Tag Archives: Godzilla

2014 Godzilla trailer

7 Apr

Here’s the new trailer for the upcoming 2014 U.S./Japan collaboration “Godzilla” movie:

All You Need Is Kill

5 Jan

I’ve written a post before about some of the numerous Hollywood that were either inspired by Japan or were actual remakes of Japanese movies.

(Click here to read it.)

Well, recently Hollywood has made more Japan-inspired films.

For example…

– Japanese title: ウルヴァリン SAMURAI (Wolverine Samurai) / U.S. title: “The Wolverine

「ウルヴァリン SAMURAI」 (“The Wolverine”)

–  “47 Ronin

47 Ronin

– Japanese title: ゴジラ (Gojira) / U.S. title: “Godzilla

ゴジラ

And now, I’ve heard that Tom Cruise is in a new movie called Edge Of Tomorrow which is an adaptation of the Japanese novelオール ユー ニード イズ キル」 (All You Need Is Kill).

Edge Of Tomorrow

「オール ユー ニード イズ キル」(“All You Need Is Kill”)….the Japanese novel that Edge Of Tomorrow is a remake of.

Godzilla 2014

7 Oct

In 1998, Hollywood made a 「ゴジラ」 (“Godzilla“) movie.

1998

Or, I should say, they tried to make a Godzilla movie.  It wasn’t very good. Most people, especially die-hard Godzilla fans disliked that movie.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when another Hollywood studio announced that they will release another big-budget “Hollywood” Godzilla movie.

But, they assure us, this one will be a “true” Godzilla film. It’s going to more like the Japanese Godzilla movies.  In fact, it isn’t going to be entirely made by an American studio…the Hollywood studio “Warner Bros.” and the Japanese studio “Toho” (who made the original Godzilla movies) have collaborated to make the upcoming Godzilla movie that is scheduled for release in 2014.

ゴジラ

The movie flyer even has the name 「ゴジラ」 written in Japanese

Famous Japanese

27 Nov

People around the world can name American presidents, American movie actors, American pop music artists, American companies, and American fictional characters.

They’re world famous.

It’s been that way for at least a few generations now.

But before I came to Japan, there was no internet back then and Japanese food and pop culture wasn’t popular around the world like it’s become in recent years.
Back then, I wouldn’t have been able to name a single Japanese prime minister.
The only Japanese actor I knew back then was Pat Morita (from “Karate Kid“)…and he was actually a Japanese-American.
The only Japanese musicians I knew were Yoko Ono and the Japanese heavy metal band Loudness.
Of course, I would have been able to name a number of Japanese companies such as Sony, Toshiba, Toyota, Honda, etc.
As for Japanese fictional characters, I knew Ultraman and Godzilla.

I’ve now been living in Japan for most of my life…so, I probably know more about Japan than I know about America anymore.

How about you? How familiar are you with Japan and Japanese culture?

What famous Japanese people do you know?
Japanese characters?
How about Japanese food / dishes?
Actors / actresses?
Bands / musicians?
How about Japanese words?
Japanese cities?
Or any other things you know about Japan?

Godzilla in Tokyo and Godzilla in Hollywood

2 Apr

The Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui used to play for the New York Yankees major league team until he began playing for the Los Angeles Angels last December.

(Click here to read the post I wrote last December about him moving from the Yankees to the Angels.)

His nickname is “Godzilla“.

He is currently the spokesman in Japan for the Kirin “Fire” canned coffee and in 新宿 (Shinjuku, Tokyo) there is a huge balloon in his likeness wearing a baseball uniform similar to his L.A. Angels uniform that has “Fire” emblazoned on the front.
The balloon statue is leaning on a giant can of “Fire” coffee.

The campaign is called 「ビッグマツイ」 (“Big Matsui“).

My daughter had to go to Shinjuku today, so she took a couple photos of this giant display with her cell-phone camera when she passed by it.

Here are her photos of the giant Hideki Matsui balloon in Shinjuku (you can see how big it is in proportion to the people standing near it):

"Godzilla" has hit Tokyo again!

Speaking of Godzilla…this time the iconic Japanese monster called 「ゴジラ」 (“Gojira“) in Japan and “Godzilla” in other countries that continually destroys Tokyo in his countless movies from Japan’s Toho Studios.

I wrote a post last summer (click here to read it) about the numerous Hollywood remakes of Japanese movies…including a 1998 remake of Godzilla that was poorly received by both critics and fans.

