It Breeds!
Not surprisingly, this no-nukes allegory intrigued a generation of bomb-shelter-building American surburbanites. It spawned a stampede of like-minded films, all preying on audience's xenophobic fears of annihilation by a foreign enemy. These films' menagerie of monsters is imaginatively diverse (although predictably proportionate): there's Gamera, a giant flying turtle; Rodan, a giant pterodactyl; Spiga, a giant spider; Manda, a giant snake; and Mothra, a giant caterpillar-turned-moth, to name just a few. And, of course, 22 Godzilla sequels.

Given the obvious metaphorical underpinnings of these early monster movies, what are we to make of Godzilla's latest progeny, a $120-million production of . . . himself? Surely the resurrection of this terrifying lusus naturae must say something about our post-Cold War fears. Here are a few theories to gnash:

Testosterone Thriller?
Consider this: the new Godzilla offers not a single admirable female character. The brainiest woman, the head scientist played by Vicki Lewis, jettisons her smarts when she lasciviously sizes up Matthew Broderick in her first scene. Likewise, the curlicued Maria Pitillo as a gal-Friday reporter is lip-bitingly vapid, while her pal, played by Arabella Field, succumbs to every gum-chomping stereotype about Italian-American New Yawkers. On top of that, the egg-laying Godzilla–a definite "he"–reproduces, quite fertilely, we might add, without a Mrs. Godzilla. Is Godzilla writer-director Roland Emmerich's epic fantasy about male domination, gussied up with gee-whiz special effects? Hmm. A little paranoid, we admit, but check out the film's testosterone-infused tagline: "Size Does Matter." Enough said.

Two Thumbs Ups for Post-Modernism...

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