Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Japanese Version of Godzilla is an “A” Movie with Bite

Easily available on Full Movies, we've all probably seen the original Godzilla - Hooky toy dinosaur, breathing lightning and smoke, as Tokyo is trampled. This all while Raymond Burr looks on paternally - knowingly equipped to save the model buildings and emasculated Japanese Army. But the comical B-movie farce we know actually owns a real story line, which was too much to bear for American censorship - leaving a brilliant piece of political commentary without any bite. 

Even from the dumbed down American version, it isn’t hard to draw a line back from the radioactive lizard to the Hiroshima bombing, but the original carries far more depth. Aside from the banning of any mention of atomic warfare in occupied Japan, the H-bomb testing that took place on the nearby Marshall Islands during the early 50s provided the impetus.

A non-descript warning issued prior to the first test, one fishing vessel took advantage of the open waters and made a monster haul – if you will – of tuna. On the other hand, when the crew of The Lucky Dragon #5 saw the boom of flashing light, the fisherman knew they bit off more than they could chew.

All soon would die of radiation poisoning but not before selling the fish. In turn, a Geiger counter search for the contaminated tuna revealed the whole country was being inundated with radiation by both American and Russian nuclear testing.

So on film, when Godzilla emerges after a flash in the sky and fishing boat #5 disappears, all of Japan easily traced the actual line being drawn. Of course, havoc ensued for both American and Japanese audiences, but the latter bluntly deviates on its vision for the present and future of atomic weaponry.

Developing a WMD called an Oxygen Destroyer, scientists inject the device below the waters of Tokyo Bay to asphyxiate the slippery beast.  In the process, the scientist who develops and deploys the technology cuts his own oxygen line so the secret and the real monster die with him.

Not bad for a B-movie – no thanks to America.

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