Thursday, May 29, 2014

Erasure & Time: Godzilla (2014) & MUTO Identities

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.
There are numerous similarities to Pacific Rim, which was, in my estimation a really great film. So, why did Godzilla do so much better at the box office than Pacific Rim? It might have been nature. In Pacific Rim, humans pilot monster machines, whereas in Godzilla, the monsters are made by nature. It could be something that simple marking the difference between a mega-blockbuster and a bomb, however, if you didn't catch Pacific Rim, I can recommend it.
It's not just the story, but the key players in the story. Before, however, we get involved with the narrative, let's consider the opening credits, because that's actually one of my favorite parts of the film. At the very start of the film, we see are various reels and moments from history of the detonation of the hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands (this incident resulted in the largest nuclear fallout ever). As we see the scenes passing upon the screen, we see the credits of the film makers who labored to make the film, and wide strips of white covering out parts of the words that have been written on the screen.
Why?
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. 
Seriously, why go to all the bother of writing all that stuff out on the screen--not to mention the expense--if it's only going to be whited-out? What's up with these credits? They are telling us how to watch the film. There is something lurking "underneath" even if we don't think there is, the film makers are telling us, because they want us to be informed viewers who know how to scratch away the surface and find what it is they have "planted" underneath.
An enormous, radioactive skeleton which contains two, un-hatched pods. This takes place in 1999. What was happening in 1999? The most "earth shattering" thing to occur was that then-President Bill Clinton was acquitted of impeachment proceedings for perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of justice relating to his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. Yes, he was acquitted. Why does this matter? We could call the skeleton in the image above Clinton's "skeleton in the closet" that, in 1999, gave birth to the monsters who would hatch 15 years later, that is, in 2014 (we'll talk about the two MUTOs in a moment). The name of Serizawa's (Ken Watanabe) operation that is set up at the old nuclear site in Janjira is called Monarch. This is an element of what deconstructionists would call "instability," or "undecidiability," because "monarch" could refer to the monarch butterfly (the MUTO that hatches at the site has wings, after all), or it could refer to a the type of monarch that a king or queen is. How does this all tie in?  We could say that, 15 years ago, the skeleton of Bill Clinton's impeachment trial and acquittal, made him a "monarch" and therefore, not accountable to the American people and setting a precedent that Barack Obama has taken advantage of time and again in lying to America (from Fast and Furious to Obamacare to Benghazi), and the break-down of the office of "presidency" in favor of a "monarch," which is where the country is headed, has given birth to two dangerous MUTOs that are trying to destroy the world (again, we will discuss the MUTOs below, I promise). There is an important visual parallel to the opening credits and the Obama Administration, as well: the whited-out credits are what documents from the White House and the Department of Justice frequently look like when they finally make it to Senate investigative committees, i.e., they are all blacked out.  The writing disappeared so quickly on the screen underneath the "white out," that I had a hard time reading any of it, but I am certain that I saw "The Illuminati" on one line of type that was written over.
Consider, if you will, parts of the film "echoing" this technique (as in the "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?
At the end of the opening credit scene, for just a few seconds, GODZILLA is written just as SKYFALL is written in this poster; why? For at least two reasons: first, SKYFALL itself is under a form of erasure (it's disappearing, or it hasn't fully appeared, we can't be quite sure, but not all of the text is there, not all of it, at least, as we are generally used to); so the type of erasure taking place in Skyfall is the type of erasure Godzilla film makers want us to associate with Godzilla; what is that erasure, exactly? Well, we see Bond "die" at the start of the film, and then become resurrected, as he himself says later in the film; We also think we see Godzilla die at least twice in the film, from which he, too, is "resurrected." Secondly, in such a blatant form of mimicry of a hugely successful film that everyone saw, this is a form of quoting the Bond film, that there is something about Skyfall which we should apply to Godzilla; what, exactly? By the end of Godzilla, Godzilla is the "last rat standing" just as Bond is the "last rat standing" at the end of Skyfall, a reference to the anti-capitalist story Silva (Javier Bardem) tells Bond (and, a structural narrative that, ultimately, The Hunger Games is based upon also [I consider THG to be anti-capitalist]). 
What males in society are "small" and have wings? Homosexual men with their effeminate qualities, like fairies. What females are as huge as monsters? Feminists. The two small segments of the population, homosexuals and Feminists, go together in nearly all circumstances, especially as it relates to nukes and their anti-war stance, which is why they "feed" on radiation: nuclear warfare is the result of heterosexual, white men who want to destroy the world, and they are horrible, terrible and wretched, and that's why we have to have Marxism now (so they say)!