Hollywood's "Godzilla", circa 1998

I also wrote a post last April (click here to read this one) about both America’s “King Kong” and Japan’s “Godzilla“…and the classic film in which they battled each other.

Well, America’s “Legendary Pictures” has just announced their intention to film another “Godzilla” movie.

The movie is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012.

A major complaint that many people had about the 1998 American remake of “Godzilla” was that both the storyline as well as the appearance of the monster were too different from the Japanese movies.

Legendary Studios has implied that their version of Godzilla will stay true to the Japanese original.

According to their press release:

“…Legendary intends to approach the (Godzilla) film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible….”

That would probably be a good strategy if they want their movie to be successful…especially here in Japan.
Because in Japan many of the characters from Japanese classic movies, such as Ultraman and Godzilla, are still very popular.
Their movies are still made nowadays.

2009 Dec "Ultraman" movie poster

"Godzilla: Final Wars" movie poster; circa 2004

Hollywood inspired by Tokyo

7 Aug

Over the years, Hollywood has remade many Japanese movies and also made original movies that were inspired by Japan.

Here’s a list of some of them that I thought of. Tell me if you can think of others that I may have forgotten.

First, HOLLYWOOD REMAKES OF JAPANESE MOVIES:

  • U.S. remake: “Gatchaman
    Gatchaman (scheduled for release in 2011)

    Gatchaman (scheduled for release in 2011)

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「ガッチャマン」 (Gacchaman)

    Original Japanese movie: 「科学忍者隊ガッチャマン」 (Science Ninjas: Gacchaman)

    科学忍者隊ガッチャマン

    科学忍者隊ガッチャマン

    (Click here to see my “Gatchaman” stamps.)

  • U.S. remake: “Astro Boy
    Astro Boy

    Astro Boy

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「アトム」 (ATOM)

    Original Japanese movie: 「鉄腕アトム」 (Powerful Atom)

    鉄腕アトム

    鉄腕アトム

  • U.S. remake: “HACHI: A Dog’s Story
    HACHI: A Dog's Story (release date 2009 Aug 8)

    HACHI: A Dog's Story (release date 2009 Aug 8)

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「HACHI: 約束の犬」 (Hachi: A Faithful Dog)

    Original Japanese movie: 「ハチ公物語」 (Hachiko’s Story)

    ハチ公物語

    ハチ公物語

    (Click here to read another post I wrote about this movie).

  • U.S. remake: “Shall We Dance?
    Another US remake of a Japanese movie starring Richard Gere.

    Another US remake of a Japanese movie starring Richard Gere.

    Japanese Translation Of US Title: 「Shall We ダンス?」 (Shall We Dance?)

    Original Japanese movie: 「Shall We ダンス?」 (Shall We Dance?)

    shall-we-dance-j

  • U.S. Remake: “The Ringring-usJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ザ・リング」 (The Ring)
    Original Japanese movie: 「リング」 (Ring)ring-j
  • U.S. remake: “The GrudgegrudgeJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「The Juon」
    Original Japanese movie: 「呪怨」 (Juon (Grudge))

    grudge-j

  • U.S. remake: “Dark Waterdark-waterJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ダーク・ウォーター」 (Dark Water)
    Original Japanese movie: 「仄暗い水の底から」 (Dark Water From Below)dark-water-j
  • U.S. remake: “Last Man Standinglast-man-standingJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ラスト・マン・スタンディング」 (Last Man Standing)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • U.S. remake: “A Fistful Of DollarsfistfulJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「荒野の用心棒」 (The Bodyguard Of The Wilderness)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • U.S. remake: “The BodyguardbodyguardJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ボディガード」 (Bodyguard)
    Original Japanese movie: 「用心棒」 (The Bodyguard)youjinbo
  • Eight Beloweight-belowJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「南極物語」 (South Pole Story)
    Original Japanese movie: 「南極物語」 (South Pole Story)

    nankyoku_monogatari

  • Magnificent Sevenmagnificent-sevenJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「荒野の七人」 (Seven Men Of The Wilderness)
    Original Japanese movie: 「七人の侍」 (Seven Samurai)seven-samurai
  • DragonballdragonballJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ドラゴンボール」 (Dragonball)
    Original Japanese movie: 「ドラゴンボール」 (Dragonball)

    dragonball-j

    (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this movie).

