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Themes of the MonsterVerse Titans: An Essay

Themes of the MonsterVerse Titans: An Essay

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SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-21-2021 10:21 PM

WARNING: SPOILERS!!!



A current debate amongst Godzilla fans and critics is if the MonsterVerse has any deeper meaning. Often the series is described as being nothing more than “dumb fun” or “entertaining nonsense”, being written off as something that “lacks substance”, with some fans looking down at the series accusing it of being inferior to the Toho movies due to it not having the same allegory of the originals. However, I feel that these criticisms are not entirely valid. I believe that the MonsterVerse and its titans do have meaning.

Godzilla and the other titans represent nature. The theme of the MonsterVerse is about humanity learning to coexist with nature and attempting to work with it rather than working against it. This was a big theme in King of the Monsters. Mark Russell initially wants to kill Godzilla, as he views him as nothing more than a destructive monster, however during the events of the film Mark realizes Godzilla's role in protecting the Earth and that mankind needs to view him as an ally and work with him in order to defend the world from being destroyed, leading to his line: "No, This Time We Join The Fight". In real life we are dealing with environmental destruction and if we don't learn to coexist with nature and if we keep destroying it, humanity and the rest of the planet will suffer. Ishiro Serizawa's sacrifice to revive Godzilla can be seen as humanity atoning for their past sins (waking up Ghidorah and nearly killing Godzilla with the oxygen destroyer) and making peace with nature, with Serizawa stating He fought for us, died for us, he is not just proof of coexistence… he is the key to it

Godzilla is seen as a defender of the Earth fighting against anything that threatens the natural order and while he’s seen as a potential ally to humanity, he will not hesitate to put us in our place if we over step our boundaries, as seen in Godzilla vs Kong as well as in the older Toho films.   

 

 Mothra represents the beauty and grace of nature, though she proves that looks can be deceiving. While she is inherently benevolent she shows herself to be a formidable fighter taking on titans much larger than she is, showing that the most beautiful aspects of nature can also be extremely deadly. She is shown to be extremely loyal to Godzilla aiding him in battle, eventually sacrificing herself to re energize Godzilla, mirroring Serizawa’s sacrifice.         

 

Rodan represents the dangerous and unpredictable side of nature. Michael Doughertry described him as being a “rogue” stating that “you’re unsure where his loyalties lie”. Being an unpredictable and volatile creature, Rodan is not that different from real life natural disasters, including the volcano that he resides in.

 

Ghidorah represents the destructive impact that we have on the world. His storms are a reference to real life atmospheric destruction. Scientists believe the damage that pollution has done to the atmosphere is causing weather to become more erratic and destructive, Ghidorah’s storms represent what could be a frightening real life consequence of nature’s destruction. Ghidorah also represents an other-worldly force disrupting the balance of nature, in the film he usurps the throne from Godzilla taking the title of “Alpha”. He then takes control of the other titans, waking them up and causing them to behave in a more erratic and destructive way. It is hinted in the film that the other titans are benevolent protectors, however because of Ghidorah’s control they are no longer behaving the way they’re supposed to, essentially disrupting their natural order. 

 

Once Godzilla defeats Ghidorah and regains his title of Alpha, the titans revert back to their benevolent nature and one again become protectors of Earth. Ghidorah’s control threw off the natural balance, however Godzilla restored that balance, reflecting Serzawa’s line from 2014: Nature has an order, a power to restore balance, I believe HE is that power.  

    

Kong represents humanity’s connection to nature. Being a primate he represents an evolutionary link between man and beast. Kong learning of the history of his species is akin to us learning of our own past. Throughout Godzilla vs Kong, he longs to find others of his kind and seemingly wants to find his place in the world, upon finding the Kong temple within the Hollow Earth, Kong finally discovers where he truly belongs and accepts the Hollow Earth as his home. Kong’s journey in the film reflects our own need to find our identities and where we belong in the world. At the beginning of the film, Monarch attempts to hold Kong within a containment dome, much to Kong’s annoyance. Monarch trying to contain Kong reflects humanity’s attempts to contain and control nature, however life cannot be contained, life will eventually break free.  

