The first seminar of BCM320: Digital Asia brought a screening and live tweeting of the film Godzilla (Not the 2014 film and NOT the 1998 disaster). We viewed the 1954 Japanese film which was black and white.
I was very aware of just how dated the film is, and the capabilities of effects from this time period, which was no CGI, meaning it was all practical. But being born in the 90’s, and being exposed to heavily CGI and effects driven films my whole life, watching Godzilla 1954 was certainly an experience. When I moved to Australia when I was a kid, all I could speak was Filipino and didn’t know a word of English. A really cool method my parents did to somewhat teach me to understand english is to get me to watch movies. By the time I was 6 years old I probably had watched 3 times more movies than the average 6 year old. I loved action movies and sci fi. I remember watching Star Wars and not understanding a single word, but the lightsaber fights were awesome, and I used to quote what they say, even not knowing what they meant. In time, with school and watching movies, I could speak english great.
In retrospect, all the movies I was watching were very modern and the oldest movie I used to watch was the first Star Wars film, which uses effects that still hold up today. While in recent years I’ve watched a few old black and white movies, Psycho being one of my favourites, I haven’t yet watched one that would have to use large scale effects. So here today, I will view Godzilla 1954.
As I watched the film, I had tried to turn back time, and imagine I was a person in 1954 watching a big monster destroying cities on a screen. I eliminated any thought of modern CGI, movie effects and modern technology. To an extent this way of viewing it did make me feel a sense of awe on how this was made. But in honesty, trying to eliminate all I know about modern films while watching this was very unrealistic, so I just viewed it as it is, without taking my mind to a different time period.
Viewing this film in 2018, I actually really enjoyed this screening experience. The black and white maintained this grim atmosphere, and seeing cities and all that’s familiar being destroyed in this black and white backdrop, it just further makes you feel the weight of the disastrous events. Godzilla himself was very cool, the movement though seemed very funny at times and you can tell it was a human in a Godzilla suits a lot, but the monster did look really cool. Sound effects and the script were campy but I really loved that, made it very enjoyable.
As a kid I used to think Godzilla 1998 was a great movie, I used to watch it all the time. Watching it today I realised just how bad it was, but back then it seemed great. Watching Godzilla 1954, I can appreciate how great it was back in that era though it’s extremely dated today, and that’s why I would watch the 1954 movie any day over the 1998 one.
Live tweeting this movie was a pleasure, though hard as multi-tasking with subtitles is pretty difficult, but all in all I loved watching this movie. Good to take a step back in time.