Godzilla is a good analogy of man's flawed look on nature.
I want to take a moment to talk about Godzilla. Yes, Godzilla. I had the chance of viewing the new Godzilla film directed by Gareth Edwards. Overall, I was very pleased (as a Godzilla fan). I will discuss what I liked about the movie, from a fan’s perspective. Yet, understand that the general theme of my observations stem from the film’s most important premise; humanity’s arrogance in regards to Nature.
The film reboot, which is the first full-feature Godzilla movie in a decade, largely met my expectations. As a fan of the Godzilla franchise since childhood, I found that the film was much more successful than its counterpart from 1998. It delivered the fundamentals of what we would expect a Godzilla movie to be. Rather than trying to reinvent Godzilla from scratch, Gareth Edwards gave fans what they wanted and managed to add enough human drama to keep the story interesting.
Though this reboot doesn’t place too much emphasis on Godzilla as a byproduct of nuclear testing, it does pose a fundamental question that in many ways, the franchise was designed to raise. Humans have a self-assured sense of control over the world. Humans often take advantage of our dominance of the earth, and for the most part have caused the earth much harm as a result. Issues ranging from climate change to pollution show man’s arrogance towards our planet.
Godzilla is an allegory on the blow-back of nature. While the main antagonist monsters are parasite beasts that feed from human generated nuclear energy, Godzilla acts as a “balance.” In short, his awakening was designed to clean up the mess generated by humans. Nature’s blow-back towards humans is very real, and we could be seeing these effects happening before our eyes.
Issues like Global Warming or man-made climate change continue to threaten our future on earth. Many even term these as”military threats,” in the sense that they threaten the stability and security of our nations. While of course it is unlikely Global Warming will release giant monsters upon us to destroy our cities, the real monsters to cause our demise will be nature itself. If we continue to ignore problems with our climate, and act with impunity on the earth, than many of our cities could be rocked by cataclysms just as deadly as what Godzilla and his kaiju friends can unleash.
Also, another aspect that I think the film and its predeceasing franchise touch upon is the idea of human militarism. While the new Godzilla film does not portray the US Military in a negative light, it does present the same question that many other Godzilla films have presented: does having a massive military machine really keep humanity safe?
While the main hero of the movie is a military man, the function and weaponry of the US in the end becomes useless against the deadly monster threat. The only one who saves the day is the King of Monsters, and not the over-bloated US Military. In fact the Military seems to make matters much more complicated than efficient.
Godzilla is largely inspired by suspicion of militarism. All the man-made weapons, including nukes, are in the end worthless at eliminating the true threats to mankind. This raises the serious debate about the usefulness of the military-machine, and whether we truly are safer in the long run with a large global military reach. If our true threats come from our arrogance towards nature, than how could bullets and bombs possibly solve our long-term issues? This is what Godzilla represents. Nature has the potential to destroy us over our arrogance towards it, and all the weaponry in the world can’t spare us from that wrath.
As a fan, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla has satisfied my desire for a faithful reboot of the franchise. It also has managed to stay true to the main tenets of the genre, which is based on mankind realizing its flawed outlook on nature. Our military cannot save us from nature’s wrath, and if we do not recognize our flawed behaviors and attitudes towards our planet, then our planet will turn against us.