Friday, March 1, 2013

GODZILLA 2000(1999) - Metaphorically speaking by Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany

In GODZILLA 2000(1999), Godzilla attacks nuclear power plants as a way of acting on his nuclear metaphor role a la fifteen(15) years earlier in THE RETURN OF GODZILLA(1984) ...and not attacking them to feed off the energy either - Godzilla is nature talking!. While agencies are trying to find a new alternative energy source, it seems things are not progessing fast enough for nature's liking ... not that nature doesn't think humanity doesn't deserve a chance seeing as that Godzilla protects humans from a seemingly invincible foe.

With the human characters, particularly scientists, there is the resurgence of the "kill vs. study" Godzilla conflict. This argument, which has been in the franchise since the original 1954 Godzilla film, has the same arguments for the kill Godzilla argument: human safety. As Katagiri says, "in the meantime, he just levels Tokyo." For the opposing argument, there are two supporting details given. The lesser deals with the duality of humanity, those willing to make the sacrifices thinking of the possible greater good the study of Godzilla would bring as opposed to others who want to destroy Godzilla due to a lack of clear understanding of Godzilla (example: "Anything we don't understand, we try to destroy. The CCI is ground zero for that kind of lunacy"). Unlike previous entries, GODZILLA 2000 transforms the assumption that studying Godzilla would be beneficial for humans into reality as it ties into the plot, revealing the secret's of Godzilla's durability.

Of course the human characters in this Toho film are not aware of such themes. What they are aware of is that in this chapter of Japan's history with Godzilla, public opinion of Godzilla's treatment and use of the scientific knowledge surrounding Godzilla is radical enough to prompt people to work independently, pooling their resources and even getting their daughters involved with the study of Godzilla. Such is the struggle between Katagiri, one of most simple villains you will see in this movie franchise. His foil is Shinoda, who goes up against Katagiri's goverment funded Godzilla feud with his small, six member Godzilla Prediction Network(GPN) tasked with science based investigations of Godzilla. Meanwhile, we have the journalist Yuki who, unlike "Yuri Tachibana" from GODZILLA, MOTHRA & KING GHIDORAH-ALL OUT MONSTERS ATTACK(2001),  is covering the actions of Godzilla as "hard news". Indeed, the end of Japan's "Tiger Economy" years, a subtext to films like GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH(1991), is now something that gives added significance and importance to the work the GPN is doing AND goes to reporter Yuki's intentions: the reporter does care about Shinoda and his daughter Io personally and isn't just a career driven(and financially exploited) reporter. Yuki is concerned that Io and Shinoda are both alright when their involvement in the extraterrestrial's plans turns deadly.

That is all what GODZILLA 2000 is about. When Shinoda says at the end of the movie, "Godzilla is inside each one of us", I believe he means that humans are coming closer to gaining redemption from Godzilla. Humans want to make points just like Godzilla and for the better. How? A good illustration of this is the ressurection of Orga which is an accident as efforts are made to find a new source of alternative energy all  while characters like Shinoda try changing the official thinking from the tragic "we must kill the monster" to a world where Godzilla can just simply be contained and studied to benefit humanity.

The American trailer:

This analysis s courtesy of Evan "G2KMaster" Brehany, a resident of Warner Robins, Georgia and dedicated fan of Japanese kaiju films. Evan is now a contributor to "Packmule's Pen" and has graciously agreed to share some of his written submissions on Toho Godzilla films and other interests in this blog. Evan is member of MONSTERLAND FORUMS and KAIJU GALAXY.