Godzilla

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Godzilla.jpg
Godzilla of the nineties
Godzilla (ゴジラ) is a giant, amphibious, reptilian monster first seen in the Japanese-produced 1954 tokusatsu kaiju film Godzilla. The deoxygenation of Tokyo bay, caused by Dr. Serizawa's oxygen destroyer, killed Godzilla at the end of this first movie. Nothing was left of Godzilla but bone.

Godzilla was later released in the United States in 1956. Scenes with actor Raymond Burr were added and the Japanese actors were dubbed into English. The title of the American release was Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

Later, Godzilla (or Gojira, ゴジラ) returned in a series of films, all from Toho (not counting the American film, of course). Because he comes from the ocean, Godzilla can be considered not just a monster, but a sea monster. The name "Gojira" is a combination of "gorilla" and kujira, which means "whale" in Japanese. The name is rumoured to have been a nickname of a large worker at Toho Studios.

But since Godzilla was neither a "gorilla" or a "whale", the name "Gojira" was devised in a different way for the story. According to Japanese sources, Gojira's name was "originally" spelled in kanji (呉爾羅), but for sound only. The combined characters, oddly enough, mean "give you net"!

In the 1998 movie Godzilla was the lone survivor of an island inhabited by reptiles after an atomic bomb was tested nearby. Full-grown, Godzilla resembled a bipedal komodo dragon (one of the lizards that lived on the island) and soon terrorizes New York City.



Subsequent films in the series had another of Godzilla's species take his place (there is some debate about this. In Godzilla 2000 it is discussed that Godzilla possesses a component known as "Organizer G-1","Regenerator G-1" in the English version of the film, which allows him to heal from any wound, possibly even regenerate himself from mere fragments. This would make it possible for Godzilla to continue indefinitely, even though he appears to die).

The Japanese version of Godzilla was greatly inspired by the commercial success of King Kong, and the 1953 success of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Godzilla would go on to inspire Gorgo, Gamera, and many others.

On his 50th (Japanese) birthday, on 29 November 2004, Godzilla got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Contents

Series

Missing image
GodzillasAtomicRay.jpg
Godzilla firing his atomic ray (Destroy All Monsters, 1968).

The Godzilla timeline is generally broken into three parts.

Showa Godzilla Series (昭和ゴジラシリーズ)

This Showa timeline spanned from 1954, with Godzilla (1954) to 1975 with Terror of Mechagodzilla. With the exception of the serious Godzilla (1954) and the semi-serious sequel Godzilla Raids Again, this period featured the semi-comic 'hero' Godzilla. This phase started with the comic King Kong vs Godzilla, which had the highest ticket sales of any Godzilla movie. The Showa period saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, three of which (Mothra, Rodan and Varan) had their own solo movies, as well as a movie for the Toho-ized King Kong. This period featured a rough continuity, although the chronology is confused as many of the movies were set in an arbitrary future time, often 1999.

In all films of this original series, Godzilla was 50 meters tall, and weighed 35,000 tons.

VS Series (Versus Series) (VSシリーズ)

The timeline was revamped in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla; this movie was created as a direct sequel to the 1954 film, and ignores the continuity of the Showa series. Known as the Versus Series, (unofficially known to American fans as the "Heisei Series", for the ruling emperor of the time), the continuity ended in 1995's Godzilla vs Destoroyah after a run of seven films. The reason for the continuity shift was based on a realization that the marketing of the movies had removed the reason it was so loved. When it was discovered that Godzilla was popular with children, sequels were toned down in obvious screen violence, and Godzilla was made out to be a good guy instead of an indestructible abominate mistake of Men. Characters such as Minilla, the "son of Godzilla" (a dimunitive chubby replica who blew smoke rings) were introduced. However, the further Godzilla was taken away from his roots, the less popular he became. Hence, The Return of Godzilla brought the series back to form.

Godzilla has changed sizes in this series. He starts out as 80 meters tall in The Return of Godzilla, but in Godzilla vs King Ghidorah, he becomes 100 meters tall. In the concluding film, Godzilla vs Destoroyah, he becomes 120 meters.

The Millennium Series (ミレニアムシリーズ)

The Millennium Series is the informal term for the Godzilla movies made after the VS Series ended with Godzilla vs Destoroyah. Unlike the previous two series, this era does not feature a continuous timeline. Only two of the films in this era, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, are directly related to one another. The rest follow entirely different timelines. The common theme to this era is that all movies use Godzilla (1954) as the jumping-off point.

The 1998 film Godzilla (1998), set in New York City and produced by Columbia Pictures, was not considered to be a part of any of the above three series until its footage was used as a reference in the movie Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. But, that movie had it that the monster that appeared in New York was not, in fact, Godzilla, but an entirely different yet similar monster. This monster made a return appearance in Godzilla's 50th anniversary film, Godzilla: Final Wars. Renamed Zilla, the monster attacked Sydney, Australia and is later killed by the real Godzilla.

Since the films are different, the sizes are different in some cases. Godzilla's most prominent size in this series is 55 meters. The exceptions: In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, he was 60 meters, and in Godzilla: Final Wars, he was 100 meters (he was supposed to be 50 meters in that film, but budgetary cutbacks in miniature sets forced this size change).

