Japanese fans of Godzilla say the newly unveiled monster that is set to star in a Hollywood reboot of the postwar classic is too fat and has been “supersized” by the United States, a country not averse to large portions.
The latest version of the giant monster will hit 3-D screens in the United States on May 16 and in Japan two months later as the fire-breathing behemoth marks its 60th anniversary this year.
Trailers for the film and promotional stills have begun circulating, as marketers look to build excitement, but many Japanese fans say their hero looks a little too chubby.
“Only the silhouette of the new Godzilla had been seen before,” said Fumihiko Abe, 51, who has seen every Godzilla movie ever made. “When I finally saw it, I was a bit taken aback. “It’s fat from the neck downward and massive at the bottom!”
Abe said the 1998 Hollywood version was more “like a fast-moving dinosaur” instead of the big-footed Godzilla of popular lore. The computer-generated creature’s rampage through New York was dismissed in Japanese fan circles as no match for the giant beast that terrorized Tokyo for decades.
But the new version, rotund though it may be, does still hold out more promise than Hollywood’s 1998 effort, Abe said.
“I can feel the mightiness of Godzilla from this new one. I’m interested in seeing how the heaviness is expressed in the new film,” Abe said while visiting an exhibition of Godzilla paintings in Tokyo.
Other fans gathering online, however, were less than approving, with one saying the latest version looks more like a seal and another dubbing it “marshmallow Godzilla.”
“It (Hollywood) has done a ‘supersize me,’ ” one fan complained, referring to the larger meals available on demand at U.S. fast-food chains and beloved of certain Americans.
“It’s true that you gain weight in America. It’s a calorie monster!” another online fan said.
Godzilla dates to the 1954 “Godzilla, King of the Monsters,” the first in a series of groundbreaking monster flicks made by Tokyo’s Toho studios. Back then, he was a 90 kg latex creation that left the actor inside breathless and soaked in sweat. Special effects relied on piano wires, pulleys and firecrackers.
From the moment Godzilla rose out of a roiling sea and began his swim to Japan, it was clear he was a product of the U.S. H-bomb tests in the South Pacific the same year and which contaminated the crew of a Japanese fishing boat with fatal doses of radiation.