October 19, 2004 11:05 AM   Subscribe

INCREDIBLE, UNSTOPPABLE TITAN OF TERROR! He's attacked other monsters and terrorized Japan for decades. Now Godzilla is confronting academics who want to wrestle with his legacy. The University of Kansas plans to pay homage to the giant lizard later this month, organizing a three-day scholarly conference for the 50th anniversary of his first film. Planners want to provoke discussion of globalization, Japanese pop culture and Japanese-American relations after World War II. "I would like people to take Godzilla more seriously," said Bill Tsutsui, a history professor at the University of Kansas and author of the book "Godzilla on My Mind". (more inside)
posted by matteo (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Info on the Festival here

Joe R Lansdale's masterful story, Godzilla's Twelve-Step Program
posted by matteo at 11:10 AM on October 19, 2004

The original Godzilla's a pretty heavy movie. Less than a decade after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you've got a movie about a giant monster, created by the bomb, kicking the shit out of Tokyo. Imagine a 2010 movie about a giant mechanical Osama Bin Laden fucking with New York. Even if Ben Affleck figures out how to stop MechOsama by the end of the movie, it's a pretty ballsy act of cultural scab-picking...

The movie even sets up some really interesting parellels with the Manhattan project. The guy who builds the weapon they use to stop Godzilla stumbles across a huge source of energy, and then hushes it up for fear of it being used as a weapon. But in extremis, he agrees that the greater good requires him to weaponize it.

I almost read this as saying that, well, the Manhattan project is understandable. And coming from postwar Japan, that's a pretty hardcore statement.
posted by COBRA! at 11:38 AM on October 19, 2004

i think because the original was such a heavy movie, the sequels had to be 'sillified'. That's one of the positive uses of art, working out big cultural fears in the open, instead of hiding them and letting them fester.

Metafilter: cultural scab-picking.
posted by Miles Long at 11:49 AM on October 19, 2004

It is interesting to compare the Japanese version of the Godzilla and the way that they were edited to be American movies for the North American market. Stripped of its social commentary, the American version (with Raymond Burr) is just plain awful (still cool to see Godzilla).

Secondly, the recent US version of Godzilla from 2000 was a meditation on completely missing the point. "Hey, lets take Godzilla, and make him FAST!!"

This is a fantastic post, thank you.
posted by Quartermass at 12:04 PM on October 19, 2004

At this time of year, us NYers are only interested in one Godzilla.
posted by adamms222 at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2004

Wow, that Lansdale story is great.
posted by logovisual at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2004

Oh, no, there goes Tokyo...

I was lucky enough to catch the restored version of the original Japanese film a couple of months ago. You all are right--that film is deep. It was an odd experience to see it in a theater with an audience, though. The audience was plainly expecting cheezy rubber-monster silliness, and they didn't quite know whether to laugh or not.
posted by MrBadExample at 5:31 PM on October 19, 2004

Interesting. Happy birthday, big guy.
And that Lansdale story totally rocks.

In honour of Godzilla's big five-oh, there's also an art show in San Francisco, California and a film festival in Portland, both called Fifty Years of Godzilla.
posted by DyRE at 6:42 PM on October 19, 2004

San Francisco is having a film festival, too. It will give us Americans a chance to see, IMHO, the greatest movie of all time.
posted by greasepig at 12:10 AM on October 20, 2004

Is Godzilla Born-Again ?
posted by troutfishing at 8:48 PM on October 20, 2004

« Older Integrity 1, Sinclair Broadcasting 0   |   Why yes, there are chicks there. Roll to see if... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments