Godzilla is Still a Guilty Pleasure

Today my family celebrated my little nephew's third birthday.  After the pizza and cake, we all watched the 1968 cult classic Destroy All Monsters.  It's my favorite Godzilla film.  Even with its laughable special effects, even with its ridiculous plot, its cheesy goodness continues to entertain. 

Generation after generation continues to appreciate the old Toho Studios monster movies for their simple portrayal of mythic archtypes in the form of over-sized, out-of-control creatures -- forces of nature come to life and threatening the cities of our modern civilization.

Godzilla struck a chord with audiences, not just in Japan but around the world.  The American remake in 1998, despite a huge budget, state-of-the-art visual effects, an A-list cast, and a production team with a track record for Hollywood blockbusters, failed to connect with the public the way the Japanese originals did and continue to do. 

Destroy All Monsters features Godzilla and an all-star line-up of other "daikaiju" (the Japanese word for "giant monster"), including Mothra, King Ghidorah, Gorosaurus, Anguirus, Kumonga, Manda, Baragan, Varan, baby Minilla, and my fave, Rodan.  Under the control of an alien race, they escape from Monster Island and cause mayhem around the world before breaking the aliens' malevolent influence and saving the Earth.

If Hollywood ever tries to make another big-budget Godzilla flick, they would do well to look at the early Toho films and find out what resonated with fans.  Beneath the cheap rubber costumes and scale model city skylines, behind the bad acting and the silly storylines were some key elements that moviegoers, young and old, could enjoy, across all cultural boundaries.