Godzilla 2014 Simulates Modern-Day Misgivings


godzillaGareth Edwards is the director of this year’s set to smash attendance records with the newest release of Godzilla, a movie that preys on the modern-day fears and misgivings that haunt today’s world population. The original movie, Gojira, was made in Japan by the Toho Company in 1954, and became an international icon that represented death and destruction at the hands of humans. The original movie, featuring a person sporting a rubberized costume as the radioactive mutant, has been brought up to date with new interpretations on old fears.

Godzilla has always been a portrayal of humanity’s greatest fears of nuclear radiation and power. The first film took the fears of the WWII bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and incorporated them into a living, breathing nightmare called Gojira. The name is a combination of the Japanese words for gorilla and whale. In the original, the monster captivated audiences around the world by delving into such concepts as the environmental and atomic fallout of the Japanese hydrogen bomb attacks by the United States.

However, it was not the actual bombings of those cities itself that sparked the idea for the film Gojira, it was an incident that had happened in March, earlier that year. The crew from the Japanese fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon, had been contaminated with radioactive fallout from United States test bombs which had been tested at Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands.

This time around, the filmmakers did not have far to look when searching for relevant materials for the saga to be enhanced once again. As the script was being written for Godzilla in 2014, an earthquake and tsunami struck the north coast of Japan, causing a nuclear meltdown of the country’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It simulated what happens in the movie while at the same time giving in to modern-day misgivings about nuclear power. At first the film writers were unsure if they wanted to incorporate the happenings of the Fukushima meltdown into their storyline. In the end, they decided to since the movie was about nuclear radiation and its possible side-effects.

In the new remake of Godzilla, the film director, Gareth Edwards wanted to touch on the relevance of life events that could potentially lead to something similar to the movie’s statement. The meltdown in Japan was one such instance, but Edwards also pointed out the many disastrous events that have happened just in the last ten years. For example, Hurricane Katrina and the Indonesian Tsunami, just two of several massive events that have defined the world as we know it today.

Another issue was the image of Godzilla itself. In the past, the creature had always had a kid-friendly visage, making it appear cartoonish instead of fearsome. In this feature film, the monster is portrayed much more aggressively than in previous movies with the same title and genre. The impressive height of this creature, at a whopping 355 feet, makes it the tallest of any of the previous monster renditions. And the fact that the design crew gave this mutant scaly, glistening skin and spiky, dorsal-looking fins down its back, adds more luster to substantiate that it is a horrifying monster. Moreover, the filmmakers gave the creature a terrifying roar to produce an even more scarier Godzilla.

However, being overrun with CGI imagery is not an issue in this new release. Thanks to visual effect enhancements over the years, this new take on an old classic gives fluidity to the long-held  movie that had been missing in previous films. Although some may say that the screen-time that this new version of Godzilla enjoys is not enough, the fact that the filmmakers managed to find a balance between being family orientated and fierce is bound to please everyone.

By Korrey Laderoute

NY Daily News
ABC News