the reason why the Godzilla remake is going to suck is because an american remake defeats the entire purpose. Godzilla was a euphemism created by japanese people when they were trying to cope with the after effects of hiroshima and nagasaki, Godzilla is literally the personification of nuclear energy and power. considering it was americans that did this to japan….
I must disagree. While the U.S. was by and large not ready to acknowledge its nuclear sins at the time when Godzilla ‘54 was made - hence the diluted Godzilla, King of the Monsters! - I think we’ve gotten enough distance from the Cold War to be able to do so in 2014. Whether Hollywood is willing to do so… well, we’ll have to wait and see. Still, even the Japanese Godzilla movies have drifted away from the strong anti-nuclear message of 1954. And while Godzilla may be intrinsically Japanese, that’s hardly grounds for dismissing non-Japanese interpretations of him. Personally, one of my favorite Godzilla stories is IDW’s five-issue series Godzilla: The Half-Century War, written and drawn by James Stokoe, a Canadian.
While I think Godzilla’s roots in Japanese culture are incredibly important and absolutely essential to understand the character, I think it does him a disservice to say he can only work in a Japanese story. Godzilla is a character who resonates with people around the world, and while his story may have been diluted by bad dubbing and film critics whose opinions are soaked with Western world ethnocentrism, people still understand him even if they don’t know the full reasons why.
You can see it in how many people, even those who AREN’T die hard Godzilla fans, were absolutely pissed at the 1998 American remake. People understood that that film was not a Godzilla movie, even if they couldn’t fully articulate why. Even though on the surface it had every element of the kind of monster movie Godzilla would be in - giant reptiles, atomic testing, nuclear mutants, huge scenes of destruction, sunken ships, know it all scientists, etc. - something was off. It was the uncanny valley of Godzilla movies.
A LOT of people who see that movie understand that it didn’t work. Its monster wasn’t Godzilla, and it wasn’t a Godzilla film. Western audiences can tell the difference, even if they don’t know why.
That means that, even if it’s mostly on a subconscious level, non-Japanese people can understand what is necessary for a Godzilla movie. And if you actually looked up the cultural roots of the story and character - if you were a big enough nerd - you could figure out what those essential ingredients are beyond the surface level stuff.
Now, I can’t say for certain the makers of Godzilla 2014 did all that. Some of the interviews they had make me think they might have - Gareth Edwards and Frank Darabont both understand that Godzilla is an anti-nuclear war metaphor, for example, and that the original film was “dark.” I definitely see “dark” in this movie, and I definitely see that they’re portraying Godzilla as a powerful destructive force instead of just some big iguanna with chicken legs.
So it’s entirely possible they get what Godzilla needs to be about, and have done it. I can’t say for certain, especially since David Goyer wrote some of the script and, well, David Goyer has a pretty shitty track record lately.
But it is totally possible that an American group can do a Godzilla story that gets the character. I look forward to seeing whether they have this time.
"The uncanny valley of Godzilla movies" might be the best description of GINO I’ve ever read.