GODZILLA UNFILMED or You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Understand This Script, But It Helps - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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GODZILLA UNFILMED or You Don't Have To Be Crazy To Understand This Script, But It Helps

Gordon Hopkins explores an unfilmed Godzilla movie.
Some folks may not understand just how important that third movie is when it comes to making a franchise. Most people (I suspect, though I know of no scientific studies to back up my assertion) think the second movie is the keystone, the linchpin to the creation of a successful franchise. The history of cinema is rife with great, even groundbreaking movies, followed up by good, if not equally groundbreaking, sequels. (Chinatown & The Two Jakes, 2001: A Space Odyssey & 2010: The Year We Make Contact, etc.) But it is that third movie that truly shows a property has legs; characters engaging enough and concepts intriguing enough to hold the attention of an audience over multiple films. (Goldfinger, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, etc.) That is when you know you can keep them coming back to the theater, again and again.

Serious fans of the Godzilla franchise know Toho Studios decided to hedge their bets with Godzilla 3 by pairing the Big Guy with an even more famous giant monster in King Kong versus Godzilla. However, this was not always intended this this be Godzilla's tertiary outing. It is my intention to cover every Godzilla in chronological order. Before I get to the next movie, I feel I should address this almost-was Godzilla flick now since, technically speaking it came before King Kong versus Godzilla, even though it was never actually made.

I am, of course, talking about The Bride of Godzilla.

Only the most zealous and obsessive of Godzilla fans already knew that's where I was headed with this. People who have actual lives, on the other hand, are saying, “Huh?”

Like any successful movie franchise, there have been a lot of concepts for Godzilla movies that never made it in front of a camera, ranging from a casual idea mentioned in a producer's meeting to a commissioned treatment to a fully formed script. Of all those unfulfilled ideas, The Bride of Godzilla is probably the most famous. (Unless you count Batman versus Godzilla, which apparently was a thing at one point.) It is also completely batsplatter crazy. (I'm trying not to cuss too often in these things for the sake of our younger readers.)*

Please bear with me. I am attempting to piece this story together from multiple, random sources, not all of which are entirely (or even a little) consistent. Nevertheless, I am reasonably sure my account is reasonably accurate, at least as accurate as an account written by a guy from another country who wasn't even born when the events occurred and who has no direct knowledge of any of this stuff outside of stories written by a bunch of weirdos obsessed with Godzilla.

So here we go. To begin with, the proposed movie was (probably) never actually going to be called The Bride of Godzilla. That is a name given to the storyline by fans well after the fact.
Shortly after the release of Godzilla Raids Again, an unsolicited script was written by Hideo Unagami (1912-1957), a bit player who appeared in such Japanese flicks as The Mysterians and Rodan and Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. His character rarely had names. For example, in Rodan he was credited as “Miner.” He was also a writer and is credited with the story for Toho's non-Godzilla science fiction film, H-Man.

The small-time actor submitted his script to Toho producer Tomoyuki Tanaka in 1955. Tradictionally, movie producers aren't receptive to unsolicited screenplays. Nevertheless, Tanaka was intrigued enough by the concept that he commissioned two more rewrites of the script.

Had it happened, it would have been the first Godzilla movie made in color. Of course, the movie came to nothing. Why is up for debate. Some have suggested the imaginative and highly fanciful plot would have been far too expensive to film. Others have suggested the ending would have precluded any future installments in the fledgling franchise. Most folks, however, assume the movie was simply too ridiculous to ever be committed to celluloid.

So what about the actual plot? Okay, I'm not gonna worry about spoilers here, since the movie doesn't actually exist. If you have hopes The Bride of Godzilla may still make it to the screen somehow, some day, and don't want to spoil it for yourself, then stop reading here.

So here's the deal. Dr. Zenji Shida is mourning the loss of his wife and builds a robot replica of his beloved. This isn't the first time this plot device has shown up in Japanese culture. Astro Boy (the manga first began in 1952) is the robot replacement for a scientist's dead son. In another version of the story, the robot is named Eve and bears a striking resemblance to Riko, the wife of a colleague, Dr. Yanai. Riko chose Yanai over Shida ten years earlier and Dr. Shida responds by creating a robot in her likeness, which isn't creepy at all.

