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The Castle Bravo nuclear test took place at the beginning of the Cold War, when nuclear fears were widespread. From threats by otherworldly inhabitants displayed in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to the killer eight-foot-tall ants seen in the movie “Them!
The film clearly explains that hydrogen bomb testing by the United States is what caused the disaster; the explosive atmospheric test awoke and irradiated a giant green sea creature who arose from the water to wreak havoc on Japan.
Less than a decade after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, anti-nuclear sentiment can be felt throughout the film.
In 1956, “GOJIRA” became Godzilla when the giant monster landed on American shores.
The movie titled “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” was an editing mashup of the original 1954 film with a few new American actors.
The combination of the massive explosion and an unexpected shift in wind meant the sailors on the Lucky Dragon were in fallout range of the largest explosive nuclear test in US history.
The crew all suffered radiation poisoning with one member dying a few months later and others remaining hospitalized for more than a year.
The discussion of the negative impact of the decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan was limited to small circles.
Politics and history aside, the Godzilla franchise has remained a successful piece of culture in both the United States and Japan since its original debut, but in the 30-plus iterations that have come to life since 1954, American productions have avoided a return to the monster’s true origin story and to the message behind its destruction.
In the final line of “GOJIRA,” a serious warning is provided.
The man who discovered Godzilla’s origin says solemnly, “If we keep on conducting nuclear tests, it’s possible that another Godzilla might appear somewhere in the world, again.” Conversely, in “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” the American narrator ends with a message of hope: Even though this tragic event has occurred, “The whole world [can] wake up and live again.” The different perspectives are not surprising; the citizens of the United States and Japan felt completely different fears after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.