哥吉拉族系的文化演進史──Taking Notes: 'Godzilla's Travels' (2001, 2005) by Gary Westfahl

Gary Westfahl, "Godzilla's Travels: The Evolution of a Globalized Gargantuan" in World Weavers: Globalization, Science Fiction, and the Cybernetic Revolution, edited by Wong Kin Yuen〔王建元〕, Gary Westfahl and Amy Kit-sze Chan〔陳潔詩〕 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2005), pp. 167-188.


p. 168
While earlier literary and cinematic influences -- prominently including Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World (1912), and the film King Kong (1933) -- cannot be entirely overlooked, the modern saga of Godzilla truly begins, I would suggest, with two prose narratives by noted American science fiction writers published around the middle of the twentieth century. Robert A. Heinlein's Rocket Ship Galileo (1946) describes a visionary engineer who builds a moon rocket with the aid of three teenagers, who fly to the Moon and encounter renegade German Nazis working to establish a Fourth Reich. Ray Bradbury's "The Foghorn" (1951) is an atmospheric vignette about a dinosaur who somehow survived for millions of years under the sea and was drawn to shore by a lighthouse's foghorn that resembled the call of his own kind. Both works were purchased by Hollywood producers and transformed into films that had little to do with their source materials -- Destination Moon (1950) and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), respectively -- and together these films laid the foundation for the Godzilla mythos.


...... In earlier [before Destination Moon] science fiction films, the scientific menaces or challenges tended to be on a small scale -- a mad scientist conducting secret experiments, a horribly transformed human on a rampage -- and the typical agents who deal with the situation were police officers or detectives. If a troublesome creature was eluding their grasp, said officials might recruit a posse of torch-wilding citizens to assist in tracking it down, but that would represent the full extent to any broader civic involvement; even King Kong, it may be recalled, was defeated by a modest number of single-pilot aircraft. Perhaps this recurring reflected a widespread belief that scientific progress was, all in all, a relatively
p. 169
minor issue with little impact on society. However, after the appearance of the atomic bomb in 1945 -- the event that reverberates through virtually all science fiction films in the coming decade -- the overarching importance of science could hardly be denied, and the scientific menaces or challenges depicted in films would radically expand in their visibility and consequences. ......Destination Moon 之後,電影中的科幻災難有著根本性的規模改變〕

Destination Moon was the first major film to depict precisely such a coalition in action, ...... Their success in this endeavor might make the movie seem, in the words of H. Bruce Franklin, "a hymn of praise to the industrial-military complex." ...... Most science fiction films of the 1950s would similarly display both respect for intelligent figures of authority and contempt for obtuse figures of authority, leading to subplots involving conflicts between different factions in "the industrial-military complex" regarding the best course of action to take in response to the problem at hand.
p. 170
The film that first presented the blueprint for giant monster movies was The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. 〔巨大怪物電影的公式如下〕...... The film's radically different scenario introduces virtually all the elements that would be replicated in scores of monster movies of the 1950s and 1960s. The monster appears in a faraway, unpopulated area -- ...... -- usually created or reawakened by the explosion of an atomic bomb. The creature steadily makes its way into more and more populated areas before ending up in a major metropolis, ...... Initially, scattered sightings of the monster are met with incredulity and redicule; but one scientist, or a few scientists, recognize what is happening and urge generals and government officials to take action. The usual triumvirate is an older scientist, his beautiful daughter, and a young scientist romantically involved with the daughter, ...... When the monster's increasing visibility and destructiveness make the threat undeniable, scientists join forces with politicians and military leaders to craft an organized, institutional response to the monster. The monster enters the big city, causing crowds of panicking people to run away screaming while it smashes buildings and steps on cars. After conventional defenses fail, and all hopes seems lost, members of the inner
p. 171
circle agree to go along with one scientist's desperate suggestion,and as a result of the innovative idea, the monster is destroyed.


...... The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 為後世作品所師法的特點:〕[1] The special effects of Ray Harryhausen employed stop-motion animation to create a dinosaur that was considerably more impressive than those created by what would become the era's standard techniques: rear-projected insects and lizards (as in The Beginning of the End and the 1960 The Lost World) or men in rubber suits trampling on miniature sets (as in Godzilla, King of the Monsters and its sequels). Eventually, computer animation would engender a renaissance of quality in depictions of giant monsters. [2] in a rarely noticed subplot, the dinosaur, in addition to its nasty habit of destroying everything in its path, is said to be spreading a virulent disease, incapacitating scores of soldiers and citizens. This aura of virulence, of a medical menace associated with the monster, will later be reintroduced into the genre. [3] the film interestingly reaches its climax with the monster in Coney Island Amusement Park, smashing around its famous roller coaster and inexorably suggesting that, despite the film's unrelentingly serious tone, a giant monster in contemporary times might also become an object of entertainment and amusement, a theme that dates to King Kong and came to the forefront in the novel and film Jurassic Park. ......

