What do you get when you cross a slumbering dinosaur with exorbitant amounts of atomic radiation? You get to go shopping for a new city, buddy, ‘cause you just unleashed a 400-foot-tall, fire-breathing can of Whoop-Ass! That’s right, peeps, Godzilla, King of Monsters is coming to town in today’s post.
Godzilla is the pre-eminent giant movie monster, stomping through model cities and kicking over toy tanks in 28 movies. He’s fought every military on the planet, some of them off-planet, has battled countless behemoths around the globe—including King Kong (Godzilla won that shit, by the way)—and even tussled with a mechanical version of himself. Four times. He’s been hero and villain, defender of earth and unstoppable aggressor. And if you thought I was going to be talking about that imposter piece of garbage movie with Matthew Broderick, you are poorly mistaken. In fact, if that’s what you’re looking for, you should click away. Now. That movie was an insult.
See, I’m a Godzilla fan. Like a die-hard fan. I have two items on my bucket list related to Godzilla—to see all the movies and to watch at least one of them in Japan. I was Godzilla for Halloween one year (seriously). I have a Godzilla Christmas tree ornament—it roars and his bumps light up. I almost cam—well, let’s just say I was VERY excited when I heard Legendary was doing a remake.
And why do I love the Big Green Monster so much? I respect what he is. A force of nature, like a volcano or a hurricane. But the thing is, we made him. I mean we. Godzilla first roared on the world stage a mere 9 years after the end of World War II, a product of two items: the idea that when the Japanese attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, they “awoke a sleeping giant”; and how we actually ended the war, with the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What you end up with is a giant monster with the destructive power of an atomic bomb.
Some of the edge has been taken off Godzilla over the last 58 years but, as a writer, I’ve always been intrigued by the living metaphor that he is. Godzilla represents both the danger of nuclear weapons AND the greater threat of such power in the hands of human beings. In the original movie, which was heavily edited in the United States, the aftermath of Godzilla’s first attack on Tokyo looks like the smoldering ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: people are bandaged and burned, the city is leveled, radiation sickness abounds. The Japanese appear shell-shocked in trying to comprehend and contain anything with such awesome force. More than that, over the years Godzilla has been used as both pawn and weapon, in the preservation and the dominance of our world. Just as our nations use nuclear weapons. Pretty deep for a monster that has had his own breakfast cereal and two, count ‘em, two Saturday morning cartoons, huh?
Why do I consider Godzilla one of the greatest villains? Because in spite of the depth of the point he has to prove, Godzilla is fun. He is a character—I’ve seen him laugh in the face of fighter jets and their puny missiles, give us footwork like Muhammad Ali, and bat boulders around with his tail like Babe Ruth. He’s a protective father. And he is absolutely unwilling to lose. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Tomorrow is a free day for the A to Z Blog Challenge—no posts on Sundays. But, there is no rest for the wicked. Pennywise, the clown from Stephen King’s It will be stopping by.
Catch ya later!