Godzilla 2014: Missed Opportunities

OMG you guys! Godzilla!

“Godzilla” was fantastic. I loved it. I loved, loved, loved, LOVED it. It was awesome. There’s some jibber-jabber around the net, like on Facebook and on reputable critics’ blogs, that the script was boring and predictable. This is actually true, but for a giant-ass monster movie, that’s kind of what I want. I don’t want to be made to care about the humans. I only want to care about giant-ass monsters.

But there were two very clear missed opportunities that I want to address.

Danger: spoilers ahead.

Missed opportunity #1:

Bryan Cranston dies (like, right in the beginning) and not in a huge explosion kind of way. He is grievously injured, but lives for a few moments and then dies peacefully in an ambulance helicopter.

As he lay dying, there was ample opportunity for him to whisper, “There is…another…Skywalker.” He made no such whisper. Big loss for us in the audience.

Missed opportunity #2:

The important thing about Godzilla movies is that, historically, they carry the deep significance of showing why nuclear weapons are bad. This film didn’t really explore why it’s BAD that mankind be all like hey-i’m-so-much-greater-than-nature. They gave us just one three-sentence monologue from Ken Watanabe (which was really only two sentences about man vs. nature and a third sentence that was just, “Let them fight.”) and one poignant reminder that Heroshima happened. And that was it.

There used to be hints that Godzilla was either formed by nuclear testing or, more likely, was there from eons ago but was lying dormant, and mankind’s nuke-rattling and bomb testing woke the beast up from its slumber, so in that sense it’s still sort of mankind’s fault, and the whole point is that nuclear proliferation is bad.

In the new film, not only was that not the case, they actually put a surprise twist on our known history of Godzilla — we weren’t “testing” hydrogen bombs, we were trying to kill the monster. This is a great story device, and I loved it, but then towards the end, the nuclear bomb was going to be the hero of it all with no real sense that, hey, maybe we shouldn’t have nuclear bombs.

It was just…a strangely pro-nuclear-weapons Godzilla movie.

Those two elements aside, this was a phenomenally great film. Godzilla looked exactly how he should have looked, he sounded how he should have sounded, and I was engaged the entire time. I don’t care that other people didn’t like the movie because the humans were too boring, or that the characters weren’t deep enough for us to care about. This is false. The characters were exactly as deep as they needed to be to scare me when it was appropriate to be scared, and they were exactly as boring I wanted them to be so I didn’t have to worry about their bullshit while I was watching monsters fight.



One Reply to “Godzilla 2014: Missed Opportunities”

  1. It was exactly as stupid, ridiculous, and non-sensical as a Godzilla movie should be. I’m glad they made no attempt to make the monsters more “scientifically” sensible or any of that crap. This reboot was entirely in the spirit of the original and I couldn’t be happier with it. It was just plain silly and I LOVED IT!

    I admit, I hadn’t considered the nuclear aspect of it. You make a good point and that bit is contrary to the spirit of the original.

    If I had one disappointment it’s that Bryan Cranston wasn’t in the movie longer. I know he needed to die when he did, to give his son motivation blahblahblah shut-up-with-the-human-feels-and-give-me-big-monsters. But they marketed this so heavily as a Bryan Cranston movie, I kinda felt gypped that I didn’t get more of him.

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