哥吉拉終於登場了,Westfahl 並比較第一部哥吉拉電影(他採用的文本是 1956 年的美國版 Godzilla, King of the Monsters,因為牽涉到後製的部分,日美有所不同)和 The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms 的不同處:
p. 172
......, despite its famous scenes of monstrous mayhem, Godzilla, King of the Monsters is actually more attentive to human drama than are its American counterparts. ...... More significantly, the film devotes much more attention to the suffering of Godzilla's victims; whereas The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms had only a few brief scenes of injured people in hospitals, Godzilla, King of the Monsters lingers on scenes of pain and mutilation. ......

Although the factor of atomic energy transforms almost every monster movie of the 1950s into allegory of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons, this film's prolonged preoccupation with the suffering caused by Godzilla makes the linkage impossible to deny. It
p. 173
was a reaction, as noted in J. D. Lees and Marc Cerasini's The Official Godzilla Compendium, not only to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 but to a more recent incident in 1954 involving Japanese sailors disastrously contaminated by an American H-bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, described in Japanese newspapers as "the Second Atomic Bombing of Japan." To make the connection even clearer, the older scientist of the film specifically attributes the emergence of Godzilla to the effects of H-bomb tests. Godzilla, King of the Monsters, therefore, introduced to the monster movie a message about postcolonial guilt, the monster as both a product of the more powerful developed countries and a symbol of the damage they characteristically inflict upon their less powerful, less developed counterparts. Like other themes so far touched upon, it is a motif that will be echoed in later monster films.

Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster (1965) 中,哥吉拉的形象轉換:
p. 173
...... Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan teaming up to defeat the titular menace, a three-headed flying dragon. The latter film marked a key shift in characterizations of Godzilla; previously the villain, the horrible destructive force that must be stopped by human ingenuity or the intervention of kinder, gentler, monsters like King Kong or Mothra, Godzilla would now figure primarily as a heroic figure, defending Japan and the rest of humanity against implacable foes like Ghidrah or alien invaders. Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster also had a strange subplot involving a female prophet who rediscovers her Martian ancestry, anticipating the next ingredient that would soon be added to the Godzilla stew: adventures in outer space.

p. 174-6 特別分析 Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1966),將之與 Destination MoonEarth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) 連結討論,並分析 Godzilla 在該片的多重角色:
p. 176
If the failure of Godzilla vs. Monster Zero can be attributed to its reliance on too many disparate influences, the multiple and contradictory roles being played by Godzilla are particularly striking. It will be recalled that the story that arguably started it all, "The Foghorn," invited sympathetic consideration of the reawakened dinosaur as a pathetic lost soul, and Godzilla vs. Monster Zero unexpectedly includes one scene that invites such an emotional reaction. ...... Another role played by the giant monster -- the implacable enemy -- will increasingly be assumed by Ghidrah, but Godzilla and Rodan briefly return to that characterization in their destructive rampages. In this film and most future films, Godzilla will primarily figure as Earth's heroic champion, defending humanity against one threat after another and by default representing the benevolent converse of whatever evil he battles -- ...... Finally, in this film's introduction of the theme of monsters under the mental control of others, Godzilla and other monsters take on a fourth role -- the powerful but morally neutral weapon, ready to serve whatever good or evil entity contrives to seize control of it. In sum, Godzilla vs. Monster Zero alternately invites audiences to feel sorry for Godzilla, to fear and despise Godzilla, to root for Godzilla, and to have no feelings whatsoever for Godzilla.

p. 176
The next nine Godzilla movies display similar confusion, and often downright silliness, in various attempts to recombine familiar elements and import new influences. ......
p. 177
......, events in the outside world would soon offer a foundation for a revitalized genre of monster movies. [1] First, scientists in the 1960s and 1970s were becoming aware of a new type of dinosaur, the raptor, that was about the size of a human being but fast-moving and lethally ferocious. The sheer difference in size between gigantic monsters and people had always made efforts to establish personal relationships awkward and implausible; ...... The raptor offered the intriguing possibility of a dinosaur that could look a man or a woman in the eye, a formidable but modestly dimensioned opponent. Another portentous development in the 1970s was [2] the rise of feminism.〔以前的怪物(除魔斯拉和英國產的 Gorgo 有帶小孩)和人類的鬥爭可謂男男對決,但如果怪物或奮鬥的主角是女性呢?由此帶出 Alien (1979) 對怪物類型電影的影響〕
p. 178
Yet Alien both replicates and reinvents the giant monster movie. With a creature the size of a raptor, not a Tyrannosaurus rex, Alien offers a more intimate aura of menace, and the hostility toward its monster takes on a personal tone; ...... Further, despite the masculine nature of that particular insult, members of the Alien species in this and later films are generally gendered as female. ...... And the most effective opposition to the Alien is the woman Ripley, who is consistently the person who figures out and executes the best course of action while her male comrades display either inappropriate compassion and docility to the monster (Dollas and Ash) or inappropriate and ineffectual machismo (Parker and Brett). In these respects, Ripley offers a refreshing contrast to the submissive romantic objects of 1950s American science fiction films and the Godzilla movies.

