ゴジラ (Godzilla – 1954)
written by Takeo Murata and Ishirō Honda
from a story by Shigeru Kayama
directed by Ishirō Honda
A giant dinosaur awakened by hydrogen bomb testing rises from the depths of the sea as the authorities scramble to protect citizens from the lumbering monster. It’s Gojira – or to us Westerners, Godzilla – and it’s hell-bent on destroying post-World War II Japan, an obvious metaphor for the 1945 American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Godzilla was a blockbuster, spawning countless sequels and remakes, but look beyond the rubber suit and miniature special effects (some quite impressive) and you’ll find a remarkably tender movie that serves not only as a solemn condemnation of nuclear weapons, but as the unifying cry of a country finding its way after devastation. From a group of children singing in memory of the dead, to the final sacrifice of Dr. Daisuke Serizawa (Akihiko Hirata) as he uses a deadly device to kill the beast – and then himself, lest it falling into the wrong hands – Godzilla is as thoughtful as it is thrilling.
Carlos I. Cuevas