Location: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
In Person: Tsutomu Kitagawa
Monday, November 29 will be Godzilla Day in L.A.
Well, technically, all of November has been Godzilla Month in Los Angeles. The city issued a proclamation to that effect in honor of the monster’s 50th Anniversary. (The original film GOJIRA [retitled GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS for the U.S.] was released in Japan on November 3, 1954.) The proclamation notes Godzilla longevity and prolific output, which includes 28 feature films, and also credits the series with being a bridge between American and Japanese science-fiction fans.
But the only really celebratory events associated with Godzilla Month (both mentioned in the proclamation) take place on Monday: Godzilla will get a long-overdue star on the Hollywood Boulevard walk of fame, and the latest (and for the time being, last) film in the series, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS, will get its world premier at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
The new film pits Godzilla against over a dozen other monsters, with scenes set not only in Japan but also in Paris, Sydney, New York, and Shanghai. You can see pictures of some of the familiar foes (many of them recreations of creatures seen in classic Godzilla films) on the Monster Zero website. Rumor has it that the monster Godzilla defeats in New York is the giant mutant lizard that pretended to be Godzilla in the 1998 American film.
Fans of progressive rock music may be interested to know that the soundtrack music is by Keith Emerson.
As the title suggests, FINAL WARS is supposed to put an end to the Godzilla series. However, Toho (the studio that makes the films) said the same thing back in 1995 when they released GODZILLA VS. DESTROYER, which ended with the radioactive beast suffering a terminal nuclear meltdown. After the disastrous 1998 American-produced GODZILLA, Toho revived their series, featuring a modified and updated version of their familiar monster in GODZILLA 2000. Four other films followed, including the critically respected GODZILLA, MOTHRA, KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK, which bucked the usual formula by taking a serious, scary approach that emphasized human casualties along with the usual spectacular property destruction.
The unveiling of Godzilla’s star on Hollywood Boulevard will take place at 11:30am, in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Tsutomo Kitagawa, the stunt man who wears the Godzilla suit, is scheduled to attend. The premier of GODZILLA: FINAL WARS will take place at 7:00 o’clock that evening; unfortunately, the screening is invitation-only, not open to the public.
Whether FINAL WARS ends Godzilla’s career for long, the 50th anniversary, coupled with the events in Los Angeles, has generated more publicity than a Godzilla film usually receives (the same thing happened when GODZILLA VS DESTROYER announced Godzilla’s demise). News sources as diverse as MSNBC.COM and the Washington Post have been commenting on the new film and Godzilla history in general.
Below are some links to these articles. Some are fairly serious, others typically dismissive (mainstream journalists in America would feel silly if they seemed to take the Godzilla phenomenon seriously). All are worth reading, to some degree or other.
LINKS (Update: many of these no longer work):
- Godzilla Gets Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Godzilla’s Birthday Deserves Recognition (fan appreciation)
- Godzilla, the Monster’s Final Battle (Washington Post pokes fun)
- 50 Years of Godzilla
- Godzilla to Retire (includes interview with Godzilla suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa)
More: Godzilla Invades Los Angeles