 

The Titan war between the ancestors of Godzilla and Kong seems to have led to the destruction of the two species, just like how the endless wars and conflict in real life could lead to our own. During the end of Godzilla vs Kong, the two opposing sides are forced to work together for their own survival. The interesting thing to note is that Godzilla is the Japanese monster and Kong is the American monster. In Kong: Skull Island we learn of the fates of two World War II soldiers, Hank Marlow (an American soldier) and Gunpei Ikari (a Japanese soldier), when they are first stranded on Skull Island, they initially try to kill each other for no other reason other than the fact that they were on opposite sides of a war, however once they realized that survival on this strange, hostile island was more important than the war, they put aside their differences to work together, eventually becoming close allies. Marlow later states that: “If you take away the uniforms and the war, then he became my brother.”  Godzilla and Kong ending their conflict in some way mirrors the relationship of Gunpei and Marlow, realizing that there is no reason for them to continue their ancestral war they put aside their differences to defend the world from a bigger threat. After defeating the threat Godzilla confronts Kong. However, Kong, not wanting to continue their war, drops his axe showing a sign of respect to Godzilla and symbolically ending the feud between their kind as they go their separate ways.    

 

MechaGodzilla represents humanity’s attempts to control nature. In Godzilla vs Kong, MechaGodzilla is built so that humanity can kill the titans and regain control as the “APEX” lifeform. By basing their creation on Godzilla (who represents nature) APEX represents humanity’s longing to be equal or better than the forces of nature. They state that MechaGodzilla is “not just Godzilla’s equal...but his superior”, considering that the titans are comparable to living gods, this implies that APEX (and mankind) have the desire to not just be compared to gods, they want to be viewed as above them. However, they are soon reminded who is really in charge. To quote Serizawa’ other line from 2014: “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around”. Because of APEX’s arrogance and their use of Hollow Earth’s energy and Ghidorah’s brain to control their creation, MechaGodzilla goes haywire and turns on its creators and attempts to destroy humanity. MechaGodzilla’s rampage shows the consequences of mankind's greed and arrogance. By defying nature and the gods we created the instrument of our own destruction, harkening back to the origins of the Godzilla series, the atomic bomb.

 

However nature triumphed over technology, as Godzilla and Kong eventually defeated MechaGodzilla, showing that no matter how hard humanity tries to interfere with nature, the natural order will eventually win. “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man”. 

 

Overall, I feel that the themes of the MonsterVerse and it’s titans are constantly being overlooked and doesn’t deserve to be written off as “dumb nonsense” by critics or fans. It has more meaning than people think and deserves to be viewed in the same way as the Toho films and not be completely discarded as “worthless Hollywood entertainment”.

 

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40 Responses to Themes of the MonsterVerse Titans: An Essay

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-21-2021 10:24 PMTeam Ghidorah

This was a response to comparisons of All Monsters Attack and GVK, isn’t it?

Respect

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-21-2021 10:34 PMTeam Ghidorah

Also, I like these ideas, but where are these themes applicable? And don’t Ghidorah and MechaG represent the same thing?

Also before I clicked I was really hoping u were talking about the Music

Respect

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-21-2021 10:37 PM

SarcasticGoji 

In a way, Yes,

This was a topic I feel needed some more attention, I had a lot to talk about and felt that there was too much to put in a single comment, so I thought that creating a new topic/discussion would be a better option.

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-21-2021 10:40 PM

SarcasticGoji 

"Also before I clicked I was really hoping u were talking about the Music"

sorry for the confusion, I couldn't think of another title...

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-21-2021 10:52 PMTeam Ghidorah

It’s okie, I was just hoping for an opportunity to rant.

