You’ll see Mars in the evening sky and Godzilla on the ground below.
Have you noticed that a metaphorical monster who has entered mythic lore has never attacked Houston?
Floods and hurricanes aside — and blessings to those that may’ve suffered in such events — Houston lacks that certain cavalier crowning recognition that comes from a cinematic legend having trampled your city to ruin.
We’re talking Godzilla and Tokyo. Los Angeles has Blade Runner and Them! New York City has C.H.U.D.
Granted, some angry bees in Irwin Allen’s 1978 potboiler The Swarm attacked Houston, and parts of RoboCop 2 (1990) were shot in front of Wortham Center. For about one-minute there was a sequence of Houston under siege in the 1996 alien invasion flick Independence Day. Hardly the stuff of legend.
Godzilla defines celebrity myth. Recorded history includes references to God like creatures, Cyclops or fire breathing dragons. While Godzilla has both eyes the rampaging lizard is mighty with the will to smite, strong like an army and has the ability to vomit flames. Your grandparents and parents (and more than likely your offspring) could easily identify Godzilla in a line-up. Not sure you could say the same thing for Reptilicus, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or Gwangi.
You know where this is leading — an outdoors screening of the original Godzilla on the lawn in front of the Asia Society Texas Center on Friday, Aug. 3. The party begins at 8 p.m., and commences with food trucks and contests (like Godzilla roaring and Kaiju trivia quizzes) with the film starting approximately an hour later. Mars will be in the evening sky hovering in the south and Godzilla will be projected on the ground below.
The Japanese 1954 Godzilla (or properly pronounced as Gojira) was directed by Ishiro Honda, himself well known to movie buffs as the second unit or action sequences director on Akira Kurosawa films like Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985). Hondo even has a cameo in the film as “the hand that throws the switch.”
American audiences were first introduced to Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in a 1956 version, which edited political subtext out of the film, dubbed the language and added scenes with Raymond Burr shot and inserted to look like his character was part of the original. In fact, this variant of Godzilla was the accepted worldwide template and only until the turn of the century has the actual original Japanese cut been widely available.
The original Japanese version will be screening, with English subtitles. While the event is free the organizers request RSVPs (via the link below) in order to prepare the lawn.