godzilla mothra and king ghidorah giant monsters all out attack

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During GMK shooting one of the staff guys brought his kid to the set. Many people do and so it was no big deal. However, this kid… He was like a Geiger counter. The closer he got to Godzilla the more he went off. Pull him back and he’d calm down, bring him close and he was screaming and kicking. His dad held him long enough to get a photo, while the entire staff howled with laughter. But the best was, when it was over and the kid was far enough away from Godzilla to calm down he said while gasping for air, ‘Mothra’s more agreeable.’” (x)

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Godzilla: Millenium Series:

  1. Godzilla 2000(Gojira ni-sen mireniamu) -1999-
  2. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (Gojira tai Megagirasu: Jî shômetsu sakusen) - 2000-
  3. Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidorâ: Daikaijû sôkôgeki) -2001-
  4. Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla (Gojira tai Mekagojira) -2002-
  5. Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (Gojira tai Mosura tai Mekagojira: Tôkyô S.O.S.) -2003-
  6. Godzilla: Final Wars (Gojira: Fainaru uôzu) -2004-
Godzilla and the Beauty of Flexible Allegory

So the original Gojira was a metaphor for nuclear destruction. Just thought you should know that. As though you didn’t already.

A certain subset of the Godzilla fandom is doing something kinda silly again, and I’m not entirely sure where it came from and why it’s suddenly rampant. Basically, what some people are doing is completely disparaging the entirety of the franchise for its lack of nuclear allegory, except of course the first and most recent film. Part of this comes from personal preference for seriousness and darkness, but another portion of this subgroup is saying this due to a lack of awareness for the significance of the rest of the franchise. I’d like to dig a bit into this subject. Quite a bit actually.

Before we begin, I must admit that I once had a mentality not all too different to those criticizing these films. I used to be relatively pretentious and inflexible in my kaiju preferences, and if I were like this today, I’d probably consider Gojira and Shin Godzilla to be the only good films within the entirety of the series’s 62 year lifespan. However, there came a time when I decided to watch a good portion of the Hesei films because of “how terrible they were”, and though they are not the best Godzilla movies, they certainly have more than enough going for them and are actually quite unique. As soon as I realized this, I became a bit embarrassed for my accusations, because I feel as though I was somewhat responsible for driving away many of my friends from the character but also the entire Tokusatsu genre. Since then, I was converted to a massive fan, and life’s been good ever since. Allow me to elaborate what changed my mind on the matter so dramatically for those who may not understand.

There is no doubt that all of the films that came out between 1954 and 2016 have retained some level of cheesiness and perhaps, as one more critical viewer may posit, immaturity in its tone compared to the source material, but just because something may appear cheesy or silly does not disclose it from having meaning. Sure, the nuclear allegory was kinda dropped after Godzilla Raids Again, but what followed immediately after was strong sattire with the release of King Kong vs Godzilla, and a complete transformation of the character into something completely different yet still relevant to the time. Now of course I’ll be paraphrasing here, but what has happened is that in the Showa series alone, Godzilla has transformed from a representation of nuclear devastation, to a consequence of corporate greed, to a revitalized and reconciled hero. With the advent of Ghidrah came a need to recognize that there are bigger ordeals than man continually fucking up your sleeping patterns with their selfish acts, and a deadly and territorial monster becomes a collaborating, defensive, and even loving creature.

By the time the Hesei era arises, Godzilla does a complete 180 and regresses to become a primary/secondary threat for the next 10 years. This may seem completely contradictory to what the character has been built up to, but it’s due in part to the fact that 1984’s Godzilla Returns was based on relevant and consequential subject matter. Godzilla simply retaliated in a chaotic way to straighten us out. However, he still maintains a level of charm and compassion for his own child, and his smugness towards man is still maintained (especially with that quite jarring and awesome moment in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah). To understand Godzilla’s deeper meaning is not to just recognize his original intent and meaning. As the times change, aspects of the character are maintained, but they are adapted to better suit relevant stories and topics, as well as for the significant level of experimentation that takes place with the continuity of the Hesei era.

