Nuclear Fallout, It's Not Just For Cancer Any More
by Dan Angell
GODZILLA proves that just because you have a big budget and a lot of technology doesn't mean that you are any better than a Japanese voice-over. The major problem with this movie is not that the acting is sub-par…which it is. And it's not that the robotic baby Godzilla's look like something out of a Land Before Time movie. The major problem with this movie is that when the producers flipped the coin where heads was "stick with the story of classic Godzilla" and tails was "Ignore the classic story and start over" the coin landed on its edge and they went with that.
Not being a big Godzilla fan and having only seen one of the classic movies, I am no expert on the franchise, but then neither were the creators of this story. The only knowledge of Godzilla I had going in was this: He came from Japan; he was a big lizard which looked like a Tyrannosaurus Rex with big spikes on his back; and for some inexplicable reason he lived in the ocean but likes stomping on big cities. The producers, knowing about as much as I did, figured that's all it took to craft a blockbuster storyline. The problem with that plan was when they thought about it, they realized that exposition alone does not a great plot make, so they decided to dig for one, and dig deep.
The movie begins with Dr. Niko Tatopoulos (Matthew Broderick) searching for earthworms which have been affected by nuclear fallout. To the untrained eye these look like normal worms, but according to him they are 16% bigger than normal worms, and therefore have been increased in size by the fallout's radiation. While he is gathering earth worms he is greeted by a state department official, who takes him away from his study and drops him in the middle of an over-sized footprint. There he is given a new task, and that is to figure out how a foot print that big was created, where it came from, and where its causative foot is hiding. Sticking with his specialty, Nick concludes that the print was caused by a large lizard which was affected by radiation a la the earthworms. Only bigger.
This conjecture about just what caused the footprint soon becomes moot, because Godzilla, whatever the devil he is and whatever made him, decides to travel to New York City. His plan, we learn, is to go to New York to lay eggs. You see, the fall-out affected lizards from which Godzilla was birthed are only found in Asia, though for some reason he travels to New York City to lay eggs. Now, I understand that indeed some animals travel great distances to lay eggs as the movie states, but they rarely travel to a place that none of their species have been to and lay eggs in a habitat not naturally hospitable to their particular family of lizard. I also realize that I have been referring to Godzilla as a "he" and saying that he lays eggs. Apparently Godzilla reproduces asexually. Now, the movie hints at Godzilla being an overgrown Kimodo Dragon. They do not reproduce asexually. In fact that best example of asexual reproduction in animals I can find is some species of starfish. I really don't think a giant starfish terrorizing NYC would be quite as interesting.
From that example alone it is obvious to see that the movie ran out of plot for Godzilla and decided they needed eggs to push it along. It then occurred to them that there was only one Godzilla so how do they fit eggs in. Well, obviously the nuclear explosions altered Godzilla's reproductive organs and he happened to become asexual. At least, that is what we as viewers are supposed to accept.
I normally don't have any problem just accepting some things a movie tells me for entertainment's sake. Can I accept that a light saber can cut through anything: Yes. Can I accept that a couple of goofy cops can solve a case better than the FBI: Yes. Can I accept that spies can be sent into space to destroy a laser that is holding the world hostage: Yes. Why can I accept these? Because they don't try to base their plot in fact. Of course it is ridiculous, that is part of the fun. But with Godzilla, it tries to support itself with biological reasons for how this could happen and it's absurd.
To wrap up the review, the movie ends with and military bombing Madison Square Gardens to kill all of the baby Godzilla's. Godzilla, who was assumed dead after being torpedoed twice comes back for revenge. After ravaging the city…again…the missiles the military had been missing with the entire movie become more accurate and they kill it. The movie ends on a cliff-hanger, with lots of Zilla-eggs not destroyed. Shaking now aren't you?