Ever since I knew we were coming to Tokyo, the sophomoric side of me wanted to do something campy about Godzilla; but the respectful visitor side resisted. You see, growing up in the 60's, I watched Godzilla re-runs endlessly - from the original black-and-white versions where the nuclear overtones were serious and solemn, to the later color sequels where Godzilla looked rubbery and literally mugged and aped for the camera, breaking the 4th-wall with double-takes for the audience, and Three Stooges-like slapstick antics. And as a teen with a wholly-developed Godzilla-crush, it was sad to watch his decline, especially when he started fighting large moths with singing twins, multi-headed dragons, and turtles with tusks that shot rockets. But when he took on a funky looking King Kong covered in donkey fur, that was the final straw and I never looked back.
That is until 1994, but more on that in a moment.
People who believe in synchronicities say that "there are no coincidences"; so it was really weird when two nights ago, during our first-ever night in Tokyo, Suzanne and I settled in to our retro binge-watching of Arrested Development on Hulu, and what do we see...? A Godzilla spoof where Tobias dresses as a giant mole and crushes a fake miniature city while Japanese investors look on! (Season 3 Show 45, Mr. F). No way!!!
OK, so I was blown away and took it as a divine sign - all bets are now off and I am now officially off and running with all things Godzilla in Tokyo - and Go-Go Godzilla-ing (Blue Oyster Cult)!
I am showing the kids the old Godzilla clips on Youtube tonight, I visited one of the two Godzilla statues in Tokyo (the small one, see below), and also, and in another "non" coincidence, in 3-weeks we are slated to see the 60th Anniversary (of the first release in 1954), opening of the brand new Godzilla - see the preview clip from Youtube below. I believe the producers are going back to a more of a "homage" to the original, versus the 1994 40th anniversary version, when during that "Jurassic Park" movie era, they made Godzilla very thin and forward-leaning and dinosaur-like. This time he looks and SOUNDS more like the pudgy, upright original (which I read somewhere his sound was a lion roar slowed down and played backwards???). The sound always made Godzilla movies special to me.
Please note; in 1990, I spent 40+ hours making a full-sized chicken-wire, carpet-foam, glue-gun and spray paint Godzilla Halloween costume, and won multiple prizes that year. If I were back at home, I would scan a picture - it was that good.
And one more movie plug; (and speaking of homages), last year I took Ben to see Pacific Rim, expecting to be looking at my phone the entire time (because I thought it was going to be a Transformers knock-off), but man, that is the ultimate Godzilla worship-film with several large Godzilla like creators, and with really cool, Godzilla size-matched (80-ft.) mechanical suites (mech's) which were used to fight the creatures in hand-to-hand combat instead of with planes and ships. It sounds corny, but it was clever and very good (and has a cool Japanese angle to it as well). I felt like a little boy watching an old Godzilla again and it is one of my favorite movies from the last 5-years. Download it if you get a chance.
Oh, and Arrested Development - way, way clever and we can't wait to get to the final and long-awaited Season 4 that came out this year. And thank you AD for encouraging my inner Godzilla fanboy to come out again.
P.S. Factoid: Godzilla is an English adaptation of the original given-name, GOJIRA, which is a combination in Japanese of Gorilla + Whale!