Thursday, November 18, 2004

Godzilla, now in the autumn of life

Toho Pictures president Shogo Tomiyama poses with, uh, Godzilla, holding the Hollywood Walk of Fame certificate. (AP Photo)

After 50 years of stomping cities, the King of Monsters is calling it quits. Again. The Washington Post reports the upcoming movie Godzilla: Final War -- his 28th -- will be the radioactive reptile's last. But Godzilla's going out on a high note. Sort of: He's getting a star later this month on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:
The lumbering lizard has come a long way from his youthful, black-and-white movie days. Those flicks -- the first one opened in Japan in November 1954 -- seem pretty cheesy and old-fashioned now: an actor in a jiggly latex Godzilla costume, munching fake subway trains, crushing buildings the size of Lego projects and fighting monsters even goofier-looking than he was. (For instance, his foe in Godzilla vs. Megalon was a giant insect with drill-bit hands. )

But don't be too quick to dismiss Godzilla as a scaly has-been. He opened the doors for many Japanese pop culture stars. Without Godzilla, you might never have had Astro Boy, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Powerpuff Girls, or Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon characters. Anime and manga owe a lot to this early mon-star.
Gojira couldn't be reached for comment.