Saturday, April 15, 2017

Godzilla as Moby Dick

Shin Godzilla
Please introduce yourselves one by one with your job title... (this consumes 20 minutes of the movie)
shin godzilla1
Complete destruction of Tokyo. No joy.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Deputy Director (Japanese Meteorological Agency), Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Ministry of Defense), Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line Wind Tower, Japan Coast Guard Super Puma 225 MH691, Umi Hotaru Parking Area, Aqua Tunnel Evacuation Slide, Crisis Management Center Conference Room Stairs, Fifth Floor Hallway, Prime Minister and His Attendents, Briefing for the Prime Minister, Minister of Science, Minister of Defense, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Disaster Management...

This is how many Title overlays are in this new Gozilla movie within its 5 opening minutes. The movie is two hours long and the titles keep coming whenever camera pans and rapid edit-cuts are made - every person, every place, every military gear gets its name mentioned. It's as if Moby Dick's boringest part where Melville describes every single fishing gear and part of Pequod in excruciating detail for pages after pages as its readers time don't really matter. Am I making a correlation between Moby Dick and Gozilla? Yes, yes I am. Is this radioactive material guzzling, mutating monster which destroys Tokyo again and again a metaphor for Japan's military impotency and economic downturn as Moby Dick was Melville's warning to America's gungho manifest destiny? Is Shin Gozilla an apt social commentary on the Japanese bureaucratic efficiency that has reached its limit and find itself useless against natural disasters?

The movie painstakingly goes on to explaining (by way of a hot and sassy Japanese American daughter of an American senator) that the US Department of Energy knew about the existence of such creature known as 'God'zilla, but didn't share the info with Japan because their sinister plan was to harvest its energy source. After missle attacks from land and air fail, Americans and UN contemplate dropping the nukes on Tokyo to 'erradicate' the monster. Time is ticking, so a ragtag of surviving bureaucrats needs to find a way to stop Godzilla and nuclear bomb once again dropping on Japanese soil.

Godzilla franchise always had that passive aggressiveness of a victimhood even though the message always has been anti-atomic/anti nuclear and peace upon world. As Japan goes through its decline while its aggressive neighbors (militarily/economically China, militarily North Korea and culturally South Korea) bid for their time in the sun, Shin Godzilla's timing and its pseudo seriousness can only be seen as the most passive aggressive blame game and egregious dodging of responsibility and absolving their sins. I mean the movie even disowns Gojira as an American invention. Wow.

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