Japanese film fans are up in arms at the latest Hollywood movie featuring the much-loved Godzilla after promotional shots showed that the lumbering lizard had put on a few kilos.
Avid fans of a creature that has earned icon status in the nation that first felt his full fury way back in 1954 were a little less gentle in their descriptions of the American film industry’s rendering of the King of Monsters.
Posters on online movie sites suggested that Hollywood has “super-sized” Godzilla, while others wondered if he had been chowing down on pizza and marshmallows since his previous appearance in the US in 1998. Another asked where the neck had gone.
Others put it down to “a lack of exercise” or the creature suffering from middle-age spread. Another online poster said it is going to be a lot more difficult for his human adversaries to vanquish this particular beast.
As well as filling out a little, the 2014 version of Godzilla has grown substantially taller. When the character first waded out of the Pacific in his big-screen debut, Godzilla was a mere 50 metres tall. He added a couple of metres in the Toho Millennium Series of films, between 1999 and 2004, and was slightly taller again when Toho made Zilla in 2004 – but the creature now towers more than 100 metres high, has massive thighs and a thick tail.
But Japanese Godzilla geeks are not convinced that it is fat, not muscle.
“It’s not surprising – everyone gets a spare tyre in middle age,” one online poster commented.
Godzilla has so far wrought havoc in no fewer than 28 films produced by Japan’s Toho film studios and starred in TV series, books and video games. An amphibious reptilian monster, Godzilla was originally awakened from his slumbers beneath the Pacific by nuclear tests before taking on mankind.
The character has become so popular around the world that a statue stands outside Toho’s offices in central Tokyo and it was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004 to mark the 50th anniversary of the first movie.
The latest movie is in 3D and has been made by Warner Bros. It is scheduled to open in Japan and the US on May 16. Starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche and Japan’s Ken Watanabe, the storyline sees “the world’s most famous monster” battling “malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.”