I get asked frequently why I have this strange fascination with Japanese monster films, and with Godzilla in particular. And I have to admit it, I do have this odd fascination with both.
When I was in elementary school, and would come home from classes with homework, I would plop down on the floor, and begin working. Now, what is the big deal with that? Well, I would do my homework in the living room with the TV on, usually tuned to TBS. And it seemed like TBS would run one of the bad Godzilla films like “Godzilla vs. Mothra” or “Son of Godzilla” (which I have on now as I type this). And with that running in the background, I would get all of my homework done. Now, this drove my sister nuts as she wanted to watch TV, but if the TV was on, she wouldn’t do her homework. Now, with me, even when I was in college, I needed background music noise to get my work done.
As I got older, I started to appreciate the monster movies even more. Yes, you can usually tell it’s a man in a costume. Yes, you can see the strings holding the model jets. And yes, you can tell that the awesome looking tanks are just toys. But the films actually address the times that they were made. Godzilla, the original Japanese film, was made not long after we dropped the A-bombs. The cold war was getting into full swing. Everyone was testing nuclear weapons. And the story of a radioactive monster destroying Japan really addressed the feeling of the times.
I don’t believe for a moment that Godzilla films can be considered among the greatest films ever made, but for what they are, I think they can be appreciated. It’s not like Hollywood is putting out much better movies now.