Godzilla: The True Story | NowThis Nerd

Godzilla is a monster of many talents He’s a malevolent force of chaos, a goofy, good-natured hero, a destroyer, a protector, and a national treasure, But where did this giant green goliath come from? How has he stayed relevant for over sixty years? And what does the future have in store for the King of the Monsters? I’m Moose, and this is The True Story of Godzilla The big G’s origins can be traced back to 1945, when the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left a jagged scar on the cultural consciousness of Japan

And, as the nation began its miraculous post-war recovery, they coped with the unthinkable tragedy through art Out of humanity’s darkest moment, A King Was Born Godzilla wasn’t the first kaiju by a long shot, he was directly inspired by giant monsters that preceded him like ‘King Kong,’ and ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,’ as well as the real life ‘Lucky Dragon’ incident, where a Japanese fishing ship was irradiated by fallout from a US hydrogen bomb test Toho developed the movie under the codename ‘Project G,’ for “Giant,” although they didn’t know exactly what form their titular terror would take

Early concepts ranged from a massive octopus, to a monster with a mushroom cloud for a head, before finally settling on the iconic design inspired by dinosaurs and alligators, as well as a name derived from the Japanese words for gorilla, gorira, and whale, kujira Gojira was nature’s revenge for mankind’s meddling with destructive forces they barely understand, he’s the embodiment of the pain and sorrow felt by a people who suffered unprecedented devastation, and, at the end of the day, he was also a very sweaty man in a suit Toho originally planned on using stop-motion to create the colossal creature, but it would have been prohibitively expensive for what was turning out to be the costliest Japanese film ever made up to that point Instead, the crew, led by Eiji Tsuburaya and director Ishiro Honda, designed a 220 pound, 65 foot tall suit made of bamboo, metal mesh, and dense latex rubber

And since portraying a giant monster in a suit hadn’t really been done before, they didn’t put much thought into how Haruo Nakajima, the performer inside the costume, would feel Under the hot studio lights required by the high-speed cameras, the suit temperature skyrocketed to 140 degrees, and Nakajima could only spend three minutes at a time inside it before passing out Thankfully, his suffering wasn’t for naught, When it released in 1954, ‘Gojira’ was a modest hit in Japan, enough to earn a sequel the next year, ‘Godzilla Raids Again,’ but Godzilla made an even bigger splash overseas Released in 1956 as ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters!’ with an exclamation point, the American version made heavy cuts to Honda’s original film, lightening the anti-atomic message, removing a subplot about arranged marriage, and shoehorning in scenes starring Raymond Burr as an American reporter covering Godzilla’s rampage Terrible sea of fire engulfs all! Despite, or maybe because of the changes, the movie was a surprise hit here, paving the way for decades of silly dubs, Tell you what

Join the network You might learn something! and more than a few attempts to Americanize the awesome might of the Big G Well get to that soon, but meanwhile, back in his home country, Godzilla was undergoing Eras of Evolution It's Gojira!!! Following the first two films, Godzilla would slumber for a few years as Toho introduced new kaiju in their own standalone films, like the soaring scorcher Rodan, and the mysterious Mothra The market for monsters was booming, so in 1962, Toho pitted the two biggest, and I mean biggest, names in kaiju cinema against each other in a no-holds barred deathmacth ‘King Kong vs

Godzilla’ originally began as ‘King Kong Meets Frankenstein,’ but when that fell through, Toho quickly snapped up the production and inserted their own icon instead Back then, Kong was the bigger draw, and Godzilla was still seen as an evil heel, so, despite the urban legend that two different endings were produced for US and Japanese audiences, in every single version, the ape comes out on top ‘Kong vs

Godzilla’ marked a turn for Toho’s terrible lizard, the movie was a lot more lighthearted and fun than its grim predecessors, which kind of goes against the original ‘Gojira’s’ somber-anti war message, but hey, the kids loved it, and Toho were off to the races They released a total of 15 Godzilla movies during the “Showa Era,” named after the Japanese emperor at the time, and while it introduced formidable foes in King Ghidora and Mechagodzilla, as the series continued, the budget shrank and the stories got sillier Something's wrong! Correct it! ‘Son of Godzilla’ introduced Minilla, Goji’s awful offspring who looked like a fossilized turd, and by the time ‘Godzilla vs Gigan’ rolled around, the destructive beasts responsible for the horrific deaths of untold thousands, are just hanging out on Monster Island cracking wise and shooting the breeze <i>Vacation, all I ever wanted, vacation had to get away</i> The original run ended in 1974, and it took nearly a decade for Toho to return him to his roots, with ‘The Return of Godzilla’ in 1984

