I don't think anyone could have been as surprised with the blockbuster opening of Godzilla as I was: I am a huge fan of the film, and I was hoping it might manage to pull in around $50 million, maybe, but $90+ is truly something to take note of; so, the question is, why? Why did a monster film, notable in cinematic history as a "low-point" of quality and realistic special effects, drive Americans to the theater this weekend?The story.
|The very first example of what French philosophers call Sous rature, or erasure, in English. Godzilla marks at least the fourth time we have seen serious implementation of erasure as a means of communicating with the audience (The Cold Light Of Day, Zero Dark Thirty, and Skyfall, which is perhaps the most important of the three in relationship to Godzilla, please see below under Skyfall poster; also, in The Cold Light Of Day, Bruce Willis' character is referred to as "Godzilla" by his son, portrayed by Henry Cavill). What's the point of this? Philosophically, it's the gesture of attempting to communicate what inherently, by its very nature, cannot be communicated and yet, an attempt must be made. We don't have to limit this to lofty philosophical topics like "being" or "truth" or "consciousness," there is a political signification for this as well: censorship. You want to be critical of something, but it's not allowed--for one reason or another--and so you do what we always talk about at this little corner of cyberspace, you "encode." Something, in other words, becomes a symbol for something else, so one can say what is "forbidden" to say, but there is an intended audience for whom it is understood when they receive it.|
echolocation" Joe studies): the enormous skeleton buried in the Philippines quarry lies beneath the mining operation; the monster that brings down the Janjira nuclear plant went beneath the plant; we see Godzilla swim "beneath" the aircraft carriers; Godzilla raises himself up from beneath the skyscraper that has fallen on top of him and the army (with Ford) has to carry the warhead out from "under" the trash debris where the female MUTO has laid her eggs. The argument can clearly be made that just as many things take place "on top of" or "above" as other things, and that's a valid point, but it doesn't negate these points especially as these important moments in the film lead us to the all important question: who or what are the MUTOs?
|This is one of several important scenes that help us to establish who the MUTOs are; how? What we have here are families that has been ripped apart: Joe's family has been ripped apart; Ford's family has been ripped apart; the little Asian boy's family has been ripped apart, and we can even include the Japanese family picking up their,.... "child," (I couldn't tell if it was male or female) at the jail in Japan when Ford had arrived to pick up Joe (more on this below). Let's not forget, in the opposite direction, Ford tears apart the family/eggs of the female MUTO that he sees in her radioactive sack and has prepared the radioactive bomb/missile for their first meal (attacking civilization for having nukes and anything causing radiation is the first "food" young radicals learn to digest in dismantling Western Civilization). On an entirely different note, why is Joe Brody named "Joe" and "Brody?" He is named "Joe" after Saint Joseph, who was the protector of the Holy Family, and even 15 years later, Joe Brody is still trying to protect his family from a lie and a cover-up. He's named Brody because Roy Scheider's character in Jaws was named Brody because Jaws and Godzilla are linked in their themes of World War II; for more, please see Jaws & the Cleansing Of America. On still a different note, why does the power plant fail on Joe's birthday, and then we are reminded of Joe's birthday again when he and Ford return and see his birthday banner hanging up? It's a sign that he's a prophet: there is a tradition that prophets always die on their birthdays, so linking up those two days over a fifteen year span tries to communicate to us that, far from being crazy, Joe is being prophetic about the cover-up that has been fed to the public for all this time. To illustrate for us just how "crazy" everyone sees Joe, when Ford waits for his father to come out in the Japanese jail, that strange kid comes out before Joe, the kid we can't tell if it's male or female. First, this depicts for us the "class" of criminal Joe is considered to be by authorities, and, secondly, it provides us a photographic moment of what a human MUTO is: Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object, although the teenager of ambiguous sexuality isn't, granted, "Massive." But the teenager cannot be identified, which ties the child into being a UTO. On still a different note, why does Joe die? I have said in the past, that a character never dies unless they are all ready dead: first, Joe survives the nuclear collapse, then he survives another 15 years and he manages to uncover--thereby--vindicate himself and his "conspiracy theory." Once this has been accomplished, Joe is finished, his task is complete, and he must die so that Ford--and the generation of Americans Ford symbolizes--can take up the battle for themselves and believe for themselves what Joe knew and proved.|
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P.S.--One last point: Serizawa's watch, which stopped at the moment the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, is the exact opposite of erasure, it records definitely and for all time a moment that has to be remembered, and the watch--itself symbolic of history/memory--cannot be erased, unlike the other instances of erasure discussed above, even though some will try to erase it for their own ends.