Discussion in 'Community' started by Eeth-my-Koth, Jul 17, 2013.
True, camp is a part of the genre. It's like even Gojira had the mad scientist with the patch over his eye. The only thing he was missing was a smoke pipe and a metal hook for a hand. And "Oxygen destroyer" sounds pretty pulpish to me.
It's really about the quantity of it. The camp really started to overwhelm the series with baby Godzilla and the 70's editions.
But I still loved them as a kid. Ate em right up. Godzilla vs Gigan and vs Mechagodzilla just buzzed my brain.
I didn't find the appearance to be problematic, in isolation. I did object to the fact that they made thinly veiled attempt to capitalize off Jurassic Park by letting a giant velociraptor attack New York.
I'd disagree, it got pretty much outright ridiculous in Raids Again, so much so that I'm pretty sure it was only the raw temporal precedence in Godzilla's creation that led Toho to use him in King Kong vs., since they wanted it to be an anniversary celebration of sorts. I think you could make a case for Mothra vs. being less goofy, and certainly King Kong vs. is a by-the-numbers monster fight, but by Ghidorah they've got freaking Mothra larva negotiating a three-way peace accord with Godzilla and Rodan so that they can protect the earth from King Ghidorah. I'd say it was a lost cause by then.
I think it's a problem because, somewhere in between all the different iterations of the Toho Godzilla, there exists a kind of mental prototype, a platonic ideal of Godzilla, if you will. He just looks a certain way. And he's not a generic monster or special effect; he's a character. Like any character with a long multi-creator history, you can stretch him, play around with him, bend him to emphasize certain aspects of the character through his physical appearance, but you can only go so far. At some point you're no longer playing with the same character. It's like putting Indiana Jones in a Stetson, or putting a mask on Superman. You might be able to see it if you squint, but it's just not right.
I also think it's important for there to be at least some level of humanness in the character. The shape and design may have initially been due to a financial inability to achieve the kind of stop-motion animation Honda had admired in King Kong, but I think it's ultimately been a boon to the series. The element of humanity that comes through in Godzilla's motion makes him easier to relate to on an unconscious level. We can empathize him him or fear him to a different degree than we could with a more generic beast. Because he's not quite an animal he project malice and a variety of other outsized representations of human emotions. It's what allows him to be a terrifying allegorical figure or a goofy defender of the planet, and many points in between. In that way, Godzilla is one of the most successfully and widely malleable characters in contemporary pop-culture. But you can only take it so far.
Look at all the suits used between 1954 and 2001, and you'll see that despite the widely diverging physical elements across the years, they all fit a basic template, and all look like Godzilla. Through GINO in there and you'll quickly have a case of "one of these things is not like the others".
And on top of that, it's a mistake on a genre level to make him look more like a lizard. It's not really important where Godzilla comes from, or how he is or isn't scientifically plausible. Those things can have their place in a Godzilla move, but they're usually brushed aside in a scene or two like in Gojira, or relegated to a small subplot like in Godzilla 1984. The main problem with GINO is that Emmerich and Devlin don't understand the kind of movie that they're making. They're not making a giant monster movie, they're making another entry in their generic series of scientific disaster movies, and because the don't understand the basis or the uses of the original design, they decide that it's cheesy and discard it (despite having an excellent variation on the classical design done up by Stan Winston before they came onto the production) in favor of a kind of generic design that pays lipservice to the original while ignoring what gives it a sense of character. It's Indiana Jones in a stetson, because Stetsons and Fedoras are both hats, right?
I could get more into how Devlin and Emmerich misunderstood the genre they were working in for that movie, but I don't have time to delve into it at the moment, but maybe I will later.
Really, I thought old spikey vs Godzilla still tried to maintain some of that serious tone. Sure there was camp, but it still seemed minimal compared to stuff like vs Smog Monster.
Godzilla vs The Thing(Mothra) still had a pretty creepy Godzilla.
Maybe I have a camp tolerance?
