Godzilla (franchise): Wikis

  
  

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Original movie poster for Godzilla.

Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira?) is a series of giant monster films starring Godzilla, a Japanese creation usually portrayed by a man in a latex rubber suit. Starting in 1954, the Godzilla series has become one of the longest running film series in movie history.

The first film, Godzilla, was first released in the United States in 1955 in Japanese-American communities only. In 1956, it was adapted by an American company into Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, edited and with added principal scenes featuring Raymond Burr, and this version became an international success.

The original Godzilla was greatly inspired by the commercial success of the 1952 re-release of King Kong, and the 1953 success of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. Godzilla would go on to inspire Gorgo, Gamera, Cloverfield, and many others.

The name "Godzilla" is a romanization, by the film production company Toho Company Ltd., of the original Japanese name "Gojira" — which is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ) 'gorilla' and kujira (鯨, くじら) 'whale'. The word alludes to the size, power and aquatic origin of Godzilla. "Gojira" was allegedly the nickname of a large employee of Toho, but in the 50+ years since the film's original release, no one claiming to be the employee ever stepped forward and no photographs have ever surfaced.[citation needed]

Contents

Series history

The Godzilla series is generally broken into three eras reflecting a characteristic style and corresponding to the same eras used to classify all 'daikaiju eiga' (monster movies) in Japan. The first two eras refer to the Japanese emperor during production: the Shōwa era, and the Heisei era. The third is called the Millennium era as the empereor (Heisei) is the same but these films are considered to have a different style and storyline than the prior era.

Shōwa series (1954–1975)

The initial series of movies is named for the Shōwa period in Japan (as all of these films were produced before Emperor Hirohito's death in 1989). This Shōwa timeline spanned from 1954, with Godzilla Raids Again, to 1975, with Terror of Mechagodzilla. With the exceptions to the sequels Godzilla Raids Again, King Kong vs. Godzilla, and Mothra vs. Godzilla, much of this series is relatively light-hearted. Starting with Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla began evolving into a more human and playful antihero (this transition was complete by Son of Godzilla, where he is shown as a good character), and as years went by, he evolved into an anthropomorphic superhero, an Earth Defender. The films Son of Godzilla and All Monsters Attack were aimed at youthful audiences, featuring the appearance of Godzilla's son, Minilla. The Shōwa period saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, two of which (Mothra and Rodan) had their own solo movies. This period featured a well documented continuity, although the chronology becomes confusing after Destroy All Monsters. This film, set in the year 1999 transports all the monsters to Monster Island. The following film appears to be in the Japan when it was made, but Monster Island still features. Subsequent films Godzilla vs. Gigan and Godzilla vs. Megalon return to the 70s and late 60's onwards but still on an island called Monster Island. Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla set him as a free roaming wild monster again or just didn't show Monster Island at all.

Heisei series (1984–1995)

The timeline was revamped in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla; this movie was created as a direct sequel to the 1954 film, and ignores the continuity of the Shōwa series. Because of this, the original Godzilla movie is considered part of the Heisei series instead of being a part of the Showa series. Known as the VS Series, (unofficially known to American fans as the "Heisei Series", for the ruling emperor of the time), the continuity ended in 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah after a run of seven films. The reason for the continuity shift was based on a realization that the marketing of the movies had removed the reason it was so loved. When it was discovered that Godzilla was becoming more popular with children and less so with the original adult audience (Godzilla's appearance also changed: in Godzilla Raids Again, he looked like an altered Tyrannosaurus rex, but by Terror of Mechagodzilla 20 years later, he looked like a human with a lizard head, a tail and a skin disease), less complex themes were removed and Godzilla was made out to be a good guy instead of an indestructible, abhorrent mistake of men. However, the further Godzilla was taken away from his origins, the less long-term popularity his films held. Hence, The Return of Godzilla brought the series back to form with a grittier, more serious feel. This way, the film series became more popular with adults and less with children (scaring them away), but strangely enough, it attracted those new to the Godzilla series.

The "new" Godzilla was portrayed as much more of an animal than the latter Shōwa films, or as a destructive force as he began. The biological nature and science behind Godzilla became a much more discussed issue in the films, showing the increased focus of the moral focus on genetics. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah gave the first concrete birth story for Godzilla, featuring a Godzillasaurus that got mutated by radiation into Godzilla.

