• Don't link to the video of the Christchurch shooting, or repost links to the shooter's manifesto.

Explaining Tristar's Godzilla to non-Godzilla fans

Evan Waters

Talented Amateur
Validated User
#51
Tristar Godzilla was actually a pretty decent Giant Monster movie.

...It just wasn't a Godzilla movie, which is the important distinction.

Godzilla isn't a monster. It's an Earthquake on two feet with an attitude.
Except that there are movies where he does act more like a monster than an Earthquake on Two Feet.

Now, there's nothing wrong with this. The original GODZILLA is a masterpiece, but a lot of the sequels are extremely good sci-fi fantasy epics.

Now, obviously G98 goes way farther afield than any of the Japanese films, but... I dunno, I just don't put any stock whatsoever into fidelity to the source these days. I used to care about the "is it or is it not Godzilla" question, but when I rediscovered superhero comics the question started to seem insignificant. The Green Lantern and Hawkman and the Blue Beetle all have incarnations that differ on fundamental levels, why not Godzilla?
 
#52
I much prefer the King as the living message from Nature to Man that there are boundaries that must not be crossed. That's why I prefer the Heisei era in particular, because it really rammed home that Godzilla wasn't just a big radioactive dinosaur. He existed as a symbol, a balance to the actions of an overzealous Mankind, and a reminder that we don't actually own the world or control Nature, even if we like to think we do. Such things are older and more powerful than we are, and occasionally -- in the form of tsunamis, huge volcanoes, earthquakes or Godzilla -- we are reminded of that and regain a little bit of our humility.

He is immortal, in that sense. Even if we did manage to completely destroy him (not really possible, but still), another "Godzilla" would appear. There's just a little bit of mysticism in his origin and his existence, then, that I find really adds to the otherwise (monster movie) science out of control that defines him. This is why something always happens, like in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, where they actually pretty much have him dead to rights, but Fire Rodan's sacrifice turns things around entirely.

In a way, Godzilla isn't actually bad for mankind -- he's almost a savior. He never destroys the species entirely, when it's quite clear we can't stop him. His actions actually keep us from destroying ourselves in hubris.

And then on top of that, we get to see him fight other giant forces of nature and it's awesome. Godzilla vs. Biollante being my favorite movie in the entire series -- I ain't ashamed that I get nerd-chills when I see Godzilla stomping his way out of the volcano they threw him in in the previous movie. Or when he faces down Biollante's gigantic second form, that just completely dwarfs the King, and it's bearing down on him, earth quaking as it moves. Absolutely no fear or hesitation in the King of the Monsters; he bellows his defiance and moves to battle this behemoth with the unrelenting fury and power only he possesses.

Godzilla versus Destroyer/Destoroyah was excellent, too, Schemer: particularly Godzilla's look when Destroyer blasts him as he's mourning over the loss of his son, like, "Seriously? You think attacking me is a good idea right now?" And then the General's words, and how he delivers them: "What a monster. Not even the Destroyer can stop Godzilla now."

I eventually grew to dislike the goofiness of some the older movies to some degree; I don't dislike the movies, exactly, but I much prefer the more serious takes that the Heisei and Millennium series have. And the original, as Sankarah pointed out, which is where most everything I've mentioned here comes from.

Final Wars I rather enjoyed, but mostly because it showed Godzilla at his most powerful, and they did show him pretty well as that unstoppable force of nature. I also liked some of the shout-outs: his fight with, and
Spoiler: Show
subsequent sparing of,
King Caesar, Rodan and Anguirus being one of them. I also liked the look of Godzilla, leaner and faster, although there were things I didn't like, of course.

One of which was the lack of Akira Ifukube's Godzilla theme, which is absolutely fantastic and if you're going to have a send-off Godzilla movie, needs to be present in some form. Especially when it goes into the second part, at about 43 seconds in, it's just the perfect battle theme for the King of the Monsters.

In short, could the GINO movie have worked on its own, although still been dull as hell and a waste of a monster? Sure. Could it have been a Godzilla movie? Hell no. It absolutely ignored all the things that made Godzilla what he is, which, perhaps ironically, being a giant monster is possibly the least significant. It's a bonus and definitely a part of the whole deal, but it's the story, the message behind that giant engine of destruction, rather than the mass of the monster, that lends Godzilla any weight at all.

