I loved the new Godzilla. It was everything a kaiju movie should be: the human cost was real, the stakes were high, and the monsters were huge. Plus, Godzilla quite definitively proved that he, and not Heisenberg, is the danger.
I’m not here going to summarize the plot, except to say that in terms of story nothing is wasted. Like Chekhov’s gun, there isn’t introduced in the first act that doesn’t show up later. Bryan Cranston, of course, owns every scene he’s in, and gives the movie much-needed gravitas. Unlike last year’s Pacific Rim, this film plays it close to the chest, and doesn’t give us full on Kaiju porn until much later. By doing this, we get to know the characters, and care about the human element.
But make no mistake: when we get that reveal, we get it in spades. You’ve no doubt seen the trailer, wherein soldiers do a HALO jump over San Francisco? The scene alone is worth the price of admission. We really get a sense of scale, of just how massive Godzilla is.
And that is what I truly wish to write about: Godzilla as metaphor, as something so massive as to be entirely out of our control. In a sense, he’s a stand-in for God; a being so massive, so wholly other, as to be completely beyond our feeble comprehension…
Let me put it this way: how many times on your life have you been faced with something seemingly insurmountable–impossible, even–but God provided deliverance? But even that didn’t look like anything you expected. The Godzilla of the current movie is like that: to you, me, anyone looking on, he’s just another monster.
One who saves the day.
It seems that God is often like this, namely showing up in ways that only make sense in hindsight. When he arrives on the scene, we’re often left wondering. Consider how people in Scripture reacted to angels:
They bowed in fear. Until it was made clear that they, in fact, were not God–just His servants. It’s quite natural and understandable to fear the unknown, the other, the numinous, in this way…
In the end, movies like Godzilla remind us of our creatureliness, our infinitesimal smallness in the face of a being like Godzilla.
Have you seen the new Godzilla? You should.