“Oh no there goes Tokyo. Go go Godzilla” so Blue Öyster Cult sings. Now there are a lot of movies that have had an impact on the world, but few have hit the level that Godzilla has. I’ve already reviewed all of the Godzilla films, but now I want to talk a little bit about the rest of the stuff that Godzilla has been in or has affected. I will never be able to convey the greatness that is Godzilla, but I will give it my best.
The beginning of giant monster movies goes back pretty far. Godzilla was not the first but he is probably the most popular (28 fucking movies bitches, I don’t think there is any other series that has that many movies) with the next being King Kong (who fought each other in Godzilla’s third outing). It can be argued that King Kong was the first giant monster movie and I really don’t disagree, but being the first doesn’t always make you the best or the one that has the most impact. Godzilla topples Kong in numerous ways. For one, just the sheer number of movies and offshoots that Godzilla has created is enough to put most in their place, but if that isn’t enough just think about all (just about) of the other giant monster movies that have come since Godzilla first appeared. They tend to follow the formula that Godzilla laid down. Don’t get me wrong, King Kong is a great movie, an icon and it has made its own impact on society, but I’m just saying that Godzilla, even though he came later, has made even more of an impact (plus the original Kong was a shrimp compared to Godzilla).
Some of the most popular monster movies that have come since Godzilla, consist of Gamera (a flying flaming turtle, fucking cool), Rodan (who has made his own appearances in Godzilla), Mothra (another regular in Godzilla films), Varan The Unbelievable, Atragon, Dogora, Gorgo, Matango, The War Of The Gargantuas, Space Amoeba, etc. (if you don’t know any of these, you need to catch up on your giant monster movie watching). We can’t forget the American monster movie, namely the Godzilla remake (which was actually absorbed into the Godzilla universe as Zilla) and of course Cloverfield (which I have yet to see, and as a giant monster movie fan I am very ashamed of myself). So Godzilla has had an impact on films, more so in Japan, but even in America you can see him creep up here and there.
Speaking of creeping up in other media, Godzilla (or some of his crew) has shown up in other shows in Japan. Zone Fighter is one of those where he showed up a few times, with Gigan and King Ghidorah also making appearances. One of the strangest appearances was Gabara’s appearance in Ike! Greenman. Why Gabara? I really don’t know, but everyone has their favorite giant monster. Another show where Godzilla (and Gamera) has appeared is on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Yes they are making fun of the movies, but it’s another place where the big guy has left his footprint. In a more positive light, a likeness of Godzilla appears in Rugrats (yep, Reptar), and instead of being feared by them, he is like their hero, echoing how Godzilla went from Japan’s greatest villain to their greatest hero. One of my favorite references to the big guy is in the South Park episode, Mecha-Streisand. Godzilla doesn’t appear himself but Mothra, Mecha-Godzilla and Gamera all appear respectively (thank you Robert Smith). Godzilla has gone as far as even meeting Bambi. Yes their meeting was very brief, but nonetheless, even Disney (or their likeness) isn’t immune to Godzilla’s giant foot. The most common place that you can find a Godzilla reference is in almost every TV show/movie where someone or something is destroying a city or model of a city, you just can’t question if they are giving a nod to Godzilla.
Outside of the guest appearances are Godzilla’s own spinoffs. Strangely Hanna-Barbera thought it was a good idea to turn Godzilla into an animated series (with the fucking god awful Godzuki). Not the best but even cartoons aren’t safe from Godzilla. There was even a Godzilla cartoon made off of the Godzilla remake. The other series that was based on Godzilla is called Godzilla Island. Now I haven’t had the pleasure (or pain) of watching this one, mainly because I can’t find a subtitled version anywhere, but it takes Godzilla to another level of viewing. On the same page as a different kind of viewing we have the Godzilla video games. I didn’t even realize how many Godzilla video games have been made. In the US we got 8. That’s a lot of video games that are based on a movie. Don’t get me wrong though, most of they were pretty terrible, that is until we finally got Destroy All Monsters Melee, now that was a fun game.
The last thing I’m going to bring up is that Godzilla has made such an impact on society that there is an actual dinosaur named after him (no fucking joke). It called the Gojirasaurus. How cool is that? I can’t think of very many movie stars (yes he is a star) that have something that permanent named after them (actually I can’t think of any, if you know any please fill me in).
Watching Godzilla as a kid was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. The terror of a giant foot crashing through my roof was coupled with the excitement of a giant monster destroying a whole city. After that first experience I went and looked for every giant monster movie that I could, but what I usually ended up with was big monster movies. There weren’t all that many GIANT monster movies available where I grew up and I had to take what I could. As I got older and finally found more and more, my love for giant monster movies just grew. I couldn’t get enough (hell I still can’t) and I went as far as buying some bootlegs of Godzilla movies, which had no subtitles, so I had to guess what everyone was talking about, but I really didn’t care because it was Godzilla! Now as an adult, with the internet and DVDs so many more giant monster movies are available, but sadly the US has yet to get most of the original versions of Godzilla movies. On the plus side, luckily we have fan-subers out there (thank you so much for all your hard work).
To me Godzilla is more than just a group of movies/comics/books/cartoons/etc., it’s my childhood, present and future. There is very little, to me, that can compare to watching a Godzilla film. Every time I am turned back into a child, wide eyed and dreaming about Godzilla being in the next town over, or Godzilla stepping on all the people who has ever done me wrong. Then the monster battle begins. Now I switch to cheering mode. I know that I’m not supposed to be on Godzilla’s side (well it depends on what movie you are watching) but I can’t help and cheer for Godzilla. The fists/tails/wings/lasers/rockets/breath weapons all go flying and I’m on the edge of my seat, holding my breath as to who will be victorious, and then the smoke clears. Fuck Yeah! Godzilla takes down another foe! Then he must leave again, with me wondering when the next time I will see him in a new adventure. Now I know that Godzilla isn’t really going anywhere, so I didn’t have to worry very much about him dying, but I was a kid and I didn’t know any better, so every time Godzilla was defeated at the end of the movie I was really sad. We jump forward to Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah, where Godzilla does actually die, and even as an adult I teared up a bit and my heart just sank. Then I heard that famous cry and I knew everything was going to be okay. Boy I didn’t know shit. Next up for Godzilla was an American remake that took everything that Godzilla was, rolled it in shit and gave a big middle finger to the fan base. Now was it a bad giant monster movie? Not really. It was actually a fun movie, but as a Godzilla movie, it was complete crap. Luckily Japan saw the disaster that was Godzilla (remake) and decided to come back with Godzilla 2000. It was a new millennium and they decided to give the big guy a good movie. The biggest surprise for me was when Godzilla: Final Wars appeared and the American Godzilla showed up. That was really a head trip for me, because I thought that Toho had disowned the American version, but instead they took it in, said fuck it and gave it a home in the Godzilla world. Now that’s fucking cool. Sadly Godzilla has been absent in the movies recently, but there are talks about another attempt to make an American version. Is this a good thing? Probably not, but I still have this excitement about another giant monster movie coming out. So the waiting begins…Have You Read...?