Here’s one of the many reasons why I enjoyed the latest remake of Godzilla: because, unlike in so many other recent action blockbusters, New York wasn’t destroyed. It was downright refreshing to see the movie’s various monsters dismantle parts of Hawaii and San Francisco, and of course, Las Vegas was born to be leveled. There’s a great moment in the movie where the gamblers in a Vegas casino don’t even bother glancing around, as their city is torn to bits; Godzilla stomping on Caesar’s Palace seems like just another tourist attraction.
But here’s the movie’s huge secret, and I’m shocked that I’m the only person who’s noticed. Godzilla spends most of the movie going after these other, angular monsters called Mutos. At first I thought that the Mutos were basically towering mid-century modern butterfly chairs, like on my parents’ patio:
But then a thought occured to me. Several years back, when I first became America’s most beloved and irresponsible film critic, I wrote for Premiere magazine. One year I was even nominated, in the category of Essays and Criticism, for a coveted ASME Award, offered by the American Society of Magazine Editors. I lost the award, for one simple reason: just like with the Jill Abramson situation, the male power structure was threatened by me, because I’m a beautiful, capable woman with occasional rage issues. The magazine world and The New York Times are still not ready to honor a female Godzilla. But here’s why I’m sharing all of this – take a look at the ASME Award statuette:
It couldn’t be more obvious: Godzilla assumes that the Mutos are actually marauding ASME Awards, and he wants one. And if this means sacrificing a chunk of the Golden Gate Bridge, so be it.
I also loved Godzilla because it features Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who’s like Channing Tatum’s even dreamier younger brother; Channing and Aaron are both sensitive lugs, with massive shoulders and yearning eyes. They both look as if they’ve either just fallen in love, won the Superbowl, or been bopped on the head with a frying pan. In real life, Aaron is a hero to mature women everywhere, because he not only married a woman who’s 23 years older than he is, he added her last name to his own. And let me just ask you, isn’t Aaron Taylor-Johnson just a baby step towards Aaron Gelman-Waxner? Or maybe Aaron Taylor-Johnson-Gelman-Waxner, which would sound like a truly diverse law firm, or a great new cable company?
Of course, the real reason I loved Godzilla involves the creature itself. In past remakes, Godzilla usually looks like a guy in a rubber Godzilla suit picking up Matchbox cars and tossing them around; he’s like the official playing field mascot at Godzilla University. But this time out, Godzilla is impressively ferocious but also a mite slow. He moves like my Uncle Morty trying to stand up, after spending a few hours in a lawn chair or his recliner. Just like with Uncle Morty, Godzilla needs a minute to get going, and I kept waiting for Mrs. Godzilla to appear and ask, “Sweetie, do you need a hand? And are you using sunscreen?” This Godzilla has a touch of arthritis, which is endearing. I felt that after finally defeating the Mutos and overturning a fleet of destroyers, this Godzilla needed a few Advil and a nap. Let’s just call him Assisted Godzilla, if you ask me.