Respect

Xenotaris

GiganMember2532 XPApr-22-2021 12:32 AMTeam Mothra

This article is beautiful

G. H. (Gman)

GiganAdmin3934 XPApr-22-2021 12:37 AMTeam Ghidorah

I don't think the entire Monsterverse is void of themes. I leave that solely on the shoulders of Godzilla vs. Kong. (Although we could place that at Kong: Skull Island's feet as well, if star Samuel L. Jackson's talk show comments are anything to go on.) In fact it's very clear Edwards and Dougherty were aiming to do something with their movies.

Edwards even said, "Hopefully, you can watch this film and enjoy it as entertainment, but I personally like science fiction and fantasy when it has a little meaning behind it." [Source] And the fandom conveniently let Dougherty get away with gatekeeping when he said, "It wouldn't be a true Godzilla film if you didn't touch upon those things, otherwise you're just making a big dumb monster movie. There has to be a sprinkle of it, otherwise you're not being faithful to the original intent of the series. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not a true Godzilla fan." [Source]

The intent is certainly there, and I think the themes are there, but they are woefully problematic. In the case of Godzilla '14 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, we have a character IP based on very specific Japanese trauma clashing with the sensibilities of a film industry based in a leading nuclear superpower.

I'll stick with the assessment that Godzilla '14 is, thusfar, the best American made Godzilla film and that it runs with that honor very far away from the other movies. But even it is problematic. Suddenly, Castle Bravo isn't the reason Godzilla wakes up, but an American military reaction to killing a potential threat. It's interesting that both the 2014 movie and 1998 movie either shift blame or intent when considering nuclear testing. In 1998 it's the French military's fault. In 2014, America was trying to save the world under the guise of nuclear tests.

The reason I take issue with this is because, like it or not, Godzilla is residual scar tissue of another country caused by America. The entire reason the character exists was to create an outlet for a people to process their fears, phobias and grief as a nation. So when the country that caused the grief takes that outlet and puts to screen a Japanese man, who lost his father to Nagasaki's bombing, willfully detonating a nuclear weapon to save the world, killing himself in the process, I'm left in complete shock at the tone deafness it took to execute it.

A country, that left another country scared from nuclear bombing (and by extension, testing), literally took the mascot of their atomic-phobia and turned it into a nuclear, superpower poster boy. That is a hard pill to swallow.

But let's ignore the bomb for a moment. Godzilla has been adapted to represent the transition of Japan into capitalism - the marketing that comes with it - the deconstruction of nuclear families - the Cold War - violent attacks on women - nationalism - Japan's pollution issue of the 1970s - the post-war world, etc. To quote Matt Frank, "the specifics of Godzilla’s creation and narrative relevance have been honed and modified and pushed by over half a century’s worth of cultural evolution, modification, and revolution unique to Japan. That’s why Japanese Godzilla movies hit differently, even when they struggle themselves, compared to the US-made Godzilla movies." [source]

So when Dougherty tries to make King of the Monsters about environmentalism, he's somewhat on the right track. But then he botches it with ideas of "Titans" triggering ecological growth via radiation--The very thing that poisoned and killed countless in the fiction of Godzilla and the reality that inspired it. Never mind the fact Dougherty also named an American military base Castle Bravo, an event that poisoned Japanese fisherman, killing one, and putting irradiated tuna on the market--All the fault of... American military.

The problem isn't how Godzilla does or does not represent aspects related to nuclear proliferation. The problem is that it spring boarded the character to represent so many half-century, post-war themes that he may be too... well... Japanese for other countries to nail.

Does this mean I think only the Japanese can do Godzilla right? No, I think some have done a pretty solid job in certain comics, particularly "The Half-Century War", "Legends" and aspects of "Rulers of Earth." I also think there have been some outstanding stories told by Hollywood in the genre: Cloverfield, Pacific Rim, Colossal--But I also think we have to consider the possibility that storytellers outside of Japan might have a harder time understanding the character as it clashes with American commercialism. Remember, this is the country where radioactive spiders give people super powers. In Japan, that concept would've transformed someone into an atomic terror.

