Godzilla In 1954, Ishiro Honda co-wrote and directed the kaiju film Gojira. The monster in this film was terrible, fierce and wreaked havoc across Tokyo. The wake left behind this giant creature was one of fire, destruction and death. When Gojira was exported to America, he was renamed Godzilla, and subsequently labeled as The King of Monsters.

Influenced by the American monster flicks that have been released in mass since King Kong, Tomoyuki Tanaka (a producer for Toho Studios) had to fill an open spot in his release schedule, so he enlisted the help of friends and Toho regulars. His goal with Gojira was to portray the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which had been bombed with the first atomic bomb less than ten years earlier. By using the vehicle of a monster movie, Tanaka was able to portray both the destruction of Tokyo, as well as the fear the Japanese people felt after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed.

King KongGodzilla was a global success in the years to come, especially after the American version of Gojira was released in 1957. However, this American version, Godzilla: King of Monsters, was heavily edited. To help make it more accessible for American audiences, Raymond Burr was added in as story narrator, playing an American reporter caught up in the disaster. Twenty minutes of additional footage was shot to add Burr's character, Steve Martin, into the film. 

At the same time, several scenes were cut from the original version. Almost 40 minutes of footage was edited out of Gojira's original edition. Most of the scenes that were cut from the film were done so that there would minimal dubbing, so that American audiences would be more receptive of Godzilla. This edited version was also released in Japan, where it was as popular as the original. Unfortunately, the original message of Godzilla was tempered due to the changes – the once fearsome beast was reduced to somewhat of a comical monster, and without the additional scenes of characters speaking, the fear of atomic destruction was less than obvious to American viewers.

There have been several sequels made following the original Godzilla. Most of these sequels are much closer to the cheesy monster flick genre Americans enjoy, and less like the serious statement on nuclear weapons and war that the original film was intended to portray. Even so, Godzilla has become a household name everywhere.

Godzilla Picture

Producers even tried rebooting the Godzilla franchise Hollywood style. In 1998, Sony and TriStar released a big budget, mass special effects remake of Godzilla. Three movies were planned, but due to negative reviews and reception across the board, none of the sequels were ever made.

Godzilla 2000Not satisfied at all with the American Godzilla, Toho Studios in Japan made a new film to reboot their long running franchise and show people how it's done. Godzilla 2000 was a hit overseas and did moderately well here in the States. Fans were happy to see that with Toho’s reboot, the old Godzilla had returned. 

In 2014, yet another American version of Godzilla was released. Unlike the 1998 version, this time the filmmakers stayed true to the Japanese look and feel of the giant monster. This one was a success, with a sequel is in the works already.Toho Studios then released the theatrical version of the original 1954 Gojira to celebrate the new American film.

Now, news has arrived that Toho Studios is creating a brand new Godzilla film to release in 2016. This is part of a much larger plan to reinvent the franchise for a new generation. To support the revamped Godzilla craze, networks like El Rey (via Direct TV) are also joining in, with series marathons available through January. With all of this momentum behind him, it appears that we are entering a new age of Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

Jared Hill is an eclectic blogger that specializes in entertainment, sports and technology. Follow him on Twitter @JaredHill341

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