Millennium series (1999–2004)

The Millennium Series is the official term for the series of Godzilla movies, unofficially called the "Shinsei Series" (or even the "Alternate Reality Series") by American fans, made after the VS Series ended with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. The common theme to this era is that all movies use Godzilla (1954) as the jumping-off point. After the American Godzilla, Toho decided to show people who the "real" Godzilla was again (previously, plans for revitalizing the series were scheduled for 2004), while at the same time reinventing him.

Since the films are different, the sizes are different in some cases. Godzilla's most prominent size in this series is 55 meters (180 feet). In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack he was 60 meters (about 196 feet), and in Godzilla: Final Wars he was 100 meters tall (about 328 feet). Godzilla was originally supposed to be 50 meters (about 164 feet) in Final Wars, but budgetary cutbacks in miniature sets forced this size change.

American films

Godzilla (1998)

In October 1992, Toho allowed Sony Pictures to make a trilogy of English-language Godzilla films, with the first film to be released in 1994. In May 1993 Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio were brought on to write a script, and in July 1994 Jan De Bont signed on to direct. DeBont quit due to budget disputes, and director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin signed on before the release of the highly successful Independence Day. They rejected the previous script and Patrick Tatopoulos radically redesigned the titular monster. The film was finally scheduled for release on May 19, 1998.[1]

Godzilla was met with negative to mixed reviews and negative reaction from the fan base. Having grossed $375 million worldwide though, the studio moved ahead with a spin-off animated series. Tab Murphy wrote a treatment, but Emmerich and Devlin left the production in March 1999 due to budget disputes. The original deal was to make a sequel within five years of release of a film, but after sitting on their property, considering a reboot, Sony's rights to make a Godzilla 2 expired in May 2003.[1]

Godzilla 3D to the IMax

Yoshimitsu Banno, the maker of Godzilla vs. Hedorah, had recently acquired the rights to produce an IMAX film of his own titled Godzilla 3-D to the Max, in which Godzilla was to battle a new monster called Deathla. However, little has been heard about the project of late, and it is generally assumed to be abandoned. However, the Internet Movie Database's profile on "Godzilla 3D" currently states that the film is in pre-production as of 2011, but will most likely release in 2014, Godzilla's 60th birthday.

Rumored American Re-boot

On August 13, 2009 Legendary Pictures let slip that they have plans to do another American Godzilla movie, though it seems early discussions have begun and the movie will not be a sequel to the 1998 movie.[2] No information on the film other than this has been revealed.

Series development

Godzilla was originally an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on Earth. The radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru through the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954 lead to much press coverage in Japan preceding the release of the first movie in 1954. The Versus and Millennium Series have largely continued this concept. Some have pointed out the parallels, conscious or unconscious, between Godzilla's relationship to Japan and that of the United States; first a terrible enemy who causes enormous destruction to the cities of Japan such as Tokyo (Godzilla, The Return of Godzilla), Osaka (Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla vs. Biollante), and Yokohama (Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) in different films, but then becoming a good friend and defender in times of peril.

Films have been made over the last five decades, each reflecting the social and political climate in Japan. All but one of the 29 films were produced by Toho.

Filmography

Since 1954, there have been 28 Godzilla films produced by Toho Studios in Japan, with the US film bringing the total to 29.

