Japanese Warm Up to Idea of American ‘Godzilla’

Godzilla

The Internet rumor that the Japanese see the new made-in-America “Godzilla” as “super-sized” and “too fat” is all wrong, Toho would like you to know.

“It’s just a small number of people saying that,” explains Toho PR rep Yosuke Ogura. “The number of people here who are OK with the new ‘Godzilla’ is a lot larger.”

Toho is the Japanese distributor of the film, and owns the underlying Godzilla property.

He favorably compares the look of the title monster in the Gareth Edwards pic to that in the 1998 Roland Emmerich “Godzilla,” which he frankly labels a “disaster.”

“This new Godzilla is closer in spirit to the original,” he says of the Legendary Entertainment-produced film. “If you just see the trailer, you might get the idea that he’s ‘fat’ or whatever, but once you see the whole film, as I have, I think your opinion will change.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Godzilla’ Director Gareth Edwards, Legendary’s Thomas Tull on Doing the ‘King of the Monsters’ Justice

Local fan opinion is more diverse than earlier negative media reports implied.

A glance at recent comments on the popular 2channel message board site reveals more anticipation than snark, now that additional info about the film has appeared, including early reviews.

“Gareth Edwards has made a full-bore, completely new ‘Godzilla’ that will be accepted around the world,” opines one poster. “I think it will be an immortal masterpiece.”

Fat jokes are nowhere in sight.

Japan, however, will be the last major market to view the latest Hollywood iteration of the iconic franchise that Toho launched in 1954 with the first of 28 made-in-Japan Godzilla pics: The studio plans to release “Godzilla” on July 25, nearly six weeks after its U.S. bow, but not out of any uncertainty about its success.

“That’s just the best timing,” explains Ogura. “It’s when big movies are released here.”

One recent example is the Hayao Miyazaki animation “The Wind Rises,” a Toho release that opened on July 20, 2013, and became the year’s highest-earning pic with $117 million.

One reason for this timing is that Japanese schools do not begin their summer break until mid-July. But Toho, Ogura emphasizes, does not consider “Godzilla” kiddie fare. “Of course, children will be able to see it – it’s rated for all ages,” he says, “but our primary target is adults.”

Toho is still sorting out its release strategy, though Ogura says the number of screens “will be as large as we can make it.”

One measure of comparison is the 454 screens Toho secured for “The Wind Rises.” “It will be in that range,” Ogura says.

Toho has not yet announced a B.O. target, but given the film’s $93 million weekend opening in the U.S., Toho can probably look forward to strong returns.

Its own risk is relatively limited, however, since it is not a production partner on “Godzilla,” a co-production of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures.

As part of its celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the original “Godzilla”’s debut, Toho plans to release a digitally re-mastered version of the 1954 Ishiro Honda classic on June 7 at theaters nationwide.

Meanwhile, since March, Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting, a Japanese movie specialty channel, has been broadcasting all 28 Toho-produced Godzilla pics as a lead-up to the July Japan release of “Godzilla,” including a 24-hour all-Godzilla lineup on May 5, during the Golden Week holiday. Also on the channel’s line-up are the 1998 Emmerich pic and “Godzilla, King of the Monsters,” the 1956 reworking of the original film for the U.S. market starring Raymond Burr.

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  1. Bill says:

    He’s not fat, he has big bones.

  2. Godzilla does not look fat. He reminds me of a Pit Bulls build. Stocky is a better description. His movements were still fluid though and yet that stocky build enhances the power of his blows. It also gives Godzilla an advantage when Grappling (which he does often).

    Another commentor mentioned the CGI. I agree with him, in that they did an amazing job. This is not a knock on the Toho Godzilla’s or CGI, but you actually got a sense of emotion from this CGI work that truly made Godzilla seem more natural and alive (The flaring nostrils for example).

    SPOILER ALERT!!!!
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    I am glad they did not make it a reboot of the original, where Godzilla is the enemy to be killed by any means(even if it destroys all life in Tokyo bay like in the original). This was much better done by giving Godzilla adversaries, while being indifferent to humans. Yes Godzilla destroyed the Golden Gate bridge and other buildings. I am sure there were humans who were killed by him. However he did not actively seek to destroy humans, except when he was being attacked. I mean an American fleet travelled in formation around him while they were travelling in the Pacific Ocean and Godzilla ignored them. He even swam under them, until he was attacked.

    I enjoyed the movie, though I wish it had more scenes with Godzilla. I will forgive that though as long as they do a sequel. The moment where I knew I loved this Godzilla was when he killed the male Monster with his tail strike. The first time I have ever seen him use his tail with such power and such success. I have seen him use his tail in the Japense movies (to bat rocks back at king kong and to strike), but those uses never proved to be so effective as the one with the American Godzilla.

    The movement of this Godzilla was so much more fludi than previous ones. The fact that this Godzilla could turn his head to snap at the monster on his back is something we have never seen in the stiffer Japanese versions. This Godzilla’s transition from land to sea is also more fluid as well as his swimming ability.

