Shiny New Toys | The Return of Godzilla (1984) Review

It was, for me as well, a long-awaited return, as this 1984 film truthfully entitled “Godzilla” didn’t see a home video release in the United States until May 2016. By that time, we’d abandoned the term “home video!” I mean, I waited longer than contemporary audiences had between this film and the previous installment, 1975’s Terror of Mechagodzilla, and as such, had viewed 2016’s Shin Godzilla before this one. I knew that The Return of Godzilla was an attempt to take Godzilla “back to its roots” – that old chestnut – and featured American and Soviet politicians arguing with the Japanese in conference rooms. Sure sounds like the 1980s version of Shin Godzilla, but with a little more cheese and vintage effects. What I got was far closer to the 1954 original, a lumbering near-docudrama – with a little more cheese and vintage effects. … More Shiny New Toys | The Return of Godzilla (1984) Review

Those American Godzilla Movies [Podcast]

In this first or possibly third episode of an untitled podcast, we’re taking a look at four American kaiju flicks: Reptilian, Godzilla (1998), Godzilla (2014), and Godzilla vs. Kong. What begins as a series of reviews devolves into a screed against modern Hollywood moviemaking. … More Those American Godzilla Movies [Podcast]

Those American Godzilla Movies Strike Again

Who would’ve thought we’d make it to the year 2021? More that such a number could ever be real than those of us who’ve survived ought to ask this question. Because aside from the considerable turmoil of history in a perpetual state of climax, that number alone is the stuff of science-fiction. Blade Runner took place two years ago. Johnny Mnemonic takes place this year. I know that millions of Americans quit their jobs over the summer, including myself. I returned home to New England after six years in Los Angeles. A natural arc, we might say, but to me, 2021 is an afterlife. It’s too many years after the logical terminating point. We stopped seeing each other, stopped making physical contact; we have to process the world through literal filtration. It’s a world of screens and constant mediation. Even the movies don’t feel real. … More Those American Godzilla Movies Strike Again

Masokaiju Tendencies: Those American Godzilla Movies

Godzilla is a metaphor for the atomic bomb in a film from Japan, a country struck with the atomic bomb by America, so when Godzilla shows up in America, how do you want me to take that? Hollywood has a concise answer: “I don’t give a shit.” A seemingly inevitable statement made as consequence of international intertextuality is forfeited upon the altar of I don’t know what. Three American Godzilla movies have been released so far, and I understand this to be a controversial statement, so I apologize in advance, but none of them have been good. Granted, Godzilla movies are usually not good, but this is different. At least, I think it is. … More Masokaiju Tendencies: Those American Godzilla Movies

Your Guide to the Politics of Shin Godzilla

I’d wanted to write this story about a giant monster attack and realized I didn’t know how it would play out, point by point. Which government organization would do what, at what moment? Who are the key people? And then it struck me, with the power of discouragement: that story already exists, and it’s one of my favorite movies, Shin Godzilla. So onto the shelf that story went, but the question stuck: what would have to happen if a giant monster attacked? I imagined there’d be a treasure trove of resources for “speculative crisis management” or something like that, but maybe some things are too silly even for the Internet. We’ll have to go straight to the source: how do co-directors Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno answer this question? A closer look at the bureaucratic drama of Shin Godzilla might help us understand their political critique. … More Your Guide to the Politics of Shin Godzilla