Now the Millenium films are a difficult subject to grasp compared to everything else, because each film (aside from SOS) are only truly connected to the first movie. However, one relevant entry is Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, released in 2001 and containing one of the objectively best stories in the franchise (DON’T DISPUTE ME). This is one of the strangest films in the Millenium series due to its use of spiritual aspects and reversion to discussion of Japanese Nationalism, made as a response to the reign of the Nippon Kaigi political party. It is a matter of remembering where we came from and what we are to do in the future that not only drives this movie, but also Shin Godzilla (to a somewhat lesser extent). “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, and this terrifying rendition of Godzilla is intent on teaching us that lesson the only way he knows how: through carnage.

Even the American remake from 2014, which I find to be one of my personal favorite films in the entire franchise, plays around with the use of nuclear power and those who utilize them perhaps too liberally. It harkens back to the original film’s intentional message but adapts it in a way that evokes a concern that is often overlooked. Godzilla’s personality is like that of the later Showa films, but his capabilities of causing chaos and desolation are still present. Ultimately, it serves as a lesson that if we are not willing to fix our own damn problems, nature may manage to do it for us. Whether or not it does though, the process is gonna be ugly either way.

And finally, with Shin Godzilla, it expresses an idea on political action and cooperation, which almost resembles GMK’s agenda, although there is some incongruity in whether or not the fanbase considers its intent to be one of right-wing value, left-wing value, or something in-between. But upon further inspection, that is not what makes Shin Godzilla a relevant entry. As mentioned before it hints at the message that we have to remember where we came from in order to recognize where we are going, and the film’s last quote by Rando Yaguchi helps to bring that point across. After witnessing the movie’s events, it is now left to us to estimate what the best course of action from that point ought to be for the future of Japan in a Godzilla-infected world. (In fact, it’s actually fitting that Godzilla evolves throughout that film, almost as though that particular incarnation represents the changing of times and dangers as we develop as a society)

Just a last minute disclaimer, I do not want to make it seem that the only reason I like these films is because they are indeed filled with allegory and valuable lessons, because of course I love the franchise for its more brazen and violent aspects. That’s a part of what makes Godzilla Godzilla. However, I want to put across that his ability to change his motive and relevance to the story to represent the bigger issue is another important aspect of the character. That’s why it now bothers me so much that we still have people who only view the original film as worthy of any viewing. Has nothing clever ever been put to cinema, cable television, or the video game genre ever been light-hearted or funny? For god’s sake, the original film was made in response not just to the infamous Lucky Dragon incident, but also censorship in Japanese society after American globalization and reform had taken place. It’s like getting upset at the Gorillaz for their inconsistency in music style and subject matter across a single album.

I have heard so many people try to dispute against these people who just disregard or even hate the rest of the franchise due to its “tackiness”, ignoring the amount of effort it takes to create those storyboards and make those sets and design the kaiju AND to actually get to filming within such a short amount of time. Part of the problem is ignorance, an inability to recognize that there is genuine value in the character and his beautiful ability to change at a whim when he needs to. If you happen to be one of those people, I am in no way upset with you. However, if you continue to express this idea with that knowledge in mind because YOU are unable to see that value… I’m still not upset at you. More than anything, it’s the issue of judging a book by its cover that motivates that apathy, and I just wish that we could all take off these rose-tinted glasses and recognize the 20+ films we often disregard as well-made for what they really are. What they are is Godzilla, and Godzilla is adaptable.

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Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah (2001) trailer (x).

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1. Godzilla (1954)

2. Godzilla Raids Again (1955)

3. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

4. Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

5. Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

6. Monster Zero (1965)

7. Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966)

8. Son of Godzilla (1967)

9. Destroy All Monsters (1968)

10. All Monsters Attack (1969)

11. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)

12. Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)

13. Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)

14. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)

15. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)

16. The Return of Godzilla (1984)

17. Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989)

18. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991)

19. Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)

20. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993)

21. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994)

22. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

23. Godzilla (1998)

24. Godzilla 2000 (1999)

25. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus (2000)

26. Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters, All-Out Attack (2001)

27. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002)

28. Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003)

29. Godzilla Final Wars (2004)

30. Godzilla (2014)

31. Shin Godzilla (2016)

32. Godzilla: Monster Planet (2017)

33. [untitled anime Godzilla movie] (2018?)

34. [untitled anime Godzilla movie 2] (2019?)

35. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

36. Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)