One of the most famous movie monsters of all time, Godzilla, returns to the screen this week in a big-budget film starring Bryan Cranston. It’s a good time to take a look at all the various versions of Godzilla that have trashed cities and terrified the populace since the monster’s first appearance in 1954’s “Godzilla” from Japan, directed by Ishirō Honda.
In Japanese, the monster is called “Gojira,” based on combining the words for whale and gorilla. The original idea was inspired by the fears following the onset of the atomic age. But in his many following incarnations, Godzilla was sometimes the hero as well as the threat. Godzilla has appeared in games, comic books, television, and big and small budget films. The name has become a concept so embedded in our vocabulary that it shows up in terms like “Bridezilla.”
It is generally agreed that the low point was 1992’s Godzilla with Matthew Broderick. It isn’t that bad — until it goes completely off the rails in the last half hour. Here’s hoping this one is worthy of the name.