Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla was an interesting film which blended a dark tone with Spielbergian filmmaking techniques. It also proved very divisive, with some people wanting more (and better lit) monster action or stronger human elements while others praised its moody atmosphere use of modern environmental themes. Whatever your opinions on the film, Godzilla 2014 is the first film in decades to take more influence from the original film and less from the rest of the franchise’s history.
A new video essay from Rafael Gamboa, posted in honor of the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshoma, breaks down the thematic and stylistic ties between 1954’s Gojira and 2014’s Godzilla. Check it out:
Just out of curiosity, why did Godzilla become more cartoony over the years?
Because culture changes and cultural icons change along with it. As the video points out, Japan used Godzilla as a form of cultural expression in an era where they were recovering from two nuclear attacks.
As Japan moved away from the grief of the World War II era and entered a period of rapid growth, Godzilla was no longer needed as a cautionary tale of nuclear violence and thus evolved into Japan’s cinematic mascot. Instead of a vengeful force of destruction, he was redesigned as a puppy dog nosed protector with a freakish looking kid who was supposed to be cute. He also gained a stable of frenemies that included Rodan and Mothra.
So, what was Roland Emmerich trying to say with his Godzilla in 1998?
We’re not entirely sure, but there are several themes he tried to convey. Chief among those themes seem to be that fat people like candy and monsters like fish. Oh, and Jean Reno is a total bad ass.
Are there any more videos from this Rafa guy?
There are! Check out his previous (and first) video on the similarities and differences between entertainment movies, dramas, and arthouse films. It’ll make you look at movies in a very different light.