5 Classic Godzilla Movies With Monstrously-Awesome Leading Ladies
ALERT! ALERT! BIG MONSTER APPROACHING! Preliminary reports indicate that we are dealing with Patriarchas, and it’ll take nothing less than the most dashing, courageous and diligent Japanese Self-Defense Force pilots to bring this whopper down!
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim took the world of fandom by storm. Despite predictably starring a white guy, it was Rinko Kikuchi’s Mako Mori who sparked the imaginations of fandoms worldwide. Her take-no-guff attitude and the platonic relationships she developed with her two male co-leads for a breath of fresh air in a blockbuster landscape where women all too often are relegated to being sexy lamps (*coughTransformerscough*).
A year later, Hollywood offered audiences another round of giant monster-mashin’, but those enamored with Mako’s adventures were probably a bit let down with Gareth Evans’ Godzilla. Although it earned enough money to quickly secure two sequels, its levels of representation were a bit… off. The three women in the 2014 Godzilla exist to respectively a) get fridged, b) look at a TV set all worried-like, or c) tell us that Ken Watanabe is super right, you guys. Why even hire powerhouses like Juliette Binoche, Elizabeth Olsen and Sally Hawkins if that’s what you’ll have them do? Sure, it was probably a nice and easy paycheck for all three ladies involved, but damn it, Godzilla movies should be better than this!
Wait, what? That’s right! There’s quite a few classic Godzilla movies from Japanese mother studio Toho that have either non-traditional gender role fulfilling female protagonists or side characters (though, in fairness, also quite a few featuring eye-roll inducing fainting damsels and the like). Let’s check ‘em out!
Now, you may feel a slight trepidation at jumping into a series that spans sixty years and thirty movies. You may trepidate even more at the thought of starting it at random! What kind of madman would recommend an entry from 2000 if the series proper started in 1954?? In theory, I could tell you there are three eras of Godzilla, named after the Japanese eras in which they were predominantly made: Showa (1954-1975), Heisei (1984-1995) and Millennium (1999-2004)*.In theory. The reality is that there’s little to no continuity from film to film. The Showa and Heisei films are separate continuities on paper, but only the Heisei ones have some form of throughline (as in, recurring characters not called Godzilla). The Millennium films even go so far as to be officially separate from one another, each and every one only acknowledging the original ’54 Gojira as the only other movie in their little continuity.
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