Godzilla from a Grunt's Perspective



By Kurt Schlichter

So, when it came time for our little girl to watch her first grown-up movie, I was torn between Saving Private Ryan and a film I have loved since I was a kid, Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Now, Private Ryan teaches important, practical lessons that every American should learn, like how to maneuver your infantry company across a beachhead under fire to wipe out a Nazi crew-served weapons bunker. On the other hand, Godzilla has a hideous dragon with radioactive breath. Tough call, but we decided to save Private Ryan for when she’s six – better late than never. (More)

8 comments:

Tohoscope said...

Never considered Gojira in that way before. I always think about The Lucky Dragon and the Bikini Atoll tests. I've always thought of Godzilla in a post war way. Which is odd because the opening with Raymond Burr is clearly a reference to Hiroshima/Nagasaki.

DVC said...

Yep, he Raymond Burr scene sets-up the pikadon comparison/reflection, but beyond that initial reflection it's all SF weirdness and fantasy, very post-modern, relishing in the sometimes uneasy experience of living with Super Science that we've dealt with in our contemporary lives.

It's hard to believe it's already been fifty years! It's also a bit hard to believe that Schlichter would plop his six year old down in from of Saving Private Ryan! SPR is *way* more gory and violent than the movies I watched aged six...

(But I forget: kids today are so much more mature than I was 30+ years ago... yeah right!)

Tohoscope said...

I think I would've liked Pvt. Ryan best in my early teen years. But 6? No freakin' way. War movies like that one do not appeal to six year olds.

Tohoscope said...

Oddly enough, it was only after I read Barefoot Gen that I went back and re-watched Godzilla and really got the Atomic War stuff. The Raymond Burr scenes are actually pretty effective anti-nukes kinda stuff. Much more so then any of the other Godzilla movies. (Or Gammera, etc...)

I know Barefoot Gen has been animated but I've avoided it because the Barefoot Gen books messed up my head pretty bad. I'm afraid the movie would knock that crap loose again.

DVC said...

I have yet to see Barefoot Gen for the same reason. As a first-person account --even as a "comic"-- it's very hard-hitting. It's easily as effective as Imamura's 'Kuroi Ame' in that sense.

Of course, knowing the way the film industry works there'll be a re-make that diminishes the emotional impact while emphasizing sheer gore...

B-chan said...

BAREFOOT GEN isn't so bad if you don't mind a guy depicting in a very matter-of-fact way his family burning to death before his eyes.

As for GODZILLA: While I'll always love the Big G, I'm a Gamera man. First, because Gamera is a Friend To All Children. Second, because he is a motherfucking ROCKET TURTLE. Third, because his theme song is way cooler that Godzilla's. Also, he can do parallel-bar work in a burning oil refinery, and he even met the fucking Space Battleship Yamato once. Finally, because he is psychic buddies with Steven Seagal's cute daughter. For these and many other reasons Gamera will always be be favorite monster.

Hans likes him, too.

And at #2? MOTHRA. I mean, first of all she's a giant fucking MOTH. That is just awesome. Second, she's nice -- just give her a few truckloads of wool sweaters and space on the Tokyo Tower for a coccoon and she's good. Third, she is the only monster with her own backup band -- the Peanuts, those tiny, titillating twins who gave us Mothra's unforgettable theme tune. "MO-SU-Ra... YA! MO-SU-Ra... YA!" Now that's entertainment.

As for the Bomb stuff: Mo and I were once at the Smithsonian, back when they had the ENOLA GAY in the main building. A elderly Japanese man of the WW2 generation and his cute translator-garu were gravely inspecting the plane as we watched. "Kore wa nan desu ka?" he asked in a gruff voice.

"It's the plane that dropped the atom bomb on Hiroshima, sir. The actual plane itself," she replied in Japanese.

Silence. Mundee and I waited for the tears and hysterics to begin.

After a long moment, the man spoke. "Sugoi, desu ne?" was all he said. Whew!

True story.

DVC said...

< After a long moment, the man spoke. "Sugoi, desu ne?" was all he said.

It's like the answer to a Zen koan, that.

B-chan said...

BTW, Gamera also meets the Galaxy Express 999 in the same movie where he runs into the Yamato (Super Monster Gamera).