How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

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How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Rhedosaurus » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:46 am

It's no secret that Godzilla started off as being part of the dinosaur movie genre. It's also no secret that many people consider it as semi-detached, if not mostly detached, from said genre. Yet, the 2000's era and the Godzillaverse seems to be going back to it to a fair degree. Even the Heisei era did that.

Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah: Godzilla was originally a theropod dinosaur.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla: Dinosaurs were talked about quite a bit and Rodan's Pterandon being was quite emphasized.

Godzilla vs. Megagurius: Queen Meg and her army are a cross between the giant bug genre (THEM!, The Black Scorpion, etc) and the prehistoric monster genre.

Godzilla against Mechagodzilla: It had the Anti-Megalosaurus Force or something like that.

Godzilla 2014: The beginning credits HEAVILY implied that Godzilla was a dinosaur. While it was revealed that he was a giant synapsid, it is also said that his kind dated from 240-230 mya (Somewhere between then.) which we now know the dinosaurs started to come to be. And even then, this can easily be ret-conned with a next movie saying that "We were wrong. Godzilla is a dinosaur via recent research."

So with all this being said, how attached is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre in the modern era?

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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:40 am

I’ll be contentious and disagree with the idea that Godzilla was ever connected to the dinosaur genre despite the clear general physical similarities. Some of the original concept art and story info portrayed Godzilla almost as a completely different, octopus like creature. Likewise, although Godzilla looks similar to dinosaurs, the movie couldn’t be further far removed from the dinosaur genre content wise. Part of the reason why that film was received so well is because it broke a lot of ground.

The most solid thing is the Godzilla vs KG thing, which is important, but at that point the series was full on sicko mode. It did not resemble the dinosaur genre at all, other then the Godzillasaurus being a plot point involved with travel.

Megaguirus did not take inspiration from THEM, as far as we know. It took inspiration from Rodan, which in turn had little to do with sci-fi big radiation of the 1950’s. It was more about the exploration of nature and climate change.

A big point I repeatedly notice amongst the western fandom is there’s a complete overlook of the other meaning of Kaiju, which can also just mean strange beast. The idea of many Kaiju is that they are inherently unique. It’s why although there are clearly multiple monsters, and a lot of the monsters like Angurius are related to dinosaurs, often there’s no clear easy compartment aisles explanation or origin for many of them.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby G2000 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:32 am

I'd say pretty well detached, and like LSD said it's debatable if it ever really was a "dinosaur film" in the first place. There are so many genres at play in the Godzilla series (and in the kaiju genre as a whole) - mythology, fantasy, science-fiction, horror, political drama, etc. that it's fairly hard to put Godzilla into the "dinosaur film" box.

Rhedosaurus wrote:Godzilla 2014: The beginning credits HEAVILY implied that Godzilla was a dinosaur. While it was revealed that he was a giant synapsid, it is also said that his kind dated from 240-230 mya (Somewhere between then.) which we now know the dinosaurs started to come to be. And even then, this can easily be ret-conned with a next movie saying that "We were wrong. Godzilla is a dinosaur via recent research."


Promotional materials and IIRC a line in the film itself have Godzilla predating the dinosaurs, hailing from sometime during the Permian period. Also, I don't remember them ever confirming that he was a synapsid; that's largely just fan speculation.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Ivo-goji » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:04 am

All the kaiju and dinosaur movies have their origin in this common ancestor
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And I'd say, with the Monsterverse's hollow world concept and the anime's focus on a Monster Planet, Godzilla is more in touch with his roots than ever before.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby UltramanGoji » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:14 am

I don't think there's even such a thing as the "dinosaur genre".
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Maritonic » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:19 am

I think it's more "kids who like dinosaur movies will likely end up liking Godzilla movies" more than it actually being part of a whole subgenre of films. Most Godzilla fans that I know tend to like movies with dinosaurs in them. But I wouldn't consider them in the same subgenre as Jurassic Park or Carnosaur.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby eabaker » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:47 am

UltramanGoji wrote:I don't think there's even such a thing as the "dinosaur genre".


Yeah, I think it would be really helpful for this conversation if someone would lay out exactly what the identifying themes and narrative/visual tropes of this genre are.

