Friday, May 16, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I'm not going to post a shitty joke here, I'm just going to say I want to see this movie again!




Godzilla (2014) – 5 out of 5

Godzilla is back, motherfuckers, and he is badder than ever!

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
"What's up, bitches?"


In the early 90s, a nuclear accident leaves Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) a widow and his life ever since has been devoted to finding out what really happened the day his wife died. Joe is convinced that it wasn’t an earthquake or whatever else the government has been telling him. Fifteen years later, he and his military/explosives expert son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) sneak into the quarantine zone where they once lived and discover that there is no radiation but find something far more terrifying. With the help of scientists Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), the government has been hiding an ancient evil monster that caused the nuclear plant’s destruction and has been feeding off the radiation ever since. As expected, the monster escapes and the military scrambles to try and stop this MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) through the use of atomic weapons; however, Serizawa has another plan…a creature from the youthful days of the planet. A monster that rules them all. The ultimate apex predator; the massive Godzilla. However, it is soon discovered that what was thought to be a single MUTO turns out to be two and they’re ready to mate. Now it’s up to the ultimate kaiju to restore balance to nature…

Last year at San Diego Comic-Con, the teaser trailer for Godzilla was released and, even though my brother-in-law and I weren’t at the panel when it was unveiled, we were able to see it thanks to it being shared by the thousands of people who were in attendance; because if Comic-Con is one thing, it’s a big community.  And if it's another thing; it's completely fucking awesome! The moment we saw the HALO jump teaser with the immortal speech from Oppenheimer, we vowed that we would see this film as soon as it came out and we would see it in glorious IMAX presentation…and in motherfuckin’ 3-fucking-D. After nearly a year, we got to see that vow fulfilled and it was everything I wanted from the film!

                                                                                                            Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
When facing Godzilla, you have to enter the city in the most epic way possible...
and since Gipsy Danger wasn't available, it was the HALO jump.


It was sixty—SIXTY!—years ago that the infamous monster hit the screens in Japan and he has been not only a huge (no pun intended) part of pop culture but a massive (again, no pun intended) part of the history of cinema. Sure, looking back now it’s easy to write off the first Godzilla as just a simple monster movie that had a dude in a rubber suit but it was so much more. The commentary about nuclear power and the devastation that the atomic bomb leaves in its wake was embodied in that rubber suit. For decades, the atomic beast has been battling giant monsters and leaving Tokyo in rubble and even though some of these battles and journeys have made for some silly moments, there’s no deny that Toho created an eternal icon back in 1954 and this reboot of his franchise proves that he’s still relevant and capable of being the ultimate badass!

Godzilla is what a summer blockbuster is supposed to be. The scale is huge, the story is perfect for the genre it is working in, the cast is great and the action is spectacular! Director Gareth Edwards created something that really belongs with the rich history for the king kaiju and made a film that more than has a right to belong with the other Godzilla films. Edwards really knew how to show scale and really gave the viewer an experience to remember and he perfectly showcases just how giant Godzilla is—and that is really special because this incarnation of the creature is the biggest yet. Not to mention the special effects used to make him come to life were jaw dropping and it resulted in the most realistic looking representation to date.  How real?  Well, guys like Alex Jones are probably figuring this film is a documentary that shows how Obama created an atomic lizard and has unleashed it on the world because of Benghazi or socialism or whatever stupid crap these people are crying about this week.

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Right now, Alex Jones is saying those eggs are spelling out Obama.


And, of course, you can’t forget that roar!  You can't mess with a classic and this film took that iconic scream and updated (while still remaining true to the source) to make it terrifying, beautiful and completely fucking awesome!



This time around, Godzilla’s origin is slightly changed from the original film. This version of Godzilla wasn’t created and mutated by radiation but is rather an ancient creature from the days when the Earth was just a young, radioactive ball of waste. You can’t have Godzilla without some nuclear elements to him and it was nice the writers didn’t abandon this significant part of the creature’s history. I really like the new direction they took with his origin. There was a striking simplicity to it and they way they used radiation as an active element for the two MUTOs that Godzilla took on was very effective and felt like it belonged with the rest of the franchise. The production was also able to handle the delicate situation of making Godzilla the anti-hero he would eventually become in the old days. Yes, he’s still smashing building and causing massive amounts of destruction and death, but he’s ultimately doing it for the greater good and trying to restore balance to nature. 

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Okay...just how deep was that drop off right there by the island?


Gareth Edwards also does a tremendous job of balancing a film that is both a story about a big ancient beast out to have a pro wrestling match in the middle of a city and a story about humans feeling human-y stuff. The focus of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character and his mission to not only help the military stop Godzilla and the MUTOs but also get back to his wife (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and his son helped the film move forward very well and helped create nice pauses between seeing some monsters roar their way on screen. Not to mention that Bryan Cranston’s character was awesome and Cranston was so damn passionate in the role.

