Back on Third Street

I’ve discussed before the fact that Godzilla makes his first appearance since 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars in Always-zoku san-chôme no yûhi [aka Always – Sunset on Third Street 2] (2007; dir. Takashi Yamazaki) — a comedy/drama rather than a monster movie. Set in Tokyo in the mid-1950s — during the Showa period that spawned the original Godzilla — Always 2 includes two minutes of kaiju destruction as Godzilla demolishes Third Street and zaps Tokyo Tower with his fire-beam. It’s only a dream-sequence cameo, but the effect is powerful:

On SciFi Japan, the director of Always 2, Takashi Yamazaki, talks about his decision to include the Godzilla sequence and the issues involved.

“The reason to do this was ‘Showa’. I wanted to use Godzilla because the film was set during the Showa Period. At one time I wanted to make my own Godzilla movie, and I always felt that Godzilla and Showa could not be separated. That era is one of the most important factors of the Godzilla films. The atmosphere of that time— which still bore the scars of WWII— was so unique, and I thought I couldn’t capture that kind of feeling in a modern setting. While it can be interesting to place Godzilla in the present day, something gets lost because this era is so different from Showa.”

“Godzilla is such a big star that it was important to prepare the proper stage for him to perform. To me, that stage should be the Showa Period. I always wanted to use the historical background of Showa, and now I had the chance to make a movie set in the era I most wanted to see Godzilla in. That was a big reason why I used Godzilla in ALWAYS 2.”

“[Godzilla] was a metaphor for war, the image of the mushroom cloud … Godzilla even entered Tokyo on the same route used by the invading B-29 bombers. I chose to have a terrifying Godzilla in ALWAYS 2 because he was created at a time when audiences were directly familiar with the War.”

Below is sculptor Syunsuke Niwa’s model of Godzilla (called “Third Street Godzilla” or San-Chome Gojira), which was used to create the all-CGI monster — the first time this has been done in a Japanese Godzilla feature film.

Godzilla design model

Read the full interview on SciFi Japan

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