Godzilla Will Still Be Godzilla After May 16th

Godzilla Will Still Be Godzilla After May 16th

Scified2014-05-08 13:01:07https://www.scified.com/sites_pics/3928603989219506.jpg
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A week before Godzilla's return to the big screen since 2004, and his first in North America since 2000, I hawk-eye fan circles oozing with Days of Our Lives levels of melodrama: Fear it will be a poor movie. Fear it won't do well. Confidence it will be the best of the series. Nuances being picked at and praised. Marketing being discussed-- of course, none of this will matter in the next few days. Fans will see the film and within 72 hours media outlets will label it a hit or miss. Maybe sooner.

Right now I grow weary of speculating and talking about the new film. Everything that can possibly be said about the movie before it opens has been said on just about every fan forum and media outlet ad nauseam-- including my own write-up here. The only thing left to do is see the film.

How much does the movie matter though? Yes it's the second attempt at an Americanized Godzilla and yes I know some fans want a “gritty” “realistic” take on the franchise. (That seems to be the hip thing these days.) I also know that fans want it to do well so that Legendary, or even Toho, will continue with Godzilla's future. It's been 60 years. Godzilla has survived three, arguably four hiatuses, poor films and box office blunders. This includes both America and Japan. For better or for worse, Godzilla will survive this as well.

What if it's a good, successful film? Awesome! We have a solid entry in the series with hope for more. If it's a good film that's unsuccessful? We still have another good movie to add to the franchise. Lets enjoy it. If it's a poor movie that's unsuccessful? Well they tried. It won't be the first weak film in the series . I don't think it will be the last either.

The thing is, to paraphrase August Ragone, I'm not going to pour all my hopes for the Godzilla franchise into this one, two hour movie. It's exciting to be sure, but, personally, I would be equally excited if it were a traditional, Toho Godzilla film. Yes the novelty of seeing it in theaters adds an amount of anticipation, but the cast, the crew, the budget-- they're spectacular to be sure, but not the selling point for me. I didn't start watching the franchise for American actors, Hollywood styles and big budgets. I love the franchise for its Japanese actors, its Japanese style of filmmaking and the magic they pull with a fraction of Hollywood's allowance. I watch them because they aren't American films.

The new film looks impressive both in technical aspects and visual approach. Still, few fans realize that in Hollywood Godzilla is no longer 'King' of an entire genre and special effects style. He is a pauper invited to play in someone else's sandbox. Someone else's visual style. Ultraman, Super Sentai (Power Rangers), Gamera, even anime and, to a lesser extent, Gorgo and Doctor Who, play in a sandbox that Godzilla built. Legendary's Godzilla, on the other hand, puts him in Steven Spielberg's and James Cameron's playground; a facility built by Jurassic Park and Terminator 2. He is the underling to those pioneers in American cinema. In some sense the bigger, more expensive Hollywood approach is like a demotion in disguise.

The fact Godzilla is getting a promising treatment through Hollywood filmmaking is exciting, no doubt; but it's not enough to put the importance of this movie above all the rest. It will not impact the Hollywood film industry like the older films did with the Japanese industry. It may breathe new life into the franchise at best, but that's been done before.

I once thought that Legendary's Godzilla was the last hope to revitalize tokusatsu. But with Ultraman, Kamen Rider and Super Sentai still kicking, new Gamera and Kikaider films on the way and even Lionsgate's announcement of a new Power Rangers film perhaps I was premature to think it on life support. It also puts my mind at ease that Godzilla will return to that family one day; whether the Legendary film is a success or not.

Legendary's Godzilla probably won't be the “end all, be all” of the series, nor will it tarnish it. The most harm or good it can do to a 60 year old franchise is add to an already impressive legacy. Lets not forget that Godzilla is inherently Japanese. The campiness. The absurdity. The special effects style-- It should all be embraced. Its Japanese feel is why we love these movies to begin with. (Whether some realize it or not.) And many years from now, long after Edwards' Godzilla, the series will still be praised and misunderstood for being Japanese. Without shame, but great love, I'm quite happy about that.

On May 16th the franchise does not begin or end. It continues. I look forward to it.


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Written by G. H. (Gman)Published on 2014-05-08 13:01:07
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1 Fan responses to Godzilla Will Still Be Godzilla After May 16th


2KMember2674 XPMay-10-2014 1:52 AM

Thanks for this great article GMAN!

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