Out of the roughly 5 million Godzilla movies in existence, only one had the distinct pleasure of being made in America. Also, it had the distinct pleasure of being complete and utter garbage. This weekend, America is taking another stab at the not-so-jolly green giant, and the filmmakers will need to abide by 4 simple rules to make this iteration of Godzilla one to remember/not completely hate.
Throw Realism in the Trash
Nuclear radiation plus lizard equals Godzilla. That’s the only natural law that needs acknowledgement and, honestly, the radiation part isn’t even necessary. As long as it ends with a giant lizard kicking his way through a city skyline while tiny people scatter like hipsters from a makeover, I’m happy. What I don’t need is endless expository dialogue explaining the “science” behind what is happening. A Godzilla-type situation is IMPOSSIBLE. There is no logical reason to realistically explain why it’s happening. The less screen time spent on “making it real” the more time there is for “making giant monsters beat the ever-loving fuck out of one another.” Plus, anyone who yells “faaaaake” at a Godzilla flick is an active contributor to the downfall of society and is not to be trusted.
Under No Circumstances Should Anyone Say “Godzilla”
In America’s first attempt at making a summer blockbuster about the godfather of kaiju, the terms “Godzilla” and “Gojira” are tossed around in such a way that it almost seems as if the original franchise exists within their world. Of course if a giant lizard were to actually set foot here in Philadelphia, my first thought would be “It’s a Godzilla!!! Just like that movie, ‘Godzilla’! No, not the one with Hank Azaria, but any of the other ones!” So while it does make sense, it just feels like soulless reboot fan-service to make any reference to the franchise. Imagine if the remake of The Evil Dead had characters yelling “There are evil dead people everywhere! The dead are rising from their graves and they’re…evil! It’s like a whole army of darkness!” See? It’s shitty and we’re better than that, America.
Make the Monster(s) More Important Than the Humans
Let’s look at some titles in this franchise:
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla
Godzilla vs Megalon
Son of Godzilla
All Monsters Attack!
Notice a trend? There’s not a single entry called The Great People of Tokyo vs Godzilla or Some Guy Who Happens to Be Around When Godzilla Attacks. It’s not about people. It’s never been about people. It’s about monsters! I don’t care about any person in any Godzilla flick with the exception of Bryan Cranston, and I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine; He’s Bryan “Hal from Malcolm in the Middle” Cranston.
Destruction is the name of the game. Buildings need to crumble. Boats need to be lifted from the water and tossed onto land. Cars need to be picked from the streets and thrown in the water. Fighter jets must rain down from the sky like an alternate ending for Magnolia. Instead of expending cinematic energy depicting the myriad ways people were almost killed, or dividing our cast into killable villains and invincible heroes, the filmmakers should pull out the stops and play God. If one fully-developed character gets crushed under a giant lizard’s foot, it’ll be worth every penny I don’t spend on a ticket because I sneak into movies like a child. Or a criminal. Or a child criminal, like Bugsy Malone. I digress.
Godzilla was defined by the limitations of the filmmakers. Since Godzilla was just a rubberized furry doling out damage to a cardboard miniature, it was impossible to make the action local. Showing the action at street level just wouldn’t work, and didn’t have to. After seeing Godzilla through the eyes of Matthew Broderick, seeing the Cloverfield monster through the eyes of TJ Miller, and not seeing Pacific Rim monsters because every battle happened at night during a rainstorm nowhere near a decent light source, it’s time that we see Godzilla in his full glory, carving a path through a landscape like a hot lawnmower through grass that’s made of butter. Everything looks big from below, but when something looks big from afar, it looks HUGE. That’s precisely what Godzilla needs to be: HUGE!
Alright, America. Godzilla is ours now, let’s hear him roar!