As for assigning what each monster may or may not represent, I actually applaud the effort, but find that there's some projecting there. Which is fine. Lord knows many historians, including myself, have looked very deeply into these films. However, my issue there is that each of these monsters generally come from the "Hollow Earth" making it a catchall origin. Quite frankly, I think giving Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and Kong identical origins limits what the monsters say about us. And that has always been a major component of these movies.

Looking at such a misfire, I suppose mindless, dumb fun is the best Godzilla for Hollywood. Nothing in Godzilla vs. Kong represents why I personally fell in love with the franchise, but I concede it's connecting with people better than something with more substance. I just hope it doesn't set a precedence for the genre.

Die-hard Spino Fan

BaragonMember227 XPApr-22-2021 5:58 AMTeam Godzilla

I love this essay/article. Beautifully made and you got your points across.

That is one big pile of **** - Ian Malcom, 1993

Mebo

Mothra LarvaeMember67 XPApr-22-2021 6:55 AMTeam Godzilla

I also find this article very well written.

I think it would be interesting to ask the what if question: What if Edwards, for example, had told all 3 stories?

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-22-2021 7:36 AM

Thank you for the compliments on the article, I worked really hard on it, so cool to see that you enjoy it.

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-22-2021 7:47 AMTeam Ghidorah

G. H. (Gman)

I don’t think that Dougherty ruined the themes completely. It’s never explained what radiation but we can assume Gamma ray because that is what Hollywood likes best. I don’t think it’s ruined because like a natural it can result in plentiful life. Take a look at pictures of Chernobyl today. Environmentalism tends to look beyond just humans and our fears, so even if humans died in a nuclear war, that doesn’t mean all life would.

Respect

Die-hard Spino Fan

BaragonMember227 XPApr-22-2021 7:48 AMTeam Godzilla

@SarcasticGoji

That’s a pretty good point.

That is one big pile of **** - Ian Malcom, 1993

sonictiger

AnguirusMember1332 XPApr-22-2021 8:02 AM

This article is AMAZING.

That was very cash money of you.

Xenotaris

GiganMember2532 XPApr-22-2021 8:13 AMTeam Mothra

I try to make my kaiju in Rise of the Kaiju are basically forces of nature personified

Die-hard Spino Fan

BaragonMember227 XPApr-22-2021 8:37 AMTeam Godzilla

@Xenotaris

I also try to do that in The Zilla Chronicles.

That is one big pile of **** - Ian Malcom, 1993

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-22-2021 9:12 AM

G. H. (Gman)

While the MonsterVerse Godzilla wasn't woken up by the 1954 Castle Bravo nuclear test like in the original 1954 film, he was still awakened by humanity's actions during the Atomic age. In Godzilla 2014 it was implied that Godzilla was woken up when a nuclear sub disturbed him, however Godzilla: Awakening (and in the bonus features of 2014) they actually state that Godzilla and the Shinomura were first woken up and disturbed by the effects of the Hiroshima bombing and the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests in 1945, Godzilla patrolled the Pacific Ocean hunting the Shinomura, destroying several ships in the process, with survivors reported sightings of a monster that locals of the Pacific Islands referred to as “Gojira” (Similar to the 1954 film). The USS Nautilus was sent to investigate the incidents in 1954, and discovered Godzilla, who attacked the sub (possibly attacking it due to the nuclear energy inside, he may have viewed it as another titan). Interestingly, in the 2014 film they state that the Americans first thought that it was the Russians, the Russians thought that it was them” (hinting at the Cold War tension, similar to Godzilla 1984). The American Government, realizing the potential threat that Godzilla may cause, (arrogantly) decided to use the most powerful weapon they had to kill him, the atomic bomb, not realizing that A. Godzilla feeds on nuclear energy and B. that atomic bombs woke Godzilla and the Shinomura in the first place. The American Government then attempted to cover up the event as one of the nuclear tests that they had been conducting over the past few years. Godzilla was unharmed, but the Shinomura was destroyed. With the other titan defeated, Godzilla returned to his hibernation until the events of 2014.      

