Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Day 75: Gappa

Not too long ago, geologically speaking, there were sloths as big as elephants and wee little peoples that lived on an island with similarly wee elephants and huge fucking lizards (it seems as if Ray Harryhausen must have been consulted about this). All of that's changed now, but thankfully, the Japanese have refused to let the emotion tied to such overwhelmingly large God-like animals or prehistoric curiosities die. Though Gappa is eminently disposable, a rather weak entry in the giant beastie stomping through civilization because civilization cannot abide nature and must be cruelly punished for this fact genre and (sigh) doing the Kong thing again by having an expedition go to a South Pacific island where the natives worship said beastie, it got me thinking about the Pleistocene, that era when man and beast battled for supremacy. And good lord did we ever win.

There's a shot when two Gappas (which, by the way, are birds that also swim and have heat breath... they're Triphiban, according to the box) fly over some characters and I began thinking about a world in which large, giant eagle-lizard things actually existed and would, on occasion, fly overhead. What societal structures would rise up in reaction to Gappas? Would we have Gappa sirens? Would we build our houses differently so they weren't so easily crushed? Would a universal health care plan suddenly be a necessity since the monster attacks were so frequent, so deadly, so indiscriminate?

It's also amusing to me that these large monsters can be seen in an allegorical way for just about any disaster, natural or otherwise, that befalls us. It's not hard to go from Gappas to huricanes. If there were Gappas, we'd have concerts for Gappa Relief, 2005, criticize various politicians that they weren't doing enough in the wake of a recent Gappa attack, debate as to whether the Gappas should be killed or studied, and whether Gappa was of theological or biological origin. Or maybe we wouldn't because we wouldn't have the fucking time to do any of these things, ducking falling debris as we would constantly be. Gappa wouldn't allow such idleness. Gappa would get angry that we weren't feeding him giant prehistoric seeds or large sloths.

Still, the film is empty calories. I used to love these Japanese monster movies as a kid; I wanted to be the guy in the suit stomping on tanks and shit, breathing fire, etc. And I can't deny I got the same old childish thrill from it at times. There were a couple of zoom-ins to the Gappa-eye that I thought were cool. But there aren't enough Gappattacks and too much eye-rolling, unconvincing humanity going on here. I found myself wishing that Godard or Kurosawa or someone with the clout and the ability to really explore the concept of giant fucking monsters had made one of these things. I mean, wouldn't it be a better world if we had Bergman's take on this genre? I used to think that all upcoming directors who showed talent should have to make a Star Trek movie, just to exercise and refine their filmmaking skills in an established universe, but now I'm starting to think that they should all make cheapo man-in-suit giant monster movies. Which reminds me, I have to put the finishing touches on my latest script: Godzilla vs. Pretensiousaurus

1 comment:

Ted said...

In a world in which large, giant eagle-lizard things actually existed and would, on occasion, fly overhead, we'd need better windshield wipers.