The Age of Non-Myth or What is Wrong With Godzilla

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When I was a kid I LOVED the Godzilla movies. 

When I was a 28 year old I hated the Godzilla movie with Matthew Broderick.

Let’s just say it was retarded. 

It was with some trepidation that I found they were attempting the film again. 

Let me state what I did like about the film. It was done with reservation. Which meant Godzilla wasn’t given 90 minutes of screen time to mash up Manhattan. I think in this film he had perhaps 10 minutes total screen time and maybe not even that. 

I would say it could have used maybe just a touch more Godzilla. They even used an old technique that I call “the gun fired offscreen technique”. When Godzilla finally attacks one of the – forgot the name but they were basically mothra from the original – mothra, you only see him quickly as he collides with the other beast and the camera goes dark to the sound of Godzilla’s wail. 

The movie attempted a less modern pacing, they attempted not to overload our deadened senses with as much CGI as is possible to fit into every single frame. I said they attempted, but they did not fully succeed. 

I don’t know what it is with screenwriters of modern action/monster movies and the human characters. It is always the same, empty, characters. I felt more, I felt something, when it appeared Godzilla may have died, than for any of the non-entities on the screen. Or for the implied thousands of deaths that must have taken place. I do not chalk that up to my callousness, I chalk that up to the movie-makers. It is the same damned cast in every single one of these movies with only the actors being different. 

You have the scientist who everyone thinks is crazy, but in fact is the only who has the true knowledge. You have the army who won’t listen, with the general that slowly comes around and realizes he was slow to the draw. You have the two parent, one child family unit (the parents in this one were actually not divorced – yay!) and they are separated. The man is drawn into the thick of the action while we are supposed to worry about the mother and child. This is the same cast for Independence Day, every eco-disaster film, Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, all of them.

I would not be surprised if the characters and their entire story for all such scripts are not ready-made templates in Final Cut software.

How about we try it not from that perspective? Since it was Godzilla who saved the day and not our military, why not have it from a completely original perspective? 

But one expects such laziness from Hollywood. Here is my actual beef. And it didn’t really detract from the movie so much as it stood out to me. 

I noticed this first years ago when George Lucas felt it necessary to give his mystical force some sort of explanation instead of leaving it as the wonderful mythical and mystical thing it was in the originals. No, he had to couch it some sort of pseudo-science jargon that destroyed (if you don’t simply write off the prequels) the first films. 

Likewise in the original Godzilla films it was simply shown that nuclear testing led “somehow” to Godzilla and then we went about enjoying the film. 

Not nowadays. The mythos of the age is science and that we cannot suspend our disbelief with anything that is not SCIENCE! So in the new Godzilla movie they go through a painstaking effort of explanation through dialogue of how Godzilla and the monsters come from a much more radioactive past and how the monsters feed off of the nuclear testing and so on and so forth. 

It was all entirely NOT NECESSARY. In the beginning of the film while the opening credits are still coming up on the screen we see old footage from the forties and fifties of Navy ships in the pacific, nuclear tests being done in the desert and at sea. Then after the credits we are taken to an excavation in the Philippines where they unearthed this giant fossil and then they discover that something much, much more recent has been there and has slithered into the ocean. 

Stop.

I have enough. Go on with the movie. I think the moviemakers make an assumption that is not true. They feel they need all of this pseudo-scientific blather to get into belief for the film. The exact opposite is the case.

Man was made for myth, we spend our childhood immersed in it, we create it when we are grown, and we enjoy it throughout our lives. We don’t need convoluted explanations for everything to get us into myth-mode. It is not some unnatural condition to be induced in us.

 

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