G. H. (Gman)

GiganAdmin3934 XPApr-22-2021 9:44 AMTeam Ghidorah

SarcasticGoji,
I think the misuse of Chernobyl as an example is an issue that's overlooked as well. The idea that the giant, radioactive monster cares about our environment, despite Chernobyl, is an issue Dougherty didn't really think through. (And he tends to delete comments when confronted with it.)

Radiation doesn't outright kill nature, it distorts it and Chernobyl is not thriving the way you might think. To this day vegetation in Chernobyl can not rot, making it impossible for nutrients from dead plants to return to the ground. [Source] Birds are born with smaller brains and shorter lifespans. [Source] And predators who have left the radiation zone are poisoning Scandinavian plants and livestock, making it difficult for farmers to put this stuff on the market. [Source] And this is 35 years later... The ecosystem is alive, but it's a mutant and it's negatively effective other aspects of the world.

Nevermind what kind of damage the Fukushima disaster has caused/will cause when Japan dumps the radioactive waste into the ocean.

G. H. (Gman)

GiganAdmin3934 XPApr-22-2021 9:48 AMTeam Ghidorah

SasquaDash,
That's fascinating and all, but why couldn't this information been put in the movie instead of supplementary material in order to strengthen its themes? As a film on its own, this is problematic.

That said, I do think Godzilla '14 is better with its nuclear messaging than the other movies. But the hypocrisy of being made by a nuclear superpower can't help but peak through.

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-22-2021 10:30 AM

G. H. (Gman)

“So when Dougherty tries to make King of the Monsters about environmentalism, he's somewhat on the right track. But then he botches it with ideas of "Titans" triggering ecological growth via radiation--”

 

There are different types of radiation, Solar radiation does play a role in plant growth (and the creation of new life). The “radiation” that the titans emit was never stated to be nuclear radiation, it’s probably meant to be a new form of radiation that is emitted by the titans (possibly linked to the energy source within Hollow Earth). Godzilla and the other titans feed on the harmful nuclear radiation and expel a more beneficial energy source that helps to heal the environment, similar to how trees absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen through photosynthesis. To say that Dougherty’s film ruined the franchise’s message by being “Pro Nuclear or Pro Radiation” is inaccurate and (in some cases) false.

 

 As far as Godzilla being revived by a nuclear warhead, it’s no different than some of the plot points that were seen in older Toho films. Godzilla vs King Ghidorah has a plot point where the Japanese government sends a nuclear submarine to create/re energize Godzilla so that he can protect them from Ghidorah, that could be misinterpreted as Pro Nuclear (hell, if you want to get technical, Godzilla was originally a living metaphor for the atomic bomb, yet he became a superhero in the later Showa films). The topic of Nuclear energy use has changed a lot since the 50s, back then nuclear energy was seen as only being a weapon of mass destruction, however in more recent years nuclear energy has been used in a somewhat more beneficial way, being used as an energy source to power civilization. One thing to note is that in the original 1954 film we have the Oxygen Destroyer (a potential stand in for nuclear weapons) being created by Daisuke Serizawa. In the film, Serizawa fears that his creation will be used as a weapon of mass destruction much like the nuclear bombs before it (leading to the line:Bombs versus bombs, missiles versus missiles, and now a new superweapon to throw upon us all! ), however he also states that he wants to find a beneficial use for it, stating that if he does he would be the first to show it off to the world. This can also be applied to nuclear energy, it was initially (and in some cases still is) used as a weapon, however in modern day we use it as energy to benefit our own existence.

 

At the end of WWII, Japan was very anti nuclear because of the bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the “Lucky Dragon” incident, however in modern day, Japan uses nuclear power plants to power their towns and cities. Things change, and modern Japan isn’t as anti nuclear as it was in the past. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Ishiro Serizawa states that,Sometimes... the only way to heal our wounds is to make peace with the demons who created them.” This plays into the scene where Serizawa sacrifices himself to revive Godzilla using the nuclear warhead, despite being against nuclear weapons in the previous film (due to his father’s history with Hiroshima).

