Netflix has a three-part movie series for Godzilla. I watched the third installment tonight with my boy (who hasn’t seen the first two). Godzilla - The Planet Eater. SPOILERS FOLLOW
It really followed a classical Japanese monster movie them. Godzilla was really only active in the movie for about 20 minutes. It was also deeply metaphorical and the boy and I had a great discussion about the hidden meanings of the movie(s).
If you want a Pacific Rim with monsters, this isn’t that at all.
Go watch and then come back, because I want to share the themes I felt during the show.
In the first movie, and like many previous Godzilla movies, humans created Godzilla during their nuclear weapon tests. Godzilla appeared and attacked centers of technology and, in turn, was attacked by those same centers of technology. The humans fought and died, then, thanks to some aliens, were able to flee Earth.
Do to their weird jump-drive tech, they came back 20,000 years later. Earth had changed. Godzilla is still around. The humans from the ship fight with him again and again. No surprise, they lose. Great mecha tanks, lose.
Another group of aliens try to use advanced technology to destroy Godzilla, but have to sacrifice themselves to the nanotech to be strong enough to kill Godzilla and they sacrifice the rest of the ground team whether they wanted to be or not. But the hero of the story refuses, retaining his humanity and individuality (and love), but causes them to lose to Godzilla.
A small group of survivors succumb to the religious fervor of the first aliens who had planned all along to sacrifice Godzilla to their extra-dimensional deity of destruction. And, oh yeah, it will also pretty much destroy the planet and commit genocide on the humans. They’ve done this before.
In the end, the hero realizes that it’s not possible to defeat Godzilla, because that’s not the point. They had discovered a small human civilization living, if not in harmony, then at least not causing Godzilla to wake up and kill them all.
At the very end, there is one nanotech marvel left and the professor (there’s always a professor who can do anything technical) gets it running again. Our hero realizes that he’s the problem, him and the technological weapons that they have created specifically to destroy the monster that they created.
Further, even though the group of survivors are learning to live with the people of the Earth civilization (peacefully, quietly), our hero realizes that he could infect that culture with his hatred. They don’t have a word for hate. But he hates Godzilla (not without reason, to be fair). So, he sacrifices himself to Godzilla in the last bit of real technology left.
My boy was really confused by that part. I tried to help him understand that the semi-primitive Earth civilization had moved beyond hate and reacting to fear with violence. Because those that reacted to fear of Godzilla with violence were killed by Godzilla.
We train in karate and I told him that in three or four years, he would be skilled enough to kill anyone at school who bugged him. But he doesn’t have to and that’s the point. If he lets fear and hatred rule his responses, then he could easily kill some kid who trips him in the hall.
But, the realization that you don’t have to react with fear and hatred and violence is the great lesson of these Godzilla movies. React with love, with humanity, and with a desire for harmony and you’ll be OK.
Our hero had to sacrifice himself, because he was the last source of fear and violence left in the world. Without him, the people could live with Godzilla on Earth. With him there, there would always be the chance for violence and hate to spread and the growth of technology for war to defeat Godzilla.
There are a lot of people on the internet who thought this movie dull, boring, and a waste of time. I feel kind of sorry for those people. It’s not a giant monster smash movie. It’s a movie for a thinking person, who understands the concept of metaphor.
Really, it’s quite beautiful.
Look around the world, right now, January 18th 2019. What is ruling the world? Peace, love, humanity? Not really. Fear, hatred, and violence, stoked by the lies of the tiny minded… and resulting only in death, destruction, and the likely end of our species.
Godzilla is an amazingly timely metaphor for our world and the choices we need to make.