Godzilla Movie

Musings on MUTOs: A Pseudo-Essay

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MemberTitanosaurusNov-22-2019 6:45 AM

When Gareth Edward’s 2014 film brought Godzilla back to the big screen, it brought two new additions to the franchise with him; the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). Being the first truly original monsters in the franchise since Terror of Mechagodzilla’s Titanosaurus* (monsters with some genetic connection to Godzilla, i.e. Biollante, SpaceGodzilla, Orga, and Megaguirus, do not count), the MUTOs naturally attracted a lot of attention from fans…most of it aimed at how much screentime they took up compared to the G-man and how they kinda looked like a more insectoid-version of the Cloverfield monster.

I thought the MUTOs made for a pair of decent antagonists, personally. I thought the size difference between the Male and Female was interesting, and it was kind of cool to see a creature that was specifically adapted to hunt down creatures like Titanus Gojira. If Godzilla is King of the Monsters, then the MUTOs are trained assasins.

But more to the point, I found myself drawing a couple of interesting (to me) parallels from the MUTOs.

For one, there’s a sort of old-vs-new dichotomy going on between the two creatures in the 2014 film. Godzilla is a relic of 1950’s monster movies; a dinosaur awoken by atomic testing, with an upright, tail-dragging type stance, large dorsal spikes like a stegosaur, a lumbering gait, almost human-like facial expressions, and the ability to breath radioactive fire. He’s the original, the classic.

The MUTOs, on the other hand, are completely different. These creatures are dark, fast, sleek, aerodynamic in the case of the flying male. They have multiple limbs, wickedly hooked claws and a bizzare, hunched-over stance. They don’t fit into the man-in-a-suit look at all. They have glowing, insectoid-like eyes, and a reproductive cycle that essentially makes them the Xenomorphs of the kaiju multiverse. They are utterly inhuman and unlike any known animal species.

As the thriller/horror genre developed, and special effects got better, audiences, and the filmmakers that catered to them, began to crave movie monsters that were different from the dome-helmeted space invaders, skyscraper-climbing great apes, and lumbering, brutish dinosaurs of old. Thus, movie monsters grew different from their predecessors. In place of the now-familiar came nightmarish, inhuman creatures unlike any we had seen before; The Thing, Alien, and so on. And even when Hollywood went back to dinosaurs in films like Jurassic Park, they were different too, and now more likely to stealthily find you by opening a door as opposed to just smashing a wall with prehistoic brute-force.

Godzilla is the 1950’s-dino monster icon; the MUTOs are the next generation of monsters, bred for an audience that wants to see more than the same old same old.

It should also be noted what the outcome of the fight is. The beloved classic winds up giving the smack-down to that “no good, Millennial garbage”. I’m being a little sarcastic, but still, the old ends up triumphing over the new, as does the memories of people who were around for the older movies who frequently clash with newer generations and their memories. Such arguments will usually boil down to “the old ones did it better for X reasons”, and admittedly, they are often not entirely without merit.

Perhaps I am drawing parallels where none really exist with this, though. I don’t know, you tell me. But anyway, moving on, this second point is one that I realized shortly after watching the 2014 film for the first time, and it might have more merit than my previous theory.

The MUTOs primary non-melee weapon is an Electromagnetic pulse, generated from an unspecified organ within their forward talons. This pulse spreads out to a five-mile radius, and is capable of neutralizing any and all electronics in the area; lights go out, equpiment short-circuits, cars stall, planes crash, and (according to the novelization) it is even capable of shutting down Godzilla’s atomic breath.

Now really think about that for a moment. With nothing more than a thought, the MUTOs can shut down any and all electronics as they please. I ask you to really let that thought sink in for a moment. We’re a society that has now become totally dependent upon electrically-powered conveniences. Your lights run on electricity. Your cooking appliances run on electricity. The device you are using to read this overly-long pseudo-essay runs on electricity. Think of how we go into a complete freakout when we loose power, or even just Internet access. I honestly don’t think a lot of people (myself included, unfortunately) would have any idea of how to handle themselves in a world without electrical power, or at the very least would have trouble adjusting. And what about things like heating? Or intercontinental communication? Or hospital equipment that may be keeping somebody alive? How many people do you think died under Elle Brody’s watch when the MUTOs EMP’d San Francisco?

If Godzilla is an allegory for nuclear power and the dangers it can unleash, then the MUTOs represent our fear of losing power and the chaos it could entail. And I dunno about the rest of you, but that’s actually a really scary thought for people living in our kind of culture, and one that I feel is really understated in regards to the film.

Just some musings from a Godzilla fan. I dunno, what do you think?


*Or The Return of Godzilla's Shockirus, depending on who you talk to.

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

32 Replies


MemberBaragonNov-25-2019 6:22 PM

This is an excellent musing. I also hadn't thought about the Titanosaurus fact until you brought that up and it is interesting in a different way. I like this message and will try to steal (and give credit) if I can remember by the time my podcast covers this film in about 8 years.

Host of the podcast Giant Monster Messages where we watch EVERY giant monster film and look for the messages.


MemberTitanosaurusNov-25-2019 6:38 PM

@EmptyH Thanks for the feedback! And please, feel free to pass this along. If I ever get that movie review show I have in mind off the ground, I might end up beating you too it, but still. :)

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

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