  • Speed Racerspeed-racerJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「マッハGOGOGO!」(Mach GoGoGo!)
    Original Japanese movie: 「マッハGOGOGO!」(Mach GoGoGo!)

    speed-racer-j

  • GodzillagodzillaJapanese Translation Of US Title: 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla)
    Original Japanese movie: 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla)

    godzilla-j

    (Click here to see an earlier post I wrote about this movie).

—-

And, HOLLYWOOD MOVIES THAT WERE INSPIRED BY JAPAN:

  • Gung-Ho!
  • Gung-Ho!

    Gung-Ho!

  • The Karate Kid
    karate-kid

    「ベスト・キッド」 (The Karate Kid)

    (Click here for my post about this movie).

  • Lost In Translation
    lost-in-trans

    Lost In Translation

  • Ramen Girl
    ramen-girl

    Ramen Girl

    (Click here for my post about this movie).

  • Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

    Mr. Baseball

  • Toxic Avenger II

    Toxic Avenger Part II

    Toxic Avenger Part II

  • Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

    Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

    Sgt. Kabukiman, N.Y.P.D.

  • Star Wars

    Star Wars

    Star Wars

  • Memoirs Of A Geisha

    Memoirs Of A Geisha

    「SAYURI」 (Memoirs Of A Geisha)

  • Last Samurai

    Last Samurai

    Last Samurai

  • Ronin

    Ronin

    Ronin

  • Fast And Furious 3: Tokyo Drift
    「ワイルド・スピード」 (Fast & Furious) 3: Tokyo Drift

    「ワイルド・スピード」 (Fast & Furious) 3: Tokyo Drift

    Also, I just found this “Pixar ‘Cars’ X ‘Tokyo Drift’“:

  • Black Rain

    Black Rain

    Black Rain

  • Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

    Blade Runner

  • Austin Powers: Goldmember

    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember

    Austin Powers 3: Goldmember

  • The Simpsons: 30 Minutes Over Tokyo
    (It’s not a movie…just one episode of a weekly U.S. TV show. But I wanted to include it since the characters go to Japan. And it’s funny.)

    The Simspons "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"

    The Simspons "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"

  • American Yakuza

    American Yakuza

    American Yakuza

  • The Hunted

    The Hunted

    The Hunted

  • Rising Sun

    Rising Sun

    Rising Sun

King Kong vs Godzilla

6 Apr

In 1933, the American movie King Kong was released. It’s about a movie director in Depression-era America who takes a crew to a place called “Skull Island” to film a movie.

They quickly realize that “Skull Island” is no ordinary island. It’s full of giant pre-historic predators.
One night, the native people kidnap the American actress and offer her as a sacrifice to “Kong“, the giant ape.

The rest of the American film crew rescue the actress and the director decides to take Kong back to New York City because a huge ape will make him more money than his movie could.

The movie’s most famous scene is when the misunderstood King Kong is forced to climb the Empire State Building and fight for his life.

The original King Kong

The original King Kong

King Kong was remade twice. The first remake was in 1976. In this version, it’s an oil company that discover Kong, and instead of climbing the Empire State Building, King Kong climbs to the top of the World Trade Center in New York City.

king_kong-1976

Then in 2005, a remake of the original 1933 King Kong story was done.

king_kong-2005

King Kong is an American pop-culture legend.

The Japanese equivalent is ゴジラ (Godzilla).

The first ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie was released in 1954.
ゴジラ (Godzilla) was supposed to be the result of radioactive nuclear testing. The creature was originally a threat to society…but to expand the audience to include families and children, some ゴジラ (Godzilla) films portray him as the hero.

Promo poster from the first 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla) movie, 1954.

Promo poster from the first 「ゴジラ」 (Godzilla) movie, 1954.

ゴジラ (Godzilla)’s name should technically be spelled as “Gojira” in English because that’s the correct pronunciation of his name.
The name ゴジラ (Gojira (Godzilla)) is a mix of the words 「リラ」 (gorilla) and 「クジラ」 (Kujira (whale)).

There have been many ゴジラ (Godzilla) movies released in Japan. The most recent was on the 50th anniversary of the first ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie…in 2004, 「ゴジラ ファイナル・ウォーズ」 (Godzilla: Final Wars) was released. (It won’t be the “final” ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie though…there is a plan to make a new ゴジラ (Godzilla) movie on the 60th anniversary of the original—in 2014).

「ゴジラ ファイナル・ウォーズ」 (Godzilla: Final Wars) movie poster, 2004.

「ゴジラ ファイナル・ウォーズ」 (Godzilla: Final Wars) movie poster, 2004.

