For those who have not seen Godzilla Vs. King Kong yet, I advise you to click the “X” on the upper right hand corner of your browser. For the rest of you, I will not bother doing a forensic deep-dive into the “meaning” of the monster vs. the world humans have made (and screwed up) genre, nor the moral lessons and warnings we may take away from such films. Other than there is an element of escalation in these films that does tend to mirror the diabolical ascendency of mankind…to wit, the more knowledge we amass, the more susceptible to engineering the machines of our own destruction we become. As we have gone from the longbow to the hydrogen bomb, so in the monster world have we gone from displaying a giant gorilla circus attraction to creating Mechagodzilla, the ultimate monster who inevitably turns on all mankind. I think Blue Oyster Cult summed it up best in their song “Godzilla”: “History shows us time and again how nature points out the folly of man.” Pretty deep, right?
My issue with this film isn’t the storyline or anything like that. It is the classic “check-your-brain-at-the-door” flick. I am a bit more forgiving in this vain than some. For example, I choose not to question how King Kong has grown to such gargantuan size. In Merian C. Cooper’s classic 1933 debut of the “Eighth Wonder Of The World,” Kong is billed as standing 50 feet (although the models indicate more like 25 feet or so). But now, Kong has literally grown to around ten times that height, standing eye-to-eye with Godzilla who is almost 400 feet tall. But, as Al Franken might remind us, “that’s…okay.” So, I let the more technical aspects slide. After all, to accept the premises of a fire-breathing amphibious Allosaurus of sorts and a giant silverback gorilla the size of the Wrigley Building, and then to hurl raspberry’s while mumbling “yeah, right, like that would happen!” seems a bit dissonant.
But there is one aspect of these monster films with which I do take exception. The writers, directors, even actors themselves, seem oblivious to the level of carnage and property damage these creatures visit upon mankind. In Godzilla Vs. King Kong for example, I try to envision just what was the aftermath of the epic battle between two monsters and then their teaming up as frenemies against the uber-killer robot Mechagodzilla as relates to the poor people of Hong Kong. This is a city with a metro area that is home to 7.5 million people. And these two monsters go absolutely insane in their epic battle in which every swing of Kong’s magic axe, every beam of Godzilla’s blue laser, every punch, kick, body slam, or even just the mega-ape’s bouncing from structure to structure in a devastating version of simian parkour involves the deaths of thousands caught out in the teeming streets or in the forest of high rises when the combatants suddenly appear without warning. Entire skyscrapers with thousands more inhabitants come crashing down, while fleeing pedestrians are either crushed under the giants’ feet like so many ants, atomized by Godzilla-fire and secondary explosions, or bowled over by flying debris, including cars, buses, I-beams, glass, concrete and all the detritus of a city in the throes of utter and total destruction that would have given Curtis LeMay pause.
I don’t know if anyone in such films actually considers the civilian death toll (not to mention how many sailors went down when these two destroyed a carrier fleet in another battle earlier in the film) but my guess is it is in the hundreds of thousands. In short, Kong, Godzilla and Mechagodzilla inflict on the people of Hong Kong the equivalent of dozens of 9/11s in their fifteen-minute romp. Or another 2004 tsunami. And nobody seems to care!
I try to imagine, were I to take on the role of the Family Guy character Buzz Killington, that I would make a fake documentary called Hong Kong: The City That Is No More, wherein I follow a rescue crew through the smoldering rubble in the days after this mother of all disasters befell the once prosperous, vibrant Chinese metropolis. One can envision the utter despair and misery of people wandering aimlessly through devastated streets, frame skeletons of fallen buildings, dust and blood and body parts everywhere you look. Some fires still burning. Cries for help beneath tons of debris. And, of course, every wall — those still standing at least — plastered with the tragic make-shift “Have You Seen So-And-So” slips of paper with grainy photos of smiling loved ones oblivious to their impending fates now missing. For an entire generation of Hong Kong citizens, their lives would forever be divided into the Pre-Monster and Post-Monster era.
In the end we see Kong and Godzilla make an uneasy peace with each other and then go their separate ways. And the final imagery of the film is one of a happy and majestic Kong, his work done, storming off all Kong-like into the artificial sunlight of his Hollow Earth habitat, while Doctors Nathan Linde and Irene Andrews, and little Jia, smile with satisfaction as the happy “The Air That I Breathe” flower power Hollies tune crescendos over the scene. But what of the dead and wounded of wiped out Hong Kong, not to mention the families of thousands of US servicemen and women? Who? Oh, right. Them. Perhaps instead of the Hollies, Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky” might have been more appropriate. “The flames are all long gone but the pain lingers on.” Not in Hollywood. Smiles all around. All’s well that ends well. Fade Out.
Brad Schaeffer is a commodities trader and writer whose articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, National Review, Celeb Magazine, Zerohedge, Frumforum, and other news outlets. He is the author of the acclaimed World War II novel Of Another Time And Place. His newest novel, The Extraordinary, will be released on Aug 31 and is available for pre-order.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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