Week One in Digital Asia (BCM320) we screened the 1954 science fiction feature of Godzilla (or Gojira). It was made and set in Japan, and is a steady paced action and suspense film about a dinosaur-like monster that had been awoken from its sleep by atomic bomb radiation. The only knowledge I had about Godzilla before watching this was what I had seen in popular culture references including The Simpsons.
I had watched foreign films before with subtitles for example the German film The Lives of Others (2006), and I had also seen a black and white film, can’t think of exactly which ones but Wizard of Oz has got to be one …if that half counts. However a movie in the 1950s that is Japanese and black and white was interesting to interpret and read into. It was very different to what I was used to seeing, and the time and place it was set very much differed a lot to my own culture and current life. From what I gathered, the film definitely had an agenda. A strong message about the nuclear war that was represented through Godzilla. Although just a fictional monster, it was used as a symbol which has become very identifiable. My own experience of watching action movies is seeing fast paced features, with good graphics and suspenseful storylines. Action films aren’t always realistic but when you’re immersed into another world and following along to all the chain of events, it is an entertaining experience. I found Godzilla to be a little slow, however the slower parts talked about important issues like the prevention of war, nuclear radiation and the importance of scientific studies. I feel it matched the time of the setting and as the years have gone by and remake after remake (there is a lot!) it has adapted and changed to suit the different audiences.
Godzilla is so recognisable, it is noted around the world as one of Japan’s well known popular culture symbols. It even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.