Godzilla's Revenge A.K.A. All Monsters Attack A.K.A. What the F*ck am I Watching?

Right now there are brutal things happening around the world. Whether locally in Ferguson or abroad in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, it seems like right now is not a shining moment for the human race. While I could (and at some point will) talk about these horrific events, I felt I needed a change of pace for a moment. So let’s talk about another Godzilla movie, that’s always fun! Winding the clocks all the way back to 1969 (teehee), today’s post focuses on the tenth film in the series, All Monsters Attack, later known as Godzilla’s Revenge over here in the States. This film was the immediate follow-up to 1968’s Destroy All Monsters, and is commonly known as the worst Godzilla movie ever made. Personally, I feel that this is an unfair label. Yet while Godzilla’s Revenge may not be the worst film in the series, it certainly is the most bizarre.

Actually, even that may not be true.

Bizarre in this case means that Godzilla’s Revenge is simply not like any other Godzilla movie ever made. “How could that be?”, you ask. Well, for starters: Godzilla is not ever really in the movie…. yeah, that is a little strange.

But he's right there on the poster!
But he’s right there on the poster!

Everything about that poster is a lie.

Godzilla’s Revenge is about a small boy overcoming parental neglect and bully problems. Oh, also he fights two burglars, pre- Home Alone style.

I am not kidding. If you’re saying to yourself: “what does that have to do with Godzilla?” Fair question. Here is a rundown of the ‘plot.’

Godzilla’s Revenge follows Ichiro Miki, he is our young protagonist living somewhere in Japan. Both of Ichiro’s parents are always working and the kid does not appear to have any real friends, aside from a young girl and an elderly toymaker. Worse than that, he has a bully: a slightly less small child whom he calls Gabara. That’s all okay though since Ichiro has his best friend, Minilla!

Seen here are the two of them on a play date.
Seen here are the two of them on a play date.

Minilla is better known as the Son of Godzilla (originally from the movie of the same name). Minilla is also usually roughly 18 meters tall and, you know, a monster. In case it was not already apparent, Ichiro is not actually friends with the ‘real’ Minilla. Godzilla’s Revenge is a movie where all the monster portion takes place inside the imagination of a boy. While this sounds strange, it does not sound like a terrible idea. Godzilla had already appeared nine times at this point, so a new spin sounds like an inventive way to create a sequel.

It probably didn't help that this film came right after Destroy All Monsters, a movie which featured an awesome battle royale and more monsters than any prior Godzilla film.
It probably didn’t help that this film came right after Destroy All Monsters, a movie which featured an awesome battle royale and more monsters than any prior Godzilla film.

Yet for imagination, a lot of the monster footage is insanely familiar. Maybe Ichiro watched all the earlier Godzilla movies since the vast majority of monster footage in this movie is from prior films, namely Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla. Yeah, those looking for a new movie in Godzilla’s Revenge only got about half of their wish. Couldn’t Ichiro imagine something cooler?

Nah, he’s too busy talking to Minilla. Yeah, that thing pictured above talks. Here’s what it sounds like in the English dub:

Awesome.

Ichiro talks to Minilla about bullying problems, something that the monster is all too familiar with. That is the bulk of this movie: dealing with bullies. Again, this does not sound like a horrible idea on the surface, just a puzzling one. The Godzilla series is, by its nature, a series about conflict so making an anti-bullying movie sounds challenging. Well, this movie is not anti-bullying.

Minilla seen here solving his own bullying problem. Looks like it is going great!
Minilla seen here solving his own bullying problem. Looks like it is going great!

Yeah, Godzilla’s Revenge is the movie you show your kids to encourage them to fight. Great morals Japan! Minilla and Ichiro both need to stand up to a bully named Gabara, and both do… through fighting. Remember children, if someone you know is bullying you, tell an adult… unless that adult is Godzilla… just don’t talk to Godzilla. So there’s that.

