Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Godzilla: Nature’s Mascot?

I saw the new Godzilla last night with a friend. Both of us went in with high expectations and left disappointed. I felt it was a lumbering mess. As I told my friend it was an example of great special effects in search of a plot. Both of us had issues with what seemed like pointless things the humans were doing.

Then, thanks to a link provided on Watts Up With That, the quote provided below from an interview with the director of Godzilla helps explain what he was trying to delicately say (while indelicately destroying virtual cities). It’s not the plot that’s important. It’s the narrative, something my friend Robert Bidinotto has consistently pointed out:,,

Your version of Godzilla seems to be more rooted in current events, and centers on mankind’s tenuous relationship with nature, and the environment.

Yeah. Man vs. Nature is the predominant theme of the film, and I always tried to go back to that imagery. At the beginning when they find the fossils, it was important to me that they didn’t just find them—it was caused by our abuse of the planet. We deserved it, in a way. So there’s this rainforest with a big scar in the landscape with this quarry, slave labor, and a Western company. You have to ask yourself, “What does Godzilla represent?” The thing we kept coming up with is that he’s a force of nature, and if nature had a mascot, it would be Godzilla. So what do the other creatures represent? They represent man’s abuse of nature, and the idea is that Godzilla is coming to restore balance to something mankind has disrupted.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with this message I think many people are oblivious to the fact that even so-called “mindless” monster movies smuggle an embedded message. I think many moviegoers miss the message and just enjoy the CGI-created mayhem. I do think, however, that the constant exposure to these hidden messages eventually leaves their mark on our collective consciousness. Or at least that must be the hope of the moviemakers because they keep doing it!

Getting back to man’s “abuse” of nature I would agree with this message if these movies showed truly unnecessary destruction of nature for no productive purpose (such as someone who dumps toxic waste into a lake instead of having it treated). Instead these critics throw all human uses of natural resources into the same category. In other words they don’t make a distinction between using resources and wasting them. They’re treated as the same. To me when legitimate and illegitimate uses of nature are treated the same the purpose is simply to instill guilt for our very existence.

1 comment:

David M. Brown said...

You should make a distinction between wasting resources and poisoning somebody with them or violating somebody's property rights with them. I don't see anything lamentable about waste per se. If you're extremely poor, you have little and perhaps waste little. IF you're very rich you probably waste a lot more. The waste needs to be disposed of. That's a problem. It's not an insuperable problem. And it's a lot better to be rich and wasteful than poor and not wasteful.