Yesterday was Godzilla’s birthday

November 3rd might be widely known as Election Day in the U.S., but it’s also Godzilla’s 66th birthday. Toho Intl. has unveiled a monstrous celebration of everyone’s favorite kaiju’s birthday with a batch of all-new episodes of its popular Godzilla Tales series, which has garnered more than 325K views to-date…

Toho recently unveiled its Godzilla Tales which offers bringing Godzilla classic monsters to screens everywhere in bite-sized formats…

You can now watch episodes of Godzilla Tales out now, with new episodes dropping weekly on the Nerdist YouTube Channel now through the end of the year

Not much to say about that other event. The election battle between the party of American bigotry and the party of cautious mediocrity is still unresolved at this point in time. One hopes the latter prevails. They aren’t as likely to continue the truly evil progress towards fascism currently led by the Republican Party.

Behind Godzilla’s Roar!

Sound designer Erik Aadahl has worked with some pretty intimidating on-screen characters in his film career, from transforming robots to muscle-bound superheroes like Superman and Daredevil to big, green animated ogres.

This time, Aadahl had to handle a real monster: Godzilla. He was hired to update the creature’s run-for-your-life bellow three years ago, before the latest update of the 1954 monster movie had been green-lit for production. It opened in theaters nationwide Friday.

“It’s one of the most famous sound effects in cinema history,” said Aadahl. “We really wanted to embrace that and use the original as our template, and pay homage to that.”

The original film’s composer, Akira Ifukube, used a double bass, a leather glove and some pine tar to produce Godzilla’s trademark call.

“They’d rub the glove against the double base to create that groan,” Aadahl said.

Aadahl sought a fuller sound (to take advantage of contemporary theater sound systems), but wanted to retain the same musical key of Godzilla’s iconic roar. He and supervising sound editor Ethan Van der Ryn recorded hundreds of sounds with the same qualities and timbres as the original…

Finally, they elected to use a scientific microscope that recorded in high frequencies to capture sounds that are inaudible to humans…

Aadahl won’t say what sound, exactly, he recorded to capture Godzilla’s iconic roar, which he broke into two parts: The cathartic shriek and the rumbling, almost melancholic, finish. Whatever it was, it required a thousand different takes before Aadahl arrived at what he called “the winner…”

To authentically recreate the sound wave rolling through an urban environment, Aadahl and Van der Ryn set up a 12-foot-high, boulevard-wide sound system (an old Rolling Stones’ 100,000-watt speaker system) on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, and spent the next five hours on a Saturday afternoon recording the distinctive roar from inside parked cars, behind office windows and on top of buildings.

We were getting calls from across town, from Universal Studios,” Aadahl said. “The tourists wanted to know, ‘What’s happening down there?’”

When he recreated the sound effects for the film’s producer, Thomas Tull, he was so impressed he said audience members would need a trip to the drycleaners to clean their shorts!

Now that’s impressive.

U.S. Air Force confident that they can take out Godzilla

During an interview with the Smithsonian’s Air and Space magazine, members of the United States Air Force confirmed that there is a contingency plan for taking out Godzilla — if the fire-breathing sea creature ever does attack.

Master Sgt. Jason Edwards of Kadena Air Base said the Air Force would deploy “4,000 Segways and slingshots” and would need help from certain people.

“Well I could go with Chuck Norris, but that would be the obvious one,” Edwards said. “As I understand it, the Power Rangers are probably a good choice in this type of scenario…

There are more than 50 F-15 fighter jets available at Kadena, so those planes would likely be utilized as well.

Heartwarming to witness such self-confidence guiding our military.

Godzilla endureth forever!

There have been hundreds of monster movies over the years, but only a handful of enduringly great movie monsters. Of those, only two were created for the screen: King Kong, the giant ape atop the Empire State Building, and his Japanese heir, Godzilla, the city-flattening sea monster who’s a genuinely terrific pop icon. He not only stars in movies — Hollywood is bringing out a new Godzilla on May 16 — but he’s even played basketball with Charles Barkley in a commercial for Nike.

It’s been six decades since Godzilla first hit the screen, and to celebrate the big guy’s birthday, Rialto Pictures is releasing Ishiro Honda’s 1954 original — in a restored, 60th-anniversary edition — in theaters. I’ve seen Godzilla many times since I was a kid, but watching it again, I was struck that it might be the best single film about the terrors of the nuclear age…

That said, Godzilla’s real strength lies not in its effects — impressive for the time — but in its underlying emotional and cultural seriousness. It’s not simply that the music is often doleful rather than exciting or that we see doomed children set off Geiger counters. The movie has a gravity that comes from being created in a Japan that knew what it was to have children die from radiation poisoning and to see its capital city in flames. Both drawn to and terrified of the monster’s power, the movie is steeped in Japan’s traumatic historical experience. It has weight. It means something.

Godzilla’s resonance is also inseparable from something else that once defined the best monster movies — a sense of compassion for the monster. Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein may have been scary, but we also felt his frailty and fear at being hunted. King Kong was dangerous, sure, but his eyes were charged with almost human feeling when he gazed at Fay Wray. The same is true of Godzilla, who starts out wreaking havoc but, by the film’s end, takes on a melancholy, sad-faced grandeur.

These monsters always seem to become part of that noble savage myth Westerners love to believe in. You don’t mind him destroying all of contemporary society in a quest to return to natural glory. Contradictions which all too often reappear in populist politics.

Just in case you thought I might skip the parallel. 🙂

Thanks, Mike