We are supposed to function under the assumption that politics and entertainment are separate, and that we shouldn’t talk about politics. Yet, with the last two Legendary Entertainment monster film releases, first Kong: Skull Island and now this 2019 release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters the films are about nothing less than communist propaganda which is to be expected after Legendary was bought up by the Chinese Wanda Group in 2016. In the case of this second Godzilla film, Warner Bros. distributed the film, but the contents were clearly guided by the Wanda Group and that is the way things are now in Hollywood. When it is wondered why the American domestic box office was less excited about this monster movie entry than the 2014 predecessor it is due to the massive amount of subtle collectivist propaganda contained within it. I actually lost count of how many times western culture was body slammed in the new Godzilla film and Eastern cultures propped up. So, it should be expected that the domestic total would be less than the original. I thought the Eastern collectivist rants in Kong were bad, this new Godzilla was much worse.
That’s not to say that Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a bad movie. I enjoyed it immensely. As a conservative who loves movies, I am used to not having representation in Hollywood. I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and there were some great ideas. But the politics of the movie couldn’t be ignored. It was very much the star of the show. The theme of the movie was that Eastern understandings of dragons and monsters are that society is to take their rightful place in a kind of harmony with them. Meanwhile the West always intends to slay them. The message was quite clear, East good, West bad. We are supposed to learn to live in subservience to nature not to master it. And Godzilla was a force of nature that was to be worshipped like a God.
Then again, the villains of the movie were all environmental wackos who wanted to unleash all the monsters of the world to kill off humanity and to restore nature back into balance. The film also made an argument against that type of extremism which was interesting. It reminded me of the current Chinese difficulty of accepting Hong Kong capitalism but still holding on to the premise of communism. This Godzilla film was very much a product of Chinese politics, which is to say, a mess of ideas made under the thumbprint of a very authoritarian government. The ignorance of a blissful coexistence with authoritarian regimes and nature continues to be a problem with China and their movies reflect that problem.
Back in 2014 the Godzilla film then earned around $90 million domestically during its opening weekend. This movie made only $49 million. That is a consistent decline since Kong: Skull Island headed on that downward spiral after the Wanda Group bought up Legendary. Kong was also permeated with this promotion that the hostile indigenous people of Kong’s island were no longer deranged lunatics as they had been portrayed in the past, but now they were more advanced than the science of the Western world who were portrayed as greedy and doomed to failure. Monsters like Kong and Godzilla of course are part of an older than civilization intelligence and they watch over us as if we were all pets being guarded the way we would a hamster in a cage.
With those thoughts aside, some of the best moments for me in the new Godzilla film is the confirmation that more and more, we are accepting that ancient Egypt and the Mesopotamian Valley are not the oldest cultures on earth. Our story tellers are now routinely examining much older possible origins for the human race and that is a good thing, so its not all bad in these movies, so long as you don’t care about any of the people, because they are all pretty stupid. And that held true for the original monster movies from Japan. We didn’t watch those movies for the people, but only for the monsters, and that makes these movies fun. But the politics was very distracting, and I would say that it really hurts the domestic box office in North America.
I’ll have to say that the special effects in these monster movies are so much better than the originals and they are a lot of fun if you don’t take them too seriously. But it was hard for me to turn my brain off and enjoy the monsters because the politics of Godzilla and the communist ways of China were so over-the-top. The story of symbiotic relationships after a half hour was really getting on my nerves and that is exactly the kind of thing that is hurting these films at the box office. Honestly, I want to see the next Godzilla movie about the epic fight with King Kong do well, but the films are performing well under what market predictions would have expected, largely because the films aren’t fun enough due to all the political utterances. This is what happens when we let foreign companies take over American media outlets and start bringing their dumb ideas into our culture. The movies would do great if the monsters just destroyed communist civilization and the world would be much more interested because communism to the minds of all human beings represents tyranny, and a lack of freedom of thought. Not to live in symbiosis with them, which was, and continues to be the subtle message of all these films. The “state” (Godzilla is more powerful than you. Learn to live with that power, not against it).
That is also why the mixed messages of Godzilla seeking to recover from injuries in this most recent movie at an ancient temple at the bottom of the ocean was so compelling, because even as the messages of the movie are submission to nature, Godzilla sought healing and refuge at the temple of an ancient culture that has long since died away, following the Vico Cycle that I’m always talking about. It is actually in human creation that anything happens, even for these monsters, and that is the message that the Wanda Group is continuing to miss, because they aren’t just telling a story, they are trying to propagandize their form of government and using all these cool monsters to do it.
But American audiences can smell a rat, and they weren’t in a hurry to go see a movie about communist propaganda. People like me go see the films to see great monsters battle it out and create mass carnage. But nobody wants to sit through over two hours of a communist lecture about how the world would be so much better if the West would only fall and be eaten by a bunch of 300-foot-tall creatures from the ancient past. Even though such a thing is a fantasy for the East their childish understanding about the ways of the world can’t even be buried behind the visual spectacle of the giant monsters themselves. And ultimately that is the reason Godzilla: King of the Monsters didn’t perform well at the box office. It may do well in China, but American markets see through the veil, and it certainly hurt a film that was otherwise a lot of fun and worth the money.
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