Burning Japanese

Godzilla after 50 years reveals more than just a rubber suit

Releasing the original cut of the film is a good start, at any rate. Chopping and redubbing was clearly the right decision from a 1950s commercial standpoint -- if U.S. audiences couldn't handle Mel Gibson's Mad Max Australian accent in 1979, how could they possibly have bought into a Japanese-language movie in the mid-1950s? But it was also an aesthetic shame, and it's a bummer that the anti-nuke subtext was almost entirely removed and the morally ambiguous scientist with the secret weapon rendered a stereotypical loony. Subsequent entries in the Godzilla series made the kaiju (giant monster) genre synonymous with silly wrestling antics, but the original retains its dark tone and deadly serious anti-war message. For today's moviegoing audiences, this may not be your daddy's Godzilla movie, but chances are your granddaddy could teach you a thing or two about the context.

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