Godzilla: King of the Monsters: The Beast Rises Again

(Lots of Spoilers)

I first watched Godzilla movies as a child on Saturday mornings. They were kind of fun and never scary. Even then, the beast was the savior of Tokyo. Other creatures appeared, spitting rays or fire, flying or not, to challenge the King. After a few ruined buildings, Godzilla triumphed and the other monster died or slinked off to where he came from. One of my favorites was Rodan although I vaguely remember a flying turtle as well.

I even have a Godzilla (Gojira in Japan) doll that I bought in Tokyo staring down at me from a high shelf in my office. So, it is no small thing when I say I hated the 2019 move, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The terribleness could be summed up into two phrases: stupid plot and unbelievable characters.Godzilla poster

Plot and Spoilers

This sequel to Godzilla (2014) starts with a family broken apart after their son was killed by actions from the big beast in the first movie. Now several years later, Dad (Kyle Chandler) is a recovering alcoholic, while Mom (Vera Farmiga) and daughter (Strange Thing’s Millie Bobby Brown) are part of a secret research organization called Monarch. Monarch’s monster experts and scientists go before a government organization, arguing to keep Godzilla, and the other recovered monsters alive rather than let the military kill them. After all, any life form should be cherished.

At one Monarch location, the mom, Dr. Emma Russell created a sound generator that “talks to” and somewhat controls the big guys. Within the first 20 minutes of the movie, it is in the hands of an ecoterrorist group who kills everyone else in Russell’s team. These terrorists, seemingly kidnapping the doctor and her daughter, then proceed to go to each Monarch research site and wake up the other monsters, including the newly discovered space alien, King Ghidorah. They don’t try to control the creatures; they just whip them up into a fury.

The pacifist scientists show up to stop the awakening of Ghidorah and rescue Emma and her daughter. They fail, the beast battle begins, and Dad, Mark Russell realizes his wife is one of the leaders of the ecoterrorists. The pacifists then do a complete 180 on their no-kill opinion. Ghidorah’s alien DNA makes for a perfect excuse to kill him. Local life is precious but visitors can be killed. Never mind the fact that both beasts are killing civilization in their epic battles.

Amazingly, this is where the plot becomes (more) stupid.

Beast Battles

If you’ve ever seen the Jurassic Park or World movies, then you know the US government organization discussed the idea of keeping the dinosaurs alive or just killing them. These beasts were not that large and contained for the most part on an island. Letting them live was a pretty easy decision until a volcano killed the island.

Monster posterYet Godzilla, Rodan, and the rest are huge. It is hard to get a scale, but let’s say they are the size of at least a 10- to 15-story building. They aren’t looking where they walk any more than we check for ants before we put our feet down. They swim, fly, and land where ever they want, without thought to the destruction they cause. Therefore, the idea of keeping them alive because “all living things deserve a change,” is idiotic. The one factor made clear by the movie’s scientists was we would be at best pets, at worst aperitifs. And humans are pretty selfish. I don’t see us giving up our world dominance (and best buildings) to worship animals. I wanted to throw things or scream “what the hell!” when the characters began calling them gods. This was not out of a sense of religious righteousness. Humanity had gone beyond worshiping large, leathery beasts with animal brains.

Human Stupidity

The second terrible plot situation occurred when the ecoterrorists decide we should activate all the monsters and wipe humanity off the globe. (Spoiler Alert!) Emma Russell, the mom, turns out to be one of the leaders of the ecoterrorists and it is her tech waking all the monsters up. The husband, Mark Russell, wants Godzilla dead but joins the “Peace, Love, Monsters” group in order to rescue his wife and daughter. When he realizes Emma is the main terrorist, he is overwhelmed by her betrayal.

The film highlights Mom’s dumb reasoning. She wants to let the creatures kill all of humanity because they killed her son. What? Wouldn’t you want to put down that beast instead? Nope. Mom states that we’ve woken up the monsters with our abuse of the world so we deserve to die as she watches a Mexican village get destroyed by Rodan’s awakening. The movie did not convince me that Emma’s twisted motivation, based on her dead son, was strong enough to want total human annihilation. She also believes the radiation the monsters give off will heal the planet by promoting new growth. Obviously, Dr. Emma failed physics, or at least the movie writers did.

Madison, to save people, steals the voice box and uses it to draw Godzilla to Boston. Both parents swoop in to rescue her. Seems pointless if Mommy Monster wants everyone to die anyway. In the end, Emma makes sure Madison and Mark are on a transport getting out of the big fight’s killing zone before she steals the communication device to draw King Ghidorah away from a down-and-dying Godzilla. We are supposed to get weepy at this point because of her sacrifice and the family’s angst at leaving her behind. Instead, all I felt was the bitch deserved to die because she caused more deaths than any war criminal. Ghidorah snacked her up.

These are just a few of the problems with this movie. The animal animation was pretty good, keeping strongly to the tradition of these monster movies. The focus on “humans killing our world” felt like a weak attempt at making a political statement, but it was drowned out by the critter action scenes.

