"Innocence is America's mystical cloud of unknowing," James Hillman has prophetically stated. Yes, we find it hard to take responsibility for the evil we have brought into the world. After their massive special effects hit Independence Day, director Roland Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin have created a monster movie with a surprisingly potent moral message.
A gigantic reptilian mutant arises out of the nuclear wastes of French atom bomb testing in the Pacific Ocean. By the time Godzilla reaches New York City, an amazing array of people are on hand to deal with its mysterious and terrifying presence. They include a scientist (Matthew Broderick), a gung-ho Army colonel (Kevin Dunn), a self-absorbed TV anchor (Harry Shearer), the mayor of New York (Michael Lerner) who's worried about the consequences of evacuating the city, a would-be TV reporter (Maria Pitillo), a TV cameraman (Hank Azaria), and a mysterious Frenchman (Jean Reno).
Godzilla proves to be a formidable alien in the Big Apple, hatching all kinds of surprises. The computer generated wizardry in the film provides plenty of thrills, chills, and laughs. But the most incredible aspect of this pop culture entertainment is what it is really saying. Despite America's hubris, we can't control what we have created. It's bigger than we are, much bigger. And despite America's presumed innocence, the bombs invented at the Los Alamos "Manhattan" Project, not all the subsequent testing, actually set the stage for the havoc wrecked on the earth and its creatures in the nuclear age. It's no wonder Godzilla has come home to roost.