Godzilla (ゴジラ - Gojira) is a giant fictional reptile kaiju first seen in the 1954 Japanese tokusatsu film Gojira, produced by Toho Film Company Ltd. To date, Toho has produced 28 Godzilla films. more...
In 1998 TriStar Pictures produced a nominal remake of the original set in contemporary New York city. A new film is slated to be produced by Advanced Audiovisual Productions. (For a list of these films, see below.)
Godzilla is characterized as amphibious, nearly indestructible and highly regenerative, and breathing a sort of nuclear fire or "heat-ray". The earliest two Godzilla films visually and thematically evoke the US bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath and human damage of Godzilla's attacks. Although much of Godzilla's significance as an anti-war symbol has been lost in the transition to pop culture, the nuclear breath remains as a visual vestige of the creature's early Cold War politics.
Godzilla's origins vary somewhat from film to film, the creature is almost always described as prehistoric, often a dinosaur, and its first attacks on Japan are somehow linked to atomic testing in the Pacific Ocean, including but not limited to using nuclear mutation as an explanation for the creature's great size and strange powers.
- His iconic design (a charcoal-colored monster-like figure with small pointed ears, rough bumpy scales, powerful tail, and bony colored dorsal fins shaped like maple leaves).
- He is virtually indestructible, impervious to all modern weaponry.
- He can release a powerful atomic energy beam, usually blue but in some films red, from his mouth (which is ominously signalled when his dorsal fins glow/flash in the same color as the atomic beam).
The name "Gojira" is a combination of gorira which means "gorilla" and kujira, which means "whale" in Japanese. The name was allegedly originally a nickname of a large worker at Toho Studios. But since Gojira was neither a gorilla nor a whale, the name "Gojira" was devised in a different way for the film's story; Gojira's name was "originally" spelled in kanji (呉爾羅), but for sound only. The combined characters, oddly enough, mean "give you net"!
Gojira was first released in the United States in 1955 in Japanese-American communities only, under Toho's international title, Godzilla. In 1956, it was adapted by an American company into Godzilla, King of the Monsters (based on Toho's international title), edited and with added, principal scenes featuring Raymond Burr, and this version became an international success. As a result, the monster came to be known as "Godzilla" also in Japan.
The belief that American distributors were responsible for the name "Godzilla" in America is a misconception, since Toho came up with the name for international markets to begin with.
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