Darth Low Budget, nice link to all the suits. My fave is still the original from Gojira up to what I would guess would be Godzilla vs Mothra. He looks the meanest there. And that suit just wouldn't work for his later 70's persona. He'd looked way out of place. His softer, rounded edges in the 70's fit the softening of his actions. It fit.
edit: Biollante? Meant the Smog Monster(Hedorah).
If nothing else...? A classic Godzilla movie is nothing unless Japanese F-86 Sabres are deployed.
I think a lot of people are going to be watching this movie and thinking, "shouldn't Gipsy Danger and Striker Eureka be showing up soon?"
Generation 1 Jaeger
Can't wait to see the new Godzilla movie.
This... kinda sounds like something I'd hear in a Final Fantasy game while walking down a long flight of stairs.
That's pretty fantastic actually- I've yet to watch either version of the original in its entirety- is that music in both versions? Or just Gojira?
Wait, I thought the whole point of the monster was that he was a personification (so to speak) of nuclear weapons and their effects? I thought that was a major thing that distinguished it from a generic monster movie. Wasn't he supposed to have been "unleashed" or something by nuclear weapons in the original film?
He was a metaphor for America/Hiroshima bombings and the fears over nuclear radiation effects in a post-WW2 Japan.
In which case, aren't his origins sort of important?
I think he means it is not important that Godzilla be the mutated result of a specifically identified species so far as the design of his physiology goes.
In the first film, yes they were. But not so everything that followed.
edit: In the first film I think they mentioned it was some sort of dinosaur thought extinct that had mutated as a result of the tests in the Pacific atolls, etc.
No, his origins aren't necessarily important in a literal sense. In the original he is vaguely "awakened" by H-Bomb testing. Maybe. Or maybe he's a vengeful island god. Who knows? Where he comes from is less important than what he is and what he does. After all, does it matter what lab the atom bomb was built in when you have to deal with the day-to-day aftermath of an atomic attack?
Remember a big part of the original film is how we deal with a horror so great as to be almost beyond comprehension, and what us costs us to deal with it. Heck, Godzilla is almost treated a little bit as a victim in the film as well.
The Japanese movies were never as concerned over that, even though you're right to suggest that it might be important in that context. In the Emmerich film, however, they obsess over that detail even though it isn't thematically important to the story they're trying (failing) to tell. It's just a bunch of sound and fury without a unifying context. Their fixation on some kind of dubious scientific plausibility is indicative of not actually having anything to say, or thinking there's anything to be said.
Rockets! Rockets! Tunik! Ewok.... ROCKETTSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Darth Low Budget
Yeah, thats right. There's that conference scene where the scientists think he might be some mutated ancient dinosaur. The islanders in the film when he appears think he's some island god washed ashore during a storm. You're right. It's not definitive in the film.
You mention an important point about the 98 film too: they use the nuclear mutation creation to no end. It doesn't serve their story at all.
Nuclear mutation many have been an important topic of the times when Godzilla first came up, but it's just not anymore. In order to remain relevant, Godzilla will probably have to change his origin as well.
It's been a long time since the nation of Japan has been staggered by a nuclear disaster.
Fukushima is not as large as the media made it out to be. Radiation levels are still orders of magnitude below unsafe. So i'd argue that it is different. The initial era of godzilla was marked it ever escalating nuclear tests. Today? Nuclear "disasters" which end up being harmless and kim jong un's crappy nuclear weapons.
The difference is huge.
But nuclear weapons are still a very real threat that carries a lot of weight - look at how absolutely nuts everyone goes whenever we suspect a new country might eventually have access to a nuclear arsenal.
Godzilla isn't meant to represent abstract fears of all things nuclear, as you seem to be suggesting. He's not created by nuclear tests because they were an easy means of explaining a mutation, he's created by nuclear tests because he is the atomic bomb. If anything that connection has become more relevant in an era where one of our greatest fears is a nuclear strike that doesn't answer to any government.