除了前述的因素,日本本身國力的改變也帶動了 1980s 東寶重啟哥吉拉系列時,哥吉拉形象的轉化:
p. 179
...... This time, however, not only were there new cinematic and cultural influences to assimilate, but Godzilla would be emerging from a vastly transformed nation: Japan, the global economic superpower, in contrast to the devastated vassal state that originally created the monster. ......, Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), would offer filmgoers a striking mixture of the old and the new.

At the heart of this film, one might argue, is the standard Godzilla storyline -- ......-- but this familiar drama occupies at most fifteen minutes of the film's two hours. More attention is focused on the strange creation of Biollante: a scientist griving over the sudden death of his daughter decides to blend her genes with those of a rose bush, then further combines the rose genes with genes from Godzilla cells to create a gigantic monster plant, sporting tentacle-like vines with snapping jaws that recall both the carnivorous plant of Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and the baby Alien that spurts out of John Hurt's chest. Yet Biollante is also a gentle female monster, determined to stop Godzilla's destructive attacks, inasmuch as she is imbued with the benevolent spirit of the scientist's daughter, ...... In this film, then, Godzilla is singularly defeated almost entirely by girl power.

The influence of Alien is further suggested by the film's theme of infectious disease (......): scientists are using Godzilla cells to create "anti-nuclear bacteria" which they hope can infect and destroy Godzilla -- and might, incidentally, also make all nuclear weapons obsolete. This
p. 180
attracts the attention of foreign governments and, not incidentally, makes this the first Godzilla movie since Godzilla, King of the Monsters to have a mildly anti-American tone, for two of the foreign agents attempting to steal some Godzilla cells are Americans. ...... 〔外加日本對中東產油國家控制經濟命脈的恐懼......〕

If the geopolitical tensions and violence of the spy thriller seem unduly sophisticated for a Godzilla film, there is the offsetting factor of another subplot openly aimed at children. As part of its plans to deal with the expected return of Godzilla, the Japanese government has constructed an amazing futuristic vehicle called the "Super X-2," ...... It might also represent a plan to profit from the toy market, ......〔賣玩具 A $$ 才是王道〕

下一片 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) 更加深了哥吉拉與日本國的關係,以及反美、反俄的情緒。不過哥吉拉的破壞本質也造成了劇情上可能的無窮迴圈。(p. 180-3)
p. 183
Despite this film's undeniable energy and evocative moments, Godzilla vs. King GhidorahGodzilla is simultaneously an implacable enemy and a poor lost soul, the embodiment of overreaching colonial superpowers and the champion of anticolonialism, a symbol of the evils of technology and symbol of the natural world opposing technology, a wily and intelligent adversary and a mindless destructive force. ...... conveys the aura of a project that has gotten out of control, a snowball rolling madly down a hillside picking up and absorbing whatever materials happen to lie in its way.

接下來當然免不了討論美國版的 Godzilla (1998) 了,Westfahl 談到他認為美國版慘兮兮的原因:
p. 184
To me, however, the central problem is that Godzilla is not a movie but is a mixture of numerous different movies. It is as if the filmmakers watched every single Godzilla movie ever filmed, along with scores of related films, and resolved to include elements from every single one of them, while also crafting a film that could appeal to every conceivable audience. ......
p. 186
To any reasonably informed viewer of science fiction films, virtually every scene in Godzilla seems a borrowing from a previous film. ......
p. 187
A film stuffed with too many elements paradoxically becomes empty, meaningless. Godzilla is simultaneously humanity's enemy, victim, successor, and clown. His intrusion into contemporary society brings to mind every conceivable issue; his story is a chaotic patchwork of bits and pieces from an entire century of filmmaking. The giant dinosaur who could never be killed by conventional weaponry has been smothered by thematic overkill, sheer cinematic excess that is breathtaking in both its relentless cynicism and its utter incoherence. ......

p. 188
Godzilla, it would seem, has now absorbed a lesson in survival illustrated by the iconic figures already mentioned, Tarzan and Superman: to remain viable, the most ubiquitous characters of popular culture must periodically abandon their pats and reinvent themselves, to avoid being crushed by an overaccumulation of attributes and resonances. ......, Godzilla like other reptiles, must periodically shed his skin, abandon the built-up residues of past adventures, and start afresh. And if this continues to occur, then Godzilla may be able to dominate the twenty-first century as triumphantly as he dominated the twentieth century.

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