After the devastation caused by Godzilla and Anguirus in Godzilla Raids Again, Dr. Shida decides to put his robot-building skills to more practical use by constructing a giant robot to defend the Earth against any future giant monster attacks. This giant robot, he build in the likeness of his foster daughter, also called Riko in some versions. Why? I don't know. Just go with it.

Dr. Shida has good reason to think there will be further attacks. He theorizes that Godzilla and Anguirus both come from the center of the Earth, where they have been able to hide for millions of years.

Dr. Shida proves his theory by traveling into the Earth and he discovers lots of Godzillas and lots of Anguiruses (what is the plural of Anguirus, anyway? Anguiriea? Anguireese?) as well as a whole host of other prehistoric-type monsters, like a giant chameleon and a giant archaeopteryx (a favorite of mine as a kid), and also a race of mermaids. Sure. Why not?

In yet another version of the script, Dr. Shida's brother, Yoshi, is head of a mining company in a Japanese village that has suddenly become feeding ground for a giant, blood-sucking flea. The miners manage to exterminate the big bug and discover a massive underground cavern containing the previously mentioned monsters and mermaids.

A massive monster brawl ensues and all manner of kaiju critters, including Godzilla, make their way to the surface world.

In order to save the world, Dr. Shida unleashes his giant robot daughter. Who happens to be naked. According to some accounts, this seems to be pointed out an unnecessary number of times in the script. (Which isn't creepy at all.) The robot does battle with each monster and dispatches them, one by one. Naked. Leaving only Godzilla to be dealt with.

Okay, now things start to get weird (cough).

Godzilla takes on the (naked) robot. The Big G's most powerful weapon, his atomic breath, is useless against it (her?), which simply absorbs the power, presumably to charge her giant batteries. Godzilla is defeated and, in a “meet cute” twist worthy of a Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan rom com, Godzilla falls in love with the (naked) robot. Together, they return to the prehistoric world beneath the world.

But that ain't all. This (unmade) movie's got more twists than Chubby Checker. Once inside the world below, the (naked) robot, which had a hydrogen bomb implanted inside of her, explodes, destroying Godzilla and sealing up cavern forever or until the next sequel.

If the above synopsis seems a bit of a mish-mosh, it is important to remember that, not only did Toho commission three versions of the script (that we know of) from Unagami, the story was revisited in 1978, when Tanaka was looking to revive the then-dormant franchise. Screenwriter Hideichi Nagahara produced three more drafts of the story, before common sense took a hold of everyone involved.

So the movie remains unmade. Yet, as is obvious from even this cursory (and confusing) outline, a great many of the story's concepts found themselves in many other movies. The miners battling a giant insect bears more than a passing resemblance to another famed kaiju flick, Rodan, in which Hideo Unagami appeared, though he sadly did not get a screenwriting credit. Godzilla and King Kong ended up fighting giant robots. The hollow earth concept is a major element of the new Hollywood “Monsterverse.” Even the idea of a girl robot with a bomb inside her ended up being used in another movie. Not a Japanese kaiju but a Vincent Price comedy vehicle, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.

So what are the odds the giant (naked) robot from The Bride of Godzilla will show up in a future Godzilla movie? Not that long ago, I would have said no chance at all. Now, however, we are seeing a shift in philosophy in Hollywood. The last couple of Hollywood Godzilla movies have been pure fanservice. If it looks like enough fans want it, it might happen. But probably not. I should also note that, given the decreasing costs of editing software and digital effects software, the chances that a fan film of The Bride of Godzilla is not just possible but inevitable.

Odds of a Hollywood Godzilla movie featuring the “Bride:” 50 to 1 against.

Odds of a Toho Godzilla movie featuring the “Bride:” 100 to 1 against.

Odds of a Godzilla fan movie featuring the “Bride:” Even money.

*This is the only footnote you will find in this entire series. Some people ask me why I use parenthesis so often. The answer is that I hate footnotes. (Sorry, David Foster Wallace.)

Gordon Hopkins is an award winning reporter and columnist for The Fairbury Journal-News, a 130-year-old newspaper in Jefferson County, Nebraska (He hasn't been working there that entire time.) He has also written a couple of crime novels (“Fraudsters” and the best-selling “Broken”) and edited a few non-fiction books.

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