It’s presently 5am and about 7 hours ago I was sitting in the local Cineplex experiencing a modern day American take on a mythos more dear to me than any other. In the grand scheme of things there is no comparison, the Star Wars universe, the Marvel & DC universe, Middle Earth, The Halloween Series, Elm Street, and so many more cannot hold a candle for me to the TOHO Kaiju universe. Give me Godzilla on Monster Island other any other fictional continuity devised by mankind.
I watched the bulk of the movie through means that I refuse to name publically but the impression it left on me combined with the collective opinions of critics that I respect made me very sceptical of this offering. In fact there is only one movie opinion that I hold in any real regard that spoke positively of the film, you can read his official review here.
I cannot say that I agree with his conclusion but I will say without a moment of doubt that I can easily rival his fanboy nostalgia. Godzilla IS my childhood and let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty picture in 1998 with the last American “attempt” at this movie.
If you want a solid review go check out Mr. Pittman’s link, I just want to talk about a few of the significant stand outs for better or ill.
To quote James Rolfe, “It was a Godzilla movie.” That in and of itself may not qualify as a positive thing to say however living in a
post-1998 Godzilla-verse… that is a huge compliment.
Godzilla follows the formula and does it quite well. The bland, uninteresting human drama was made more tolerable by Cranston and Watanabe. If I had to sum up the feeling I got sitting in that theatre as opposed to 16 years ago, it would be that I finally got the feeling that this movie was made to be a Godzilla movie. Gareth Edwards gives us a whole hell of a lot of give-a-damn in his directing and I finally got the feeling that there was someone who cared about the mythos at the helm. In 1998 I was subject to Roland Emmerich trying to make yet another disaster movie blockbuster where he was permitted to destroy New York.
We all know how Roland Emmerich loves blowing things up. He’s like Michael Bay with a natural disaster fetish instead of a military obsession.
Kudos Mr. Edwards, you managed to make a Godzilla movie. I tip my hat to you.
The final act is also something I found everyone tends to agree with. The final act of this movie is absolutely epic, not flawless but epic. The fight could’ve been longer, but for what we got to see on-screen… damn. I won’t be so bold to say it qualifies as redemption for 1998’s train wreck… but it was a pretty damn good conclusion.
Alright this is where I have to be the bad guy. Just give me a second to put on some Kevlar and get my riot shield because I will imagine there’s going to be retaliation from the aforementioned reviewer linked above.
This movie was lacking in so many ways. It was a great first step towards giving us a true modern day Godzilla movie and I really hope they keep this going BUT…
We got to talk about humans. Our main character, Ford is such a bland, generic, boring character. The only thing worse is the fact that about 30 odd minutes through after we see the first MUTO awaken, he becomes a bland, generic, plot device. He has to get a play to Hawaii to catch a flight home… OH the MUTO has decided to attack Hawaii. The military devises a plan to deal with the MUTO… It just so happens it involves Ford’s EXACT expertise allowing him to get involved… There’s a problem later on that needs to be resolved for the final act of the movie… Ford’s exact expertise is required and he’s the only one there able to do it…
This treatment was bordering on Transformer’s Sam territory. It felt like the script was just continually looking for reasons to keep Ford involved on the front lines of all the action.
We have a very weak lead on this film, and his story is by far the least interesting thing going on during this whole ordeal. Godzilla movies have always had very campy and unrealistic human parts before the big battles but I think the problem with this movie is that there are so many other great stories that I would have loved to follow.
There’s so many unanswered questions about Dr. Serizawa. How exactly does he know what he knows about the nature of Godzilla, we find out that his father was a victim of Hiroshima. Considering his work studying this atomic monsters, I feel as though that revelation should be a lot more than a throw away line.
There was a real good compelling plot dancing all around this movie but we have to follow (to quote MovieBob) “his name might as well be Private Player-Character-From-Call-of-Duty.”
Another real big issue I had with this film is the teasing.
No, I am not referring to the building of suspense, that is something that was done quite well earlier on in the film but becomes just unsatisfying teasing later. I’ve been on two minds about this because I feel as though Edwards can have a by on this one due to at least it was trying something new. Instead of showing us a one on one battle the scene cuts to Private Player-Character’s son watching the news report where we get to see some of the action.
My problem is that they do well to build up the tension, then provide an incredible reveal…. to cut away and do nothing with it. This happens more than once and it’s a piss off each time.
The MUTO’s were pretty lame enemies but I am stoked that the script decided to go with the “Godzilla VS” instead of just simply doing another origin of Godzilla attacking man. Through Dr. Serizawa’s interpretation of what was going on they now have a great foundation for sequels.
Edwards brought the Godzilla I remember from childhood to the screen. I was not alive in 1954, and I was only born in 1985 so both of those movies were not my first. I grew up with Godzilla vs Megalon, and Gigan, and King Ghildrah. I had no idea that Godzilla’s true origins were as an unstoppable force meant to punish mankind for use of the atomic bomb. He was always the hero in my eyes that comes to man’s rescue when the monsters from Space Hunter Nebula M came to conquer.
Even though I would chalk it up as a negative trait, since it was stretching the disbelief a little too much, showing that Godzilla was legitimately on the side man and swam off into the horizon after saving our asses.
It makes no sense for the military brass to not want him destroyed, to not fire on him. We all know that’s what would actually happen.
The script was shaking, and it was far from where I want to see it go. but Thank You Mr. Gareth Edwards for bringing back the Godzilla I admired to the big screen. Let’s hope for more to come.
In Short, read Brad’s review. Then go to EscapistMagazine and watch MovieBob’s review..
I am pretty sure I stand in between the two. Not quite as happy as Brad was, but not as jaded as Bob.