After making its original debut nearly 60 years ago, the new Godzilla movie, directed by Gareth Edwards grossed $93.2 million dollars this weekend, setting a new impressive record for any monster-movie debut. Godzilla certainly impacted the box office this weekend, stomping its way back onto the silver screen. The 2014 version of Godzilla saw a gigantic creature battling two massive terrestrial organisms in the coastal American city of San Francisco, California; mankind tries their best to intervene but mostly only end up trying to maintain possible survival .
The record hitting box office and the positive reviews received from movie-goers proves that people still crave Godzilla just as much as back in 1954 with the appearance of the original Japanese film Gojira. In this film and many other Godzilla films, Godzilla has nuclear origins born from Hiroshima and Nagasaki nine years after the blasts. Gojira had a metaphor that represented the anxieties of post World War 2 nuclear war in Japan, which were felt by many Americans as well. In his later films, Godzilla can be found fighting off environmental degradation and bioengineered hazards, and a cinematic folk hero fighting away alien invaders as Japan’s champion. As Andrew Baker, the 2014 Godzilla creature designer, admitted, “in some aspects Godzilla is mankind’s savior, while in other ways he is mankind’s doom.” The paradox of understanding and fear makes Godzilla a compelling ride even to this day.
Max Borenstine, the screenwriter for the 2014 version reported that Godzilla represents “a force ultimately beyond our control, something that humanity’s most destructive technology ever mustered, a nuclear weapon, is merely food to him, he is immune to it.” Playing a similar role to the older Godzilla movies, Godzilla is symbolic of nature. According to the movie’s lead actor, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the “two unidentified organisms represent the pollution brought onto the Earth from our radiation and nuclear energy, Godzilla has to destroy them and restore balance; he represents nature.”
It is apparent as Godzilla sets the record for a monster-movie debut, that Edwards unearthed a pathway to connecting the old Godzilla to current environmental affairs. It is as if the tables would turn a 180 if Godzilla, a nuclear-reptile who is attracted to radiation were to emerge destroying everything in his path. Countries and CEO’s would no longer want the nuclear power, in antithesis to life today where these people do everything in their power to acquire nuclear energy. Edwards believes the greatest attribute of the Godzilla creature, is that for Edwards Godzilla is not an innocuous popcorn movie, but rather a concept that taps into societies deepest nightmares.
Edwards has illuminated that in human beings evolutionary pathway, humanity has evolved as a part of nature to feel a sense of fear of animal attacks, that it is in the nature of a human to fear an animal that may attack their family, shelters, and colonies. Edward reiterates that it is hardwired into humanity’s DNA to expect an attack, and now that the colonies and shelters are 30 times larger, so are the built-in fears. Perhaps this explains why Godzilla was a major debut, as it sets the box-office record for a monster movie.
Opinion by Zane Foley