Sounds to me like Godzilla is being really judgmental.
Sounds to me like Godzilla is being really judgmental.

Oh, and remember those burglars I mentioned earlier? Well Ichiro gets kidnapped. Yeah, the kid left all on his own is abducted, but do not worry (and this is another moral of the movie) he knows his parents are busy and he needs to be more responsible. Yes children, if you’re alone and you get kidnapped: it is your fault.

Well, maybe you should be more useful, child!  On a serious note, I feel like scenes like this one are poignant and the film misses the mark of being a truly interesting movie.
Well, maybe you should be more useful, child!
On a serious note, I feel like scenes like this one are poignant and the film overall shows the potential of being a much better movie than it ever is.

If it sounds like I’m describing a nonsensical plot that kinda jumps all over the place, it is because I am. Godzilla’s Revenge is not a particularly well put together movie. It is a combo of stock footage and questionable lessons for children. All that said, I do not think it is the worst Godzilla movie. Simply put – it is too different to really compare it to other films. There is no common structure here. Is the film entertaining: sure, in a really campy kind of way. Well, that’s already more than people can say about Godzilla vs. Gigan.

This movie is just weird, from the imagination scenes to the talking Minilla to a kid fighting everyone to be more adult. Why was it called All Monsters Attack? No clue. Who is Godzilla actually taking revenge against, apart from bullies? Fair question. What the f*ck am I watching? Godzilla’s Revenge.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions: An Apology to Brendan Eich (Former CEO of Mozilla)

I will begin this with important context: in the past, I have made it very clear that I support gay marriage and human rights for everyone. There is no group that I would deny basic freedoms to… including those I disagree with. That said, I must make clear that I did not join in the celebration that took place yesterday. The Mozilla Corporation announced that new CEO Brendan Eich was stepping down from his position. The decision was not Mr. Eich’s idea but rather came after enormous public outcry against his promotion to CEO. People were angry that, in 2008, Brendan Eich donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8 (an anti-gay marriage bill in California). Eich’s promotion to CEO prompted several other high-ups at Mozilla to leave the company, and spurred OkCupid to institute a disclaimer on their site for Firefox users. The reaction to this awareness campaign was swift and Eich was forced out. Wew, score one for LGBT… right? I don’t think so.

OKCupid's message to people operating on the Firefox browser. The message did not prohibit Firefox users from using the site but informed them of Mr. Eich's past actions.
OkCupid’s message to people operating on the Firefox browser. The message did not prohibit Firefox users from using the site but informed them of Mr. Eich’s past actions.

The United States of America promotes two things above all else: a belief in democracy and a belief in capitalism. How people personally feel about those two subjects is irrelevant, they have long been a part of the U.S. heritage. These two issues do not always agree. History is full of instances where the two clash and conflict continues today (look at the 1% vs. the Occupy Movement). In 1976, the Supreme Court determined that spending money was the equivalent to freedom of speech. Based on the information out there, I believe the Mr. Eich’s right to free speech was violated.

When I first saw the issue through my Facebook newsfeed, one question in particular peaked my curiousity. Had Eich spent his own money or had he made an investment on behalf of Mozilla? These two things are very different. If the donation had been made in Mozilla’s name, then the entire company would be held responsible. Corporations recently have won some of the rights of people (so, so bad for democracy) but, if they want the rights, they can deal with the responsibilities. That said, it seems silly to me to punish an entire corporation based off the actions of one individual. Sure, boycott Mozilla because they have a homophobic CEO, boycott X-Men: Days of Future Past because it contains at least one gay actor, boycott Walmart… actually that’s not a bad idea. Point is: corporations are huge and not responsible for what employees do in their free time. Eich did not do anything illegal, he committed (I believe I am using the technical term here) a dick move. Is he an asshole for spending money to stop people from getting married: yes. Should he be fired for that… well, if yes then so should a lot of other people.

