Hollywood 'Godzilla' finally stomps home to Japan - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Hollywood 'Godzilla' finally stomps home to Japan

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actor Ken Watanabe poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actor Ken Watanabe poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014.
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actor Ken Watanabe signs autographs for fans at the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actor Ken Watanabe signs autographs for fans at the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014.
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Film director Gareth Edwards poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of  his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Film director Gareth Edwards poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014.
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actor Ken Watanabe poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actor Ken Watanabe poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of his movie "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014.
(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actress Haru poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of  "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi). Japanese actress Haru poses for photographers during the Japan premiere of "Godzilla" in Tokyo, Thursday, July 10, 2014.
  • NationalMore>>

  • New arrest linked to gun used after Boston attacks

    New arrest linked to gun used after Boston attacks

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:51 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:51:29 GMT
    A man believed to have provided the gun used by Boston Marathon bombing suspects to kill a college police officer has been arrested on drug and weapon charges.
    A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is believed to have provided the handgun used to kill a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the manhunt, people with knowledge of the...
  • Judge ponders overturning state gay marriage ban

    Judge ponders overturning state gay marriage ban

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:51 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:51:21 GMT
    Gay couples seeking to strike Colorado's same-sex marriage ban urged a federal judge Tuesday to overturn the law immediately and reject the state's request to stay a ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court...
    Gay couples seeking to strike Colorado's same-sex marriage ban urged a federal judge Tuesday to overturn the law immediately and reject the state's request to stay a ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the...
  • Denver proposes $3.3M jail-abuse settlement

    Denver proposes $3.3M jail-abuse settlement

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:43:13 GMT
    Denver officials have reached a deal to pay $3.3 million to settle a federal jail-abuse lawsuit filed by a former inmate who said a deputy ignored his blood-curdling screams while a group of fellow inmates brutally...
    Denver officials have reached a deal to pay $3.3 million to settle a federal jail-abuse lawsuit filed by a former inmate who said a deputy ignored his blood-curdling screams while a group of fellow inmates brutally beat...
By YURI KAGEYAMA
Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) - Tokyo is rolling out the red carpet for Hollywood's "Godzilla" remake although the nation that gave birth to the fire-breathing monster is seeing the latest movie after it opened everywhere else.

"Godzilla," opening in the U.S. May 16, has grossed more than $488 million globally.

But trepidation remains about its reception in Japan because of the intense loyalty fans feel toward the original. The film opens in Japan on July 25.

Director Gareth Edwards, present in Tokyo for the gala Thursday, stressed he had merely parented what was the child of Japan.

"It feels like a homecoming," said Edwards. "His home is Japan."

Ken Watanabe, whose "Godzilla" role is one of several appearances in Hollywood films, acknowledged pressure was high for how the film may be received in Japan.

"It might be a challenge for Japanese to accept this movie," he said after posing with a figure of Godzilla on the red carpet.

He said some scenes show the wreckage of a giant tsunami, evoking painful memories of the March 2011 disaster in northeastern Japan, which killed nearly 19,000 people and set off the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl.

"I have a special feeling for this film because of the disaster," Watanabe said.

Edwards' 3-D Godzilla, complete with glistening scales, spikes down its back and a terrifying roar, pays homage to the original, tracing the theme of the threat of radiation, following America's atomic attacks on Japan in World War II.

Although Godzilla has grown to be one of Japan's most iconic exports, along with sushi and geisha, its status in mainstream entertainment has waned here.

Toho Co., the creators of Godzilla movies since the first one in 1954, stopped making them after the 28th in a series in 2004.

Officials say times have changed and an actor thrashing about in a rubber suit, smashing miniature models of buildings, just doesn't cut it anymore.

Watanabe said the film's late opening in Japan was because of technical reasons about summer vacations coming later, and denied it was intentional to avoid jinxing it by having it possibly fail in the land of Godzilla's birth.

But he laughed and shook his head when asked whether the best was being saved for last.

Hard-core Godzilla fans think nothing can live up to the charm and pathos of the original, and scoff at computer graphics and other modern filmmaking technology.

Akira Takarada, who played the young diver in the first "Godzilla" and appeared in many sequels, said he burst into tears when he watched the new "Godzilla" in the U.S., and the crowd began stomping on the floor, and then gave Godzilla a standing ovation when it finally appeared about an hour into the movie.

"A giant hero they had been waiting for had arrived," he said with emotion in his voice.

Edwards appeared confident his movie would win over Japanese fans.

"They're the best fans in the world," he said. "They're crazy."

___

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at twitter.com/yurikageyama

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • UN chief believes Gaza fighting will end soon

    UN chief believes Gaza fighting will end soon

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:03 PM EDT2014-07-23 00:03:27 GMT
    The Palestinian U.N. envoy says a draft U.N. resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip will be formally circulated to the Security Council.
    The U.N. secretary-general said Tuesday it is his "hope and belief" that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel "in the very near future."
  • Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

    Airlines ban flights to Israel after rocket strike

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:42:54 GMT
    Israel bombed five mosques, a sports stadium and the home of the late Hamas military chief across the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, a Gaza police official said, as the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state...
    A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel's main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot...
  • End comes for notorious Venezuelan vertical slum

    End comes for notorious Venezuelan vertical slum

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:21 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:21:33 GMT
    The first of thousands of squatters who transformed a half-built skyscraper into a vertical slum were moved out by armed police and soldiers Tuesday, marking the beginning of the end for the Tower of David's...
    The beginning of the end came for the world's tallest slum Tuesday as officials began evicting thousands of squatters from a haphazard community inside the half-built Caracas skyscraper known as the Tower of David.