Godzilla – For The First Time

Today I watched the original 1954 Godzilla film, and it was very interesting.

To look at this film from an autoethnographic perspective, my background is very much Australian, and before that English, so it’s easy to say that this style of film isn’t the typical kind of movie that I would elect to watch. I am very used to western films and I have grown quite accustom to them, I am from a very small family and in saying that, there is not much cultural diversity. This essential background of my culture and viewing habits might shed light to why I feel the way I do about the original Japanese 1954 Godzilla film.

Honestly, I’m really just not a huge fan of the Monster genre, any of the Godzilla films are ones that I wouldn’t choose to watch.

I have only really seen snippets of the modern Godzilla remakes, so I didn’t really know a lot of the story line or the characters, but something that I didn’t expect from an older film, was a strong female protagonist. This was a pleasant surprise, and something that I really admired about the film. The original Japanese Godzilla (compared to the scenes of the western remakes that I have seen) also demonstrates much more respect between characters.

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To my surprise, I did enjoy the plot and was very captivated towards the end when solution (the ‘oxygen liquefier’) was debated. I didn’t exactly start that interested, I am very used to modern films, and the ‘special’ effects of 1954 weren’t really that ‘special’ compared to what I’m used to. Technology has come a long way, so that did really distract the initial engagement from me. But after a slow start, when the plot started to thicken, I surprisingly found myself eager to see what happened.

Something that was brought to may attention, that I didn’t entirely realise when I watched the film, was the Japanese history and controversy that was represented by Godzilla and the destruction caused by the monster. I believe that my westernised background shadowed me from connecting Japans history with the plot. Identifying Godzilla with the Hiroshima atomic bomb; to have an almost unstoppable monster portray the similar destruction that the atomic bomb caused in 1945 was very effective in terms of engagement. The film “posed deliberately inflammatory questions about the balance of postwar power and the development of nuclear energy”

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The connecting themes between the Hiroshima devastation and Godzilla were not what I was expecting, but it effectively engages the audience with the horrific events of Hiroshima 1945.

 

References:

Martin, 2014, Godzilla: why the Japanese original is no joke, ‘The Telegraph’, Available From: < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10788996/Godzilla-why-the-Japanese-original-is-no-joke.html > [Viewed 29th July 2017]

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4 comments

  1. emmacongdon · July 31

    Reblogged this on Digital Asia.

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  2. isabellemoran · August 3

    We generally come from the same background and I’m used to watching the same genre so I had a similar experience with this film. I agree with your point about the special effects… It’s what we are used to, so when we watch something without it I guess it could be perceived as dull. You should check out this blog http://mentalfloss.com/article/24209/no-cgi-please-special-effects-computers it has videos and text that formally explain how they conducted special effects before computers. It might give you a different perspective and make you appreciate it a little more. Awesome post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. daisy244 · August 3

    I was on the same wave length in terms of finding out the link between Godzilla and the tragedy that was Hiroshima. I am happy to have learnt this. It is also amazing to see how far special effects have developed over time and to think this was the most advanced and impressive special effects of the time. My favourite part of the film was the underwater sequence, how they made that happen I would loved to have seen (extremely tedious, I’m sure). I was reading this article – http://www.thefocuspull.com/features/gojira-japanese-original/ , that goes a little deeper in highlighting how long it took to make it work: “At the time, a typical film production would last about 50 days and Godzilla spent 71 days shooting only visual effects.” Its a good read, I suggest you check it out! 🙂

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  4. the Pink Protagonist · August 7

    Interesting. I always feel I was blessed to be friends with people who enjoyed watching indie movies, and foreign films. Reading a lot of these blogs has made me appreciate that so much more. There was actually an article done about the original Godzilla in the UK Telegraph : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10788996/Godzilla-why-the-Japanese-original-is-no-joke.html. I will 100% admit I giggled at the beginning of the movie, but once I realised the true story. It sort of sunk in and I wasn’t laughing anymore. I’ve watched 2 remakes and they don’t even come close to the same effect that the original has (and would have had). Since glad your introduction to this genre is so much better than mine 😉 because of you ever see the western versions, you’ll realise very quickly how they’ve changed it to represent themselves. 😉

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