Godzilla is arguably one of the most recognizable movie monsters of all time. With his trademarked roar, scale model destruction and super powers he has become a fan favourite around the world. Since first being introduced in 1954, Godzilla has only gained in popularity.
Godzilla is a gigantic mutant dinosaur who is awakened by fallout from atomic bomb test. Godzilla films often depicted him as an enemy of man leaving entire cities in ruins during his rampages, but he has evolved through the course of the movies. Godzilla has saved the world many times from invaders from space and other giant monsters.
Despite being over fifty years old Godzilla is alive and well in Japanese pop culture and even has a devout western following. Images and slogans can be found on everything from t-shirts to lunch pails and films continue to be made. Join us as we explore 5 things you may not have known about Godzilla!!
5. The Name Godzilla
The name Godzilla is perhaps one of the most recognizable of all monster names in Japanese pop culture. He is a Kaiju, a Japanese word meaning 'strange beast', which is usually translated to English as monster. The word has become associated with Japanese cinema, specifically when describing Godzilla and the other monsters who star beside him in the Godzilla films.
Godzilla is a romanization of the Japanese word "Gojira" which is a combination of two words, 'gorira' meaning gorilla and 'kujira' meaning whale. The combination is thought to relate to Godzilla's size, strength and aquatic nature. There are rumours that Gojira was a nickname given to one of the production hands of the film company responsible for filming Godzilla but it still remains to be proven.
The Toho Film Company is credited with giving Gojira his now recognizable and familiar name. The name Godzilla is a transliteration of Gojira and was created when the first Godzilla film was release to western audiences.
Image - Godzilla
4.Godzilla Films for Half a Century
Fifty-seven years after the first Godzilla movie is released to monster hungry movie goers there have been 28 films made starring the mutant dinosaur.
Through the years 3 different series have developed.
The Showa Series Godzilla (1954 - 1975) - This era began with the original and spanned 15 movies. The second movie in the series Godzilla Raids Again begins the trend of monster vs. monster battles as Godzilla fights Anguirus. The fifth movie in this series also sees Godzilla shift roles from city destroying bad guy to city defending hero when Godzilla defeats Ghidorah saving Japan inGhidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. The Showa series contains over half of the Godzilla movies made to date.The Heisei Series Godzilla (1984 - 1995) - Only seven are in this series which phased out the hero Godzilla in favour of a more destructive and dangerous monster. The creature suit was made to look more realistic and frightening in this series as well. Most famously this is the series in which Godzilla has a melt down and dies in the last movie of the series titled Godzilla Vs. DestoroyahThe Millennium Series (1999 - 2004) - The six films in this series see Godzilla re-emerge as an anti-hero though he remains as destructive as ever. The most notable feature of this series is the lack of continuity which the prior two series seemed to maintain.
Image - Godzilla vs. Angilas
3.Monstrous Proportions for the King of Monsters
The look of Godzilla has changed many times over the years. Some changes were subtle little differences such as changes in the size of his dorsal fins and others which were much more dramatic including Godzilla's overall size.
The original Godzilla's stood over 50 meters tall and weighed 20,000 metric tons. His size has definitely increased over time for a variety of reasons as seen in The Return of Godzilla when the already giant Godzilla is reinvented to be 80 meters tall and 50,000 metric tons.
Godzilla's famous roar has undergone as many transformations as his physical appearance has. Despite sounding a little different in each movie the producers of the movies have trademarked it because of its popularity. Each film contained many variations of the actual sound effect and were used to convey emotion from Godzilla. (See below to hear some Godzilla roars!)
Image - Godzilla proportions and body design over time
2.The True King of Monsters
Godzilla is generally thought to be the King of Monsters for good reason. Godzilla possesses a wide variety of interesting and frightening abilities. Some of which are:
Atomic Breath Ray, a focused beam of radiation that Godzilla is able to fire from his mouth. Godzilla's dorsal fins will often glow when he is charging the atomic breath ray.Nuclear Pulse, a shockwave that Godzilla emits from his body when the atomic breath ray is subduedNuclear Discharge, though only used once in a Godzilla film, Godzilla has displayed the ability to discharge energy through a set of cables which had been fired into his flesh, in another he was shown to have discharged energy through the physical blows he was landing on his opponents.Godzilla's tail has been used in a number of different ways to defeat enemies and destroy models.....err, buildings.
Godzilla's skin seems virtually indestructible as displayed be the fact that he was able to survive submersion in liquid magma. Only a few times has his skin shown signs of being pierced. This, coupled with super strength, giant size and water breathing make Godzilla an easy choice for King of Monsters in my mind.
Image - Godzilla King of Monsters Purchase print
1.The Death of Godzilla
Despite Godzilla's amazing powers he has been shown to have a few weaknesses and ultimately Godzilla does indeed die. In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah Godzilla's design takes on a different look and feel as he becomes super-heated and more powerful as a result of his internal nuclear temperature climbing. Godzilla is suffering a nuclear meltdown which triggers a desire for him to find and absorb more radiation.
This is not the end of Godzilla's legacy though as Godzilla's son Godzilla Junior is brought back from the brink of certain death by the excessive dose of radiation he receives from his fathers melting down corpse.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah was intended by Toho to be the last Godzilla film until 2005. However due to major world wide fan disappointment of the American released Godzilla in 1998, they decided to release another film and appease disgruntled fans. Godzilla 2000 was the movie the studio responded with in which the main enemy of Godzilla bore an uncanny resemblance to the Godzilla from the American film.
Image - Godzilla burning
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- Godzilla - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Godzilla on wikipedia.
- Godzilla Wiki
Wiki Zilla is a complete guide to the Godzilla series of films that anyone can edit.
- Barry's Temple of Godzilla.
Lots of neat Godzilla information including movie stills and video.
- Godzilla on Monstrous.
The monster database covers all things Godzilla and more. Check them out.