Monday, May 19, 2014

Movie Review: Godzilla 2014

 I am a bit of a Godzilla fan, so when I first heard a new Godzilla was coming I was cautiously optimistic, especially after the Matthew Broderick Godzilla movie. But with every bit of news and every new teaser I grew more and more excited, and when I finally saw the Japanese trailer that was it!  I saw Godzilla this past Sunday with some friends, the quick and dirty I enjoyed the movie! Is it better than the 1998 Godzilla with Matthew Broderick? ABSOLUTELY! (I would go so far as to say that wasn't a Godzilla movie), Is it better than Cloverfield? Yes, Is it better than Pacific Rim? Yes. But lets compare Apples to Apples. How does Gareth Edwards Godzilla stack up to it's predecessors? Visually, I would have to say it's my second favorite next to Godzilla Vs Destoroyah. The MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) were interesting and the creatures definitely felt like they belonged in the Godzilla universe.
For the Godzilla fan's there were alot of easter eggs in the movie, and since a sequel has already been confirmed if Mothra doesn't show up I'd be very surprised! Ken Watanabe play's Dr. Serizawa (yup same name as the Doc from the 54' original) works for an organization called Monarch, hell the scene where  Joe Brody (Brian Cranston) returns to his home in the Quarantine zone there's a framed pic of a moth with the word Mothra beneath it!
Brian Cranston knocked it out of the park, the scene at the Janjira power plant was still powerful even after pretty much seeing it in the trailers dozens of times.
Some people complained that Ken Watanabe's character was under utilized, I can agree with that, I got the impression Serizawa and Monarch were going to be more prominent based on the scene where they were being evacuated from the quarantine zone. But in the end Serizawa came across as an amalgamation of Confucius and an Ecologist. My only issue with his character...or moreso with Admiral William Stentz (David Straithairn) was when Serizawa tells the other member of Monarch STFU I'm going up to the flight deck of the aircraft carrier to watch Godzilla. First I highly doubt Dr. Serizawa got an "All Access Pass" on the USS Saratoga, second his behavior betrayed his character in my opinion....just like those dumb ass scientists in Prometheus.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson play's Ford Brody, the son of Joe Brody. Cranston did such a great job with his roll that Johnson's performance felt kinda muted in comparison, he came across wudeva this ain't the end of the world, which he actually says to Elle (Elizabeth Olsen). I just wished he showed a little more emotion when he is told the truth about Godzilla and the MUTO's by Dr Serizawa and Dr Whatshername. The way I saw the scene play out was Serizawa explains everything to Ford and is like "Yeeeeeeah sorry 'bout you're dad, he wasn't you thought. and then Aron Taylor Johnson is like "harsh".

Elizabeth Olsen's role might have been small but she did a fine job with it in my opinion, she showed believable emotion especially that phone conversation in the hospital with Ford.

Ok now to the star of the movie, Gojira! I loved the design, he wasn't fat, his proportions were pretty faithful to the Millenium series Gojira. I know some people were turned off by the fact that it took three quarters of the movie before shit got real, and that the "teases" were frustrating. I liked the unique ways Gareth Edwards choose to show the early confrontations between Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.. I loved the scene where Ford and Elle's son Sam is watching TV and a special report interupts his show and he sees Godzilla fighting the Male MUTO, he has this look like any child who would see "dinosaurs" fighting in a city. As rediculous as the scene was, I really loved the HALO jump scene, doing a HALO jump into a battle between 3 Kaiju just seems stupid to me but I understand that was there soley for the 3D and truth be told the scene was pretty f'n cool!
I believe the old adage "less is more" really applies to this Godzilla movie because when the Battle by the Bay finally kicked into high gear it was amazing! And when Godzilla finally unleashes his atomic breath it there was such an energy in the theater, I wanted to yell out "GET SOME!"

I've read a few reviews that complain that the characters were insignificant and under developed, I wonder sometimes if fans will ever be satisfied. We complain about the Bayformers movies because the Transformers take a back seat to the humans, and now we're complaining that the human characters seemed insignificant in a Godzilla movie....really? Isn't that kinda the point?

All the issues I mentioned are pointless because at the end this is a Godzilla movie...Ford, Dr. Serizawa, the military are all just means to an end, and by the end the movie I was totally satisfied. If you went into see Godzilla expecting human drama and non stop Kaiju action you're probably gonna walk away disappointed.

In the end it was a fun way to kick off the summer blockbusters and I can't wait till G2...besides Mothra what other Toho Kaiju do you want to see in the sequel? I hope we see either King Ghidora or Biolante in the sequel!