When watching the new “Godzilla” reboot – out Friday – one can’t help but ask, “How would we go about beating a gigantic reptile terrorizing a major U.S. city?” (In this version, those cities are Las Vegas, Honolulu and San Francisco.) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said he was posed just that question by a sailor a couple weeks ago.
“I said, ‘Successfully!’” Mabus laughingly told Whispers at a special screening Wednesday for “Godzilla” at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C. “No, we don’t have any plans for that. But we can handle whatever comes over the horizon and I think that’s one of the messages of this movie.”
The Navy, under the umbrella of the Department of Defense, cooperated with “Godzilla” filmmakers in the making of the big-budget creature feature. According to director Gareth Edwards, he and his crew had access to aircraft carriers and real soldiers and sailors who played extras in the film, which has the U.S. military scrambling to contain a dinosaur-ic struggle between Godzilla and two enormous, insect-like creatures known as MUTOs, or Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms.
The film’s hero, Lt. Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is also a military explosive ordnance disposal technician. Additionally, there was a military adviser on set to make sure the dialogue and protocols accurately reflected how the Navy actually operates.
“You do actually ask them, ‘So what would you do if Godzilla came? Do you have something prepared for that?’ And obviously they haven’t. But they do take it seriously,” Edwards, also at the screening, told Whispers. “All the guys on these aircraft carriers – they love these kinds of films and they were happy to seriously embrace the idea and give us some examples of the processes they would perform once they knew what they were dealing with.”
Mabus said the Navy agreed to help with the film “mainly because of the way it showcases the capabilities and abilities of our people in uniform – how hard the jobs are and how well they do them, and people don’t get to see that much.”
“Even if you are fighting a 350-foot giant lizard,” he said, “it shows the things the military can do.”
“We’ve shown that we can defeat aliens,” Mabus said, referring to the chief villains in “Battleship.”“So we needed to prove ourselves against giant lizards.”