Movie Thoughts: Godzilla

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I’m not the kind of person, y’all know this, that thinks stories have to be ‘pure’ to be good. Some of my favorite movies are dark, heavy, and rough. I think much can be gained by seeing the effects of sin on humanity and people. I don’t think this needs to be done in an extreme to be effective, but that’s another article all together. All I’m trying to say is sin is in this world. Not every story needs to pretend it isn’t. Okay, now, what I enjoyed about Godzilla was its wholesomeness: no heroes with massive flaws, no villains with heroic character traits, just good good-guys vs. big monsters.

Godzilla was wholesome.

Now… SPOILERS!

This movie begins with a nuclear plant meltdown and a government cover-up. It reminded me of Star Trek, the newer movie from 2009, when Kirk’s father dies as he’s being born. Be prepared for tears. (In fact, I got teary-eyed several times in this film.) After the meltdown, move 15 years in the future. The little boy left behind, Ford, has grown up and is an EOD soldier in the US Navy. His father is still trying to uncover the truth behind the plant’s meltdown that cost him his wife. Things begin moving when Ford is forced to leave his own wife and child behind in the US to get his father out of jail in Japan.

After that comes big monsters, massive destruction of US cities, scientist and military arguments, more massive destruction, nuclear bombs, and big monsters.

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Points to enjoy:

  • Many of the traditional Godzilla storytelling techniques were honored and put to good use. This is not Pacific Rim. Do not expect the whole thing to be about monsters. It’s much more about Ford’s conflicts, past, and the choices he faces due to Godzilla’s attack.
  • The military didn’t look like complete idiots. While the scientists were ultimately correct, the military didn’t look like a bunch of high school dropouts or mindless killing robots bent on destroying everything. They based their decisions on the need to protect US citizens, not on mass destruction of massive monsters. The military played a key role in the ultimate winning of the battle.
  • Godzilla is not the bad guy. I always favored the Godzilla movies where he comes in to protect Japan from a bigger monster. This movie went with that idea. Godzilla wakes up and rises from the ocean depths to take out the ‘Mothra’ monster. There is a great moment at the end of the movie where they mirror Ford’s actions and Godzilla’s showing them both to be the warrior saviors of the city.
  • Ford faces the choice to do the job he was trained to do, or return to his family. He chooses to do his job. I felt like this was a very accurate choice for a military man. He has been trained to fight. By doing this, he ultimately protects his family far better than he could have standing beside them. His wife never berates him for this. She’s afraid, but she knows he’s coming, so she waits for him.
  • Ford is a good man. This movie focuses on the father/son story between Ford and his dad. It shows you Ford’s love for his son, but it also shows you Ford willingly standing up for people he doesn’t even know. Ford is a true hero. It wasn’t necessary to make him flawed so we could relate to him. We relate to him just fine as someone with a tragic past. This tragic past doesn’t make him weak, or whiny. It’s part of who he is, but doesn’t inhibit him. (Kinda like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.)

I enjoyed this movie because it makes you glad for everyday heroes. It creates an extreme situation, and then gives you someone you can cheer for as the world falls apart. (My favorite type of fantasy story.) I can’t wait to share this movie with my nieces and nephews. It’s the kind of story you want boys and girls inspired by.

Godzilla is more than just a monster movie. It’s a story about courage, doing what needs to be done, family, and then monsters.

Rated: PG-13 (I don’t remember any real language, defiantly no inappropriate scenes, so this is probably due to massive monster violence.)

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