Why Godzilla Kicked Pacific Rim’s Ass at the Box Office

Though Pacific Rim was arguably a more original and complex movie than Godzilla, it fizzled at the box office – while Godzilla’s formulaic fun earned so much money its first weekend that the studio has already ordered a sequel. What made one giant monster movie succeed where the other failed? [link]

My god, this is a depressing take on the relative fortunes of Godzilla vs. Pacific Rim.

Considering that the purported “message” of both movies focuses on global climate change, the final point (“We just want to be rescued”) lives somewhere beyond depressing.

I think there’s a whole conversation here about cultural attitudes to challenges such as global warming… Are we going to sit around waiting for inventors/bureaucrats/markets/God to save us, or are we going to fucking suck it up and save ourselves?

Big problems like global warming, war, etc. represent both collective action problems and market failures… Which means that if you’re going to solve them you need something that enables people to take mass, coordinated action that isn’t constrained by market logic. That mean being actively engaged in things that function a lot like NGOs, governments, etc.

As Newitz points out, Pacific Rim was very much that sort of story. There are sacrifices. Good people die. But in the end people working together can overcome.

In Godzilla… Well, human collective action is at best completely ineffective. Most of the time, it just makes everything worse. The message seems to be one of complete, passive acceptance of our fate, with our only hope being that God – in the form of Godzilla – will save us.

If Pacific Rim was fundamentally a movie about humanist values, then Godzilla 2014 has at its core a deeply anti-humanist outlook.