Headlines and graphics during the final credits implied the next film would be Godzilla versus King Kong as a sequel to Kong: Skull Island. I probably won’t see it because I enjoyed the 2017 Kong movie. They will ruin it with a sequel.

In short, Godzilla: King of the Monsters isn’t even worth the half price movie ticket. Although the ending hinted at making more, I hope the producers simply stop. The unrelated 1998 Godzilla with Matthew Broderick was wonderful because it retained a certain lighthearted feel interspersed with the creature scenes. These recent ones take themselves too seriously with plots going beyond not believable and deep into truly terrible.

 

In a Dying World, Individuals Must Be the Agent of Change

I heard two disturbing news reports in the last two weeks. The first was how the carbon dioxide has reached record highs. Here is the story on USAToday, “Emissions of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere reach record high”. With evidence like this, it boggles the mind that anyone can possibly think that mankind isn’t responsible. In addition, the Scientific American  article, “CO2 Levels Just Hit Another Record-Here’s Why It Matters”, made the event sound like a domino effect in that the more the we have global warming, the more the ice caps melt, releasing ancient carbon compounds to add to the problem.

CO2 emissions

The second nightmarish article Came from Forbes Magazine, entitled “We’re Now at a Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute – 915 of Which Are Not Recycled”. The last blog I wrote was on how plastic was not going away so we must reduce our single-use containers: bottles, bags, straws, take out containers. I still proudly agree with this and would scream RECYCLE, REUSE, REPURPOSE! daily from the rooftops if that would help.

Government Help?

When I see news like this, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer numbers. Trillions of bottles, 37 billion tons of CO2 emissions due to humans. All those numbers must decrease dramatically and they must do so by 2030 or in 11 short years. Companies must be forced to change packaging and one way to do that is make plastic use not as profitable. Governments must enact legislation that encourages research into and development of more economically sound recycling technologies for plastics and other waste products. We need those industries inside the United States so when we have problems with China or other countries, it doesn’t shut down the recycling like it has this year.

For instance, a Utah based company, Renewlogy basically melts down plastic back to its carbon core and changes it to diesel, kerosene, light fuels, and natural gas. The natural gas is pumped back into the factory to keep the process going. The process has only a 5% waste and no toxic emissions. Unfortunately, this company is overwhelmed with supply now that China is refusing our plastic. We need more factories like this. If we can spend tax dollars bailing out the auto and bank industries, why can’t we create low interest development loans on these types of recycling or reusing industries?

Individual Help?

None of this answer what I or you can do now about rising CO2 and global warming. The options seem overly simplified for one individual, which is discouraging. Not just a drop in a bucket but a micron of effort in a container the size of the Empire State Building. But collectively we can make a difference if we all change our lifestyles. Think of it as one drop of rain doesn’t do much, but a thunderstorm swells streams and rivers. It is time for all of us to be that thunderstorm of change to so we can save our planet.

Plant a Tree, bush, or flowers, or lots of them. We need to reduce CO2 emissions and deal with what is in the atmosphere now. Plants are the natural recyclers of the air. However, Americans have cut down most of our original forests and South America is losing the great rainforest. One small way to fight back is to plant trees in your yard, bushes along your walkway, flowers in a bed—any plant will do. Your grass helps but larger plants can do recycle the air more. Trees are the best because of their massive size makes them large recyclers. Flowers also help bring back pollinating insects like bees and butterflies, which are in grave trouble as well.

Make good recycling choices. By that I mean carry the bottle/can you used in the car back home again to clean and recycle properly rather than throwing it in a local trash can. Know what your recycler will and will not take so that you don’t contaminate large loads of plastic. For instance, I just learned deli take-out containers used in many grocery stores are not recyclable. This includes the large hot-chicken boxes many grocery stores use. See the recycling rules here. 

reyclingReject single-use items. The easy step is using canvas and net bags in place of store plastics. Refuse to use straws in restaurants. If you want to focus on not using single-use plastic bottles, then buy all your soda/water/whatever drinks in aluminum or glass and then always recycle those containers. Even better, buy a reusable drinking container (lots of types available) and fill it up at water fountains.

Change your use-and-discard habits. So many things we throw away can be reused or donated for others. Can you turn that old leaking plastic container into something else? A planter? Some folks make CDs into toys or mandala art projects while others use them for mosaics. Several websites will tell you how. Consider making a rag rug out of old sheets, clothes, t-shirts. Lots of instructions are online for doing so. These are just a few ideas you can find by doing searches on the Internet.

Hopefully you already are an agent of change. I believe it is a learning process and I can always improve. However, we need more “rain drops.” We need friends encouraging each other to recycle and reject one-use items. We should teach our children a more sustainable lifestyle since it is their future that is endangered. We must vote in leaders willing to make the hard decisions to limit some wasteful/toxic industries while encouraging other renewable or recycling companies. We need sensible environmental legislation. With everyone being agents of a better world, we can create a global thunderstorm of change and stop humanity from drowning in a sea of carbon emissions.