Why does Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche) die? Because, in 1999, when Bill Clinton, then-president, was changing the country to prepare for Obama, women like Brody died. Not only does she symbolize America-as-the-motherland, contaminated by the pollutant radiation released into the world with the oozing of homosexuality and Feminism into American politics, but also the very eroding of the American moral code and system of honor when he muttered, "It depends upon what your definition of "'is' is." Clinton was toxic, in other words, and the "melt-down of the core" of American morality and just the basic sense of right, wrong and personal responsibility, symbolized by the collapsing of the power plant and the melt-down of the core, reflects who benefited from that happening to this country: the homosexuals (symbolized by the "fairy" male MUTO who was feeding off the Janjira power plant).  Please recall, there was also a problem with the core of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek into Darkness, and Captain Kirk had to sacrifice himself to "restore the balance." (In the TV series Salem, it's the women, Mary Sibley, Tituba and Mercy, who have control and they are ruining the town between them and their power struggle).  
Straight white men have everything to gain from a "nuclear world," whereas the dis-possessed homosexuals and Feminists do not, so by "feeding" on the topic of radiation and the horrible things white males have done in bringing civilization into the atomic age, they have--what they believe to be--an unshakable political platform: get rid of nukes, get rid of white men (we saw something similar to this in GI Joe Retaliation,when COBRA tried tricking the whole world into getting rid of their nukes). Please remember, the female MUTO is kept where "We keep all the nuclear waste," because that is the part of having nuke weapons that Feminists focus on: the nuclear waste and what it does to the environment.
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.
Now, perhaps the most important line of the film is when Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) yells that "It's going to send us back to the Stone Age!" A rather important animated film was made about this very thing, The Croods, which takes place in the Stone Age. What I think is going to happen, if I may take a moment to digress, is with The Transformers IV: Age Of Extinction, the appearance of the dino-bots (T-Rex) joining Optimus Prime and other Transformers to save humanity, I think the "Stone Age" will be an argument enlisted to fight against liberals (the dino-bots representing the Stone Age, when their biological counter-parts lived, or before that), but the problem is, Liberals/Progressives want us to go back to the Stone Age, like The Lone Ranger and Noah, both Liberal films, because in those times, white males didn't have power or property, everyone was forced to be as stupid as the Liberals, and that's what the Liberals want. Let's take another supporting feature of this argument: Elvis in Las Vegas.
This is an important scene on several levels. First, we actually have a normal, traditional family. The family has been put back together again, now that the MUTOs have been destroyed; yes, I know exactly what I just said: when homosexuality and Feminism are destroyed, the family will thrive again. Ford--as in Ford Motor Company that didn't take any bailout money from the government, but used the market to its favor--is in a traditional, masculine role both as protector and patriot of his country and family, but also his sexuality: the other men in his unit are their to support each other in the missions they have to carry out, not sleep with each other. Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) is in the traditional roles of a nurse (not so much a career, like Sandra's career of being in the nuclear industry, but the nursing as a symbol of her role as a nurturing woman and a return of the American motherland), mother and wife. They have a child. They didn't abort their baby, they have a child, and they are married. The re-unification of the family is the happy ending the film seeks to deliver to us, but it's either our families, or the MUTOs' non-traditional families. 
The three monsters meet up in Las Vegas and have an epic battle; why? Well, a background song plays to give us a clue as to what we should be thinking of during this scene: "You look like an angel, talk like an angel, but I got wise: you're the devil in disguise," from Elvis Presley. Recently, on The Bible mini-series, which was the most watched TV show in history, the character playing Satan caused a stir because of his close resemblance to Barack Obama; additionally, it makes sense that we would be thinking of Obama and Las Vegas, because between 2008 and 2012 alone (not including the last two years), Obama has made 10 trips to Vegas, including the day after the 9/11 Benghazi attacks because he wanted to do a fund raiser. What does all this mean?
...Enough said,...
Given that Obama is quite familiar with Las Vegas, and he has recently been compared to the devil, we can say that the unleashing of the MUTOs onto a famous, busy and prosperous American city to destroy it and cause utter havoc, reveals the "devil in disguise" and his co-workers. It's not enough to know who the MUTOs are, and who they serve, we also have to know who Godzilla is and what he symbolizes, which, ultimately, is the reason why Americans flocked to see this film.
The introduction of the army captain Stenz is another form of "erasure," borrowed, we could say, from The Cold Light of Day and Will's introduction (Henry Cavill). Like Will, Stenz is seen only from the back side: even though he's walking around and interacting with people, it's a long moment before we meet him face-to-face; this is obviously a technique, so why was it employed for this character and not for any of the others? It is, we can say, a form of erasure, because only a portion of the character's communication is reaching us, like the text in the SKYFALL poster above: we don't see Stenz's facial expressions or gestures, we don't get the total volume of his voice (because he's talking to someone in our opposite direction) so this may very well be indicative of the "fading" of the American military due to the current administrations' targeted efforts at destroying the country.
