Original Godzilla Untamed

By Ismary Munet

GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL demonstrates Ishirô Honda’s work, which combined themes of war drama and monsters unlike any other film before. The special effects of an earlier time, and the evident themes of the psychological, cultural, and natural effects of nuclear war, specifically in Japan’s history, remind us why the film is originally unique.

This original reminds us of a technologically simpler time; where a man in a specially crafted suit posed as a gigantic monster, which in the story is created by radiation. Those behind the film, managed to keep how the monster was created a secret.

The film opens with dramatic background music, and the famous roars of the ultimate Japanese monster. After an explosion in the sea, multiple fishing boats start to go missing. Though officials attempt to blame it on a sea mine or volcanic eruption, the destruction on Odo Island has village elders speaking of the old tale of Godzilla who comes up out of the sea when food is scarce.

Scientist Dr. Yamane, along with a fact finding party, go to the island to discover what they describe as “a [150 feet tall] creature from the Jurassic Period.” They suspect that H-Bomb tests may have damaged Godzilla’s natural habitat.

Adding to the complexity of the story, the love triangle between Emiko, Serizawa, who she is arranged to be married with, and Ogata, whom she really loves, also heightens the tragedy and dramatic effect the film has on viewers; especially when Serizawa gives up his own life, not solely to destroy Godzilla and save Japan, but to also allow Emiko and Serizawa to live their life together.

The film portrays how Japan continued to overcome the aftermath and psychological effects of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which is something the U.S. version does not highlight, but is crucial to the entire film.

The film itself, though it has its instances of wit, humor, and action, was also a warning against the continued use of nuclear testing as Dr. Yamane ends the film saying: “If we keep testing H-Bombs, another Godzilla will appear, again, somewhere in the world…”

Directed by Ishirô Honda
Produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka
Special Effects Directed by Eiji Tsuburaya
Screenplay by Takeo Murata and Ishirô Honda
Original Story by Shigeru Kayama

The new restoration of ISHIRÔ HONDA’S GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL which will have a theatrical run in NYC (Film Forum) and major cities April 18-24 to commemorate the film’s 60th Anniversary. For more: visit www.filmforum.org.

Avatar photo

About AsianInNY

AsianInNY.com is New York’s leader in Asian networking and a multi-cultural entertainment site. AsianInNY has established itself as the premier social and cultural authority for Asians in New York City. AsianInNY maintains the highest standards in providing reliable online content and producing live offline events. AsianInNY seeks to inspire, educate, and connect our community, using a versatile platform that engages our audience via a multi-layered digital presence that showcases the best of New York City. Our pages are updated daily with a rich cultural mix of news, events, interviews, and more. AsianInNY: Connect with Everything Asian!