Did you know there’s going to be a new “Godzilla” movie? If the answer is no, watch the below video. If the answer is yes, you’re probably going to watch the below video again anyway:
I’m gonna keep this short and sweet, since we’re currently in the thick of the madness that is finals:
The new “Godzilla” looks hella sweet. Like, damn, that is a slick trailer (and separates it a lot from the 1998 film… bless). But there’s something a little… strange about taking such a traditional Japanese monster narrative/metaphor and transplanting it into someplace that’s decidedly not Japan? Word on the street is that the origin story/source? of this new Godzilla isn’t even going to be related to radioactivity, which is like, that’s cool, except put that into the context of the original Gojira myth and that’s like… wait… point, missed…
Now, I understand that people lift narratives from other cultures all the time, and that this cross-cultural lifting has resulted in some pretty amazing pieces of art. But for something so steeped in culture, such as the original “Godzilla” or, for an example of something that really shouldn’t be touched, any of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, there’s something intrinsically lost in translation… or is there? It’s not as though other cultures haven’t pilfered American myths, except most American myths are pilfered from other cultures originally so there’s this weird recursive loop thing going on, except for stories… but then again, can any culture actually hold claim to a specific story, or even just details within a universal story arc?
There are ways to make American monster movies. See: “Cloverfield,” for one. Another “quintessentially” American story might be “War of the Worlds,” and while I’m sure that the concept of zombies crosses international borders, the particular idea of the American zombie appears to have crossed into other cultures too, though its cult remains strongest within our borders.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s the caffeine hopping around in my veins, or a general eyeroll over the whole Hollywood remake machine, but Bryan Cranston’s coolness and a stupendous budget do not make the intrinsic “Why?!” of the new film any less “Why?!” Will I still see it? F*ck yeah, I love me a good monster film (see: “Pacific Rim,” which borrows from kaiju culture in serious, loving homage). But still, as much as there is a “dearth” of source material in the world… there really isn’t. There’s always the ability to find something new, to take the bones of a story and lay them in different earth. Godzilla is dead. Long live Godzilla! And then perhaps we’ll see something new take root?