A couple of weeks ago, my family and I picked up a copy of the latest Godzilla movie (2014) from a local Red Box. We watched giant monsters terrorize the world, while we terrorized our stomachs with nachos.
The movie was fairly pedestrian, but not at all bad. Simply put, humanity tampered with things it didn’t fully understand. Ancient, dormant creatures were released as a result, and Mother Nature (Gaea?) had to bring out her 400-foot tall enforcer to put things right again. The story has been done before. Godzilla 2000 had a similar theme, though in that film the antagonist was an alien. In some ways, this movie reminded me more of the Gamera franchise than Godzilla, in that the star monster was less of a terror villain and more of a giant action hero.
Regardless, I thought the movie was fun. Personally, I would have liked to see more of the Big G and less of those MUTO things, though they were cool in their own way. The movie was pretty much what I expected from a Godzilla movie. Parts of it were more cerebral than many earlier Godzilla movies, and it certainly wasn’t a camp fest, but so what.
From what I have read, a lot of people were very disappointed by the film. Given the hype and anticipation the film received, I don’t think any movie could even begin to live up to the expectations of Big G’s fan base, but that’s something else. After trolling the various forums and fan sites (and when I say trolling I’m using it in the fishing context), the predominant theme I found was that people wanted something more apocalyptic. They wanted something with a more poetic, and decidedly frightening theme. Or they just wanted to see humanity get its ass kicked.
Actually, humanity did get its ass kicked, but it was by the MUTOs and not Godzilla. Perhaps that was the problem? Godzilla wasn’t the living embodiment of nuclear terror that he was in the 1954 original. That role was played by the MUTOs. Godzilla was actually one of the good guys! Or at least one of the less worse guys. He even got cheered when he saved San Francisco from being turned into gravel. And apparently, that left the fan base disappointed.
Me, I just shrugged and said “Meh, it was a Godzilla movie.” But I thought about the frustrated fans, and started wondering. Then I did something I haven’t done in a very, very long time: I drafted a fan fiction. Don’t worry, I didn’t write it, and I only got as far as an outline. But I tried to design a Godzilla story that would have been more in line with what his disappointed fans wanted. That is to say, an apocalyptic horror monster film that was loaded with messages and metaphors.
So for your enjoyment, here is that draft. Disclaimer: this is only a plot outline, and is intended here for purposes of humor. Nachos, soda, and a healthy respect for sarcasm is strongly recommended.
Godzilla: Theosaurus Rex
- In the 1960’s, a freighter, carrying highly toxic chemical and nuclear waste, is lost in a typhoon somewhere in the Pacific, not far from the infamous Bikini Atoll. Attempts to locate the dangerous payload were unsuccessful, largely because of the water depth and the prevailing currents. For a few years after the accident, studies were conducted to see what effect the spill would have, but nothing definitive ever came to light. Or rather, nothing important was reported on the news. Gradually, everyone forgot, and records of the event vanished into various warehouses.
- In late 2014, an offshore oil refinery, somewhere in Indonesia, is destroyed from below. The resulting fire was so large it was seen and photographed by the International Space Station! Rescue workers were on the scene within 20 minutes of the explosion, but only small scraps of wreckage were found, along with two or three survivors who can do nothing more than describe a long, terrifying bellow from what they can only describe as a “massive creature.”
- The incident hit the news by storm, and was a big hit on social media. No one seriously thought there was a sea monster, of course. But the conspiracy buffs and doomsday cults had a veritable field day!
- Questions flew for weeks, and there is even an investigation into the event. But when nothing more happens, and no new evidence came to light, the excitement starts to ebb.
- Then in early 2015 (February or March), everything changed. Godzilla, all 400 feet of him, comes ashore near Jakarta. The unstoppable force of nature proceeds to trash an oil refinery and a huge power station. After a pause in the nearby ocean, he reduces the city of Jakarta to ruin. All conventional weapons are useless against him.
- The world is in a panic! For almost a week there is a frantic attempt to track or contain the creature, but to no avail. About ten days after the destruction of Jakarta, Singapore suffers the same fate.
- About a week after that, Kuala Lumpur is hit. A common news clip shows Godzilla toppling the famous Petronas Towers like they were stacked boxes. Now the world community is desperate. Godzilla’s behavior pattern seems to consist of leveling areas of high energy throughput and chemical activity. Pollution might be a factor as well, but the scientists are undecided.
- In a secret meeting of the UN Security Council, it is decided that if the opportunity presents itself, an ICBM nuclear missile will be fired at Godzilla. Who fires the missile will depend entirely on where the creature appears.
- A few days later, Godzilla is sighted coming ashore in southern Thailand. The closest high-yield ICBM is at a United States military base in Australia, so the Americans launch an ICBM at Godzilla. China had one of their missiles on standby should the American one fail to reach target. The nuclear warhead detonates right in front of Godzilla’s feet, and levels everything within ten miles. But to everyone’s horror, the nuke has no effect on Godzilla. The force of the blast knocked him into the ocean, but nothing more. If anything the radiation and fallout appears to have made Godzilla stronger!
- Bangkok and Phnom Penh are leveled more or less on schedule over the following two weeks. Evidence suggests that Godzilla is feeding on the energy output of human population centers, and isn’t likely to stop until he’s completely gorged himself.
- When Godzilla did not resurface after his usual seven to ten day rest, there was hope that perhaps he had gone dormant again and that the nightmare was over. Nope. He comes ashore in Shanghai, China, makes a direct line up the Yangtze to the Three Gorges Dam, and trashes both the dam and everything around it. The Chinese attempted to stop Godzilla by using a combination of nuclear, chemical and even biological weapons. None of them have a lasting effect.
- As news pours in about mass destruction, there is a realization that humanity has met its proverbial match. It is only a matter of time before Godzilla levels every major city on earth. Whatever cosmic balance humanity has upset, Godzilla is here to restore that balance, and there is nothing we can do to stop him. The lingering question is the future of humanity. What are we going to do now? One secondary character, in a mad attempt at gallows humor, will joke that this may be a good time to try colonizing the moon and Mars, because Earth just gave us our eviction notice. Strangely, no one laughed.
And that’s how it ends! Godzilla is going to destroy human civilization one city at a time, with the aim of knocking humanity back to a technology level that is naturally sustainable. That would most likely be a Pre-Industrial level, akin to the early 1800’s. That would involve some very traumatic adjustments on our part. The 80% population drop for starters. Humanity, all sections of it, have to collectively decide what to do while there is still a human civilization left to save.
And in case you didn’t guess, the Greek name means “God lizard king.” That seemed to fit nicely.
So, to all of you disappointed Godzilla fans out there, would that have been better? Is that apocalyptic enough? Did humanity get sufficiently ass whooped? (I’m honestly asking, and I’m trying to be sarcastic-funny, not nasty.) My wife says that a movie that follows this story is likely to get high critical acclaim for sheer chutzpah. But because of the inherent hopelessness of the story, it would be a commercial bomb.
Ah, what we have to endure in the name of art.