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Godzilla Discussion Forums

An Inherent Problem with Writing Human Characters in Kaiju Movies.

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Jack Capellini

BaragonMember103 XPDec-04-2021 3:55 PM

What makes Kaiju movies unique from other monster movies is that the human characters have significantly less agency. In regular monster movies like Alien, Jaws, Jurassic Park, and Predator, the human characters have to deal with human-sized threats ranging from great white sharks to dinosaurs and humanoid aliens. This makes it easier for the characters to have intimate interactions with the creatures, and thus making it easier for them to dictate the events of the story. 

In Kaiju films however, there is a significant size different between the monsters and humans. Since kaiju are usually over 200 feet tall, there are only so many interactions they can have with human characters in a film setting. These include the monsters briefly locking eyes with the humans, the humans being carried by the monsters, and the humans riding them. The humans are also usually relegated to being bystanders who have little bearing on the events of the story. The kaiju are the ones that move the story forward due to their immense sizes. Because of this, the monster side and human side of the story feel disconnected from each other. 

I believe this is what makes balancing human and monster stories and writing compelling human characters so difficult. How do make characters that can’t really be intimate with the monster compelling?

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12 Responses to An Inherent Problem with Writing Human Characters in Kaiju Movies.

HinikunaGoji

GiganMember2779 XPDec-04-2021 6:03 PMTeam Ghidorah

Jack Capellini

I agree with you, one kaiju story I find gets around this problem is the Kaiju Nemesis from the Nemesis Saga

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic. Frank Herbert

Xenotaris

GiganMember3025 XPDec-04-2021 10:47 PMTeam Mothra

I feel Godzilla 2014 had some good human agency thing going on that the other MonsterVerse movies lack.

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sonictiger

RodanMember1793 XPDec-06-2021 3:17 PMTeam Godzilla

Nah, everything sucks and human characters that are good are mainly shaped by the acting performances.

“If anyone asks where I am, I’ve left the country.”

HinikunaGoji

GiganMember2779 XPDec-06-2021 8:05 PMTeam Ghidorah

sonictiger

Human characters aren’t just shaped by acting performances, KOTM had good actors.

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic. Frank Herbert

Xenotaris

GiganMember3025 XPDec-06-2021 10:24 PMTeam Mothra

I really like all of the monsterverse movies but 2014 the humans and the kaiju were more or less linked. Ford pretty much saves Godzilla from the MUTOs by blowing up their nest and luring them away with the nuke. 

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sonictiger

RodanMember1793 XPDec-07-2021 12:59 PMTeam Godzilla

HinikunaGoji

You basically proved my point about that.  Here's an example of my claim: Millie Bobby Brown managed to make a character who had mediocre writing into a really good character due to a performance that elevated a good chunk of her scenes.  So yes, KOTM had good actors.  But some of the characters were too far gone in the writing department to the point that acting couldn't save a bad character.

“If anyone asks where I am, I’ve left the country.”

sonictiger

RodanMember1793 XPDec-07-2021 1:00 PMTeam Godzilla

Xenotaris, yeah that was a bit strange and Godzilla seemed very nerfed in 2014 considering that he managed to get more hits in with Ghidorah.

“If anyone asks where I am, I’ve left the country.”

Xenotaris

GiganMember3025 XPDec-07-2021 4:08 PMTeam Mothra

SonicTiger

I think that was due to the Muto's EMP ability messing with Godzilla's atomic fire breath

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HinikunaGoji

GiganMember2779 XPDec-07-2021 6:59 PMTeam Ghidorah

sonictiger

to be fair, Godzilla had two monsters attacking him at once in G14’

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic. Frank Herbert

sonictiger

RodanMember1793 XPDec-07-2021 7:47 PMTeam Godzilla

And you guys completely ignored my point about how acting can elevate mediocre human characters.  Any thoughts on that?

Also yeah, Godzilla was outnumbered so it wasn't fair.

“If anyone asks where I am, I’ve left the country.”

Xenotaris

GiganMember3025 XPDec-07-2021 10:58 PMTeam Mothra

sonictiger

I felt Ford acted perfectly for a military guy, that's just how military characters are supposed to be; stoic.

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HinikunaGoji

GiganMember2779 XPDec-07-2021 11:37 PMTeam Ghidorah

sonictiger

what makes a mediocre human characters is a combination of acting and writing.

A quiet place 1 does an amazing job, there is little dialogue but the writing is still there and performances are outstanding. It’s not that writing was in there because it was. It’s just blended well

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic. Frank Herbert
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