 

 Nuclear energy is still a potential danger, Chernobyl and Fukushima are proof of that and modern Godzilla films still reflect that idea (In the form of the MUTOs and Shin Godzilla). The Godzilla series has been around for 67 years and the reason it’s been able to last that long is that it’s able to adapt and change as a result of the world around it, whether the films are about nuclear weapons, pollution, war, climate change, or the consequences of humanity messing with nature. If the Godzilla series continued to repeat the same theme from 1954 over and over again, it probably wouldn’t have lasted that long and we probably wouldn’t be here discussing it.

 

The point that you're trying to make is that Godzilla and some of the other Titans being protectors of the Earth in the MonsterVerse disrespects the message of the original by being “Pro Nuclear”, however the Toho Godzilla movies did the exact same thing. Like I stated earlier, Godzilla started out as a terrifying metaphor for the destruction caused by nuclear weapons, however Toho quickly turned him into a planet protecting superhero. If you want to dig deeper into the Showa films, you’ll find that they have the same “issues” that the MonsterVerse has. Godzilla defends the world from aliens (I guess that means nuclear weapons can protect us from invaders), Godzilla fights Hedorah (I guess nuclear weapons can stop pollution), Godzilla raises a son (radiation apparently makes you a great Dad). My point is that there are many inconsistencies within the Godzilla franchise, with the messages of the films contradicting themselves. Completely ignoring these inconsistent details in the Japanese Toho films, while constantly bashing the American films for them, is not only unfair, but it is extremely hypocritical. 

 

 

"History shows again and again, how nature points out the folly of man."

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-22-2021 10:40 AMTeam Ghidorah

SasquaDash
Wait does Godzilla absorb harmful radiation and use it to creat beneficial radiation?

Respect

sonictiger

AnguirusMember1332 XPApr-22-2021 10:43 AM

Makes ZERO sense that question.

OF COURSE HE DOES

That was very cash money of you.

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-22-2021 10:46 AMTeam Ghidorah

sonictiger

It makes more sense than you think actually. If he’s absorbing harmful radiation, a biological process could convert it in helpful radiation.

SasquaDash

Solar radiation isn’t the best example. We need the atmosphere to protect us from it.

 

Respect

sonictiger

AnguirusMember1332 XPApr-22-2021 10:47 AM

I said OF COURSE HE CAN TRANSFORM IT INTO GOOD ENERGY

The question made no sense because the answer is obvious...

That was very cash money of you.

SarcasticGoji

RodanMember1545 XPApr-22-2021 10:49 AMTeam Ghidorah

The answer isn’t that obvious actually.... if he could do that, then serious chemical reactions would have to occur. Essentially he’d have to able to absorb the radiation, convert it to energy, use some of that energy to convert to light. 

Yes radiation is light

Respect

sonictiger

AnguirusMember1332 XPApr-22-2021 10:50 AM

Yeah I know.....and now I'm confused about the reactions

That was very cash money of you.

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-22-2021 11:04 AM

SarcasticGoji 

Yes, on it's own Solar radiation is harmful, however because of Earth's atmosphere blocking the harmful UltraViolet rays, solar energy becomes a beneficial power source that helps the environment grow.

That’s why I compared the Titan’s energy to photosynthesis. Carbon Dioxide is poisonous to humans and animals, however trees absorb Carbon Dioxide and convert it to breathable oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Likewise, it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that the MonsterVerse Titans that feed on harmful radiation can convert that radiation into a beneficial source of energy that can heal the environment.  

