The 31st edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival closed on Saturday with Godzilla: The Planet Eater. The final part of the animated trilogy produced for Netflix by Toho Animation and Polygon Pictures, the movie was directed by Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita.
Actually, Thursday (November 3) marked the release date of Ishiro Honda's 1954 original classic, and the date is celebrated year after year as Godzilla's birthday. It was also a special day for Tokyo. For, it was on November 3, 1954 that Godzilla first stomped all over the city, recuperating and rising from the horrific atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tokyo and most parts of Japan were also in ruins having been bombed out of shape by the Allied forces. And, in a way, Godzilla, seemed to convey a certain kind of anger, a certain kind of resolve to regain the nation's self-esteem and pride.
The year 1954 was important in another way: it was then that a boatload of Japanese fishermen suffered radiation poisoning from a US nuclear test at Bikini Atoll. Godzilla reflected the fears of the time, and in the first ever film on the King of Monsters, it was “stirred and strengthened” by radiation. Many saw Godzilla as a metaphor for nuclear weapons.
And 2019 will mark 65 years of Godzilla, but the King of Monsters hardly shows sign of calling it quits. The highly popular franchise has so far produced 34 movies, three from Hollywood studios. There is still life in the old man. Two Godzilla films are slated for release in 2019 and 2020: Godzilla: King of the Monsters, directed by Michael Dougherty, and Godzilla vs Kong by Adam Wingard.
(Author, commentator and movie critic Gautaman Bhaskaran has been covering The Tokyo International Film Festival for several years)
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