Haruo Nakajima, the first man inside the Godzilla suit, 1929–2017

Saw this headline just after watching my newly bought copy of Shin Godzilla.


Godzilla, Dr. Serizawa, and the Bomb

While the new Godzilla by Legendary Pictures was head over heels superior to the previous American Godzilla film, I came out of the cinema disappointed at the lack of emotional and philosophical depth of the film compared to the original 1954 Gojira.

Why You Should Watch the (Actual) Original Godzilla” by Christopher Orr (The Atlantic)

[I]n Honda’s Gojira, released less than a decade after the bombs were dropped, this is no buried subtext but rather a theme of visceral immediacy. Yes, Godzilla performs a few patented building-stomps and tail-swipes. But the images that linger are of Tokyo awash in a “sea of flames”; of smoldering, apocalyptic ruins; of stretchers full of bodies—some of them suffering from radiation poisoning—and shelters full of orphans. As director Honda explained: “I took the characteristics of an atomic bomb and applied them to Godzilla.”

Of course, much like the filmmakers behind the latest Godzilla, Christopher Orr forgot that in the original film, Dr. Serizawa deliberately and heroically detonated the Oxygen Destroyer underwater, killing himself along with the first Godzilla, in order to prevent his creation from being mass-produced as nuclear weapons were. In fact, Orr doesn’t even name Serizawa at all. This displacement of perhaps the most courageous human character in the Godzilla franchise hints not only towards ethno-dominant narratives at play but also, the lack of nuance and depth in the new film. While the studio may have been hard pressed to win commercial success for the new film with a narrative of nuclear war when Americans and European audiences were never nuked, the least they could’ve done was to give Ken Watanabe’s Serizawa more substantial lines and not try to hide him away in the end as if he was Raymond Burr’s character from the American 1956 adaptation of Gojira.