SasquaDash

BaragonMember196 XPApr-22-2021 12:12 PM

I also believe that in fiction rules can be bent, a story doesn’t always have to be rooted in reality or real world physics, especially if it’s a giant monster series where this exists:

 

I find it funny that people complain about the Godzilla series not being 100% realistic with radiation, yet when Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk by being bombarded by gamma radiation no one questions it (even though logically, that should kill him). I’m okay with fiction taking creative liberties if it fits the story. Fire can’t naturally exist underwater, but if cartoons want to make jokes about it, I feel like they should be able to.

 

“Space is warped and time is bendable.” - Mike Nelson

Monster_Zero

AnguirusMember1070 XPApr-22-2021 4:57 PMTeam Godzilla

I couldn't have said it better.

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed. 

G. H. (Gman)

GiganAdmin3934 XPApr-22-2021 6:21 PMTeam Ghidorah

"There are different types of radiation, Solar radiation does play a role in plant growth (and the creation of new life). The “radiation” that the titans emit was never stated to be nuclear radiation, it’s probably meant to be a new form of radiation that is emitted by the titans (possibly linked to the energy source within Hollow Earth). Godzilla and the other titans feed on the harmful nuclear radiation and expel a more beneficial energy source that helps to heal the environment, similar to how trees absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen through photosynthesis."

This is a wonderful fan theory and all, but where is this in the movie? See the problem here is the movie refuses to make any distinction between harmful radiation or not. Even if this theory were the case, then Dougherty and Shields needed to make it clearer. As it stands, it just sounds like he thinks radiation is a life giving force. He even uses inaccurate information about Chernobyl to try and prove his point in the audio commentary--Which leads me to believe he was referring to nuclear radiation.

"To say that Dougherty’s film ruined the franchise’s message by being “Pro Nuclear or Pro Radiation” is inaccurate and (in some cases) false."

I never said Dougherty ruined the "franchise's message," as reductive of a title as that is for something so vast. I don't think he or another, singular bad movie out of a 36 film series has the power to ruin it. But I would argue he may not understand it as well as he's convinced.

"Godzilla vs King Ghidorah has a plot point where the Japanese government sends a nuclear submarine to create/re energize Godzilla so that he can protect them from Ghidorah, that could be misinterpreted as Pro Nuclear (hell, if you want to get technical, Godzilla was originally a living metaphor for the atomic bomb, yet he became a superhero in the later Showa films)."

The problem with this rebuttal is context. In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the plan is concocted by a Japanese nationalist who is ostracized by the other characters for having the audacity to own nuclear weapons. It's not seen or written as an overwhelming positive, it's written as a commentary on the dangers of nationalism and capitalistic power growing so out of control that a singular company can own a weapon as dangerous and destructive as a nuclear bombs. Furthermore, the plan ends up not working because the narrative required this character's fallacy to be highlighted

As for Godzilla being a hero--Indeed. But in each case the movies still represented something that was born of the Japanese post-war and when the topic of nuclear proliferation arouse, it never had anything nice to say about it. Take something as thin as Godzilla vs. Megalon, for example. An entire war breaks out because of nuclear testing, which was always a great fear Japan had during the Cold War. A shift in character does not equate a lack of meaning for the Japanese culture.

"The topic of Nuclear energy use has changed a lot since the 50s, back then nuclear energy was seen as only being a weapon of mass destruction, however in more recent years nuclear energy has been used in a somewhat more beneficial way, being used as an energy source to power civilization."

I'm not here to debate whether or not nuclear power is beneficial. The fact is, like it or not, beneficial nuclear power is not what Godzilla represents and never has. To do so is to ignore the point of his genesis to begin with and also ignore how a different culture sees nuclear energy. Otherwise we're culturally appropriating an IP we could have merely created from scratch if we really want to.

Japan simply has not had the same luck with nuclear power as other countries. In 1995, days before the release of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, an event occurred at the Monju Nuclear Power Plant. Although no radiation was released, a sodium leak caused a complete reactor shut-down. The Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp. covered up the extent of the damage, causing outrage over how nuclear energy was being managed. [Source]

Numerous other issues happened at Japanese power plants culminating the famous Fukushima Nuclear disaster of 2011. The event was the greatest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and caused the shutdown over over 50 nuclear reactors. [Source] Only 9 reactors now operate in Japan today. [Source] And with the issues still going on in Chernobyl today, the issue of nuclear power's stability is still in flux, especially in Japan.

