Godzilladammerung: The Twilight Of Giant Rubber-suit Monsters

Republibot 4.0
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Everyone is a closet Godzilla fan.

Everyone wants to see a man in a rubber suit step on a cardboard town.

Well, if it hadn't been for a few weird coincidences, we might never have seen "The King Of Monsters."


My favorite factoid is how Godzilla got his name. Apparently there was an extremely large fellow in the production team whose nicknames were "Gorilla" and "Kojira" (whale in Japanese.) After a while the two names got conflated into one name--"Gojira." Since the monster hadn't been completed before filming began, the actors were told to react as if "Gojira" were coming. "What's a Gojira?" they wanted to know, "What's it look like?" "We're not sure, but it's big and scary, sort of like a cross between a whale and a gorilla."

Sadly, in this age of computer generated effects, the days of the men in the rubber monster suits are numbered. Fortunately, Japan is now recognizing the cultural contribution made by the tokusatsu monster films, and has organized a museum display of old props from the glory days of Megalon and Mothra.


I remember watching Ultraman when I was a kid. I can't believe he's still making movies! On days when I'm not feeling very perky, I still hear that narrator saying, "If Ultraman cannot return to the sun, he will never fly again!" That's kinda how I feel sometimes.

It's sad to know that yet another handcraft is being replaced by computerization; but interesting to note that "kids know CGI is fake. They want a real Ultraman."

I predict that audiences will become so jaded by CGI that real actors and real props on real sets will make a come-back. The other day I was astonished to see a commercial that featured several set and costme changes, which--with the exception of two jump cuts, were done entirely with old-fashioned stage trickery, like wire harnesses and break-away costumes. Ironically, the character depicted was an older Japanese architect who transformed briefly into Dracula, before going home to his wife and grown children, then took the wife on a vacation to Paris--all in one take. Since I had caught it as part of a program I had on DVR, I ran it back three or four times just to study it, to make sure it was all done old-school. Damned if I remember what it was advertising, though. Investments, maybe. I dunno. It was cool to watch, though.