Tag Archives: Godzilla

Godzilla Review

Here is my review of the 2014 version of Godzilla. I warn you ahead of time that this post will have spoilers, so please do not read until after you’ve seen the movie. You’ve been warned.

Isn’t it Gojira? This last weekend, I had the chance to watch the new Godzilla film, and I have to say, I was pretty excited about it. My history with the King of Monsters is pretty well documented, and I hoped that this film would make up for the 1998 abomination.

I’m approaching this review not from a stand-alone movie but as a representative for a franchise. The movie wasn’t exactly a reboot, as it recognizes the fact that Godzilla existed since at least the 1940s, but it does include characters from the original version, like Dr. Serizawa. I feel like the 2014 version made some interesting choices that I did not expect.

Admit it. You miss the rubber suit. Visually, this movie was stunning. I am typically not a fan of lots of computer graphics, but in the case of Godzilla movies … I’m not sure how else it can be done well. I loved the use of smoke and dirt and fog to obscure the creatures. That helped, I think. And keeping so much of it from a human perspective helped as well in keeping the monster somewhat real-feeling. Visuals have always been the weakest part of the Godzilla franchise, so it’s pretty easy to score well here. Still, I love that they kept more consistent to the original monster, with the spikes and the vertical gait.

Thematically, I also thought they treated the original Godzilla story with respect. Godzilla, Godzilla 1985, and Godzilla 2014 are all political movies. The original Godzilla is one big metaphor for a nuclear bomb in an increasingly Westernized Japan. Godzilla 1985 deals with the tensions of the Cold War. In this version of Godzilla, it seems to use the Fukushima nuclear disaster as inspiration. In this sense, I think the filmmakers did an excellent job of maintaining the thematic quality of Godzilla while modernizing it.

I was a bit surprised, and a little disappointed, in their choice to use the sort of “Godzilla protecting man from other monsters” version of the big guy. In my opinion, the best Godzilla movies are ones where he is wrecking Tokyo and other cities like a force of nature. I thought it was odd when that same Godzilla would come in to save Japan from various monsters. And this movie tried to explain it by having Godzilla act as a super-predator to the Mutos (Mothra? Muto? Get it?), but when he killed the giant creatures, he didn’t eat them. He just walked away. I could be wrong, but shouldn’t a predator be looking to eat its prey? Was it sport hunting?

My biggest issue with the movie was the human story. I thought Bryan Cranston’s Joe Brody was great, but they killed him off quick and left Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Who? Exactly.) to carry the movie. What a lame plot they left for the human drama. It was essentially the exact same thing as Will Smith in Independence Day. Pretty character is invested in helping save the city that is being destroyed, because, dammit, his family’s in there! I feel like I can hear Harrison Ford shouting, “Bring me back my family!” The human drama, which made up most of the movie, was lame. Very lame.

Holy Crap! Finish already! Okay, okay. So, this version of Godzilla, while a huge improvement of the 1998 version, is pretty flawed. The monster is treated with respect, but the super-predator plot line didn’t hold up. And the human story … well … sucked. But despite all that, here is my rating:

Theatre One: Yes, I know that’s my highest rating. And no, it doesn’t deserve that, but this is a movie that is worth seeing in the theater. The sound is huge and the visuals are crazy. Watch it in the theater, but know that it’s not going to be a fantastic movie. It’s a fun movie. It’s a summer movie. Let me know what you think.

3 Comments Posted in Movie Reviews Tagged ,

Godzilla, King of Monsters!

So, I, rather famously, grew up as a big Godzilla fan, and with a new movie coming out (which I plan to see soon {watch for reviews if you’re unsure}), I figured I’d talk about the Godzilla canon.

Famously unread, maybe. When I was a kid, I slept ever night with a big plastic Godzilla. I’m not sure what drew me to this giant monster. May have just been I was crazy about dinosaurs. What kid isn’t?

Anyway, I have watched (and owned at some point) most every Godzilla movie between the 1956 American version of the original and Godzilla 1985 (a movie I’m struggling to find). I have always enjoyed the story, and a couple of years ago, I decided to rewatch the original Godzilla film. Despite the fact that Godzilla movies are fantastic B-movie fodder for worst movies ever lists, mostly for scenes like this, the original is actually a decent movie. Yes, the effects are pretty bad, given the time period, but it’s a smart movie that questions humanity’s use of super weapons, even in the face of massive destruction.

Canon? More like CAN’T … on. Hmm. Well, anyway, just like so many franchises, I feel like a few decent and interesting movies get tainted by a series of ridiculous movies. And the movies that I feel like deserve some consideration are the bookends of what I watched: the original, and Godzilla 1985. Why? Well, they make the most sense … or any sense. In the other movies, it’s like Godzilla is a different character, protecting Japan from other monsters (though if I remember right, Mothra protects Japan from Godzilla, but that’s an outlier). But which is he? Destroyer or protector? I feel like he can’t be both, and for that reason, I reject those other films.

Wow. Somehow, I’ve lost respect for you. As this new version comes out, yes, the effects will be better (though they were better in the ghastly 1998 version … buh), and yes, it will be less campy, but I hope that they will stick to similar ideas and themes. I would recommend, if you have not seen the older version yet, that you watch the original American version of Godzilla before you watch the new one. It’s available on Netflix, and it’s a fun watch.

Also, for some reason, I’m crazy about the Godzilla theme. It gets in my head. Give it a listen:

Godzilla's Theme by Akira Ifukube on Grooveshark

Anyway, watch the original. Give it a chance. I know most people struggle with the idea of old movies, especially black and white ones, and especially movies that seem so weird and goofy, but if you’re open-minded, I bet you’ll enjoy it. I’d love to know what you think … I can’t wait to see the new version. It looks pretty sweet.

1 Comment Posted in Movie Reviews Tagged