Hey there every peoples!
This last week and a half has been tumultuous to say the least. It’s pretty much been my biggest fight with the demon in ages. I’m still getting over that thanks to the support of my friends and family (and certain services helped as well). So this time around, I’m doing something totally for fun. It’s just some silly discussion meant to goof around with to help take my mind off things. With that out of the way, let’s dive in!
Not long ago on February 25, the world was treated to the theatrical trailer for the upcoming Godzilla movie. If you haven’t already seen it, here you go (and if you have seen it, watch it again so you may further bask in it’s awesomeness):
What makes this film different from the prolific and long running Godzilla franchise? Well the first is that this is supposed to be an “Americanized” Godzilla film. The films by Toho and Showa command a large, loyal fan base; however, outside that fan base the Godzilla movies are viewed as cheesy and camp b-movies starring guys in rubber suits, nothing to be taken seriously (despite the grim tone and apocalyptic themes of the original 1954 film). The first attempt to bring Godzilla to America was Roland Emrich’s 1998 “Godzilla”. It was a box office hit, but it scored poorly with fans and critics alike. Today it’s so reviled that some fans pretend it doesn’t even exist.
Now I’m here mainly to talk about the monsters and not really delve into the themes, characters, and plot (well mostly). I love movie monsters, and my childhood was populated by the likes of King Kong, Ray Harryhouson’s menagerie, and of course, Godzilla. I’m not into the whole obsession our country has with Japanese culture, but I can’t deny the impact Godzilla has had. After all, he is the King of the Monsters. Legendary has made it clear that no Toho monsters will appear in the film. All the monsters save for the G-Man himself were created from scratch. Now I’ve prattled long enough. Let’s get it on!
The monsters in this movie are called Mutos. What is a Muto? We’re not entirely sure given the secrecy surrounding them. We do know that they are named after M.U.T.O., a research organization that will play a central role in the plot. They seem to be waging a secret war against Godzilla (and possibly the Mutos as well) and operate under a heavy veil of secrecy. Later we’ll talk about the possible relation this outfit has with their titular monsters.
At Comic Con 2013, a tightly packed auditorium was treated to a special trailer for Godzilla. The footage never surfaced, so all we had to go on were eyewitness reports. While everyone cheered the Return of the King, a lot of attention was payed to Godzilla’s foe. Accounts vary, but the general outline of the creature was described as this:
Strange for sure, like some kind of alien spider. Could it be from outer space? This was the face of the Mutos for a few months before some pictures of a toy related to the film were leaked on the internet. Most were taken down but we do have a few drawings based on it’s likeness, which is quite a bit different than what we see above:
Whereas the first image looks like a mutant spider (an animal we are all familiar with), this looks like something from out of this world. Many comparisons have been drawn to Cloverfield, for obvious reasons. I do like the claws. They look like something that walks arond on the knuckle but then uncurl to act as hooks in climbing. Both versions look like rather delicate; the second one even more than the first. How could a creature like this even pose a threat to Godzilla, let alone go toe-to-toe with him? Time will tell.
This guy has made a couple brief appearances in the trailers. Of course, hardly anything is revealed. The first one shows the Muto chomping a street train in half:
At the rear of the still you can make out the jaw and membrane making up the Muto’s mouth. Early speculation on this shot posited that the Muto had three jaws: one upper, two lower. The toy didn’t give that impression, although it was just a simple figure. The other time is when he tries to curb stomp a group of people (army? M.U.T.O. agents?):
Now there has been a lot of speculation on just what is going on here. Many think the Muto is emitting some kind of explosion or pulse. However, the people seem to be reacting more to the foot crashing down (and they don’t waver all that much). Based on the toy, i think this is some kind of bio-luminescence that just created a flash when the Muto stomped. All was clear, except for a teaser from Ban Dai. It’s just a silhouette, but it complicates the picture:
This looks just like the reports from Comic Con. Could the Comic Con Muto have been an early concept that was later refined into the current 8-Legged Muto? Is it a predecessor to the current form in the film’s universe? Or is it a separate Muto adding to the headaches of mankind and Godzilla alike? Who can tell at this point.