The "Heisei Era" was a welcome return to the days of a cold, uncaring creature He still battled monsters that threatened his turf, but this Godzilla was a far cry from the flying, friendly cartoon character he’d devolved into The ‘Heisei’ films also followed a strict continuity, much like the new ‘Halloween’ they ignored every film except the original, and told a serialized story about a slightly futuristic society battling a cast of killer kaiju, ending with Godzilla’s heroic death at the hands of Destroyah See our ‘How to Kill Godzilla’ episode for more on that The Big G wasn’t allowed to rest in peace for long, however, he returned from the grave in response to his ultimate defilement, the most infamous of his many American Adaptations Ever since he first stomped ashore, the U

S has been obsessed with the not-so-jolly green giant Godzilla has shilled Dr Pepper, got dunked on by Charles Barkley, and earned the accolades of his Hollywood peers Just search "Godzilla Charles Barkley," he did a Nike commercial in the '90s, it's actually quite something

The Lakers are looking for a big man He might be the most beloved Japanese import next to Nintendo, but he’s uniquely tied to the country and its culture, which is probably why most attempts to Americanize him miss the mark No, no, no

Make up your minds!!! Broadway! Take Broadway! By the ‘70s, American studios were licensing the Big G for various properties, like the Marvel comic that pitted him against the Avengers, and the Hanna Barbera animated series For pure nostalgia, you can’t beat it, but the watered down, censored show has to answer for the sin of introducing the world to Godzooky, Godzilla’s cowardly nephew that’s just as annoying as his son, but somehow even less cute You'd better at least teach Godzooky how to dog paddle! Don't you mean monster paddle? In the ‘80s, horror movie director Steve Miner shopped around a big budget blockbuster adaptation called ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3D!’ but he couldn’t find a studio that would pony up the dough

Instead, Toho released the first Heisei film in the US, renamed ‘Godzilla: 1985’ and given the good ol’ Raymond Burr treatment To remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake, or a Godzilla TriStar Picture snapped up the rights in 1992, and spent years developing the film with ‘Speed’ director Jan de Bont, who commissioned a faithful re-design from FX legend Stan Winston Then they threw it out the window, hired the dude who made ‘Independence Day,’ and came up with this monstrosity When they pitched this “Godzilla-in-name-only” design to Toho, the Japanese execs didn’t really know how to deal with it, they eventually approved, it was kind of like a "Uh huh! Cool Let's do it" but after the film proved to be a box office bust, they did an about face and openly trashed the ‘98 design

The ‘98 Godzilla isn’t a total loss, there are a bunch of 'Simpsons' voice actors in it for some reason, Yeah, all right, very good and the animated series it inspired was actually pretty decent, but the reception was so bad that Toho actually revived their own franchise to save Godzilla’s good name, unleashing the "Millenium" series the following year Unlike the previous two eras, the ‘Millennium’ films don’t follow a strict continuity, it’s more like an anthology series, that told a variety of standalone stories about the big guy that ranged from straightforward stomps, to Matrixey kung-fu battle royales 2004’s ‘Final Wars’ marked Godzilla’s 50th anniversary, and to celebrate? Toho announced that they were putting the big guy to bed for ten years In the meantime, the success of Marvel Studios sent Hollywood on a mad dash to find the next cinematic universe, and Toho’s bestiary was a no-brainer

Much like Universal’s bullpen of famous monsters, Toho had already pulled off the shared universe trick in the ‘60s Unlike Universal, their shared universe actually got off to a good start, with Gareth Edward’s 2014 ‘Godzilla’ It’s not a perfect film, but honestly, it’s biggest flaw, not enough Bryan Cranston and too much focus on the human characters, could be applied to half of the classic Toho films anyway, and besides, they absolutely nailed the most important part: Godzilla’s design It’s a perfect mix of classic vibes crossed with the bulk and ferocity of a grizzly bear, and when he finally unleashed that atomic breath… Mwah "Avengers Assemble" eat your heart out

After the American film’s success, Toho itself got back in the Godzilla game with ‘Shin Godzilla,’ a return to the monster’s deeply political roots, that transformed him into a symbol of the 2011 Fukushima meltdown, as well as three awesome animes set in a far-distant apocalyptic future Meanwhile, in the states, Legendary Pictures is about to enter phase two of its Monsterverse with ‘King of the Monsters,’ bringing back the big guy and introducing some old friends like Mothra and Rodan, as well as Godzilla’s ultimate enemy, Monster Zero himself, the Great King Ghidorah And after these Titans tousle, we’ve still got the rematch of the century in store, with the big G set to show down against Skull Island’s colossal Kong So why has Godzilla succeeded when so many shared universes fizzled out? Is it his iconic design and decades of history? His status as a symbol of the atomic age? Or are colossal kaiju clashing over cities just a concept that stands the test of time? Either way, it doesn’t look like anything’s going to derail Godzilla’s dominance anytime soon Hail to the King, baby

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