Is Godzilla a reflection of human behavior?
'Godzilla', the giant, reptilian monster of Japanese movie fame which first appeared in Ishiro Honda's 1954 film, is supposedly like 'human beings'.
Jason Jones, who teaches Japanese culture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), says that since 'King of the Monsters' was sprung from man's misuse of nuclear weapons, it was intended by its creators to be a reflection of human behavior, forcing us to struggle with our own emotional and ethical conflicts.
The creature is an anomaly among monsters and the fact that he's the most like humans is the key to that enduring appeal, he added.
Jones, who is writing a book, 'Godzilla is Dead: How Capitalism Killed Meaning in the Monster', continued saying that most people today are more familiar with the zany Godzilla than the serious one.
Godzilla has become so ingrained in popular culture it is difficult to keep the seriousness of the original message alive. Even in Japan, where his presence is ubiquitous, younger people aren't much more knowledgeable than their American counterparts when it comes to Godzilla's beginnings.
Current events, however, could provide an opportunity for the new movie to remind viewers why Godzilla came to be in the first place. Since the earthquake that hit Japan last year and the ensuing radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the country is revisiting its relationship with nuclear power, says Jones.
Films have the power to make us think, he added. Though we want the eye candy too, there's a need as humans for us to constantly review and assess whether we're acting in our own best interests, and this film has the potential to do that.
(Posted on 19-05-2014)