    Conclusion:

    I rate this 9 out of 10(Only because I wanted to see more of Godzilla, again i will forgive this as long as a sequel comes out).
    Star rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars (Same reason)

    Note: Any mention of the Toho Godzilla designs is by no means a knock on them. I want to be clear that their Godzillas are awesome and iconic. I do believe though that Godzilla 2014 is a little more nuanced with it’s use of pure CGI (No rubber suits). I also believe they put a lot of detail into the facial expressions of Godzilla 2014, especially the eyes, the way the skin stretched or wrinkled or rippled when he roared, the flaring of the nostrils when he breathed. Those minute details are not something I remember seeing in Japanese versions. I would very much like to see Godzilla continue to thrive both in Japan and America under both nation’s unique views. I hope Toho will continue to work closely with American producers, as their approval is a must, validating the American’s unique take as a true part of this Great Japanese Icon we know as Godzilla. This is not to say that the American version has to be combined with the Japanese versions. It reminds me a bit about Spider-man and the many different versions of that hero that have been created(From Amazing to Spectacular, etc…)

    Lastly: Please do NOT ever remake a King Kong vs Godzilla. First of all King Kong has no chance as he is only 50 feet tall. It is ridiculous to make a movie with them fighting when King Kong has to be altered so dramatically even to make him a match. Also King Kong does not have electrical absorping powers that make him more powerful with an electric touch. It’s ridiculous. Oh and for those who say King Kong won in the old version! If King Kong had won, he would have swam to the nearest land and stood up and beat his chest and roared in triumph, he did not. What King Kong did do was swim away for his life. Godzilla allows his adversaries to run away in defeat sometimes. So once King Kong was obviously fleeing for his life, Godzilla just stayed in his natural habitat under the water. Throught the movie King Kong was afraid of Godzilla and tried to get away and hide. Plus Bullets kill King Kong….Godzilla is practically indestructable! SO PLEASE DO NOT MAKE A NEW ONE BETWEEN THEM!

    (I know grammar is horrible and there are run on sentences, this is just a comment section people, not a creative writing assignment)

  3. Roelandt says:

    I’m a HUGE Godzilla fan (according to my mother, since I was 3 years old). Now, 48 years later, I’m still a huge fan. Loved the movie and yes…he was SO INCREDIBLY fat it was comical. I highly recommend the movie to everyone, and immediately follow with my string of Fat Jokes: “Godzilla should do a sit up.” He’s eaten too many Burger Kings,” and like one fan said, “The camera puts on about 50 million pounds.” Hehe. The movie could only have been better if the BIG G (now REALLY BIG) was not as comically fat. Gave the movie 9 out of 10. Would have given it a 10 if Godzilla was on Slimfast.

  4. Thomas Brown says:

    Ever use a period?

  5. robert says:

    This Godzilla depicted in this 2014 movie was the closest thing to looking like the original in 1954 just way better technology WAY…………………better, its not a person in a suit wearing the damn thing anymore, the CGI was amazing and to say that Godzilla looked fat is just crazy to me, the depiction of the king of the monsters Godzilla was perfect. the movie overall was great it was not just about monsters fighting but family tragedies,there were a couple times i got a frog in my throat the emotions brought by the actors were spot on so if the Japanese people don’t except this version of Godzilla they must still be stuck on the body suit looking Godzilla but i seriously believe that they will leave the movie theater very happy and satisfied and wondering whats next will they make another? i sure hope so and believe they will. this Godzilla is redemption for the 1998 version of a giant iguana looking Godzilla and terrible story.The 2014 Godzilla is everything i thought it would be and more

    • John Riley says:

      “the CGI was amazing and to say that Godzilla looked fat is just crazy to me,”

      I normally don’t like CGI only monsters as a lot of production studios use excessive motion blur and other methods to hide imperfections or the fact it is a computer generated image (which just winds up looking cartoonish or like a video game monster to me). I agree with you on the quality of the CGI on this Godzilla film, it was top notch and looked great.

      The size and shape also made a lot of sense to me. His “fat” shape resembles a football when he leans forward and considering how he swims, the shape greatly resembles the profile of a great white shark… Why wouldn’t such a creature have a lot of mid-body mass? This version did it for me and I’ve been a fan and watching the movies since the early ’80s.

  6. Kevin says:

    This title proves this Arthur has no idea about Japanese Godzilla. The first US made Godzilla was the American version, which later on, Japanese rebuttal it and made their final Godzilla movie just to set the record straight.

    Japan made the final battle of Godzilla which included the America Godzilla and called it a Zilla. Zilla only lasted 3 sec going head to head fighting the Japanese Godzilla.

    This 2014 Godzilla movie made and set the record straight. This is what real original Godzilla should look like and not some overgrown female lizar. BTW, Japanese original Godzilla was a male then some 20 years later it has evolved into a male-female role.

  7. daz.bik.dek.ofo.ofu.bdg.btn says:

    godzilla great movie great blockbuster godzilla is great in this movie but jean reno is a better leadman and the action scenes a great in both movies jean reno a huge star in japan wasabi a great movie especially the parts in japan

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