Even though I disagree with the finer points of the assumption on a large scale of audience reading into Godzilla's identity, without a doubt, Godzilla stands for America as a super-power, not only in the minds of Americans, but in the world as well. Why and how did America become a super-power? Winning World War II and definitively defeating the socialists (in Germany and Italy) and the imperialists (in Japan). So, how is America-as-super-power an effective symbol against Feminists and homosexuals (or, collectively, Marxists/socialists/communists/liberals/the media/the Clintons)?
I'm glad you asked.
Who is this Japanese kid that Ford ends up taking care of for nearly half the film? A reminder, just like the watch of Serizawa, of what happened. Even though Japan destroyed Pearl Harbor, even though America dropped the bomb on Japan two times, we stayed with them and helped them rebuild their country and economy to become one of the strongest countries on earth; so, the boy symbolizes Japan's future that was safeguarded by the United States, as well as the bond between the US and Japan (and, of course, we saw this explicitly demonstrated in that awesome film, Battleship). On the other hand, when the little boy is re-united with his parents, and Ford didn't really do anything but take care of the kid, that serves hope to the audience that miracles still happen and Ford will be re-united with his family as well (which serves as hope that all families will be re-united). 
America-as-a-super-power is an effective argument against all the "America haters" because no other country has done so much good for their own citizens and citizens of the world; yes, Godzilla certainly causes destruction, and that is regrettable, just as America has sadly had her bad moments as well; yet what other country in history has donated so much (in terms of money, aide and soldiers) to safeguard the ideals of democracy and equality in the world? America, even seen as a monster, even seen as an incomparable monster like Godzilla, maintains balance in the world against the purely destructive and self-interested enemies of humanity (Marxists of all branches, Feminists, homosexuals, etc.). This leads us to the last point in this discussion.
We can easily say that all the virtues we see in Ford, are also true of America, and this would be echoing what we saw in Emperor with Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox. The same qualities that Japan thought would cause the US to lose the war, were the qualities that helped us to win, such as our dedication to each other, our sense of dignity for ourselves and others, and our love of country. These are the qualities that make Ford a strong soldier, son, husband, father and America, and even as we see Godzilla in his larger-than-life form, we can say that we see "another" Godzilla in the smaller, more intimate forms of Ford and his commitment to being the very best that he can be, every moment of his life. This is the reason why, at the end, the female MUTO (a symbol of Feminism) comes after him because Ford is on the boat with the bomb and maybe she even knows that it was Ford who destroyed her unholy nest; this would be, clearly, the battle we are seeing in America today: the media calls it "The War On Women," but I call it, "The War On White Males," and 
Why does Godzilla breathe fire down the throat of the female MUTO? It is an interesting way to die, you have to admit. Fire purges and cleanses. When something is strong and durable, it can stand "the test of fire" and becomes purer in its essence, like gold, for example (we see this throughout the film with Ford standing up to the tests that he endures in every scene and becoming stronger for it). The blasts we see in the beginning of the film, when it is revealed that they were trying to kill Godzilla? Godzilla survived the blasts, but the female MUTO can't survive Godzilla's "pointed" fire (another interpretation of this is that socialists and Feminists can't win an argument that undermines their position and the "lose their head" when someone argues facts, history and logic against them, like Godzilla breathing the fire down her throat, here the fire coming from the throat could symbolize language, since we know Godzilla and the MUTOs were communicating earlier).
Fans of the sci-fy films of the 1950s will recognize this scene, when the military and science hold a frank discussion about the impossible enemy they face and what feeble hope there is for humanity. Why have a scene like this? Continuity. The film makers want to invoke those earlier films to show that nothing has changed between now and then, rather, our situation is more dire now than it was then because of the nature of the threats we face.
At a time when America's role is intentionally being eroded away on the world stage and history pages, the might and power of Godzilla "restoring the balance" and fighting for Americans who stand and fight with other oppressed people of the world, certainly delivered a much-needed catharsis for Americans. Whether it's a Tony Stark (Iron Man), Godzilla or Ford Brody, Americans have produced top quality human beings, who have sought to bring their dreams to the world, and help make the world a better place, whereas the MUTOs only desire to commit mass genocide against all humanity and see their own agendas lived out to spite all those they hate. Godzilla is a ray of hope that balance can be restored.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
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.