Ignoring what my film buff mate calls ‘the Oscar circus of public school boys getting mantelpiece metal for playing establishment figures’, film choosing went a bit random at the end of last week. My partner and I did that hand -in-the-tub pick-any-video for a Friday night veg. thing. In the end it came down to finding something that didn't have either a a guy with a gun on the cover, a ‘worthy’ film where ordinary folk who aren't yet dead are portrayed as saintly creatures or the slaver we've come to know as the Rom-Com. We chose the one with the large lizardy thing on the front.
What I found in Godzilla was a metaphor for modern life that may even outdo my doggy pooh comparison (see blog 49. Dog Pooh in Scented Bags).
Bizarrely, at the end of the film, main characters and extras are seen idolising the large destructive lizard with the very small head that appears to ‘save’ them while leaving mass mayhem in its wake. It seems uncannily like the current world where we are left craving improbable unexpected salvation out of the death and chaos we have wrought.
There were other more immediate eye-catching parallels to our regressive modernism buried in the rubble of this blockbuster. In terms of sexism it went right back to the early days of popular cinema with the personality-only-vaguely-formed but pretty blonde providing hero worship for the slightly gormless hunk who staggers from scene to scene mumbling and looking perplexed. The less sexy, dark haired ‘other’ woman in the film skitters round behind the sciencey men whining – yeah – just whining.
(As a nonsense side-dish – the dad in the film who we are supposed to believe is living like a tramp – in the grip of grief – nevertheless manages to keep his hair-dye job in good order throughout!!!!)
There is also that remarkable re-writing of history which Hollywood loves so much. Remember, according to Hollywood, Tom Hanks won WWII. In this film it’s hinted at that the experimental atomic explosions that damaged so many unwitting servicemen were not what they appeared. Also the Enola Gay blot on humanity’s landscape was actually a nuke aimed at Godzilla, not Hiroshima. WOW!
In the end the silly monsters that could have been done way WAY better in plasticine by Ray Harryhausen, became a backdrop to the supposed ‘tension’ of the film (the only real tension was the irritation about the fact my guy spent £7 on this shit so I was determined to see it through but wishing we’d played tiddlywinks instead).
The mess otherwise known as a plot ended with our hero unable to do a James Bond and defuse the big, big blowy-up thingy. Instead, he towed it out to sea on a boat with himself rolling round the deck presumably suffering from the various injuries he received earlier that didn't seem to bother him at the time. Or maybe he had haemorrhoids. Judging from the constant growling and stunted walking, Godzilla definitely had em. (I am sorry – I think that is the second week on the trot I have mentioned piles). Then hunk is rescued by helicopter and although the big blowy up thingy is a nuclear warhead – somehow the little helicopter manages in a couple seconds to get him far enough away from the central blast that he’s all ok and can go meet the blonde with no more than a bit of attractively placed grime and some stiffness (!)
This mooney claptrap can be applied with a pretty broad sloppy brush to what is going on right here right now. Just listen to the bluster of politicians as they pitch for votes with vague promises of tweaking this and being tough on that which – they say – is going to solve the huge problems such as debt, inequality and social lack of cohesion. It’s just as much of a messy unsatisfying fantasy. Godzilla and the instecty/alien things are smashing about in the background while in the foreground we've created silly problems with our own stupidity and then pretend they can be fixed with a bit of tweaking – or towing them away a few feet!
I begin to see why Godzilla became the real champ in this ridiculous flack flick.
Give me a mindless plasticine monster breathing nuclear charge with vaguely good intentions to the nonsense going on in the foreground any day.
Even with haemorrhoids, come back Godzilla. We need a huge dose of prehistoric honesty.