A guest post by Frazer Blaxland
Warning: contains major plot spoilers!
First you feel it, then you hear it, but nothing prepares you for what you will see. The most recent incarnation of Godzilla has recently hit the cinema’s and by all accounts has been very successful. Godzilla is directed by the acclaimed visual effects guru turned-blockbuster director Gareth Edwards whose previous film and directorial debut ‘Monsters’ featured aliens from another planet taking over Mexico. Godzilla in many respects was the next step for Edwards, but a giant one is an understatement.
Godzilla is a colossal monster that has brought terror and destruction to parts of the globe (namely Japan, where the concept was born) for the last 60 years in different films and popular culture references. Edwards said in an interview that “Godzilla is definitely a representation of the wrath of nature. The theme is man versus nature and Godzilla is certainly the nature side of it. You can’t win that fight. Nature’s always going to win and that’s what the subtext of our movie is about. He’s the punishment we deserve.” However as the film unfolds, that “punishment we deserve” is directed not at humanity but at the beasts that would end up destroying the world with their brood that they are protecting from Godzilla.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. © 2013 LEGENDARY PICTURES PRODUCTIONS LLC & WARNER BROS ENTERTAINMENT INC. GODZILLA TM & © Toho Co., Ltd.
The army wants all three forces of nature dead, yet when they realise there is little they can do to stop this they are resigned to letting the monsters duel it out, hoping that it will be for their good. At two very significant moments we see that Godzilla is very much on the side of the humans and is not there to cause any deliberate harm and I would go so far to even saying that he is protecting them. When a stray missile heads for a bridge of evacuees the hill like ridges on the back of Godzillas neck intervene, which seems to be a very purposeful movement of the gargantuan beast. The second act of valour we see is when Godzilla appears to use his last effort to prevent our human hero Ford Brody (Aaron Johnson) from being eaten, but then gives up one last sigh and falls to the ground.
Here we see a very unlikely hero saving humanity, even when humanity is set against him and desiring that Godzilla should be dead. Of course this is not an uncommon occurrence in the history of those who have sought to bring about justice. Martin Luther King Jnr sacrificed his own personal safety, and then his life, in publicly leading the great civil rights movement. William Wilberforce suffered years of ill health and criticism for trying to end the slave trade. Humanity is very good at taking out, or at least trying to take out, those that that are trying to protect us and seeking to establish justice in a world in severe need of it. Its a narrative that illustrates the ugliness exposed when someone legitimately challenges another’s claim to authority, or when someone comes alongs and disputes the rulebook that we’d got quite used to “playing” by. Unfortunately it’s also a story we’re all too familiar with.
Thankfully for all of us, there is another story from history that takes Godzilla’s pattern but trumps them all. It’s a story of One from another world who comes to serve humanity, rescuing us from our deepest and darkest enemy. This is the story of the living God of the bible becoming man to be hated by man, giving his life in the fight against evil and in that death defeating it forever. That evil still fights on, but the wound that it was dealt is slowly proving to be fatal, and all the while the movement of the way and the truth and the life is advancing through the power of his sacrifice.
Frazer Blaxland loves films and dabbles in the craft of acting. He is currently working as a Theatre In Education (TIE) actor, helping primary school children enjoy history, science and maths. He is married to someone way out of his league, with a daughter way out of his league, and another on the way (who will no doubt be way out of his league). Follow him at @frazerblaxland