Gojira is a science fiction movie based on Japanese culture that was produced and directed by Toho and Ishirō Honda respectively (Tsutsui and Michiko 25). With the help of special effects specialist Eiji Tsuburaya, the director, and the producer of this film were able to exemplify the themes and consequently the main objective of this film (Johnston et. Al 12). Apparently, issues that are epitomized in the film predominantly resonate with the subjects related to the post-war experiences the Japanese people underwent particularly after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In addition, this film makes apparent the role of America in re-establishing the country by means of economical practices. In a bid to bring out the major themes in the film, the director of this film incorporate the use of appropriate theatrical skills and techniques. To ascertain that the movie is perceived by the audience as it is intended. Though the majority of the people outside Japan may perceive this film as a monster film or even a kid’s film. The movie has significant relevance to the people of Japan particularly because this film relates to their post-war experience and how the same reflects in their culture. Based on the above this paper will in essence present an in-depth analysis of the film by focussing on the characters of the film, the themes, and the visual analysis.
Themes and Characters
Apparent from the film is the fact that the Godzilla is used as a representation of nuclear holocaust. Subsequent to the inception of this film, Godzilla is culturally branded as a predominant metaphor for nuclear weaponry. To ascertain that the audience or rather the viewers of this film perceive the film as intended. The film is developed in a way that exemplifies the true nature of how things unfolded in the real events that took place (Tsutsui and Michiko 28). In this movie for instance, Godzilla s attacks the glasses the same way the nuclear weapons brought down Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan towards the end of World War II. Apparently, the major theme of this film as it relates to the Japanese people is the horror or rather the terror of the bombings that destroyed Japan massively. As events unfolded in the film, we get to know that nature was taking revenge on mankind after mankind designed and invented the bomb. The onslaught of the monster according to the film is depicted to be similar to that of the bomb that brought down Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Though Godzilla appear to assemble some an animal. It is imperative to denote that it has no particular characteristics similar to an animal owing the fact that he could have been killed easily by the use of a cannonball. But since the Godzilla exemplifies an atomic bomb, it cannot be exterminated easily and has an aptitude to cause destructions. In essence, the director of this film designed it in such a way that the characteristics of the atomic bomb are applied to the Godzilla.
Another theme apparent in the film is the Japanese history and cultural practices. Considering that this film is based on real-life events that took place during World War II. The film in essence exemplifies the nature of war that took place in Japan during the aforementioned period and the aftermath effects it brought to Japan (Tsutsui and Michiko 27). Apparently, people from Japan closely relate with this film essentially because the bombings that took place towards the end of World War II is predominantly recounted in their history. Apparently, the themes in this film inculcate the perception that this film was created and fostered by negative sentiments, fears, and horrors subsequent to the Japanese bombings towards the end of World War II.
Apart from the aforementioned themes, the success of this film was inspired by the use of suitable characters. Dr. Yamane in the film is a character in the film that significantly epitomizes the themes of this film. This character is portrayed as a calm and pragmatic person who provides reason to this movie. Unlike majority of other characters in the film, Dr. Yamane is of the opinion that Godzilla should not be killed but rather kept for the reason of studying it and understanding the fundamentals of its characteristics. His main intention as from the film is to study the Godzilla and understand and how this Godzilla survived bombs for the main reason being to save mankind from the destructive behavior of this creature. Owing the clash of ideologies that stem from the differing perceptions on whether to kill or keep the Godzilla, we are introduced to the theme of duty versus morality. The aforementioned theme in the end played an imperative or rather a significant part in decision-making.
Another character that apparently makes the film more interesting and insightful as it relates to the horror experienced by the people of Japan is Dr. Serizawa. Dr. Serizawa in the film through his intellectual insights developed a potent invention in which he is unwilling to introduce it because he is held back by the fear that human beings may weaponize it. In this film, Dr. Serizawa is subjected to a dilemma that in essence makes apparent the theme of duty versus morality. He is left to choose whether to introduce the invention and save the lives of people from the rage of the Godzilla. Or keep the invention for himself in a bid to ensure that scientific innovations are not subjected to exploitations by human. In the end, Dr. Serizawa uses his oxygen destroyer to kill the Godzilla and also kill himself in the process to ascertain that his inventions die with him. This character is of particular significance in the film because his death and actions parallels those of Dr. Oppenheimer, a man who is acknowledged for having invented a bomb. Though Dr. Oppenheimer had the aptitude to build an atomic bomb. His ethical stance prevented him from build the atomic bomb. A fact that fostered his death subsequently owing the fact that he was perceived to be a traitor who didn’t want his people to win the nuclear arms race.
The first scene of the film is in itself exemplary, upon the inception of this film; we are introduced to the things that happened a few months before (Tsutsui and Michiko 31). In essence, we are introduced to the political unrest in Japan that had been caused by the dragon. As the events unfold in the film, the Godzilla gradually demands attention from people. Apparently, the director of this film incorporates the use of suspense to develop audience’s desire to watch a movie. Godzilla in this movie is not revealed in the beginning, it is rather revealed 22 minutes later. Taking time before revealing Godzilla was essentially important because the director’s main intent was to create anxiety hence suspense in the movie.
Apparently, though Gojira is a classic movie, it is imperative to denote that this movie is a good example of “Mise en Scene” (Tsutsui and Michiko 117). Apparently, this movie incorporates the use of many elements incorporated in the “Mise en Scene” idea. Though the costume during the production of this film was an impressive feat, it is of utmost importance to note that it is more apparent now. In this film, the set used represents an absolute scale of the city model and in essence emphasizes the size of the Godzilla. Irrespective of the fact that the rubber suits may appear modern, it is imperative to establish that this was a revolutionary technique and skill for Toho, the producer of this film. In addition to the above, the models and the suit of this film hold an appealing and charming effect to the audience. The fact that the producer incorporated the use of practical effects over the use of computer animations that had not developed well in those days clearly accentuates that the cinematography used in this film is more appropriate and effective. Additionally, the cinematography of this film is more effective and appealing. In the sense that; it presents solid images in front of the camera and gives it solid presence a fact that is not predominantly present in digital manipulation.
The use of color in many instances is excellently effected. The gritty cinematography employed in many instances establishes a darker tone (Tsutsui and Michiko 92). The dark tone in essence is used in the film to exemplify the theme of nuclear destruction that was executed by the Americans in World War II. The producer of this film effectively blends the gritty image and a low angle shot to emphasize and make apparent the size of the Godzilla. The lighting in this film is used to illuminate the background in fog form giving the Godzilla a predominant presence. In essence, the low angle shot and the background shot makes the audience focus more o the Godzilla.
In conclusion, it is apparent that proper choices of characters that best exemplify the themes of this movie were chosen. The major themes brought out in this film include duty versus morality, horror, Japanese culture and the American act of reinstating Japan. Characters that include Dr. Serizawa and Dr. Yamane in essence exemplify the true nature of World War II happenings as it relates to Japan. Additionally, the use of “Mise en Scene” made the movie exemplary.
Johnston, Robert K, Craig Detweiler, and Barry Taylor. Don't Stop Believin': Pop Culture
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Tsutsui, William M, and Michiko Itō. In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on
The Global Stage. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Internet resource.