By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Anyone monitoring the news coming from the San Deigo Comic Con 2014 will know by now that a second Godzilla film will be coming after director Gareth Edwards takes a much needed break (that is, to go work on a Star Wars project). But this time around, just who Big G might be facing will include the beasts from Toho Studio’s roster. Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah are confirmed to appear and Toho Studios could not be any more happier. All their famous beasts are getting Americanized.
Good or bad, this sarcasm is intentional. The 2014 film created a different kind of beast for fans to love instead. In Gareth Edwards’ interpretation of what Godzilla represents, he’s no longer a metaphor for the devestation wrought by the birth of the atomic bomb. He’s simply a force of nature who functions as more of an equalizer to the world to restore balance in anything mankind can unleash. That is, no matter what mankind can do to ravage the earth, Godzilla will appear to fix it.
In the film, the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) were accidentally awakened during a resource mining expedition. By the time scientists from Project Monarch can ascertain what’s going on, one creature is making its way to the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant to feast upon the radioactive core and the other is tucked away at the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository under the assumption it’s just a radioactive fossil.
To see a return of Toho Studio’s famous monsters feels unneeded when the 2014 narrative is giving the mighty G a retconned history. In the original movies, Mothra is a benevolent deity, worshipped as a goddess of renewal and is Mother Earth’s champion for restoring order. This gentle giant was summoned to placate Godzilla as best she can. In what she might become in this 2014 reboot of the franchise can be disconcerting.
As for what the other two can become, anything can happen. The three-headed lightning dragon, King Ghidorah, can be interpreted to repesent the terrors that can be found in deep space. This fantastic beast’s introduction in Monster of Monsters, King Ghidorah (三大怪獣 – 地球最大の決戦) as a meteorite that came crashing upon the Earth is suggestive of that. Interestingly, Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra were unlikely allies working together to repel this cosmic threat in this film.
As for how the Rodan will figure into the new scheme might be met with some fans noting how similar this creature is in terms of origins with the MUTOs. Two Rodans actually existed when this creature was first introduced. That is, two pterosaurs were found during a mining operation and they were fiercely protective of each other, much like how the MUTOs behaved when they found each ot her. One of these birds would die early and the other fled into hiding within in a volcanic nest until summoned by Mothra (to deal with the cosmic threat named King Ghidorah).
The question of whether or not writer Max Borenstein is going to return to pen the next story and what director Gareth Edwards wants in the narrative for the second film are unknown at present. Hopefully the story that gets penned is not a rehash of the King Ghidorah movie. Edwards did say he wanted to create his own take of Destroy All Monsters — mostly to borrow on the Monster Island concept — and chances of those ideas to emerge by the second film may happen.
The production team are better off in creating new ideas than to rehash anything from Toho’s catalogue of ideas. The MUTOs are an interesting creation made to represent the concerns for a modern era. Edward’s movie brought to the fore thoughts about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster by showing how man needs the beast in order to control unrelenting forces of Nature. Even Godzilla itself could not be tamed. The new movie showed the fleet was following him in order to keep tabs with its actions. Perhaps what this ressurected franchise needs are fresh ideas, new monsters, than old ones to give it the freshness it deserves. Instead of further Americanizing Toho’s property, the showrunners should invent new terrors for the mighty beast to face.