Godzilla Returns to the Big Screen!
He’s Bigger and Bolder Than Ever Before
So I mentioned a while back that I would be going to see the Gareth Edwards reboot of Godzilla, which just touched down in theaters mid-May. Well, I watched it in IMAX 3D (totally appropriate for the movie, by the by), and after long procrastination, I’m finally posting the review! (There will be some SPOILERS near the end, but I’ll give some flags before we reach them.)
In short, the movie was a lot of fun. It delivered a gargantuan Godzilla (at least twice as large as any predecessor), some interesting reinterpretations of the old lore, totally acceptable acting, some really cool destruction and kill shots, and an acceptable amount of human stupidity in the face of a titan come to earth. It’s main flaw–in my not-so-humble opinion–is that it was too darn long, and that it only had about three full-body shots of Godzilla in the whole movie. Honestly, it was like they had been told to limit the lizard nudity, lest they lose their PG-13 rating.
The sky-diving scene is REALLY WELL DONE–that’s not my way of saying it was over-cooked or that Godzilla took them out in one burst of flames; it was just an awesome sequence to watch.
For starters, I have to say that this poster is pretty darn indicative of what to expect.
It’s more about the humans than Godzilla;
it’s (mostly) set in San Francisco;
it features a lot of dark, hazy, or red-tinted shots;
Godzilla is freakin’ huge!;
the nature of the monster* is meant to seem like it appears to be very clouded in mystery–Everybody ooh and ahh.
Yeah… they really drag out actually introducing the big bad in this film. It’s as if they think that the people going to see it have never actually watched a Godzilla movie before, and they try to shoot for some kind of shocking reveal–as in, Oh my gourd–I had NO idea Godzilla was the name of a monster!
Yeah, I get that they’re taking the point of view of the puny mortals, who are just discovering this giant beast of a beast. (Apparently, in this reality, none of the other monster movies happened except for maybe the 1954 original, but the government managed to keep that affair under wraps.)
But WE all know that Godzilla movies are basically slugfests in which one or more giant monsters* duke it out in a major metropolitan area in an unnecessary gesture of world supremacy, and rips the city’s skyline a new one. (Rule one in fight choreography: the furniture always loses.) So the concealed monster angle probably doesn’t work on anyone who would bother to see it in theaters, but they REALLY milk it.
In the previews the show one face-shot of the title character, but otherwise only feature Monsieur Breaking Bad yelling about something killing his wife. (Mini-SPOILER, Bryan Cranston’s part is only relevant for about the first half-hour of the movie, and because Godzilla is not in that half-hour, you might see his part as totally unnecessary.) The previews don’t even show the movie’s Kick Ass main character who is none other than Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and he does a really good job of playing a total badass who manages to be the key (or only) survivor of several chance encounters and at least one planned rendezvous with the monster*.
Here comes the recommending part: I recommend this movie to anyone who…
actually really likes Godzilla movies,
is looking for a giant monster flick,
wants to see the U. S. redeem itself after their previous attempt–(the 1998 rendition, which received all sorts of criticism, but which I still found enjoyable),
likes to watch buildings get destroyed,
doesn’t mind when bad things happen to Bryan Cranston,
and can chill out and not take the implausibility of the size of the monster* too seriously–because it’s HUGE!
I advise you to stay away if you…
don’t like monster movies,
don’t like Aaron Taylor-Johnson,
are a total cynic who doesn’t want the good guys to win in the end,
are the kind of environmentalist who gets uppity when humans interfere with wild animals’ breeding rights,
or are so ingrained in the “traditional” Gojira that you won’t be able to get into the adaptation.
Feel like reading more? **SPOILERS** to follow.
(Also, the 2014 Godzilla also looks more like a dog and sounds more like Spielberg’s T-Rex than any prior rendition.)
Okay, so you may have noticed that I’ve been putting and asterisk almost every time I write monster*, and mostly it’s to remind myself that I can’t say that there’s more than one monster without having set up the SPOILER-gate.
This should have been pretty obvious to anyone who has seen a Godzilla movie and can use some basic logic. Of course there is more than one monster; there is no way the military could defeat something that is well over 100 meters tall, breathes fire, and likes to eat nuclear bombs. The ’98 version was an attempt at a Godzilla-only picture, which failed, and other than a few rare Godzilla versus the insignificant mortals pictures, the staggering majority of the 30 Godzilla movies feature Godzilla battling someone else.
So let’s bring the MUTO onto the set. The MUTO is a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism… who flies, and reminds us of an old favorite by a similar name. Okay, fine–one of them flies, and the other (his mate) is a big, lumbering gorilla-lizard-arthropod with an egg sac. They rip everything apart in order to find each other so they can procreate Like Godzilla, they are not shown in full very often, and usually are shot like so:
These MUTOs are mankind’s real enemies, and it’s up to Godzilla to save the world!
Naturally, in trying to help themselves, the human military proposes some very silly solutions to the unbelievably large monster problem. These involve
keeping the cocoon of MUThra, I mean MothO, I mean Mosura in an abandoned nuclear power plant that it destroyed as a baby grub;
constantly forgetting that MUTOs send off EMPs that make your jets useless;
proposing nuclear strikes on things that eat bombs;
not expecting such bombs to be lures for the the things;
assuming that because you “scouted the path,” there is no way a massive flying monster could show up;
or deliberately riding as wingmen vessels to a swimming Godzilla, who would capsize you if he lifted his head.
All in all, you won’t have much faith in the U. S. Military after this, but at least you know Godzilla is on our side this time.
Have fun watching; thanks for reading. Also be sure to check out my Top 10 Summer Remakes and Sequels!