Godzilla: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide

Welbeck. Sept. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781787398993. $34.95. FILM
For more than 60 years, viewers have watched Godzilla surface from the ocean’s depths, disintegrate world landmarks with its atomic breath, and trample cities while wrestling with other oversized monsters. Horror film actor/director/writer Skipper traces Godzilla’s cinematic history film-by-film, organized by eras named after Japan’s ruling emperors (a convention of the Godzilla franchise). Skipper provides information about the cast and crew before writing about each film, often highlighting costume details, audience reception, and themes for each era. The Showa Era launched the franchise and led to more family-friendly fare than the later Heisei Era, where Godzilla vs. Biollante would pit Godzilla against a lab-created nightmare of teeth and tentacles. Since this is an officially licensed book, Skipper finds charitable things to say even when describing more poorly received entries. Dedicated fans will be more adept at following the plot summaries of a franchise that rejects continuity, but the gorgeous illustrations will have wider appeal. Movie posters, stills, and production photographs make for a stunning art book. Skipper also pleases completists in his coverage of Godzilla’s small-screen and video game adventures.
VERDICT Lavish with illustrations and praise, this book is geared toward fans but Skipper’s engaging writing is accessible for newcomers.
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