I am a Godzilla fan. I have been since I was a kid. I watched a bunch of b-movies with my dad on Sunday afternoons; westerns, martial arts, shoot-em-ups, and of course monster movies. My dad wasn’t picky. He worked hard, a lot of overtime, all the maintenance around the house, and when he wanted to veg out I was happy to join him. I can’t say he actually liked any of the movies, but these type of mindless movies were always fun to watch. I never stopped enjoying them.
When I was older, my friends and I would rent a few of the worst looking black and white movies, fast forward to the middle, and watch the one we laughed at the most. You know, the one where you can see the zipper on the monster’s back. Then in college, I took a film class and learned about the history of these B-movies. I learned about their formulas and budgets and of course the cult that surrounds each genre. My amusement had a tinge of respect associated with them. Godzilla was no exception.
The history behind Godzilla is no secret but some still don’t make the connection between the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and a nuclear monster that terrorizes Japan. Art reflects life and all that. Movies are no exception. Not only that, but it was the creators on the set who pioneered what they call “suitmation”; the ability to make a 7-foot costume look like it’s 150 feet or so. Miniature cities and towns were built just to be crushed by an actor in a monster suit. This actor, Haruo Nakajima, played Godzilla for over 18 years. Not only did he stomp around on set, but he also incorporated his skill in Judo to Godzilla’s fighting scenes and let’s remember, the original suit weighed 120lbs. Have I completely nerded out on you yet? Like I said; I’m a Godzilla fan.
So back to the movies themselves; while the original started out as basically straight-up horror (families killed, cities ruined) they slowly turned into monster movies with less of the original fear of war and lack of humanity. The franchise has lived for over 65 years and I believe about 35 films. I haven’t seen all of them, but I have most likely seen more than any of my readers. I even own quite a few on VHS. This past week I finally saw the latest movie “Godzilla, King of All Monsters”. It was a perfect Godzilla flick. The dialogue was lame, the characters are two dimensional, and so many plot holes I lost count. Perhaps they even did this on purpose? Some scenes just seemed too silly to not have been on purpose. Not to mention the impossible moments of multiple scenes. (Their submersed ship erupts from the deep water breaking surface vertically, smacks back down on the water, and regardless of decompressing from the depths, people merely lose their balance and remain standing where they were minutes earlier. Yup, sure, only in the movies) But it is forgivable because Godzilla is King. They did NOT disappoint with the monster scenes, the way the monster’s looked the sound effects, the visuals – all if that was fantastic. This movie was made for Godzilla fans.
Only fans would recognize some of the little bonus treats in there. The shout-outs to classic Godzilla movies were pretty fun. I can’t really recommend this movie to anyone looking for a great monster movie because at this point in their franchise there is little scare or horror. It’s simply monster fights and special effects we Godzilla fans are after. Only fans or possibly kids would like this. Or, perhaps film majors who appreciate the classics. Godzilla may not be the first monster movie, that credit goes all the way back to a 1915 silent film titled “The Golem”. And even though that monster looks very human, Fritz Lang had a real animal-type monster in his Die Nibelungen in 1922. But Godzilla has survived decades and is still well known and loved, hence 65+ years of making movies.
Bottom line – Godzilla is still King of All Monsters and the movie was perfect.