Gōjira (1954) & Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (1956)

It’s hard to come up with anything new and exciting to say about Gōjira (1954), because it’s such a pivotal piece of pop culture that there is very little new ground to tread. It wasn’t the world’s first Monster Movie (that goes to the equally important King Kong in 1933) or the first kaiju film (that’s The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 1953), but it was the benchmark of the genre of that era and the go-to comparison from there on. Not only did it rake in the cash and start the longest running film franchise in history, but it managed to do so whilst working with a number of contemporary themes. Everyone knows about the allegory of nuclear war, both in the forces unleashed by Gōjira on Japan and the reasons for his rising from the depths. Director Ishirō Honda has gone on record as saying he was a walking nuclear bomb, and that the film mixed messages of a need for peace and the horrors of the weapons usage. It was trauma and catharsis for Japanese viewers, and eventually for the rest of the world.
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