"...however he also states that he wants to find a beneficial use for it, stating that if he does he would be the first to show it off to the world."

But he never does. Effectively, the movie treats his hope cynically. Serizawa died before that naivety could be put in action.

"however in modern day, Japan uses nuclear power plants to power their towns and cities. Things change, and modern Japan isn’t as anti nuclear as it was in the past."

As I mentioned above, this isn't very accurate, with only 9 of 50 reactors currently operating. But let's give you the benefit of the doubt for a moment--Let's pretend all 50 reactors are working today. That doesn't change the fact that the Godzilla is a warning built off of trauma. Just because the world accepts something dangerous as useful doesn't mean there can't or shouldn't be a warning of its use. Even as Japan had more active reactors in the 1990s, the Godzilla series was still harping on their use and warning of their dangers. Ironically, those warnings came to fruition in March of 2011 in Fukushima.

"...however the Toho Godzilla movies did the exact same thing. Like I stated earlier, Godzilla started out as a terrifying metaphor for the destruction caused by nuclear weapons, however Toho quickly turned him into a planet protecting superhero. If you want to dig deeper into the Showa films, you’ll find that they have the same “issues” that the MonsterVerse has. Godzilla defends the world from aliens (I guess that means nuclear weapons can protect us from invaders), Godzilla fights Hedorah (I guess nuclear weapons can stop pollution), Godzilla raises a son (radiation apparently makes you a great Dad)."

And here's the next issue that fans tend to misconstrue and it's no different here. Most Godzilla movies designate a theme to itself, but it doesn't always outright deal with nuclear proliferation and radiation. The difference is Godzilla: King of the Monsters decided to bring topics of nuclear weapons and radiation into the fold of the story. Radiation is not a topic brought up by the characters or story in Godzilla vs. Gigan, or Hedorah or Son of Godzilla. They decide to forego those ideas in favor of larger themes that may or may not have been more relevant to Japan at the time.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters, however, not only dives headfirst into certain taboos in the franchise, but the culprits of this act/story is an America superpower that caused another country's trauma to need Godzilla. It's rather disgusting in a way and frankly crosses some lines I find impermissible.

Honda and Fukuda were wise. Nowhere in Son of Godzilla is Godzilla's radiation mentioned. Nowhere in the context of the movie is Godzilla's nuclear power drawn attention to. The movie can't say, "radiation makes you a great Dad," because that's not in it. But Godzilla: King of the Monsters can say, "nukes will save the world," because that's literally what happens.

But you know what is in Son of Godzilla, All Monsters Attack and Godzilla vs. Hedorah? Topics of post-war Japan--Alternate subjects and themes that were directly effected by the events following their bombing.

I think Godzilla: King of the Monsters would've been better off had it avoided the topic altogether and found a different way to write in the resuscitation of Godzilla. But that's only one of many writing issues the film has.

And I agree, Godzilla's warning of nuclear proliferation and radioactive hazards will always be present in the character, but how the character evolves from that point is important as well. The liberties taken with Godzilla shows that the character can and will continue to be adapted for present day issues—And it's important that Godzilla stay relevant. The monster was born of the post-war's socio-political climate and he continues to embody ideological shifts caused by that climate in Japanese culture. To reverse engineer that is a completely different issue entirely.

I'll give the Monsterverse this much--for making so many egregious errors in theme and narrative, it has sparked conversation for the specifics behind Godzilla's representation. I believe they're at least topics worth thinking over.

Monster_Zero

AnguirusMember1070 XPApr-22-2021 6:38 PMTeam Godzilla

"it has sparked conversation for the specifics behind Godzilla's representation. I believe they're at least topics worth thinking over."

I believe so too.

I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed. 

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