Early toy descriptions mentioned not just a “Multi-Legged” Muto, but also a “Winged” Muto. Even less is known about this guy than the Multi-Legged one. He appears much like is compatriot in a couple brief shots of parts of its body:
It appears full bodied and has pointed wings like a falcon or a pterasaur. The resemblance to that later has led to many fans insisting it’s Rodan, despite Legendary staunchly declaring that no previous monsters would appear. Some thought it may have been a mutant bat. For support, they cite a shot of fighter jets falling out of the sky. If it was a mutant bat, they argued, it might have disabled the planes with some kind of sonic sound wave. But the identity of this Muto has recently been either clarified or confused further by another toy leak:
Now many have complained about the appearance of this Muto. They chiefly call it uninspired and lame. And i agree somewhat. It’s just the 8-Legged Muto with one pair of limbs converted to wings. It just looks like they used the copy and paste function in photoshop. Many argue that these are male and female or different life stages of the same species. Ok, I can buy that. But still, they didn’t alter any of the body for flight (fantastic premise of the movies or not, it looks ill-equipped to take to the skies) or anything else besides wings to denote sexual dimorphism. They could have looked significantly different and still be the same species. For example, angler fish are sexually dimorphic to the extreme. Females are greatly larger than the males. The male latches onto the female and suck nutrients out of her. When they were first discovered, scientists thought they were different species! So yeah, i think they got a little lazy with the design here. But again, toys aren’t always the most accurate representations of their onscreen incarnations. Maybe it will look different in the movie. Or maybe it isn’t the only Muto overhead….
The titanic corpse of this creature was partly shown in the Comic Con footage. Since then, debate has raged over whether or not it will appear in the film. It has become known as “Vishnu”, because of the dialogue in the Comic Con footage (Oppenheimer’s quoting of Hindu scriptures. Despite the overlap in the footage, I think that quote was meant to be describing Godzilla) and many legs (Hindu deities are depicted with multiple arms; the most I’ve seen is 18!). Fans also debated over how many legs it has: 8 pairs or 10 pairs. Regardless, it looks like a cross between a lizard and a centipede:
One fan speculated that the number of legs, shape of the feet, and build of the body strongly resembles a water bear. I like this idea. Despite the cute sounding name, water bears are some of the toughest organisms known. Given all the crap they can survive, it would make sense for one to grow gigantic and become resistant to radiation. Now, most think this guy won’t be in the film, arguing that Comic Con was just concept footage. However, i think he may very well make an appearance. Take a look at this shot:
It’s your typical path of destruction, but look again. It looks narrow and appears to have left a furrow. This doesn’t seem like Godzilla’s handy work. It’s too neat. This is the kind of thing that would be left by something long and slender. Kinda like Vishnu! But how do we know Vishnu is long and slender when we see only a small part of him in the Comic Con footage? Once again, we have toy spoilers to thank:
Once again, we have no idea for sure. He may be a chopped creation. Many movies have toys of characters, enemies, and monsters that don’t appear in the film. The extreme amount of secrecy surrounding the film makes anything difficult to determine. But i hope he makes it in. For some reason, Vishnu has kinda grown on me.
Another Winged Muto?
The possibility of another Winged Muto comes from a shot in the second trailer:
The current school of thought is that this takes place during a train shipment of missiles (and quite possibly other things). However, the train is halted and apparently attacked by the Mutos. In this shot we see one destroying a rail bridge during the ensuing battle. At fist some thought it was Godzilla, who was cleaving the bridge with one of his dorsal spines. However further analysis revealed that it is not the right shape to be one of Godzilla’s spines. In light of the Winged Muto reveal, it doesn’t match that one either. Could this be a different, separate Muto? Could it be it’s “true form”? We’ll have to wait and see.
Dead or Ancient Kaiju?
This ominous shot shows a M.U.T.O. team investigating a giant skeleton in an underground cavern:
Again, at first people thought it was Godzilla (either the original or another one). But it’s too long and serpentine. Is it a fossil? Is it more recent? For that, we’ll have to talk about the nature of the Mutos itself.
Now we get to the nitty gritty: just where did the Mutos come from? One idea tossed around is they were created by their name sake company. In the second trailer, Ken Watanabe’s character says “They were trying to kill it”. This is a reference to the use of nuclear weapons in an attempt to kill Godzilla when he first surfaced in the 1950s. The word “trying” and the fact the movie takes place now mean it didn’t work. Shortly after, he says ominously “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around”. Could it be that the Mutos were created by M.U.T.O. to combat Godzilla? Only they get loose and run amok? This would certainly fit into the theme of the movie about mans self-imposed struggle with the natural world. But yet another toy leak casts doubt on that theory. The description on the back of a Godzilla figure has this to say:
Since then, the giant creature has been living in the deep ocean – until a threat to his survival from an ancient foe forces him to reappear.
This implies that Godzilla is, like the original, a prehistoric monster revived/awakened by nuclear radiation. The same for the Mutos, who were apparently Godzilla’s enemies way back in the day. While in line with the canon of the original films, it doesn’t seem to have the same intellectual weight as the genetic engineering theory. But there is a possibility that both could be right. Perhaps after Godzilla arose in the 1950s, M.U.T.O., in their quest for a solution, found the remains of another giant monster from earth’s past. They somehow manage to salvage dna from it which they then use to create the Mutos. I’d say anything is possible at this point!
So that’s what i think so far on the new monster looking to make their entry into the Godzilla mythos. It’s a tall order, but Legendary seems confident. Either way, i can’t wait to see some good ol’ fashioned monster mayhem come May.
Till next time!