 
Last edited:

Fallen Seraph

Registered User
Validated User
#53
My opinion: The original monster as conceived by Toho was an unstoppable engine of destruction-- a metaphor for the dangers of the atomic bomb particularly. The American monster, renamed Zilla by Toho (because Centropolis took the "God" out of him), was a big scared lizard running and hiding for most of the movie. Cloverfield was truer to the original Gojira.
Even the theme for Cloverfield feels like a homage to Godzilla's theme song. It is also probably my favourite part of Cloverfield (though over time I have begun to enjoy the movie more and more).
 

Vargen

Registered User
Validated User
#54
"Godzilla hides in the sewers, and is taken out by a missile. If you can't understand why that makes me angry, we should change the subject."
My reaction at the time is about the same as it is today: "They took a giant monster movie and turned it into a regular monster movie." Godzilla to me has always been about the big threat that you can see coming but can't do anything about*. That's a very different feeling from the lurking threat that you can't see. While that is a new and different take on Godzilla, it ends up being very much like almost every other American horror/monster movie I've ever seen. So I don't hate it, but it was very disappointing.

Huh, really? How can anyone hate Godzilla: Final Wars?
2 of my friends are huge G-fans, and they said they thought the Kaiju fight scenes were way too short and too much of the movie focused on the humans. This was supposed to be Godzilla's big sendoff and he was marginalized for a Matrix/X-Men knockoff. I can understand the sentiment, even if I personally really liked the flick.

*If Cloverfield was a reaction to 9/11, then my ideal "American Godzilla" would probably be a reaction to hurricane Katrina.
 

Jay

Pow!
Validated User
#55
Godzilla really is a beloved character, and messing with him is in the same vein as, say, doing a Superman movie but insisting that Superman not fly, wear all black, and have robot polar bears.
Yet Smallville, minus the robot polar bears, is pretty successful.

(Sure, TV show, but the point stands.)
 

Jay

Pow!
Validated User
#56
Y'know, I think the more Herculean task is explaining Godzilla to non-Godzilla fans. There's quite the credibility hurdle involved, because as well known Godzilla is, he's generally held up as a point of ridicule, and illustration of low quality, by non-fans.
 

Cruton

Retired User
#57
Y'know, I think the more Herculean task is explaining Godzilla to non-Godzilla fans. There's quite the credibility hurdle involved, because as well known Godzilla is, he's generally held up as a point of ridicule, and illustration of low quality, by non-fans.
"See, he's this giant lizard motherfucker, and nobody gets up in his grill that don't regret it. Ancient civilizations? Black hole aliens? Japanese military? Gamera? G-boy gonna lay the law down. And the theme music is all serious and shit, so it's artistic."

This is where Gamera manages to surpass Godzilla. He is infinitely easier to outline.

"Giant turtle Gamera -- HE IS THE FRIEND TO ALL SMALL CHILDREN!"
 

Smoot

Is around here, somewhere
Validated User
#58
Yet Smallville, minus the robot polar bears, is pretty successful.

(Sure, TV show, but the point stands.)
Okay, now I have this image of a TV show chronicling Godzilla's teenage years in a small midwestern town...
 

delguidance

Registered User
Validated User
#59
I find the "classic" Godzilla moves to be not only technically crude but also just plain boring, whereas the "Amerizilla" was a thoroughly enjoyable action movie with hints of comedy. I therefore consider Oldzilla to be unworthy of any recognition whatsoever, and Newzilla to be the "real" Godzilla. So there!
Twilight totally invented 100 foot tall terrors pointing out the folly of men and Godzilla was just copying. It gives Godzilla a bad name and makes him out to be some sort of violent lizard like thing. How can a so-called "Oxygen Destroyer" even hurt him? If you'd watch'd Taylor Lautner emerge glistening from the sea, you'd realize what it's supposed to be. Not at all the fake and cheap version everyone here is so crazy about. This is just my opinion, but go team Jacob.
 

The Scribbler

A Flash of Hope
Validated User
#60
Y'know, I think the more Herculean task is explaining Godzilla to non-Godzilla fans. There's quite the credibility hurdle involved, because as well known Godzilla is, he's generally held up as a point of ridicule, and illustration of low quality, by non-fans.
Yeah, that's about where I'm at. I find the first movie interesting from a cultural history perspective, but generally always saw Godzilla as a big goofy monster who fought big goofy monsters in a billion sequels (which I saw lots and lots of growing up, but can't remember enough of any to say I ever watched any of all the way through).

To me the 98 movie took the core concept of "big lizard-monster created due to 'atom bombs' wreaks havoc in a city," which as far as non-Godzilla-fan-me had ever seen was the whole point of Godzilla, and ran with it... and did it far more entertainingly than I remembered any of the other movies being.
 
Top Bottom