Is the New Godzilla an Environmentalist Parable?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 10 2013 2:33 PM

Is the New Godzilla an Environmentalist Parable?

godzilla
Screenwriter Frank Darabont says Godzilla is a "terrifying force of nature."

YouTube

Back in October, a teaser for the 2014 version of Godzilla featuring J. Robert Oppenheimer’s famous account of the first detonation of an atomic bomb leaked online. (Oppenheimer, you may recall, said the explosion reminded him of a line from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”)

David Haglund David Haglund

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

That bit of promotional material suggested that perhaps this Godzilla, with its rather stunning cast—which includes David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, and more—would return in some way to the trauma that motivated the original: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Advertisement

Now the first official trailer has arrived, and, well, maybe not so much.

This preview is similarly moody, but less distinctive: After that long (by trailer standards) opening in which men jump from a plane to the Godzilla-stomped ground below, we get a fairly familiar set of 21st-century action-movie tropes (explosion, concerned woman, puzzled scientist, fleeing children).

The monster, or what we can see of it, looks great, but the scattershot images don’t tell us much, just yet, about what kind of story director Gareth Edwards and screenwriter Frank Darabont hope to tell with the beast this time around. Darabont himself has said he sees Godzilla primarily as a “terrifying force of nature,” so perhaps this remake will have less to do with war and more to do with climate change.

Whatever the movie’s about, it’s set to premiere in May 2014.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Technocracy
Oct. 20 2014 11:36 PM Forget Oculus Rift This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual-reality experience.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.