Where’s your messiah now? Oh, wait. There he is.
Thanks to Netflix Instant, a new 24-inch monitor, and the miracle of sloth, I was able to make a Godzilla double-feature sandwich with Up in the middle. Up is amazing. Go see it. But it lacks a certain, let us say, religious quality you find in very few movies these days. In fact, I feel strongly that only Godzilla movies can really offer the spiritual fulfillment so many of us seek from our movie screens, TVs, and computer monitors.
As I watched Godzilla vs. Destoroyah and Godzilla 2000, I was struck by the same emotions a lot of people told me they felt while Mel Gibson beat the hell out of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ . . . basically, a deep, abiding gratitude that it wasn’t them nailed to the cross. Or in this case, having their shoulder sliced into by the glowing horn of Destoroyah.
In every Godzilla movie, the big lug is bashed, zapped, bitten, dragged, and tail-swiped by another big lug whilst the puny humans watch and offer banal commentary. This after those same humans tried to kill Godzilla for the umpteenth time with tanks and planes. Why does Godzilla insist on fighting these other giant monsters? Why wouldn’t they just shake hands and agree to turn as one on feeble humanity?
Because Godzilla takes the fall for us. He suffers for our sins. We created him, and yet we yearn to destroy him. Godzilla is our modern-day martyr.
. . . And in the end, of course, he triumphs over Destoroyah, or Orga, Gigan or Megalon or Ebirah or Mechagodzilla—then trudges wearily back into the sea. Sure, Tokyo is in flaming ruins . . . but humanity survives to torment poor Godzilla another day.
We never learn. He never stops fighting for us. That is our tragedy, and his power, his glory, forever. Amen.