Anyway, the final design used for Godzilla was clearly inspired by dinosaurs, and the general public has always thought of Godzilla as a dinosaur. For all intents and purposes, regardless of what is "technically" true of the monster (though in art, isn't what is implied by the aesthetic choices inherently part of the truth of the work?), people walking in to see a Godzilla movie are generally walking in with the intent of watching a movie about a dinosaur; and on the way out of the theater, they believe they've just seen a movie about a dinosaur.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Gerdzerl » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:01 am

I don't think dinosaur movies can really be considered a true genre. The biggest connection Godzilla's ever really had to dinosaurs is his origin in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah in 1991, which is just one film out of 34 (soon to be 35).

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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:22 am

Ivo-goji wrote:All the kaiju and dinosaur movies have their origin in this common ancestor
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And I'd say, with the Monsterverse's hollow world concept and the anime's focus on a Monster Planet, Godzilla is more in touch with his roots than ever before.

I mean, I guess? It’s not like dinosaurs are a unique concept; there were actual dinosaurs in nature. It’s not like any of these dinosaur films created dinosaurs or porpularized them in a fictional cannon.

Really the Kaiju genre owes more to King Kong then anything else. King Kong 1933 shares a lot more in common then any of the other movies here. Kong itself, ignoring later incarnations, is the most similar to later Kaiju stuff as it’s special, and named, a major distinction. Kong is distinguished as a monster, and even worshipped by natives, who fights other creatures and mankind.


And how is AnimeGoji related to dinos at all? It’s a planet-like creature, again vague in origin. Monsterverse Goji is the only one that sortve really connects, but even again they’re vague on Godzilla’s origin or what he is. He has a lot of mamillian traits.

Beyond the Kong comparison I think everything else is a bit reaching.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Godzillian » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:32 am

Godzilla will forever be a dinosaur to the GA, no matter what they film canon says or how many times he is reinvented. He is eternally linked to dinosaur movies since at the end of the day he IS inspired by and even is a dinosaur (depending on the canon) at the end of the day.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby edgaguirus » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:51 am

Only the Heisei Godzilla has a direct link to dinosaurs. The other incarnations are implied to be prehistoric creatures, but not exactly dinosaurs. In Gojira, Godzilla is an intermediary animal linking land and sea life. In G2014, the monster is some ancient species, but what species is never made clear.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Ivo-goji » Tue Mar 26, 2019 3:58 pm

LSD Jellyfish wrote:I mean, I guess? It’s not like dinosaurs are a unique concept; [b]there were actual dinosaurs in nature. It’s not like any of these dinosaur films created dinosaurs or porpularized them in a fictional cannon.

The Jurassic Park series is 100% inspired by The Lost World and basically every element of modern dinosaur related media owes something to Jurassic Park.

Really the Kaiju genre owes more to King Kong then anything else.

See Willis O'Brien's name on that poster?

There would be no Kong without The Lost World.

And how is AnimeGoji related to dinos at all?

The concept of humans exploring a dangerous monster infested world is intrinsically similar to the premise of Doyle's novel.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:47 pm

I meant that dinosaurs are not an inherently fictional idea. They are real creatures. Just because Godzilla has some relations to dinosaurs doesn’t mean Godzilla wouldn’t have existed without the early popularization of the dinosaur genre.

Yes, Kong might not have existed without the Lost World, but that’s sortve where the thread ends. The Lost World, and Kong by extension, are based primarily in the “exploration” and adventure mythos. There’s tons of similar works, way prior to the Lost World, about explorers or heroes coming across a strange new land and being attacked by monsters. See the Odyssey or Gulliver’s Travels for example. The Lost World did not invent this genre, nor did Kong, rather they are just early major works in a flowering new medium. At that point things become so general you’re just relating any work of fiction made by humans to another and you can stretch it out ad naseum.

The structure of the original Godzilla film, is fundamentally different from Kong(and by extension the Lost World), and is not an adventure film. Godzilla is the catalyst, no one goes to Odo Island for profit or adventure. Godzilla is never captured, and is instantly recognized as a threat. And that’s before we get into all the characters and subtext.

