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Why a Human-less Godzilla movie just wouldn't work

Why a Human-less Godzilla movie just wouldn't work

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JurassicKaiju14 #TeamGodzilla

Jan-21-2020 5:29 AM

So in the wake of KOTM's release, I've seen a lot of people around the web talking about how they want to see a movie that's just about Godzilla and not about "boring human drama", and how they're sick of humans and all that jazz.

But here’s the thing about human characters in Godzilla movies. As “annoying” as they may be, they’re actually essential to making them work. Having human characters reminds the audience of what the stakes are, and how dangerous these creatures are. A lot of people will tell you that Godzilla and the other monsters are the "real" story, but the more I watch these movies, the more I get the impression that the opposite is true, or at the very least the two go hand-in-hand. But either way, the human side of things is an important part of the movies

Let me give you an example from a film that is not my personal favorite, but is objectively the best movie in the franchise: The 1954 original. For me, the most striking scenes of the film aren’t the ones where Godzilla is pulling high-tension wires down or looking in on subway trains or melting tanks with his atomic breath;it’s the ones after the rampage, the ones where little children are being diagnosed with lethal doses of radiation; where the populace finds itself praying from deliverance from what seems to be a wrathful god of destruction; when Japan finds itself once again pulled into the nightmare of a potential atomic holocaust. That struck a chord with me, and it had nothing to do with how much kaiju action was being poured into my eyeballs.

Whether Godzilla is an allegory for the Hiroshima bomb or the folly of Man in general, the humans are an essential part of driving those messages home; they’re the ones who are affected by the creatures’ actions. Without them, the movies would collapse in on themselves. They’d basically devolve into speculative evolution documentaries or something; fun to watch, but ultimately with no meaning behind them whatsoever. Disposable entertainment. They really would become the mindless monster romps that people write the Godzilla franchise off as.

Now, admittedly, this argument kind of falls apart if the human characters aren't any good. And if there's one thing that KOTM proved, that's kind of based on personal opinion and/or level of perseverance, depending on how you look at it. But I think my point still stands. I'd rather have a Godzilla movie that at least tries to have a story than just throws up it's hands and goes full Michael Bay or whatever.

And let's be honest with ourselves: do we really want to watch a two-hour movie that's nothing but the monsters? I want you to stop and really think about it. Just the monsters, with absolutely no breaks in between. No dialogue, no explanations, no time to breath between scenes. Eventually even the monster fights would get dull. You know how everyone (even myself up above) jokes that the Transformer movies are nothing but Michael Bay explosion fantasies or whatever? Yeah. All that city destruction would get really old after a while.

And it probably wouldn't even be just the fighting. Do any of you guys think of how much time Godzilla spends in these movies just swimming from point A to point B? Or sleeping? Boring, menial, non-action stuff like that?

I'm fairly certain that if we did get a Godzilla movie that was just two hours of literally nothing but monsters, even the best of us would be bored out of our minds. The fact is, kaiju fights and destruction really work better in doses. You can't have a movie that's just that with no substance to back it up, however little of it may be there. And I'd rather have even a little substance over no substance at all. At least it's something.

Now maybe if they did an animated movie where the monsters were anthropomorphic, like The Lion King or whatnot, or if it was a nature-type documentary like Walking with Dinosaurs, a wall-to-wall monsters feature could work. But as typical, feature-length movie production? No. It wouldn't work at all.

A true fan can acknowledge the bad while still appreciating and cherishing the good.

7 Responses to Why a Human-less Godzilla movie just wouldn't work

Gmkgoji #TeamRodan

Jan-21-2020 7:42 AM

Well said. Well said indeed.

Zwei Wing is the best singing duo. Change my mind.

Monster_Zero 2112 #TeamGodzilla

Jan-21-2020 9:19 AM

Gmkgoji Took the words right out my mouth.

G. H. (Gman) #TeamGhidorah

Jan-21-2020 10:48 AM

Bravo, JurassicKaiju14, bravo. Well said and dissected. I especially appreciate this excerpt:

"Whether Godzilla is an allegory for the Hiroshima bomb or the folly of Man in general, the humans are an essential part of driving those messages home; they’re the ones who are affected by the creatures’ actions. Without them, the movies would collapse in on themselves."

Indeed. A generalized point of monster movies has been to emphasize the monstrous deeds by humanity--From Frankenstein to Cloverfield. If there's no mankind, there's no sins of man, making the narrative existence of these creatures moot.

Another thing I want to add is that sometimes these monsters mirror the arcs characters are going through. Take Terror of MechaGodzilla, for instance--Katsura and Titanosaurus share similar trajectories. They're both gentle beings that have been exploited and transformed into killing machines. Both meet tragic ends for what others have done to them.

Asagi in the Gamera trilogy has a connection with Gamera--Making her a necessary link to humanity in order for Gamera to avoid unnecessary collateral damage. In the third movie, Ayana bonds with Iris, both feeding off one another's hatred for Gamera.

Even in the 2014 film, Ford and Godzilla mirror one another as two tired soldiers going through a journeyman arc. It comes to a head as they briefly lock eyes, both exhausted and injured by the film's climax.

We need these characters, not merely to spout exposition and engage cinematic themes, but to connect, empathize and characterize the creatures. The best of the genre is a marriage of monsters and men, entwined seamlessly into the story. The worst is normally what fans think they want--Just straight monsters wandering and fighting for two hours. (Snooze.)

--
"It wouldn't be a true Godzilla film if you didn't touch upon those things. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not a true Godzilla fan." - Mike Dougherty, fellow gatekeeper-elitist ;)


JurassicKaiju14 #TeamGodzilla

Jan-21-2020 6:56 PM

G. H. (Gman) Well, thank you. And I have to admit, I never really thought of Katsura and Titanosaurus being related in quite that way before.

A true fan can acknowledge the bad while still appreciating and cherishing the good.

dk

Jan-21-2020 7:18 PM

Very well stated JurassicKaiju14. All fighting all the time would get boring fairly quickly. There has to be a reason for the fights- and that's where humans come in.

KingSalomonMMIV #TeamGodzilla

Jan-21-2020 7:46 PM

Very nice, JurassicKaiju14! This is something that all Godzilla fans, as well as any fans of scifi / fantasy need hear.

JurassicKaiju14 #TeamGodzilla

Jan-21-2020 7:48 PM

dk "There has to be a reason for the fights- and that's where humans come in."

See, that's another reason why I liked KOTM's story, at least conceptually. Unlike 2014, where both Godzilla and the MUTOs are awoken by pure accident or ignorance, and the ramifications of that weren't really explored, KOTM's crisis is caused by the direct actions of the human antagonists who arrogantly thought that doing so was the right thing to do for their own ends. But the situation ends up spiraling out of their control, and their efforts only make things even worse than the dilemma they were trying to avert. Even at the end of the movie, the damage has still been done, and there's no going back from that.

KingSalomonMMIV Thank you for taking the time to read this. :) And yes, I do hope that more Godzilla fans can understand this in time. I like a good monster fight as much as the next fella, but outside of mini-movies and animations on YouTube, I don't think any Godzilla movie should be only wall-to-wall monster fights.

A true fan can acknowledge the bad while still appreciating and cherishing the good.

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