60 years on and Godzilla is still strong

I’m a 90s baby, I grew up watching Hi-5, The Wiggles (originals) and then grew into more sophisticated films like Mean Girls that truly understood the struggles of growing up in a white privileged society. I’ve grown up in a mostly peaceful time, and the only worries I’ve faced have been “end of the world” scares that never eventuated. As a result, the films I watched growing up were mostly light-hearted fun, adventure filled stories that never showed hard-ships.


Godzilla (1954), image, movieboozer.com

I would have never watched Godzilla growing up, and even if I did I would have missed the underlying metaphor behind the film. This is because I’ve never lived in a time where the horror of nuclear war or death of loved ones has ever been a treat to my perfect bubble wrapped life.


As I watched Godzilla, I found it difficult to relate to the characters because I had never experienced anything that made me think about how my life could be affected by this. Also, my experience of films up to this point were American made or American sympathised, therefore the common enemy of those films were Russia, Japan, or Germany that had made up the Axis Powers in World War II. These stereotypes had carried across to my understanding of the world around me, and it was only until I was old enough to experience the world for myself that I found this to be this incorrect.


Therefore, expanding my understanding of International Film is a valuable source to understand how other countries document and make sense of hard-ships they have faced. The Japanese film industry using a nuclear, fire-breathing monster as a metaphor of the destruction the US inflicted upon Japan during the war makes this film more relatable for many different audiences, rather than if it was a more direct portrayal of the event. It ended up becoming a hugely successful formula and as a result, ironically America has released their own Godzilla films.


If you’re interested in a little background reading:

Here’s an article of photos of Hiroshima and Nagasaki then and now from the Guardian 

And a review of Godzilla


  1. This is a great read, I can totally relate to your childhood; light hearted fun movies over a black and white Japanese movie, I can see why it took me so long to get around to watching Gojira! I also agree with you that International film is an incredibly valuable source and gives an insight to a certain countries point of view/impression of an event or even an insight to their cultural norms and values.


  2. You had me at defining ‘Mean Girls’ as a sophisticated film!
    But in all seriousness, the differences between this film and Gojira are stark and imperative to understanding the way in which our cultural perspectives are shaped. As you pointed out, growing up solely watching these films establishes a disconnect between us and the variations of cultures that exist- and of course it would! Not only the films we consume, but the lifestyles that we live, are often harshly contrasted to those of other cultures in Western media. Even though Gojira positioned itself from the POV of Japanese military and civilians, in an attempt to illicit emotional reactions, your upbringing was still a barrier to you fully immersing yourself in the film. This was an astute observation made by you, and you have explained it quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

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