The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Entertainment & Events

May 9, 2014

Loyal to zip-up Godzilla, Japan wary of US remake



"I hope the day will come when a Japanese director can make a Godzilla movie again for the world," he said.

In the original story, Godzilla emerged from the Pacific Ocean, a mutation awakened by nuclear-weapons testing on the Bikini Atoll, underlining Japan's emotional trauma from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

The story from Hollywood departs a bit from that script by having Godzilla stomping into San Francisco, instead of Tokyo, and confronting a flying monster that's not in the original. But the film stays true to the spirit of the original in many ways.

All director Gareth Edwards says he has done is produce an improved, more realistic Godzilla.

"In our film, for the first time, we will really see the actual animal again," he told The Associated Press.

"I think if you went around the world, and showed the silhouette of Godzilla, he'd probably be the most recognized character from movie history," he said. "Yet, as an adult, it's hard to point at a film where that truly did him justice. Especially with the digital tools we have available today."

Edwards says he grew up watching Godzilla films and has great respect for their deeper meaning, such as raising questions about nuclear weapons. But for many Japanese, the updated, more technologically advanced version of their hero isn't quite right.

Yumiko Yamashita, 40, a welfare worker, thinks Godzilla must be lovable — "kawaii," or cute, is the way she describes it.

She is proud it is drawing overseas respect but scoffed at U.S. depictions: "They make it too flashy. It becomes too American."

Minami Ichikawa, a Toho Co. director, acknowledged Japanese fans have been waiting for Godzilla's comeback because Toho hasn't made a Godzilla film for 10 years, after making 28 in the series.

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