Based on the information I have found, I believe the donation was made in Eich’s name, and with his own money. Money that, according to the United States Constitution, he is allowed to spend any way that he wants, so long as it is not illegally. To condone or condemn an individual, based solely on his/her purchase history, does not sound like democracy to me.

“Okay, sure but he was homophobic! Surely this man should not be allowed to lead a company!”

Do you know him? I don’t, but let’s look at the facts. It is public record that 2008, Eich donated to a homophobic campaign. Six years ago he did that. No question. Done deal. Here is a statement from Mr. Eich made last week. If Brendan Eich’s public statement is to be believed, then he was a reformed man who acknowledged his mistakes and was trying to work forward. Granted, he might be lying and it might have been a PR stunt… but it might not have been. Forgiveness is a large part of modern society. There is a commonly held believe that everyone deserves at least a second chance. The world has changed radically in recent times, especially concerning the public view of LGBT rights.

“But wait, there were issues at Mozilla. People there were angry and left the company. He wasn’t reformed!”

Again, the public does not know for certain why those people resigned over Eich’s promotion. It is not uncommon for several other higher-ups to resign after one is promoted to CEO. The perception is that, if that person was just promoted, he isn’t going anywhere in the near future. Their leaving could simply be a career move. Mozilla themselves came out against the claim that there was any personal rift at all that caused the leavings. Granted, Mozilla could also have been denying it in an attempt to avoid the scandal that they just suffered.

Let’s flash back to 1998. Bill Clinton was on trial, a trial that could have cost him the Presidency of the United States. He was accused of lying under oath. On the surface that sounds like a very serious crime. However, the issue that former President Clinton lied about was, frankly, none of the country’s business and was in no way connected to his abilities as a world leader. Clinton was charged with lying about adultery (the Monica Lewinsky scandal). Does that say something about Bill Clinton as a husband, yes. Did it have anything to do with him as a president, no. I feel that this case is similar.

I am not defending the past homophobic actions of Brendan Eich. His old views on the LGBT community are backward, and if he hasn’t truly reformed then he is still a bigot. It is simply a very dangerous sign when moral judgment dictates society and policy. No one is clean, everyone has done something wrong. If Eich is still homophobic, I highly doubt that this has done anything to enlighten his views. That is the real tragedy. To use parody, I believe the South Park character, Big Gay Al, put it best:

“Look, I appreciate what you kids did. I really do. But this isn’t what I wanted. I’m proud to be gay. And I’m proud to be in a country where I’m free to express myself. But freedom is a two-way street. If I’m free to express myself, then the scouts have to be free to express themselves too. I know these [scout leaders]. They are good men. They are kind men. They do what they think is best for the kids. No matter how wrong we think they might be, it isn’t right for us to force them to think our way. It’s up to us to persuade and help them see the light, not extort them to? I will continue to persuade them to change their minds, but this is the wrong way to do it. So, I am hereby dropping my case and allowing the scouts their right to not allow gays into their private club.”
“Look, I appreciate what you kids did. I really do. But this isn’t what I wanted. I’m proud to be gay. And I’m proud to be in a country where I’m free to express myself. But freedom is a two-way street. If I’m free to express myself, then the scouts have to be free to express themselves too. I know these [scout leaders]. They are good men. They are kind men. They do what they think is best for the kids. No matter how wrong we think they might be, it isn’t right for us to force them to think our way. It’s up to us to persuade and help them see the light, not extort them to? I will continue to persuade them to change their minds, but this is the wrong way to do it.”
Forcing other people to think a certain way is never the right answer. Punishing an opinion, even a wrong one, is useless without teaching the correct one. That is what happened… that is the best case scenario for what happened (otherwise a man trying for redemption was crucified for past mistakes). Oh, and anyone celebrating that justice was really done: he stepped down as CEO, he was not fired. I have read nothing that makes me think that Brendan Eich no longer has a job with Mozilla. I may be wrong, that is simply my thinking after reading.

