the earth remembers
the stones remember
If the earth and stones could only speak
they would tell us many things
—Native American Proverb
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2003) – This movie is generally considered the best Godzilla film (ignoring as it does every other Godzilla film except the first one) and by the 25th minute mark, when the central conceit of this film is revealed, I begin to believe that.
Never a Godzilla fan I’ve seen other Godzilla films and they generally do not transcend the campy concept of watching rubber suits attack each other, with no real story.
This movie however has a story, only gingerly touched on, of Godzilla as some interpretation of the vengeance of God, a punishment for the attrocities of the War in the Pacific; an engine of destruction powered by the restless dead. It is a movie that has an unexpected conscience, calling to memory Japan’s (in many way’s overlooked) attrocities during the pacific campaign.
From rape and concentration caps, to ethnic cleansing and wholesale genocide, the Godzilla of this film is the personification of all the wrath for those wrongs, married to the mindless, unthinking attrocities of the atomic bomb, of true holocaust.
Godzilla is very much Japan’s antagonist in this film, and the antagonist of all the industialized world, a howling tirade against all that creulty and science that went into his creation.
And if Godzilla is the film’s heavy, the trio of other monsters he squares off against in this film are the protectors of Japan, the souls of earth and air and glade and all that should endure in the flora and fauna and hope of Japan. However it’s hard to, while not condoning Godzilla’s destruction, not root for him against all adversaries, Man or Monster. Given Man’s history it is hard not to root for the King of Monsters and the spirit of vengeance, and see man as some particularly virulent termite deserving of the heel.
This dichotomy makes it a far more complex film then its cheesy and campy origins should allow, as this particular Godzilla film becomes a film about war by walking acts of god, and as such beyond the judgement of men; can at best only be endured and hopefully survived by men.
Or for those seeking to read less into their rubber monster movies, it is also just a good monster throw-down. Either way it grades a solid B+.