Godzilla (ゴジラ, Gojira?) is a popular series of giant monster films. Starting in 1954, the Godzilla series has become one of the longest running film series in movie history.
The first film, Godzilla, was first released in the United States in 1955 in Japanese-American communities only. In 1956, it was adapted by an American company into Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, edited and with added principal scenes featuring Raymond Burr, and this version became an international success.
The original Godzilla was greatly inspired by the commercial success of the 1952 re-release of King Kong, and the 1953 success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Godzilla would go on to inspire Gorgo, Gamera, Cloverfield, and many others.
The name "Godzilla" is a romanization, by the film production company Toho Company Ltd., of the original Japanese name "Gojira" — which is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ) 'gorilla' and kujira (鯨, くじら) 'whale'. The word alludes to the size, power and aquatic origin of Godzilla.
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Series history
The Godzilla series is generally broken into three eras reflecting a characteristic style and corresponding to the same eras used to classify all 'daikaiju eiga' (monster movies) in Japan. The first two eras refer to the Japanese emperor during production: the Shōwa era, and the Heisei era. The third is called the Millennium era as the emperor (Heisei) is the same but these films are considered to have a different style and storyline than the prior era.
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Shōwa series (1954–1975)
The initial series of movies is named for the Shōwa period in Japan (as all of these films were produced before Emperor Hirohito's death in 1989). This Shōwa timeline spanned from 1954, with Gojira, to 1975, with Terror of Mechagodzilla. With the exceptions of Godzilla Raids Again, King Kong vs. Godzilla, and Mothra vs. Godzilla, much of the Showa series is relatively light-hearted. Starting with Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla began evolving into a more human and playful antihero (this transition was complete by Son of Godzilla, where he is shown as a good character), and as years went by, he evolved into an anthropomorphic superhero. Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was also significant for introducing Godzilla's archenemy and the main antagonist of the series, King Ghidorah. The films Son of Godzilla and All Monsters Attack were aimed at youthful audiences, featuring the appearance of Godzilla's son, Minilla. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was notable for introducing Godzilla's robotic arch foe and secondary villain of the movie series Mechagodzilla. The Shōwa period saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, two of which (Mothra and Rodan) had their own solo movies. This period featured a well documented continuity, although the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters takes place in 1999 causing some to consider it chronologically the final original Godzilla movie, even though most if not all subsequent films in the Showa series refer back to Monster Island, which is first revealed in Destroy All Monsters, thus clearly setting them chronologically after that film.
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Heisei series (1984–1995)
The timeline was revamped in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla; this movie was created as a direct sequel to the 1954 film, and ignores the continuity of the Shōwa series. Because of this, the original Godzilla movie is considered part of the Heisei series as well as being a part of the Showa series. The continuity ended in 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah after a run of seven films. The "new" Godzilla was portrayed as much more of an animal than the latter Shōwa films, or as a destructive force as he began. The biological nature and science behind Godzilla became a much more discussed issue in the films, showing the increased focus of the moral focus on genetics. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah gave the first concrete birth story for Godzilla, featuring a Godzillasaurus that was mutated by radiation into Godzilla.
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Millennium series (1999–2004)
The Millennium Series is the official term for the series of Godzilla movies, unofficially called the "Shinsei Series" (or even the "Alternate Reality Series") by American fans, made after the Heisei series ended with Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. The common theme to this era is that all movies use Godzilla (1954) as the jumping-off point. Since the films are different, the sizes are different in some cases. Godzilla's most prominent size in this series is 55 meters (180 feet). In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack he was 60 meters (about 196 feet), and in Godzilla: Final Wars he was 100 meters tall (about 328 feet). Godzilla was originally supposed to be 50 meters (about 164 feet) in Final Wars, but budgetary cutbacks in miniature sets forced this size change.
