Sunday, June 22, 2014

Essentials Jr.: Godzilla, King of the Monsters

Tonight at 8:00 PM, TCM's Essentials Jr. is presenting Godzilla, King of the Monsters. As I mentioned back in June 2012, this isn't quite the same movie as the original Gojira. I'm not certain why it was transliterated to Godzilla in English since English speakers don't have difficulty with the Japanese sounds. If the story were originally an English-language Godzilla adapted by the Japanese, I could see the title change, but as far as I can tell the story is originally Japanese. Wikipedia suggests that "Gojira" comes from the Japanese words for "gorilla" ("gorira") and "whale" ("kujira").

My post of two years ago mentions that when the American distributor added Raymond Burr and dubbed it into English for American audiences, all of the dialogue was dubbed into English. I think this is technically untrue. It's been a while since I've seen the movie, and there are apparently places where the dialog is left in Japanese, with Burr's policeman friend explaining to Burr (and us) what's going on. It must have been cheaper to do this when they could get away with it.

I'm not surprised that TCM selected this version of the story for Essentials Jr. instead of the original Gojira. After all, Essentials Jr. is supposed to be for the whole family, and I can imagine that the young kids aren't going to want to spend an hour and a half reading subtitles. True, Essentails Jr. did include Jacques Tati's M. Hulot's Holiday a couple of years back, but that one's got quite a bit less dialog than most movies, and most of the comedy is visual. They've also included silent films, but again, the intertitles are less frequent than the subtitled dialog in most movies. For better or worse, we in the United States don't have the experience of constantly reading subtitles that people in some non-English speaking countries do.


Darren Daiboa said...

I read somewhere that Godzilla is an official tranliteration, and was provided by the Japanese producers themselves. So it's not really a misheard name, since if it was misheard, the Japanese are the ones who misheard it.

I still like the 2014 movie. It has a different premise from the 1954 one, but I still consider it a good watch today.

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

Thanks for the info. That would actually make a lot of sense.

I don't recall even seeing ads for the new version of Godzilla. Is it a palette of blues with orange for the explosions, and 3D just because we can, the way too many blockbusters these days seem to be?