I won’t lie, there were a few very, very, very small things I didn’t like about the film. Number 1) I wanted to see a little more from Ken Watanabe. I really enjoy him as an actor and while he does provide a very somber mood and looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders for his knowledge about Godzilla’s existence, there just wasn’t enough of him in the film. Aside from providing explanation for the monsters, Watanabe’s main purpose seems to be just staring in awe of things. While this isn’t really that bad because these staring off into the distance shots actually work for his character and, believe it or not, helps sell the massive scope of the monster, it still would have been nice to see Watanabe be a little more.

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
I imagine all the looking shots from Watanabe was basically his audition reel
for the next Steven Spielberg film.


And speaking of more, my second, extremely minor complaint was the surprisingly short role of Bryan Cranston. While his role is perfect for the film and he, realistic, has the perfect amount of screen time for the story’s purpose, it still would have been great to see his role expanded and be larger but, and I’m being realistic here, it really wasn’t needed to be stretched out. Like I said, it’s a really, really minor compliant and is really just a personal preference because I really enjoy the man as an actor and nothing is better than more Cranston. However, as it stands, his role works extremely well.

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Add your own Heisenberg reference.


But forget all the stuff about the story, the plot, the special effects, sound and all that other stuff. There is one reason and one reason only I went to see this film: To see Godzilla kick some kaiju ass! There’s no point in pulling punches and I’m not going to get like those other mainstream critics and say the film doesn’t have merit because it is a popcorn summer blockbuster. That is what I liked about the film. The action and spectacle kicks ass! Gareth Edwards was even smart enough to Jaws the shit out of the film (Hey, the family’s last name is Brody) and teased Godzilla and the MUTOs long enough to the point that when they battled, it ended up like it was every Wrestlemania wrapped into one and times by a million...and then drizzled in a heaping helping of awesome-sauce and epic-seasoning.

                                                                                                              Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
The Cloverfield monster was going to show up but he was too much of a pussy.


And when Godzilla finally unveiled his atomic breathe…I nearly jumped out of my seat and pumped my fist in the air.

                                                                                                              Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
But to be honest, when Godzilla is involved, it's hard to keep your fist from involuntarily
shooting towards the sky.


I’m not going to call Godzilla a perfect summer movie but—no, wait, fuck that.  I will call it a perfect summer movie. The scope is huge, the action is more than satisfying, the story is great and it’s a new, fresh start to the most infamous movie monster to ever backhand a skyscraper. I went into the film with huge (sorry) expectations and the film met them and then decides to tail whip them into the stratosphere and deliver even better. The only thing that worries me is the fact America doesn’t take too kindly to the “big monster” film genre and they have never had a history of performing well at the box office (take Pacific Rim, for example. The movie never promised to be anything more than giant fucking robots fighting giant fucking kaiju but people still bitched that it was predictable.  Honestly, what were they expecting in the film?  A restless romance?  A deep intellectual study of human emotions and layered character development?).  I hope that this Godzilla changes that and makes fucking bank so that we get more and get to see this new, larger Godzilla take on more kaiju.

And just so we never forget, I'll just leave this here...

4 comments:

  1. The movie never promised to be anything more than giant fucking robots fighting giant fucking kaiju but people still bitched that it was predictable. Honestly, what were they expecting in the film? A restless romance? A deep intellectual study of human emotions and layered character development?

    I actually thought the original Japanese "Gojira" had some pretty decent characters. It also involved a kind of love triangle. I also thought there were more interesting characters and better emotional beats in "Pacific Rim".

    It sounds like you had really low expectations for this Godzilla film, but after seeing Gareth Edwards directorial debut "Monsters" I thought this was going to be something really special. I wasn't expecting something so cold and lifeless.

    And beyond that, there are serious logical gaps in the film too. From another blog I follow:
    Due to an EMP weapon/field/thingy, no electronics of any sort are usable within a 5 mile radius of the monster. This also kills engines and things and FOR SOME REASON causes airplanes to fall straight down instead of gliding, but we'll ignore that. This explains the HALO jump from the trailer: They jump out of an airplane that's *6* miles up, and parachute in, to get to the center of the 5-mile-radius sphere ASAP. That's fine.

    When they land, it's dark. So they turn on their flashlights and pull out their bleepy GPS thing to find the coordinates of their target.

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    1. Low expectations for "Godzilla?" Did you read my review?

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  2. It frustrated me that Ford Brody was set up as an EOD expert and thank god the military has him and then he just kinda goes to plan B right away and uses none of his skills. Also? It teased just a bit too much in the middle when we should have seen a bit more of Godzilla fighting. The fights happened and we just don't get to see them. Still a lot of fun, but I give it 3.5 out of 5.

    And while I'd nitpick the designs of what Godzilla fights, the reason for the HALO jump was because the EMP thing was possible, but it wasn't a constant thing. So their tracker could definitely work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brody's expertise was a complete waste, I agree with that.

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