Godzilla's Background

Godzilla was originally an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the unintended consequences that such weapons might have on our world. The Versus and Millennium Series have largely continued this concept. Some have pointed out the parallels, conscious or unconscious, between Godzilla's relationship to Japan and that of the United States; first a terrible enemy who causes enormous destruction, but then becoming a good friend and defender in times of peril.

Films have been made over the last five decades, each reflecting the social and political climate in Japan. All but one of the 29 films were produced by Toho; a version was made in 1998 by Columbia Pictures and set in the United States by the directors of Independence Day (ID4) and is somewhat despised by Godzilla fans, many of whom refer to it as GINO (Godzilla In Name Only), a term that would refer to all monsters modeled after Godzilla. Toho immediately followed it with Godzilla 2000: Millennium, which began the current series of films, known informally as the Mireniamu or Millennium series.

Much of Godzilla's popularity in the United States can be credited with TV broadcasts of the Toho Studios monster movies during the 1960s and 1970s. The American company UPA contracted with Toho to distribute its monster movies of the time, and UPA continues to hold the license today for the Godzilla films of the 1960s and 1970s. Sony currently holds some of those rights, as well as the rights to every Godzilla film produced from 1991 onward. The Blue yster Cult song "Godzilla" also contributed to the popularity of the movies.

Filmography

  1. Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla King of the Monsters) (1954)
  2. Godzilla Raids Again (a.k.a. Gigantis the Fire Monster) (1955)
  3. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
  4. Mothra vs. Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Thing, Godzilla vs. Mothra) (1964)
  5. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
  6. Invasion of Astro-Monster (a.k.a. Monster Zero, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero) (1965)
  7. Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (a.k.a. Godzilla versus the Sea Monster) (1966)
  8. Son of Godzilla (1967)
  9. Destroy All Monsters (1968)
  10. All Monsters Attack (a.k.a. Godzilla's Revenge) (1969)
  11. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster) (1971)
  12. Godzilla vs. Gigan (a.k.a. Godzilla on Monster Island) (1972)
  13. Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
  14. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster, Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster) (1974)
  15. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
  16. The Return of Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla 1985) (1984)
  17. Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)
  18. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)
  19. Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992)
  20. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla) (1993)
  21. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)
  22. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)
  23. Godzilla 2000 (1999)
  24. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2001)
  25. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
  26. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)
  27. Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (a.k.a. Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) (2003)
  28. Godzilla Final Wars (2004)


Please note that the titles listed above are Toho's official English titles.

See also

Video games

  • Monster's Fair
  • Godzilla! Monster of Monsters
  • Godzilla 2: War of the Monsters
  • Super Godzilla
  • Godzilla: Kaijuu Daikessen
  • Kaijuu-Oh Godzilla (a.k.a. Godzilla King of the Monsters)
  • Godzilla Giant Monster March
  • Godzilla Generations
  • Godzilla Generations Maximum Impact
  • Godzilla Trading Battle
  • Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee
  • Godzilla: Domination!
  • Godzilla: Save the Earth

Similar concepts

Gorgo

See Gorgo.

Agon

Agon was a serialized B&W TV movie produced in 1964, but aired in 1968. This 4 episode miniseries (aired Jan 2-5, 1968 on Fuji TV) was produced by Japan Radio Pictures (Nippon Denpa Eiga). The title monster is similar in appearance to Godzilla, so much that Toho almost sued Japan Radio Pictures, until they found that it was Fuminori Ohashi (who helped create the Godzilla suit for the original 1954 film) who designed the Agon costume! They then said, "Oh, it's you! Well, it's okay then."

Gamera

See Gamera.

Gappa

See Gappa.

Dragon Caesar (from Zyuranger)

Dinosaur Task Force Zyuranger, the 16th entry of the Toei's ongoing Super Sentai Series from 1992, had the title quintet of superheroes ride giant robots called Shugojū (Japanese for "Guardian Beasts"), which are shaped like dinosaurs, only these "robots" are actually gods! The five Shugojǔ unite to form a giant warrior called Daizyujin (Japanese for "Great Beast God"). Later in the series, Dragon-Ranger Burai (who turns out to be the older brother of Zyuranger's team leader, Tyranno-Ranger Geki) appears initially as a misguided tragic villain, only to realize the wrongs of his ambitions. Brought back with a temporary life to help the Zyurangers, Burai dies selflessly in saving his teammates and the rest of mankind, but before he dies, he passes his weapons and his own Shugojū, Dragon Caesar, to his younger brother Geki, who, with added powers, continues the battle against the show's villain Bandora.

With his striking standout appearance, Dragon Caesar is the show's homage to Godzilla (who was a phenomenon in Japan at the time). In Zyuranger's Americanized adaptation, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (the first season), he is renamed the "Dragonzord" (Burai's costumed form, Dragon-Ranger, is renamed the "Green Ranger").

Reptar (from Rugrats)

A popular cartoon show, Rugrats, has Reptar, a Prehistoric Green Dinosaur that made his way to the present. Clearly inspired by Godzilla, right down to the bad american voice acting for the japanese characters, Reptar has taken to the more heroic front, similar to his live action counterpart in the later Showa series.

Raki

See Raki

External links

Official

Information

Analysis

es:Godzilla fr:Godzilla ja:ゴジラ sv:Godzilla (monster) zh:哥斯拉

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