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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reviews: HIROSHIMA (2005) and THE UNLUCKIEST DRAGON (2011)

Not long now.  THE BIG LIST is done, but we're doing an "Inspiration List," too.  Watching a couple of films and documentaries that gave us Godzilla.

Today's documentary is the BBC doc Hiroshima (2005).

I'll go first:
This was a late addition.  After two previous documentaries (Rise & Fall of the Japanese Empire and Trinity & Beyond) failed to delve into the actual bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I felt like we needed to see something else. 
Well, this documentary gave a much-needed humanity to our documentary proceedings thus far.  Depressingly so.  Not that I was expecting sunshine and lollipops, of course. 
There is some archival footage, but most of the doc is compromised of interviews with survivors and dramatizations of their recollections.  It's difficult to not get choked up as you hear the pain in their voices and see the tears well in their eyes.  The horror of that day is very well presented. 
It's not solely from the perspective of the Japanese that this film unfolds.  We also get some of the thoughts behind the decision to drop the bombs in the first place, the devastating invasion plans that were being considered, the warnings given to the Japanese leadership that were ignored, etc.  Though the intention is objectivity, it's hard for the American side of things to hold a candle to the raw emotion and visceral imagery on display in Japan. 
Watching this, I kept an eye out for details in the attack.  Details that may show up in 1954's Gojira.  I wasn't disappointed. 
Hiroshima ... fun side note: young Gareth Edwards worked on the visual effects for this.  4 out of five ... stars.  ("Atomic breath blasts" seems inappropriate.)
My son's turn:
Well, this one is a big downer because it's about people in the bomb attack and what the radiation effects are on humans. the reason this is important is because Godzilla's attack on Japan is like the atomic bombs. 
So rating wise, i'll say 2.6 out of 5 Atomic Gulps of Guilt! :(  
Here's a trailer:


Another documentary, this is a short one.

The Unluckiest Dragon (2011).

My son James will go first:
Well, the reason we are watching this is because this inspired Godzilla to be made. So this one is about a ship called The Lucky Dragon that got attacked by a Hydrogen bomb.  It feels familiar. 
So, rating wise, i'll say 3.4 out of 5 Atomic Breaths of Inspiration!!
My turn:
An audio essay with accompanying photos, Dragon tells the story of the fishing boat Lucky Dragon 5 and their encounter with the Castle Bravo Hydrogen Bomb Test of January 1954. 
Though they were several miles away, the crew encountered fallout.  Then the United States encountered fallout of a different sort.  The world was outraged and relations between Japan and the US were strained more than before.   
In the end, the "essay" is a little too short to feel like a full meal, but honestly, I don't know what more could be said. 
The Unluckiest Dragon ... the connections to Gojira will be more than a little obvious.  3 out of five atomic breath blasts.
Here's the whole thing:

Up next, Gojira (1954).

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