I’ll be the first to admit that Japanese media is not my first choice when it comes to entertainment. I’ve never really gotten into anime or cosplay. Though I do have friends that do, so I have had some exposure to it. I’m not a huge fan of animation, I much prefer autobiographies, horror, thriller, comedies or documentaries.
So when the first film we had to watch for Digital Asia was the original 1954 Japanese ‘Godzilla’ or ‘Gojira’, I was slightly hesitant, but also interested to see what 10/10 special effects existed back in 1954.
Main theme song Gojira 1954:
Well I have to say the film did not disappoint! I was quiet impressed with the visuals and the myths surrounding Godzilla. The main myth was that there was something that lived under the ocean near the village, and to prevent it from attacking the village every few years a young girl would be cast out on a boat as a sacrifice to the monster. But radioactive testing in the waters had made the minster stronger and more ferocious then before, making it attack the village.
The film also had an environmental message. From Godzilla becoming almost indestructible from the nuclear testing in the water, the importance of recognizing and stopping that. This aspect of the film that struck me an unusual for a film like this. Or such an old film when environmental issues were not a concern of the public’s I found it very interesting that they had scientists worried about the effects of the nuclear fallout.
The aftermath of the atomic bombs on Japan was still quiet raw at the time of the film, and this showed. The stress from it is displayed by characters in reference to World War II. I found this to be refreshing as the movie is fictitious, yet referenced the effects that nuclear weapons can have.
Overall my first viewing of a black and white Japanese movie was surprisingly good. It was just like films I am used to watching (mainly American, Australian or European films) but with subtitles. I believe that most of the Japanese terms translated well, though some were a little hard to get exactly correct. Like any film produced in 1954 the special effects weren’t world class, but the use of miniature sets was very clever and really made things look believable.