Official Toho title Year Director SFX director Monster co-star(s) Alternate English titles US Licences/Media
1. Godzilla 1954 Ishiro Honda Eiji Tsuburaya None Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, Gojira Classic Media - DVD
2. Godzilla Raids Again 1955 Motoyoshi Oda Eiji Tsuburaya Anguirus Gigantis, the Fire Monster Classic Media - DVD
3. King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962 Ishiro Honda Eiji Tsuburaya King Kong, Oodako, Giant lizard Universal - DVD
4. Mothra vs. Godzilla 1964 Ishiro Honda Eiji Tsuburaya Mothra Godzilla vs. the Thing, Godzilla vs. Mothra Classic Media - DVD
5. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster 1964 Ishiro Honda Eiji Tsuburaya King Ghidorah, Mothra, Rodan Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster Classic Media - DVD
6. Invasion of Astro-Monster 1965 Ishiro Honda Eiji Tsuburaya King Ghidorah, Rodan Monster Zero, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero Classic Media - DVD
7. Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster 1966 Jun Fukuda Eiji Tsuburaya Ebirah, Mothra, Giant Condor Ebirah, Horror of the Deep Sony - DVD
8. Son of Godzilla 1967 Jun Fukuda Eiji Tsuburaya
Sadamasa Arikawa
Kamacuras, Kumonga, Minilla Sony - DVD
9. Destroy All Monsters 1968 Ishiro Honda Sadamasa Arikawa Anguirus, Baragon, Gorosaurus, King Ghidorah, Kumonga, Manda, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Varan ADV - DVD
10. All Monsters Attack 1969 Ishiro Honda Ishiro Honda Gabara, Kamacuras, Minilla (stock footage: Gorosaurus, Kumonga, Anguirus, Ebirah, Kumonga, Manda, Giant Condor) Godzilla's Revenge Classic Media - DVD
11. Godzilla vs. Hedorah 1971 Yoshimitsu Banno Teruyoshi Nakano Hedorah Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster Sony - DVD
12. Godzilla vs. Gigan 1972 Jun Fukuda Teruyoshi Nakano Anguirus, Gigan, King Ghidorah Rodan, Gorosaurus, Kamacuras, Kumonga, Minilla) Godzilla on Monster Island Sony - DVD
13. Godzilla vs. Megalon 1973 Jun Fukuda Teruyoshi Nakano Gigan, Jet Jaguar, Megalon, Angirus(stock footage: Rodan) GoodTimes - VHS
14. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla 1974 Jun Fukuda Teruyoshi Nakano Anguirus, King Caesar, Mechagodzilla(stock footage: King Ghidorah) Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster Sony - DVD
15. Terror of Mechagodzilla 1975 Ishiro Honda Teruyoshi Nakano Mechagodzilla, Titanosaurus(stock footage: King Ghidorah, Manda, Rodan) The Terror of Godzilla Classic Media - DVD
16. The Return of Godzilla 1984 Koji Hashimoto Teruyoshi Nakano Shokirus Godzilla 1985 Lakeshore Entertainment - VHS
17. Godzilla vs. Biollante 1989 Kazuki Omori Koichi Kawakita Biollante Miramax Home Entertainment - VHS
18. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah 1991 Kazuki Omori Koichi Kawakita Dorat, Godzillasaurus, King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah Godzilla vs. King Ghidora Sony - DVD
19. Godzilla vs. Mothra 1992 Takao Okawara Koichi Kawakita Battra, Mothra Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth Sony - DVD
20. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II 1993 Takao Okawara Koichi Kawakita Baby Godzilla, Rodan, Fire Rodan, Mechagodzilla, Super Mechagodzilla, Mecha-King Ghidorah (stock footage: Mothra, King Ghidorah) Sony - DVD
21. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla 1994 Kensho Yamashita Koichi Kawakita Fairy Mothra, Little Godzilla, Moguera, SpaceGodzilla(stock footage: Mothra, Battra, Biollante) Sony - DVD
22. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah 1995 Takao Okawara Koichi Kawakita Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior Sony - DVD
23. Godzilla 2000 1999 Takao Okawara Kenji Suzuki Orga G2K: Mireniamu Sony - DVD
24. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus 2000 Masaaki Tezuka Kenji Suzuki Meganulon, Meganula, Megaguirus Sony - DVD
25. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack 2001 Shusuke Kaneko Makoto Kamiya Baragon, King Ghidorah, Mothra Sony - DVD
26. Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla 2002 Masaaki Tezuka Yûichi Kikuchi Mechagodzilla, (stock footage: Mothra, Gaira) Sony - DVD
27. Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. 2003 Masaaki Tezuka Eiichi Asada Kamoebas, Mechagodzilla, Mothra Sony - DVD
28. Godzilla: Final Wars 2004 Ryuhei Kitamura Eiichi Asada Anguirus, Ebirah, Gigan, Hedorah, Monster X/Keizer Ghidorah, Kamacuras, King Caesar, Kumonga, Manda, Minilla, Mothra, Rodan, Zilla, Gotengo (stock footage: Varan, Baragon, Gezora, Gaira, Titanosaurus, Megaguirus) Sony - DVD

Yoshimitsu Banno, director of Godzilla vs. Hedorah, has acquired permission to make a 40-minute film for IMAX theaters, and has secured close to complete funding.

No. Title Year Director SFX Director Monster Co-Star(s)
1 Godzilla 3-D 2011 [[]] [[]] Godzilla

Also, the following movies are in the Godzilla franchise, but were not produced by Toho.

Title Year Monster Co-Star(s)
1. Godzilla 1998 American Godzilla Dean Devlin Roland Emmerich

Possible Rumored American Sequel

Title Year Monster Co-Star(s)
1. Godzilla (Legendary Pictures Re-boot) 2012 Godzilla TBA TBA Godzilla

Other media

Books

Godzilla also had his own series of books published by Random House during the late 1990s. The company created different series for different age groups, the Scott Ciencin series being aimed at children.