ゴジラ (Godzilla) is a pop-culture icon even in America. I used to enjoy watching ゴジラ (Godzilla) movies dubbed in English when I was a kid.
In fact, a survey was done in the 1980’s of the general American public to name “famous Japanese people”…ゴジラ (Godzilla) was one of the most common answers! (Another common one was “Bruce Lee”…whose not even Japanese)!

So, it was inevitable that America would release a Hollywood version of ゴジラ (Godzilla).
The trailers for the 1998 U.S. movie looked exciting! But the trailers are all you need to watch…the movie was generally a disappointment.

Poster for the US version of "Godzilla", 1998.

Poster for the US version of "Godzilla", 1998.

Here’s the trailer from the 1998 US movie “Godzilla” from YouTube:

So, it makes sense that these two iconic monsters met in battle.
In 1962, Japan released 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 (“King Kong vs Godzilla“).

Poster for 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 ("King Kong vs Godzilla"), 1962

Poster for 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 ("King Kong vs Godzilla"), 1962

There’s an urban legend that in the Japanese version of this movie Godzilla beats King Kong, and in the English-dubbed version King Kong wins. But it’s not true…the ending is the same in both versions: King Kong is the only monster to emerge from their underwater battle.

Here’s a trailer from the 1962 movie 「キングコング対ゴジラ」 (“King Kong vs Godzilla“):

Japanese movies

13 Dec

Hollywood has made remakes of many Japanese movies (and French, Korean, German etc ones as well. Did you know “Three Men And A Baby” was a French movie first? “We’re No Angels” was too. “The Lake House” and “The Departed” were originally Korean movies.).

Recently, I’ve heard that Hollywood will be making live-action movies based on the Japanese アニメ (cartoons) 「ルパン三世」 (“Lupin The 3rd“) and 「ドラゴンボール」 (“Dragon-ball“).

dragonball

The fairly recent American movie “Speed Racer” is another live-action movie based on the Japanese アニメ (cartoon) 「マッハゴゴゴ」 (“Mach Go-Go-Go“).

And Keanu Reeves will star in a remake of 元禄忠臣蔵 (“47 Ronin“).
The original is a classic Japanese movie from the early 1940’s. It’s based on the true story of the forty-seven 浪人 (ronin*), (*浪人 (ronin) are samurai with no master), who seek the revenge of their master’s death.
The graves of the real 47 ronin are at 泉岳寺 (Sengakuji Temple) in 東京都港区 (Minato Ward, Tokyo).

Robert DeNiro has also starred in a movie titled “Ronin“.

Do you know the famous Japanese movie 「用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“)?
用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“) means “bodyguard”. It’s another movie about a 浪人 (ronin).
It’s about a 浪人 (ronin) who goes to a town where competing crime gangs are trying to take over the town. He “joins” each gang to help them eliminate the other…with the intention of having them kill off each other and thus saving the town.
He remains wild and mysterious to everyone in the town and never gives his real name.

用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“) was originally remade as the cowboy movie “A Fistful Of Dollars” starring Clint Eastwood as the “man with no name”, and again as the American gangster movie “Last Man Standing” starring Bruce Willis.
It was also given a nod in the movie “The Bodyguard” when Kevin Costner’s character takes Whitney Houston’s character to the movies on a date and they watched 「用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“).

Similarly to “A Fistful Of Dollars” cowboy version of the Japanese Samurai movie 「用心棒」 (“Yojinbo“), the American movie “The Magnificent Seven” is a remake of the Japanese movie 「七人の侍」 (“The Seven Samurai“) with cowboy gunfighters instead of samurai.

The Japanese horror movies 「リング」, 「呪怨」, and 「仄暗い水の底から」 have been remade as “The Ring“, “Grudge“, and “Dark Water“, respectively.

Of course, when Hollywood made “Godzilla” everyone knew that was based on the iconic Japanese 「ゴジラ」…but did you know that the American movie “Shall We Dance?” (starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez) is a remake of the Japanese movie 「Shall We ダンス?」?

And then there are the American movies that aren’t remakes of Japanese movies, but Japan-inspired…such as: “Mr. Baseball“, “Gung-Ho“, “Lost In Translation“, “The Last Samurai“, “Memoirs Of A Geisha“, “Black Rain“, and “Blade Runner“.

I’m sure there are more that I’ve forgotten about…

****
On a different note…
An English charity called “Save The Children” voted Japan the world’s leader for children’s health, safety, nutrition and education!
I’ve always known that Japan is a good place to raise kids!