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] American films
The first talk of an American version of Godzilla was when director Steve Miner pitched his own take to Toho in the 1980s. "The idea was to do a Godzilla film as if it was the first one ever done, a big-budget American special FX movie." Miner said. "Our Godzilla would have been a combination of everything - man-in-suit, stop-motion and other stuff." Fred Dekker had written the screenplay. "We had a big Godzilla trying to find its baby. It's a bit of a Gorgo storyline. The big ending has Godzilla destroying San Francisco. The final Godzilla death scene was to be on Alcatraz Island." Toho and Warner Bros. were said to be very interested in Miner's take but it eventually became too expensive.[[|]]
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Godzilla (1998)
Main article: Godzilla (1998 film)In October 1992, Toho allowed Sony Pictures to make a trilogy of English-language Godzilla films, with the first film to be released in 1994. In May 1993 Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio were brought on to write a script, and in July 1994 Jan de Bont, director of Speed and Twister, signed on to direct. DeBont quit due to budget disputes, and director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin signed on before the release of the highly successful Independence Day. They rejected the previous script and Patrick Tatopoulos radically redesigned the titular monster. The film was finally scheduled for release on May 19, 1998.[[|]]
Godzilla was met with mostly negative reviews and negative reaction from the fan base. Having grossed $375 million worldwide, though, the studio moved ahead with a spin-off animated series. Tab Murphy wrote a treatment, but Emmerich and Devlin left the production in March 1999 due to budget disputes. The original deal was to make a sequel within five years of release of a film, but after sitting on their property, considering a reboot, Sony's rights to make a Godzilla 2 expired in May 2003.[[|]]
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] American reboot
[]EnlargeLegendary's concept art of Godzilla (modeled by Gonzalo Ordóñez Arias. Source)After the release of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho announced that it would not produce any films featuring the Godzilla character for ten years. Toho demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla films to stage water scenes.[[|]] Director Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah, secured the rights from Toho to make an IMAX 3D short film production, based on a remake of the Godzilla vs. Hedorah story. Banno was unable to find backers to produce the film. Banno met American producer Brian Rogers, and the two planned to work together on the project. Rogers approached Legendary Pictures in 2009, and the project became a plan to produce a feature film instead.[[|]]
In March 2010, Legendary formally announced the project after it had acquired rights to make a Godzilla film from Toho, with a tentative release date of 2012. The project is to be co-produced with Warner Bros., who will co-finance the project.[[|]] (TriStar Pictures will not be involved because their rights expired in 2003.) The planned film's producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and Brian Rogers and executive producers Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira, and Doug Davison will work with Legendary's Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.[[|]] Legendary said their film would not be a sequel to the 1998 Godzilla,[[|]] but a reboot to the franchise.
Legendary first promoted the planned new film at the San Diego Comic-Con International fan convention in July 2010. Legendary commissioned a new conceptual artwork of Godzilla, consistent with the Japanese design of the monster.[[|]] The artwork was used in an augmented reality display produced by Talking Dog Studios. Every visitor to the convention was given a T-shirt illustrated with the concept art. When viewed by webcam at the Legendary Pictures booth, the image on-screen would spout radioactive breath and the distinctive Godzilla roar could be heard.[[|]]
Gareth Edwards, who directed Monsters, was attached in January 2011 to direct the new Godzilla film.[[|]][[|]] Edwards said of his plans, "This will definitely have a very different feel than the most recent US film, and our biggest concern is making sure we get it right for the fans because we know their concerns. It must be brilliant in every category because I’m a fan as well."[[|]] When Edwards' signing was announced, it was also announced that David Callaham's first draft was rejected and the film would be rewritten by a new writer.[[|]] In July 2011, Legendary announced that writer David Goyer would write the script.[[|]] On November 9, 2011, it was reported that Max Borenstein has been attached to write the film.[[|]]
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Series development
Godzilla was originally an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on earth. The radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru through the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954 led to much press coverage in Japan preceding the release of the first movie in 1954. The Heisei and Millennium series have largely continued this concept. Some have pointed out the parallels, conscious or unconscious, between Godzilla's relationship to Japan and that of the United States; first a terrible enemy who causes enormous destruction to the cities of Japan such as Tokyo (Godzilla, The Return of Godzilla), Osaka (Godzilla Raids Again, Godzilla vs. Biollante, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), and Yokohama (Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack) in different films, but then becoming a good friend and defender in times of peril.
Films have been made over the last five decades, each reflecting the social and political climate in Japan.
[[[Godzilla (franchise)|edit]]] Filmography