Everything that this movie is.
A word of caution: don’t go into this movie expecting Pacific Rim, WWZ, Troll Hunters, that one movie that was shot with the shaky cam (can’t remember what the hell it’s called), that terrible 2000 something Godzilla travesty, or even the old Godzilla (Godjira). You won’t get it.
Before I begin, those of you who have been around this blog for a while, know my review policy. For those of you who don’t, or who haven’t been around long enough, the short and sweet is; I will never give a book or movie five stars. It defeats the purpose of a review. How annoying is it to go into Amazon and see a five star review consisting of OH MY GOD THIS THING IS AWESOME (insert your own choice of spelling here). Conversely, one star reviews amount to the same thing. So, my rating system ranges from 1.5 to 4.5 with 4.5 being the highest I will ever give something.
And now you know.
Back to the movie.
I’ll tell you why in a minute.
This movie is not your typical monster movie. Godzilla doesn’t show himself until 1/2 way through and he isn’t the rampaging monster I was expecting. Actually I expected to hate this entire movie. Despite its trailer promises and sophisticated computer effects, I went into the theatre expecting to hate the movie. In its entirety. I was ready to slam it as soon as it was over and the doors opened.
I did none of these things.
I came out of the movie with a stupid grin plastered to my face, my eyes wide, and GODZILLA! erupting from my mouth. For a while it was all my mother and I could do to create a coherent sentence that didn’t have “awesome” and “holy shit” attached to it.
I want this movie to be a book. If only for the reason that the human characters (who you’re supposed to care about but don’t as much as you really should) needed something more than just expository language. They actually needed to be people, and have the script to support it. And SOMEONE needs to teach Hollywood how to write for the military. Props that they used “say again” instead of “repeat” on the radio.
They also used “over” and “out” correctly. NOT “over and out”. Dear God, I could create an entire blog post on radio etiquette, I swear. I will give the movie props for not making Admiral Stenz out to be a crazy ass military man. Joe Navy, he did not need to be and thankfully, wasn’t.
Seriously, though. No sailor ever demands “Situational Awareness” from a scientist.
I know this.
I was in the Navy.
Never once did one of the chiefs go to someone and say “I understand you have Situational Awareness about blasy blasy blah”
AT MOST they would demand a SITREP. But they wouldn’t call it “situational awareness”.
Writers, take note.
None of this detracted from the movie. I just laughed.
I really wanted to get inside the heads of these characters, and I felt myself wanting a little more explained than just what was necessary to keep the plot moving forward; to get us to Godzilla. If it were a book, I’d like to think it would be something along the lines of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. But I digress.
The movie follows Ford Brody, the son of two American engineers stationed (?) in Japan’s Jinjira Nuclear Facility. Strange earthquake-like tremors put the facility on high alert. An EMP blast sets their world aflame and ushers in a catastrophe that leaves one man broken and a little boy running away from his problems. Fifteen years later we pick up the story with Ford’s father Joe Brody, a scientist turned truther, two scientists from an international organsation, and a now grown up EOD Lieutenant Ford Brody. Jinjira hides the monster that took Ford’s mother away from him. Nevada hides its mate. San Fransisco is the spawning ground and Godzilla is Mamma Natures way of keeping the balance.
Like its predecessor, 2014’s Godzilla is a commentary. Whereas Godjira was Japan’s way of dealing with the terror of another nuclear attack, Godzilla is speaking on man’s arrogance and the things that he creates to destroy the world we live in. The Muto (Mothra/Battra) are the antagonists of the movie; surviving for thousands of years on man’s nuclear waste. They eat that shit like tic tacs and make no excuses for it. They’ve been living off the energy produced from the Earth’s core, but our versions are so much easier to get to. The Muto destroy cities to get at it, and need the constant power to spawn.
Godzilla is the check to that system.
He’s bigger, badder, and tired of your shit.
The emotions conveyed by Godzilla and the Muto are the high point of the movie. The battles are awesome, but not as hell bent as Pacific Rim. You’re still on the edge of your seat very much wanting Godzilla to win, but allowed to appreciate the raw power of these primordial creatures. I was surprised to sympathise with both Muto and Godzilla.
After all, nature just wants to take her course.
The movie is a slow burn and worth the wait to see the monsters. The subtext is hard to miss, but doesn’t make a point of slapping you upside the head. The actors, though stellar in their own right, are constrained by an uninspired script.
This movie is worth the watch. Twice. In IMAX.
Godzill is an homage to the Godjira of my mum’s generation and a warning to mine.
Godzilla opens today in theatres everywhere.