The most iconic moment in 2014's Godzilla had nothing to do with the giant monster himself, but was actually a single line delivered by Ken Watanabe, "Let them fight." The actor returned for the sequel, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and once again, he has one of the movie's most memorable scenes, a scene made all the more impactful by a slight change the actor made to the script himself.
Since Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now available on Blu-ray, we're jumping right into the spoilers here. In the film, Ken Watanabe's character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, a member of the Monarch organization, sacrifices himself to heal Godzilla so that the massive beast can fight King Ghidora in order to save the rest of the world. Serizawa delivers a nuclear warhead to the place Godzilla calls home, but before it goes off, the two share a surprisingly heartfelt moment, where Watanabe once again delivers a single line.
According to director Michael Dougherty in one of the special features attached to the Godzilla: King of the Monsters Blu-ray, the actor changed the delivery of the line during the first run through of the script, specifically, the language in which the line was delivered, and it worked so perfectly they kept the line that way. Dougherty says...
I think this is actually the first Godzilla film where a human being touches Godzilla in a meaningful way. There’s only one line of dialogue which is, ‘Goodbye old friend’ and in the original script that was written in English. But at the table read Ken said it in Japanese and that was completely his invention but it was just one of those moments where it felt, like, so obvious. Of course, it sounded so much better in Japanese because of course, he would say it in Japanese.
Throughout both of the new Godzilla movies, it is clear that Dr. Ishiro Serizawa feels a strong connection to Godzilla. While everybody else seems him as a monster, he sees the creature as something quite different. It's the reason he is willing to be the one to sacrifice himself for the greater good. He doesn't only want to save the world, but help his friend.
The line would certainly have worked in English, but considering Godzilla's Japanese origins, it's fitting that the line be delivered in that language. It's also the doctor's native language, so it makes sense he would revert to it when having this personal moment with someone he considers to be a friend. Considering how well the line works when given in Japanese from both a story and meta-narrative level, it really is obvious that the line needed to be done that way.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters is now available in Digital HD and on Blu-ray.