Somewhat incredibly, the land that brought the world sumo wrestling; Japan, is saying that the American Godzilla monster is too fat. Granted, the trailers available on the Internet right now do make the Japanese originated monster seem a tad…wide, but seriously Godzilla has to be beyond big, after all, this is the creature that stomped Tokyo flat in the original Gojira released in 1954. Of course in the first film Godzilla only had to smash the smaller “earthquake-proofed” shorter buildings in that country’s capital so the creature was only about 150 feet tall.
In the 1956 Americanized version, which had film star Raymond Burr cut into the original 1954 footage with added English dialogue for western audiences, titled Godzilla, King of the Monsters they increased the size of the building stomper to 400 feet tall since he had to take on the skyscrapers of New York, which were thought to be much bigger than the buildings of Tokyo.
There were other changes that had nothing to do with the creature’s size. In the 1954 film Godzilla was shocked by an electric charge that was 50,000 volts. With the monster’s increased size in the 1956 film, director Terry O. Morse decided to increase that voltage significantly as he believed that American audiences would never buy off on the smaller amount being able to damage the creature. So the Westernized version had a electric fence charge of 3 million volts to match Godzilla’s increased size.
There appears to be no record of whether the Japanese felt that the 1956 American version of Godzilla was too fat, but since the Raymond Burr version was really just the 1954 film with his scenes edited in, the references to size were in terms of dialogue and not the creature itself. So the land of sumo wrestling could not lay the charge of the monster being too fat. Even if the newer creature had been visibly increased on screen the Japanese general population, who treated sumo wrestlers like rock stars in those days, would not have batted an eye.
Up until fairly recently, sumo wrestling was Japan’s most popular and traditional sport. Consisting of behemoth sized athletes who, as part of their regimented training had to gain huge amounts of weight, these huge fellows were practically treated like royalty. It’s only been recently that through a series of scandals that included Yakuza links and match fixing, that the popularity of the sport and its participants has waned.
For those who have never seen the incredibly short match that is sumo wrestling, here is a video that gives a very “basic” lesson in the size, history, and length of matches:
Other issues that have caused the sport to diminish in size and importance has been the dwindling numbers of new athletes joining the ranks. Due to a classing system that allows all lower ranking sumos to be pretty much treated as slaves, there have not been too many newer members clamouring to be allowed to enter the world of sumo wrestling.
Another issue has been the health of these gigantic men. Heart ailments, joint and blood pressure issues along with other problems associated with carrying that much weight has caused the governing body for sumo to back off from emphasising that the wrestlers get to such a huge size. It does raise the question, is this another reason that Japanese critics of the American Godzilla are laying charges that the beast is too fat? Or is the land that brought the world sumo wrestling just joining everyone else in having a sly dig at the “United States of Fat” by saying that the monster is too big. To remind readers of just how big the new Godzilla is, the “extended trailer” can be seen below. What do you think, too big or just right for stomping American skyscrapers flat?
By Michael Smith