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.
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”
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.
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]