I was homophobic once too. I grew up with ignorant views. My eyes were opened and I have learned how wrong I was, thankfully before I was ever in the position to deny anyone their rights. This can be done the right way, the world is already changing. Fast communication is a double-edged sword: it can cause quick action, like in the case of Eich. However, if people are not properly educated and make informed decisions, there will always be room for prejudice and bigotry. Let us simply not replace one kind with another.

For now, with the information available, I feel that Brendan Eich is owed an apology.

The Wisdom to be Learned from Uncle Iroh (Avatar: the Last Airbender)

There is question to ask at the beginning of this that I feel is legitimate: can one learn anything from fiction? Fiction, by its definition, is not real, ergo how could it apply to real life? Short answer: yes. There is a whole article that I could write on the history of storytelling and the evolution of the fable… but that’s not the point of this article. To paraphrase a line from Tropic Thunder (I’m so cool, I know): “just because it’s made up doesn’t make it not true.”

With that in mind, let’s turn to Avatar: the Last Airbender. I could (and maybe will) write an article on every main character from this show, but let us instead just focus on Iroh (more commonly known as Uncle Iroh). First, a quick rundown of what Avatar: the Last Airbender is about – an ancient world (Eastern themed) where people control, and fight with, the elements. Iroh hails from the Fire Nation (the antagonists of the series). Despite this origin, he is not a bad guy, in truth he is the morale heart of the show. Iroh is the oldest main character that the audience follows. He was a general of the Fire Nation but retired after the loss of his son (killed in action). Iroh is the uncle of Zuko (the series’ first antagonist), hence the “uncle” association. How could a guy on the “evil side” be so good? Let’s discuss his character.

Iroh is like a father to Zuko. Zuko is actually the prince of his nation, but was banished (and scarred) for speaking out against his father. Zuko’s father… kind of a dick. Anyway, Iroh is Zuko’s role model, although it is against Zuko’s wishes. At the start of the series, the Fire Nation Prince reflects the spoiled nature of a teenager, and fluctuates between listening to and rebelling against his uncle’s advice.

Here is where the strength of Iroh’s character starts, with what might be his greatest virtue: his patience. Iroh does not have it easy in this show. In short: there is no one who treats him worse than Zuko. Hold on, you say, isn’t Iroh supposed to be a father to the prince? He is, but Zuko, as a character, is very confused (only slightly more decisive than Hamlet). Zuko is from a screwed up family. His sister is psychotic and so is his father. His mother… is gone. That leaves Iroh, and Iroh knows and, more importantly, understands the implications of this.

Iroh is an excellent role model because the writing for the show allows for real world situations to take place. In his relationship with Zuko, there are few moments where the prince acknowledges what an incredible influence his uncle is being. More than that, most of Iroh’s misfortune comes from Zuko’s actions. Yet Iroh is there for him, no matter what. It is the importance of family and of being there for the people who matter.

Iroh can be interpreted as many things. He is a man who sees beauty in the simplest aspects of life (especially tea). He is a man who values his family. He is a man with conscious who understands the weight of his actions. He is a father who lost his son. The audience never knows anything about Iroh’s wife (kinda strange now that I think about it) but when one understands that he lost his child: Iroh’s motivations become clearer and take on a more tragic light.

In watching the show, Iroh is a great man, but what makes him believable is his journey. He didn’t start out as a mystical Buddha with life figured out. He was broken, he lost the thing that mattered most to him, and it defined him. The good news, and I believe the lesson, of this is that Iroh had it define him in the best way. He could have been bitter and angry but he instead chose to live the remainder of his life to the fullest, in an attempt to avoid the mistakes and regrets from his earlier life.

I love Avatar: the Last Airbender because it is an excellent, albeit fantastical, look at humanity. Every character in that show is worth watching, but if one wishes to see the wonder and love in all things: look no further than Uncle Iroh (plus herbal teas are amazing, just saying).

Quote from the show. Corny words can still be true words.
Quote from the show. Corny words can still be true words.