The 100 Best Contemporary Japanese Movies - Psycho Drama is launching an ambitious yet invigorating project to compile 100 of the best modern-day Japanese movies from the last 2 decades or so - that features the best young actors of their generation - from Joe Odagiri, Takako Matsu and Tadanobu Asano, to Satoshi Tsumabuki, Hikari Mitsushima, Mao Inoue, Ryuhei Matsuda, Shun Oguri and Masanabu Ando to the current crop of exciting young talents - Shota Sometani, Yuya Yagira, Kamiki Ryunosuke, Fumi Nikaido and Ai Hashimoto.
GODZILLA is the King of Monsters. For a second, I thought the statement could use a little more thud to convince the new generation - especially the young and modern-day disciples of video game consoles who get the creeps at the mention of Pyramid Head of Silent Hill 2 or Slashers of Dead Space – that this fella who is bestowed with such royal reputation can wreak havoc beyond words and make the baddest of video game monsters look like scared kittens.
I don't blame the PS2s and the Xboxes for brainwashing their minions with necromorphs and gut-chewing ghouls who, last I heard, are now having a tough time scaring their fandom despite the ever-generous serving of computer graphic effects cooked up by their dear software makers. And besides, movies about this king of beasts no longer sell as much as they did a decade or so ago when the Internet was not yet stacked with a deluge of dizzying information.
If there are people today who scour the web for the latest buzz or even just to relive the memory of Godzilla, these are perhaps the ones who where there when the King was born and changed the entire movie landscape (well, at least in the giant monster division) as well as the lives of those who stood as witness to this character's uncanny greatness.
For everything, there is a season. Godzilla is way past his prime being the Muhammad Ali or Michael Jordan of his era. It's now Justine Bieber's time. And yes, Lady Gaga. Can you imagine what the reaction of these celebrities' fans would be like if Godzilla had the same number of YouTube views as them as we speak? For sure, there would be hostility and divisiveness among pro-Gaga and pro-Godzilla crusaders.
Pro-Gaga: "Our views are being threatened by this mammoth has-been. Lady Gaga, please wear some more meat-clothes and expose more flesh to boost our views!"
Pro-Godzilla: "It's all about the bare essentials guys -- about substance, meaning and form. This is just half the threat. If there was YouTube during Godzilla's prime, his views would have been a trillion by now!"
But nope, Godzilla is too old for this s*it. Social video networks must be the least of his concern today. I wonder what's keeping the big fella busy since his last curtain call. Hibernating in the deep waters of the Atlantic and avoiding the urge to munch on subway trains? Or, maybe getting in touch again with the top honchos at Toho Co. Ltd for a 2013 movie comeback? The dude's acting may be rusty but he can still deliver, I guess.
Times change and so do people's perceptions and emotions. That's inevitable. That is understandable. Show kids today a clip of the first Godzilla and tell them how much you enjoyed the movie as a kid and chances are they'd think it sucks big time – ("would have been freaking awesome to see Stealth bombers and Raptors dropping bombs, or a hundred unmanned drones firing nuclear cruise missiles to his head", goes their bubble thought)...
It's hard to make the millennials appreciate movies in black and white, especially with the advent of the LCD tv and 3D (the Godzilla of '98 elicited some "oohs" and "aahs" from the boys, though, and that to me is a good start.)
Godzilla: 50 Years of Destruction
However, it's harder to grab their imagination and tell them, for instance, that Godzilla can spit out Atomic fire from his mouth (okay boys, this is the part where the Stealth bombers, Raptors and the drones are dropping like flies), split a whole city block in half in a single stomp, and melt his foes with laser beams from his eyes (arsenal the King didn't use in his last silver screen appearance). "The Avengers can beat this monster!" goes the reaction of my 7-year old nephew.
They can't relate. They can only compare and, worse – call you a dork. But, thanks to online videos and my old VCD tapes, I'm able to show them (by force and bribery) what Godzilla looks like and how he kicks ass during his heyday. It's not my intention to spark a debate (although I'm sure my monster could easily scare the Avengers away in one single roar) because I already know what the outcome would be like. You can never win in a debate against a seven-year old who knows his heroes like his own pet doggie. Trust me.
There are so many other things I want to share with my nephew. I want to tell him that the 160-foot, 20 thousand-ton behemoth who was conceived from an atomic weapons test gone haywire was actually as cuddly and sweet as a panda and that the T-Rex-looking juggernaut can whoop the Hulk's ass anytime he wants.
Me (hopeful, anxious for some positive reaction): "Awesome, huh?"
Nephew (lifting right eyebrow, shrugging shoulders): "Whatever...."
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