In 1998 Roland Emmerich directed a ‘remake’ of Japans greatest monster movie. It wasn’t as bad a film as some made out. It just didn’t do the source material any justice whatsoever and the iconic look of the creature was changed so instead what audiences received was an overgrown T-Rex running round New York being chased by attack helicopters. Godzilla fans are quite discerning when it comes to monster movies and the 98 film unfortunately didn’t live up to those standards. The films biggest mistake was changing Godzilla too much. Instead of an almost indestructible colossus as an embodiment of the awesome destructive power of nuclear weaponry/natures indifference to man, we got the T-Rex that hid behind skyscrapers instead of tearing them down.
Now 16 years later Hollywood has tried again. Directed by British film-maker Gareth Edwards, the new Godzilla film has been wowing fans with its awesome trailers
The film itself is drawing some mixed reviews. One of the reasons is the distinct lack of actor Bryan Cranston who is featured prominently in the trailer. This has led to some grumbles of misleading advertising in some forums. In fairness quite a lot of the cast are underwritten and underdeveloped that has led to complaints of them being boring http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escape-to-the-movies/9210-Godzilla-Breaking-Kaiju?utm_source=latest&utm_medium=index_carousel&utm_campaign=all
But for me, while I found the film to be mostly fine and faithful to its source material my main complaint was its ‘call of duty fetishism’.
The call of duty series started out as games inspired by Saving Private Ryan. They were set during World War 2 and had the player re-enact famous campaigns of the war. As the series progressed they moved the action to the modern era and emphasised to the point of fetishizing modern military hardware. Add to this the seemingly endless flag waving jingoism the franchise seems to have metamorphosed into Team America World police…
When a film needs the assistance of the U.S military, the assistance usually comes at the cost of allowing the military creative input into the films contents. While one would first assume that this would be to simply ensure a level of accuracy (and prevent the leaking of any state secrets) it seems that more and more the military seems to be keen on turning these films into recruitment tools.
In Godzilla the U.S military NEEDS to be present. The last half of the film has the monsters laying waste to the country in their pursuit of nuclear fuel which is basically food to them. So asking for the military’s assistance with the film would have been inevitable for the film makers. For the most part the scenes of the army and navy’s efforts to stop the monsters give us some impressive action scenes….
At a key point in the film the top brass develop a plan to stop the monsters that seems completely baffling. Not to give too much away, it relies on them forgetting several key facts about the Mutos (the monsters that are not Godzilla) biology. For a huge chunk of the film I thought it was simply bad screenwriting, a way to give the film a satisfactory ending. Then it finally reached the film’s final act. The sequence where the monsters duke it out in a major City causing untold property damage.
THIS IS WHAT I PAID FOR.
Instead, as the fight is starting, the film cuts away. The incredibly stupid plan the military concocted means the soldiers now must Halo drop into the middle of the monster infested city and heroically save the day.
Relegating the monster battle to something that’s happening in the background.
I did not pay for this call of duty shit. I know there would be some level of glamorisation of the military. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. However it has started directly affecting my enjoyment of films. The monster battles in Godzilla when we see them are excellent. They pay real respect to the originals. But the battle scenes between the monsters are supposed to be about the monsters. It’s as if some jar head commander somewhere had read the script and decided that Godzilla might threaten to upstage the military and the film was altered to make sure that did not happen.
Perhaps the army will get some more recruits out of this. The film is still fairly decent as well. I just worry that any film I watch from now on that involves assistance from Americas army/navy is just going to be one long recruitment tool with the actual film in there somewhere.