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12 March 2011 @ 07:15 pm
Now I understand the symbolism of Godzilla  


I have nothing profound or insightful to say after watching the disaster that hit Japan. In fact, it took a while to sink in just how catastrophic it is. But I think now I understand the appeal to Godzilla movies there. It's not entirely the (now-fading after sixty years) memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, though that is part of it. It's a long history of coping with earthquakes, tsunamis and the damage they mindlessly inflict. The widespread destruction and loss of life, cities burning as people try to flee, are images that have turned up in one Godzilla movie after another. We may love Nature but Nature doesn't love us.

 
 
 
full_metal_oxfull_metal_ox on March 13th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
...My thought was precisely the same: those cheesy Kaiju movies wouldn't be so enduring if they didn't hit a deep-rooted nerve. (A case could be made for Godzilla as a wrathful nature spirit given an Atomic Age rationale.)

At least one classic Japanese horror story, TEITO MONOGATARI, uses the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 as a backdrop; it's served as the basis for the live-action movie TOKYO: THE LAST MEGALOPOLIS and the anime series DOOMED MEGALOPOLIS.
dochermesdochermes on March 13th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
American horror movies have always worked current fears into their themes, too. The disease movies of the 1980s (David Cronenber), the Cold War invasions of the 1950s.
full_metal_oxfull_metal_ox on March 17th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
And now alien invasion movies are enjoying a comeback--fueled by anti-terrorism subtext as well as nostalgia.
paul_d_wrightpaul_d_wright on March 13th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
Ya know Doc, I never thought of that before, but your right.
And this current disaster only reafirms it, doesn't it?

dochermesdochermes on March 13th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
It does. I was afraid that this would come across as flippant and unfeeling, but it's an honest observation.
full_metal_oxfull_metal_ox on March 14th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
Particularly given the nuclear complications now added to the mix.
Dm HolleyDm Holley on March 15th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
Godzilla symbolism
I've long thought this. I believe it was the Japanese reaction for the same reasons that in America, post WW2, we did a lot of people/animals/insects grow large and/or freaky from radiation and alien threat films. Young scientist saves the day. We were reacting to the Cold War and the Red Scare. People can laugh at "Them!" today but not everyone laughed back then.
Godzilla and many of the other mutant monsters (but, IMHO especially Godzilla) of Japan are almost 'forces of nature'. You might, if you are lucky, have them not pick your city to trample. They might protect you from the alien monster but your neighborhood might be trashed anyway. Even that which protects you or is native to you can go awry.
God help us when it does.
dochermesdochermes on March 15th, 2011 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: Godzilla symbolism
All very true. I don't want to sound like a snooty critic over-analyzing camera work in some obscure Polish drama, but it's self-evident that horror films are a good indicator of what people are afraid of, even if shown in a symbolic way.

Another interest point is that the early 1960s tried to defuse the terror of radioactive effect by having it turn out slightly beneficial. Heroes from the Fantastic Four to Spider-Man received their powers from radiation. Captain Atom and Dr Solar were actually vaporized by nuclear explosions and came back in more powerful forms.
full_metal_oxfull_metal_ox on March 16th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Godzilla symbolism
Even that which protects you or is native to you can go awry.
God help us when it does.


Particularly if that fierce, implacable, and none-too-discriminating force of nature is the God helping you--see also DAIMAJIN.