Godzilla is about, well… Godzilla. But there’s much more to this movie, we start off in the Philippines (hurray?) then you get destruction, monsters, man thinking the nuclear option is always the last best hope, oh and did I mention monsters?
After 1998’s Godzilla: Final Wars,the Toho staple was done, Toho announced that they wouldn’t be making any more Godzilla movies. But it’s 2014… and we have a reboot helmed by Gareth Edwards and penned by Max Borenstein. Let the smashing begin!
The good; I’m going to start with Gareth Edwards. You may previously know him from his film Monsters (previously review here), if you’ve seen Monsters you know that Edwards is a good choice for Godzilla. Even with the plot of this film, you can see similarities with Monsters, it’s a bit of a spoiler, so I won’t go into too much detail. But the similarities involved two monsters trying to obtain a similar goal.
Other than that, Edwards knows how to build up to a scene, we only get glimpses of Godzilla in the first two acts of the film, but we see the massive destruction left in the wake of the battle. It really reminded me of the rolling hook for Close Encounters of The Third Kind, just marvelous the way the film builds up to the climactic battle, making it truly climatic.
There’s a whole lotta destruction going on here, but it’s not the complainy kind like in Man of Steel, Goyer and company helming the new DC film world should take a page from Godzilla, buildings are demolished with little more than a walk or a sway… yet the civilians are evacuated, as best that can be done that is.
This brings to mind Godzilla himself… he’s seen as this threat, but yet he saves people, there’s a scene where some missiles are accidentally (I think) shot at the Golden Gate Bridge as a bus load of children (and probably nuns) is caught in the cross fire, Godzilla deflects those missiles.?!?! All the while he’s being shot at by the military.
Moving on to the writing, Borenstein does a great job having our main character focus shift several times during the film, I mean, it’s really handled beautifully. Most movies do their darnedest to pull off one main character, but you open with Ken Watanabe, then Bryan Cranston, then Aaron Taylor-Johnson, all the meanwhile peppering in Godzilla. It’s sounds like a lot to juggle, King Kong certainly couldn’t, but you don’t miss a beat here with the shifts. You can really tell that Edwards and Borenstein are fans of the Godzilla mythos, they managed to update the character and yet keep the spirit intact in the telling of the origin, and what’s even more is that they keep Godzilla, well… Godzilla.
I have to mention the soundtrack and sound effects, this is a case where both work perfectly. That over used bellowing droning works well with the monsters and their sound design. It adds this weight that you already get with the amazing CG rendering, but the sound effects are massive and booming. Then the soundtrack itself, it’s dark and haunting! Just like the trailer has it, but it works so well to amplify the dire situation that’s facing mankind.
The bad; if I have to put anything here… let’s start with the trailer. The trailer portrays a different movie, but the movie you actually get is an awesome surprise.
I liked the twist where the monsters fight on American soil… while we do get some Japanese destruction, I just wanted more in say Tokyo or something in Japan.
That aside, this is much better than the 1998 attempt… but I just wanted more with Asia. I mean, that’s Godzilla right?
Overall, this is the summer movie for me. We get a summer tentpole, cause it’s got; monsters, explosions, tidal waves, mass destruction, the army, plane crashes, a hero, a love interest, and awesome fight scenes. It’s definitely not the blockbuster fluff that Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin churn out;
There’s destruction without that Man of Steel survivor’s guilt going on, things blow up, and they blow up well! But with a purpose, no thanks Michael Bay…
I’m just really impressed with the shift in main characters, one in particular, but to expand on this thought would be a spoiler, when you see what I’m talking about, it’ll come as a shocker.
Go see Godzilla in the theatres, 3D is not needed, but a good time is required. If you don’t like this movie, then you don’t know squat.
Oh did you catch Optimus Prime? Garry Chalk? After Peter Cullen, Chalk has voice Prime more often ,and there’s a little Mothra “east egg,” did you catch it?