21st Century Kaiju

The Resurgence of Giant Monster Movies


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About the Book

Once dismissed as a fading genre with little to say to contemporary audiences, the giant monster movie roared back to life in the new millennium. In one of modern cinema’s most surprising turnarounds, a wave of 21st-century kaiju films has delivered exciting and thought-provoking viewing to global audiences. In a variety of works that range from action-packed CGI spectacles to more personal, introspective productions commenting on real-world issues of the day, the new millennium has witnessed some of the most intriguing films in any genre, including movies from such acclaimed directors such as Guillermo del Toro, Bong Joon-ho and Peter Jackson.
This book takes a sober, multidimensional look at the new class of giant monster movies. It examines the making of these films and their sometimes-obscure meanings. It also covers efforts to reinvent storied kaiju characters from the past, including Godzilla and King Kong, and to transform the genre with movies such as Cloverfield, The Mist, Colossal, and Pacific Rim that feature all-new creatures.

About the Author(s)

Gordon Arnold has taught at several colleges, including Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts. He lives in the Boston area.

Bibliographic Details

Gordon Arnold
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 206
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8962-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5177-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 5
1. Kaiju Rising: Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Monsters ­All-Out Attack (2001) 15
2. Last Gasp: Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) 27
3. Return of the King: King Kong (2005) 39
4. A ­Coming-of-Age Story: Gamera the Brave (2006) 50
5. A Korean Vision: The Host (2006) 61
6. A Return to Horror: The Mist (2007) 72
7. Reflecting an Era: Cloverfield (2008) 83
8. Improvising with Monsters: Monsters (2010) 94
9. For the Love of Kaiju: Pacific Rim (2013) 106
10. Hollywood Tries Again: Godzilla (2014) 118
11. Reclaiming a Monster’s Legacy: Shin Godzilla (2016) 130
12. A Monster Within: Colossal (2016) 141
13. Reimagining the Beginning: Kong: Skull Island (2017) 152
14. To a Battle Royale: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) 163
Conclusion 174
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 193
Index 197

Book Reviews & Awards

“An inherently fascinating and impressively informative cinematic history of the Kaiju films from their beginnings in Japan to their success in the American movie market… Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, making it a ‘must’ for Godzilla style monster movie fans and a welcome pick for community and college/university library Cinematic History collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.”—Midwest Book Review