira. At the time, Godzilla was an undeniably a symbolic force: his presence, look, and awe-inspiring size were all representative of Japan’s fears of nuclear holocaust following the bombing of the island in WWII. Even the lizard’s skin, scaly and charred, was reminiscent of the terrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Note, the newest installment references this early Godzilla, claiming early nuclear “tests” were actually attempts to kill the beast). Ishiro Honda’s classic original film addressed repeatedly the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, even going so far as to film two “survivors” of the atomic bomb blasts discussing what Godzilla could do to Tokyo.



Unfortunately for Ishiro Honda, when the film was brought to the United States in 1956, the title was altered to Godzilla: King of the Monsters and expanded with segments shot starring American actor Raymond Burr. Hollywood’s touch did little to reiterate the initial fear and message of Gojira, and instead had the opposite effect: the film’s political content was almost entirely lost. Godzilla’s first release occurred while the horrors of WWII were still fresh in everyone’s mind; without that timing or an audience primed for dgfev online casino its message of ultimate catastrophe, the film appeared as little more than a B-level monster movie. It was legendary, sure, but not exactly the hard-hitting allegory Honda had intended.

Even more upsetting for fans of the original, more poignant Japanese version, was that it was the United State’s take on the beast which inspired scores of Godzilla films over the next decades. Each new Godzilla film was 100% bis zu CHF 500 Willlkommensbonus 20 x Bonus Einzahlung 97%Mehr als 200 Instant, downloadiPhone, Android, TabletNeue Spieler werden im SCasino die-besten-online-casinos.info mit einem CHF 500 Bonus gekodert. more ridiculous than the last, culminating in entertaining, if not mindless, cult films such as Godzilla Vs. Space Godzilla and Terror of MechaGodzilla –which is streamable on Netflix and available “on demand” (see website) to coincide with the latest film’s release.

Director Gareth Edwards’ latest attempt to recreate Godzilla, however, is more of an ode to Honda’s original film as opposed to the more lighthearted sequels of years past. It was his intention to recapture the social relevance of that the original Japanese film claimed. Perhaps his timing is more ideal, since a 21st century United States audience still remembers the aftermath and destruction following September 11th in New York. Seeing skyscrapers easily demolished and the collective panic and military action that ensues is not so far from reality as it once was.

Edwards’ strategic use of fogs, mist, and lighting to delay the creature’s unveiling are well done and, as expected, the latest Godzilla is far more realistic looking than the original 1954  version. The special effects are superb, enough so to overshadow the weakest parts of the script. But perhaps the best part of the film is its quieter moments, such as the scenes in the deserted streets of a Japanese town, with stray dogs and nature gradually tearing down the remaining structures, which truly return us to the awareness of the longevity and irreparable damage large-scale destruction can have.

 


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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