Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Godzilla is one of those characters that is timeless, yet dated. You look at the majority of the Godzilla films from the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's, and you will see films that may not "hold up" by today's standards, but there is a reason why it has lasted now 7 decades. The character himself. He resonates with most people. Whether it's the serious aspects of the character (commentary on atomic warfare), or whether it's to give you your fix on mayhem, destruction and chaos. Both sides of the spectrum and all in between are what make Godzilla a character like no other. I almost look at Godzilla much like Rambo. The first film in the series dabbles in the serious effects of war and the consequences of creating a killing machine. And then you have the sequels. Cheesy & fun, but losing sight of what it initially intended to be. Obviously, Godzilla lends itself to straight-forward cheese more-so than Rambo.

So here we are, 2014, and Godzilla is still alive and well. Of course us 'Mericans had a slight (major understatement, I know) hiccup in 1998. But this entry in the franchise is more than enough to make up for the abortion of a film released in 1998. So lets delve in, shall we?

First and foremost, the design of 'ole Goji MUST be right. It is not a flawless design, but I would say they got 90% of it right. The way I see Godzilla is almost like a construction cone. The base of his body has to be huge. The less stealthy, the more menacing, in my eyes. Godzilla should be brute power and destruction. He's not a fucking Velociraptor. He needs thighs, and they surely gave 'em to him. But the most important is his head. The one thing that always made Godzilla's look successful were the cat-like features he possessed. Look at Jurassic Park. What made the designs work so well, was the fact they went with bird-like features (which is accurate) as opposed to making them too lizard-esque (hissing tongues, etc.).

THE ROAR. I loved what they did with his roar in this one. Though, I do think it's maybe a TAD too electronic sounding. It's essentially the classic roar, but beefed up with more layers of who knows what. Along with the design, the roar is essential to NOT fucking up. As silly as it sounds, if you're on the fence with the movie at that point, that roar can really make or break the film for you. The film is batting 2 and 0 so far.

The humans. The casting for the film was pretty decent, though it could have been stronger. Getting Bryan Cranston on board was a HUGE plus, considering (much like most of America will agree) that he proved himself as a tremendous actor thanks to Breaking Bad. Though, Aaron Taylor-Johnson was not bad, he could not carry the film on his own when Cranston's character had to take a "coffee break" (spoiler?). Ken Watanabe is someone I like as an actor (fucking Last Samurai), and I did actually like him in this, but he just looked so fucking angrily confused in every shot of the movie. Almost as if someone had hurled an insult at him that he didn't quite understand the meaning of, but had to look pissed and offended anyway. That being said, he was still enjoyable.

The MUTO creatures were a pleasant surprise. Warner Bros. really sold this as a disaster flick, and not a monster-on-monster film. Which is a win/win in my eyes. One, it gives you that element of surprise that almost no fucking films have nowadays. And two, I think that was their counter-response to preventing it from flopping on U.S. soil like Pacific Rim. The creature designs for the MUTO's were rad as hell as well. I mean, not wholly original, but that's okay. If a couple thousand Starship Troopers arachnids had gangbanged the Cloverfield monster: MUTO's. And I love all 3 parties involved.

The score was one of the underwhelming aspects of the film for me. Granted, I did like the score. But nothing REALLY stood out. There was no theme that I attached to. The theme that played during the opening credits worked really well with the eerie bomb footage. But aside from that, I was never anticipating a particular theme aside from the classic Godzilla theme. I knew they weren't going to use that them due to it being too "dated", but I think there is a way you can really make it work in today's day and age. Whether it's slowed down or played at an extremely low bass level. All in all, Alexandre Desplat did a pretty decent job. Come to think of it, his best musical pieces were played during the establishing geography shots. Though, the end theme was a little too "America" for me.

Two major gripes that I know a lot of people have are: Godizilla's screen time and the fights. I'll address how happy I was with the amount of screen time Godzilla had. It all goes back to JAWS-syndrome. You never see the damn shark fully until half-way through. Now granted, you don't have incredible characters like Quint, Hooper and Brody to tide you over. Regardless, it's the "less is more" theory. I do understand a lot of people's issues with the fight itself. It does cut away far too often. But factor in this: Until a couple weeks prior to it's release, most people didn't even know there were other monsters in the film (myself included). So for me, I was delighted to even see a fight. And to top it off, we didn't get ONE radioactive breath, we got TWO radioactive breaths! Two of those motherfuckers.

I am really happy with how this film turned out. And especially being a sophomore directorial effort from Gareth Evans... Kudos. The budget for the film was required, and appeared to be put to use because the majority of the FX looked great. You can't win all the shots, but most of them were pretty well-crafted. A year ago, in my mind, there was no reason why this film should have been good. Turns out, fuck me.

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