Several manga have been derived from specific Godzilla films, and both Marvel and Dark Horse have published Godzilla comic book series (1977–1979 and 1987–1999, respectively).

Music

Blue Öyster Cult released the song "Godzilla" in 1977. The introduction to the live version (1982) directly references the first Godzilla movie "...lurking for millions of years, encased in a block of ice, evil incarnate, waiting to be melted down and to rise again."

The song "Simon Says" by Pharoahe Monch is a hip-hop remix of the Godzilla March theme song. The instrumental version of this song was notably used in the 2000 film "Charlie's Angels".

British band Lostprophets released a song called We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan on their second studio album Start Something. It is track 12, and is 4.05 minutes long, or 3.30 for the radio edit.

The American punk band, Groovie Ghoulies released a song called 'Hats Off To You (Godzilla)' as a tribute to Godzilla. It is featured on the EP 'Freaks on Parade' released in 2002.

Label Shifty issued compilation Destroysall with 15 songs from 15 bands, ranging from hardcore punk to doom-laden death metal. Not all songs are dedicated to Godzilla, but all do appear connected to monsters from Toho studios. Fittingly, the disc was released on August 1, 2003, the 35th anniversary of the Japanese release of DESTROY ALL MONSTERS.

Television

Putting the Godzilla films' suits and effects crew to further use were several Japanese television shows such as Ultra Q, Ultraman and the Toho-produced Zone Fighter and some shows inspired by it used the suits occasionally for cameos. Godzilla Island and Monster Planet Of Godzilla primarily followed the further adventures of the kaiju featured in the films.

The success of the Godzilla franchise has spawned two U.S. Saturday morning cartoons: Godzilla and Godzilla: The Series. Both series feature an investigative scientific team who call upon Godzilla as an ally. The series make several homages to the Shōwa films and several antagonist monsters have been inspired by extant Toho creations.

Video games

Cultural impact

Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide and remains an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the kaiju subset of the tokusatsu genre. He has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the United States, as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in general. The earlier Godzilla films, especially the original Godzilla, portrayed Godzilla as a frightening, nuclear monster. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese held about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the possibility of recurrence.[3]

Much of Godzilla's popularity in the United States can be credited with TV broadcasts of the Toho Studios monster movies during the 1960s and 1970s.[citation needed] The American company UPA contracted with Toho to distribute its monster movies of the time, and UPA continues to hold the license today for the Godzilla films of the 1960s and 1970s. Sony currently holds some of those rights, as well as the rights to every Godzilla film produced from 1991 onward. The Blue Öyster Cult song "Godzilla" also contributed to the popularity of the movies. The creature also made an appearance in a Nike commercial, in which Godzilla went one-on-one with NBA star Charles Barkley.

At least two prehistoric creatures from the fossil record have been named after Godzilla. Gojirasaurus quayi is a theropod dinosaur that lived in the Triassic Period; a partial skeleton was unearthed in Quay County, New Mexico. Dakosaurus andiniensis, a crocodile from the Jurassic Period, was nicknamed "Godzilla" before being scientifically classified.

Recognition

In 1996, after his then-final appearance in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla received an award for Lifetime Achievement at the MTV Movie Awards. Creator and producer Shogo Tomiyama accepted on his behalf via satellite but was joined by "Godzilla" himself.

On November 29, 2004, Godzilla received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. and near Drew Barrymore 1.

References

  1. ^ a b Keith Aiken (2007-01-10). "GODZILLA 2 RUMORS UNFOUNDED". Sci-Fi Japan. http://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2007/01/10/godzilla-2-rumors-unfounded/. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2] The Monster That Morphed Into a Metaphor, By Terrence Rafferty, May 2, 2004, NYTimes
  • Allsop, S "Gojira?Godzilla' in Bowyer, Justin (2002). 24 Frames: The Cinema of Japan and Korea. London: Wallflower Press. 
  • "Godzilla taking a break -- for now". Japanese film producer putting star on hiatus. CNN. 4 March 2004.
  • Kroke, Arthur, and Marilouise Kroke, "Ctheory: Tokyo Must Be Destroyed". Theory, technology and culture, Ctheory. VOL 18, NO 1-2 Article 27b 95/06/22 Editors:

Further reading

  • Galbraith, Stuart. Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films : A Critical Analysis of 103 Features Released in the United States, 1950-1992. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. 1994.

External links

Official sites







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