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January 20, 2008



Interesting! When a viewer described it to me, I got the impression that it was a mythologized telling of both 9/11 and of global warming fears.


Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but it seems troublesome to transfer the values of Japanese cinema (especially of a genre so beloved and hugely respected and popular in its home country and yet seen as novelty, cheesey, and at best niche in ours) to an American movie made in a similar genre. Do the Japanese get this thrill out of the films or do Americans watching kaiju films get that thrill? It's not clear from your article. Japan and the US have quite different spiritual traditions and values, so I'm not sure how well they all dovetail.

I am not sure if the spiritual thread you sew through these films is necessarily the same thing. Humans do like to spectale at their own destruction, but that doesn't make the Roman Colosseum an exercise in sin and redemption just because it might be similar to a public execution held in a place with different beliefs where such a spectacle is just that.


Very eager to dive into your site.

Gabriel Mckee

You're absolutely right-- I cannot and am not trying to speak for Japanese viewers, Japanese filmmakers, or even other Western fans. These are basically just my idiosyncratic thoughts, as a fan with a theology degree, on how giant monster movies work. And of course the genre is cross-cultural; what I say about Mothra could just as well be said about THEM! I'm not really talking about conscious spiritual messages, but more interpreting the meaning of a type of story logic that turns up in many countries and many decades. (And many genres, too-- AIRPORT '77 has the same kind of logic.)

I briefly considered putting in something about Japan (in Godzilla and elsewhere) suffering for the sins of the West, an argument that I believe some Western Godzilla scholars have made. But I decided *that* would have been culturally presumptuous.

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