One of the most recognizable creatures in the history of cinema, Godzilla has come a long way since his magnificent debut in Ishirō Honda’s 1954 Godzilla, appearing in dozens of films, TV shows, comic books, video games, and even a Saturday morning cartoon. (Albeit an ill-advised one.) While there is a plethora of background information to be learned about the big radioactive fire-breathing monster, there haven’t been any feature-length documentaries going in-depth into the franchise. While I’m not sure exactly how large a project this is going to be, Spanish filmmaker Jonathan Bellés will be unleashing Godzilla & Hiroshima: The Dawn of the Kaiju Eiga upon the world next year. But this won’t be your run-of-the-mill documentary.
Bellés, who founded the Valencia production company Producciones 451, is creating the film as his doctoral project. As such, it will be a non-profit doc. While that might sound like the film won’t be as professional as some others out there, you gotta figure he’ll be making the best possible feature that he can, given the significance it will have on his education and future career. I find I often do a better job on things I care about rather than things I’m told to do that I have no interest in. (Maybe I’ll start making my own documentary about Godzilla…)
Funding for the film is going to be pretty limited, but Bellés plans on traveling across the United States and Japan to interview actors and producers involved with the films, as well as critics and others. He also plans to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Lucky Dragon No. 5 museum, which is dedicated to the contaminated fishing boat that served as an inspiration for Godzilla. This will probably be a substantial visit, as the doc will largely focus on how Japan’s history ties into the inception of kaiju cinema. And as you’ll see from the conceptual trailer below, the director isn’t just focused on Godzilla, but will include other monsters from the franchise, such as Gamera and Ultraman. Don’t be disappointed that the video is mainly fonts and monster figurines; this is just to get the point across, and isn’t representative of the final product. (He says, hoping this isn’t representative of the final product.)
Bellés founded his own Godzilla website, on which he gives news and film analysis, among other things. The only other substantial documentary on Godzilla I can think of is the BBC’s King of the Monsters, which was created right around the time Roland Emmerich gave us the mostly awful 1998 Americanized remake. My faith is strong that Bellés can give us a feature representative of the monster’s best efforts, and I wish him the best in getting it done. Hopefully it will coincide with Gareth Edwards’ upcoming remake, which will hopefully be amazing.