My point is while yeah sure, Kong (and by extension “dinosaur” movies are popular, Gojira explicitly started the Kaiju genre, and while comparisons and minor similarities exist, Gojira owes and takes nothing from dinosaur films.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby eabaker » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:20 pm

LSD Jellyfish wrote:The Lost World did not invent this genre, nor did Kong, rather they are just early major works in a flowering new medium. At that point things become so general you’re just relating any work of fiction made by humans to another and you can stretch it out ad naseum.


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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Terasawa » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:55 pm

The 1925 Lost World ended with the Brontosaurus rampaging in London, a sequence that I don't believe is in the Conan Doyle book. That was probably the first "giant monster" rampage in film. I don't believe Ivo-goji is trying to say The Lost World directly inspired Godzilla, but because of of the lineage from the 1925 film to King Kong to Godzilla (directly and through Harryhausen's Beast), it's definitely important in the history of giant monster films.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:34 am

Terasawa wrote:The 1925 Lost World ended with the Brontosaurus rampaging in London, a sequence that I don't believe is in the Conan Doyle book. That was probably the first "giant monster" rampage in film. I don't believe Ivo-goji is trying to say The Lost World directly inspired Godzilla, but because of of the lineage from the 1925 film to King Kong to Godzilla (directly and through Harryhausen's Beast), it's definitely important in the history of giant monster films.

Okay, I don’t disagree with that. However, I’m saying that I don’t think the specific element of a dinosaur in Lost World somehow led to Godzilla. It could’ve been any monster or anything.

Again, if anyone asks why I get so heated about this, it’s because I think a part of the reason why the original series is so good, is specific because the early Kaiju are mysterious beasts. This goes for the original Godzilla, King Kong, Mothra and Ghidorah. I think Kaiju films in general are drastically different then many of the films (50’s b movies, dinosaur movies). I actually think some of the weaker films, GRA, are bad partially because they replicate b movies too much and explain too much(such as all the pseudo science stuff about Angurius being related to dinosaurs in GRA.

I also think that dinosaurs are too much of actual animals, and occur naturally. The point of Gojira, is that man has created a weapon too powerful and is akin to the forces of nature. Man has erred in this fact. It’s not just the size that makes Godzilla and some of the early Kaiju like that, it’s also the themes surrounding it.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby Maritonic » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:07 pm

Right but ask any general audience member to describe Godzilla and they'll likely go "radioactive fire breathing dinosaur". There's certainly connections. No denying the themes inherit in (good) kaiju films, but I think we're used to looking at it from the perspective of a fan, rather than an average movie-goer.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby _JNavs_ » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:14 pm

I think to the GA, Godzilla is like, the King Dinosaur. Which is totally fine by me. That just solidifies him as the King of All Monsters.
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby G2000 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:53 pm

LSD Jellyfish wrote:
Terasawa wrote:The 1925 Lost World ended with the Brontosaurus rampaging in London, a sequence that I don't believe is in the Conan Doyle book. That was probably the first "giant monster" rampage in film. I don't believe Ivo-goji is trying to say The Lost World directly inspired Godzilla, but because of of the lineage from the 1925 film to King Kong to Godzilla (directly and through Harryhausen's Beast), it's definitely important in the history of giant monster films.

Okay, I don’t disagree with that. However, I’m saying that I don’t think the specific element of a dinosaur in Lost World somehow led to Godzilla. It could’ve been any monster or anything.


I disagree, though. The Lost World led directly to King Kong , and that film was a major influence on Godzilla. I would say that without The Lost World it's very likely Kong either isn't made or winds up vastly different (animal rights travesty on par with The Charge of the Light Brigade, perhaps?) and without Kong who knows what happens to Godzilla?
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Re: How connected is Godzilla to the dinosaur movie genre nowadays?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:44 pm

Yes I agree with you, I am saying the fact that it’s a brontosaurus or dinosaur specifically is irrelevant. Kong is not a dinosaur.

Likewise, at least for the original film, Godzilla’s design is completely irrelevant, at least in the context of its film. If you want to attribute the fact that Godzilla’s design is is similar to a dinosaur and that leads to at least part of the appeal that’s fine.
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