| Yuri Kageyama |
TOKYO (AP) – Godzilla is stomping back. And this time, it’s Made in Japan, like the original.
The announcement this week from Japanese film studio Toho comes after the success earlier this year of the Hollywood Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards, which grossed more than $500 million worldwide.
Toho said in 2004 it had made its last Godzilla film, the 28th in the series centred on the irradiated monster, which first stomped into the world in 1954.
Over the years, Godzilla movies fell out of favour even among Japanese fans.
But the latest Hollywood Godzilla, complete with spikes down its back and a terrifying roar, received relatively favourable reviews in Japan, unlike the 1998 Hollywood Godzilla, directed by Roland Emmerich, which purist fans hated.
Toho said recent innovations in computer-graphics technology were behind its decision to revive Godzilla.
The Toho Godzilla is set for release in 2016, before Edwards releases his sequel for Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers in 2018.
Toho has not yet picked a director for the upcoming reboot.
The Tokyo-based company, which owns the rights for Godzilla, declined to say whether it would bring back the man-in-a-rubber suit behind the original Godzilla or rely on computer graphics – or have both.
Japanese movies such as Toho’s latest, “Parasyte”, about alien creatures taking over human bodies, utilise sophisticated computer-graphics technology although it may be hard for Toho to match Hollywood’s dazzle.
The widely praised original black-and-white “Godzilla” was directed by Ishiro Honda.
Other directors took over for the subsequent Japanese works, which at times became absurdly comical, featuring battles with manga-like, or cartoonish, monsters.
Godzilla, or “gojira”, as the Japanese say it – a combination of the words for “whale” and “gorilla” – was a mutation that emerged from the Pacific because of nuclear testing.
The giant reptilian creature has crushed just about every famous building in Japan including Tokyo Tower and the Parliament building.
Japan, the only nation in the world to suffer atomic bombings, has a soft spot for the fire-breathing creature as representing the suffering unleashed by nuclear weapons.