NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW.
When I arrived at St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, I wasn’t expecting to watch any movies because of my schedule. But on my second day, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, I went with a few priests to see “Godzilla: King of Monsters.” The trailers hadn’t impressed me.
But my friend, Patrick, a Godzilla aficionado, had told me that he already watched the movie twice. I began to take it seriously.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Monsters, fights and explosions. What more can you want? Actually, the movie were peppered with spiritual and life lessons.
Mark Russell and Dr. Emma Russell diverged in grieving for their son, Andrew, after the previous Godzilla movie. Mark was running away through alcohol and photography. Emma consumed herself with work and radical environmental thinking.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa offered an insight to Mark. One couldn’t run away from the wounds. Rather, peace must be made with the inner monsters. That natural insight builds toward fuller healing in Jesus. If we offer our wounds and the accompanying lies to Jesus, the divine psychologist and physician will heal them. Mark found that peace standing before the towering Godzilla. (Check out the John Paul II Healing Center about healing prayer and retreats.)
Mark and Emma were finding that healing when they looked beyond themselves to a specific other, their daughter Madison. Ed Sri mentions that movement beyond self when he summarized lessons of St. John Paul II’s Love and Responsibility in his book Men, Women and the Mystery of Love.
Man: Environmental Infection or Co-Creators with God
Emma gave her screed against the destructiveness of man in a video conversation with Mark and the other members of Monarch. It was painful to listen. Man was the infection bringing about the mass extinction of the planet. The titans would be unleashed to destroy cities. The radiation from the aftermath would bring life and renewal to the planet. She gave no second thought about the massive loss of lives.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa offered the alternative with a symbiotic relationship with the titans. His vision proved correct. At the end of the movie, Godzilla protected the cities from the other titans. The titans helped restore rain forests. Even their waste product could be used for fuel. Serizawa mirrored Pope Francis’ Laudato Si in that man is called to be co-creators with God, not consumers disregarding God. Here is a summary of the encyclical.
Revelation and other self-sacrifice
Monster Zero, which is revealed as King Ghidorah, was said to have fallen to the sky. Ghidorah was an alien and usurper to the kingship of the titans. This mirrors Chapter 12 of Revelations in which the dragon is hurled from heaven and begins attacking the offspring of the Woman (the Virgin Mary/the Church). “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Rev. 12:12) In the movie, Ghidorah commands the other titans to destroy the planet to his liking. “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.” (Rev. 12:17)
A powerful image was King Ghidorah atop the mountain, screaming in victory over Godzilla. In the foreground was the cross atop a church. The scene could highlight the necessity of faith before the apparent pinnacle of evil.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and Emma were models of self-sacrifice. He brought and ignited a nuclear warhead to revive a weakened Godzilla. Emma used the Orca (acoustic Titan transmitter) to draw Ghidorah away from her family and Godzilla. The supercharged Godzilla overpowered Ghidorah in the climatic fight scene in Boston. Godzilla assumed his rightful throne over the titans. It sounds like Jesus assuming his throne over the heaven and earth. Long live the King of Kings!
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