Warning: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, no array or string given in /home/profwagstaff/profwagstaff.com/public/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php on line 298

Godzilla (2014)

2014 May 25
by profwagstaff

The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around. Let them fight.

godzilla2014

Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Max Borenstein/Dave Callaham
Based on monster created by: Shigeru Kayama/Ishiro Honda/Takeo Murata

Man, I was excited by the fact that the director of Monsters was going to be making a Godzilla movie! How did it turn out? We’ll see after these behemoths.

MALEFICENT–It’s always nice when a good witch gets her due. Here, we get to see the back story of Sleeping Beauty’s arch nemesis. Even better, the evil sorceress is played by Angelina Jolie for what is her first meaty role in years. (By the way, those are actually her real cheek bones. They tone them down in other movies.) Looks like a lot of fun and a good dark flick for Disney. We’ll see.

EDGE OF TOMORROW–You know what makes me want to see this? I kinda like Doug Liman. Emily Blunt is pretty awesome. And Tom Cruise dies. A lot. Like, a lot a lot. This is Groundhog Day remade as a sci-fi action thriller. Every time Tom dies, he comes back closer to winning some war…and probably getting the girl. Might see it in theatres. Might just wait for video. Depends on what I hear about it.

22 JUMP STREET–It’s still hard for me to believe how good the first movie was. Can this one be that good? I kind of doubt it, but I’m willing to try it out. The preview looks good enough with a few good laughs. I’m a little worried, but not enough to completely blow it off. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are awesome together.

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION–Mark Wahlberg lost me when he said that he trusts Michael Bay and is just along for the ride. Fuck that. This looks just as bad as all the rest of these movies. A decent actor in the lead role can’t help it. Especially when said good actor doesn’t care that his director is bullshit.

THE EXPENDABLES III–When did Kelsey Grammar become a tough guy?

THE MAZE RUNNER–I know nothing about this book, but the movie looks pretty cool. It’s Lord Of The Flies meets Labyrinth. A bunch of boys are for some reason stuck on one side of a maze. It opens every once in a while to let a couple of them in. They always die. A new kid appears and he’s…different. Then a girl shows up. Can they beat the maze? I dunno, but I’m interested.

Ok. Let’s check out these here kaiju.

So, as I said earlier, a few years back there was a movie called Monsters. It was about two people who were trying to make it through an “infected zone,” which happened to be the entire northern half of Mexico. There were aliens in that area and a giant wall was being built along the US border to keep them out.

Get it?!

The movie was really about the two people, though. They went through this area trying their best to get home, but getting to know each other and the people who lived in Mexico. They also learned a thing or two about those aliens.

It’s a pretty powerful movie with hardly any action in it at all. It’s a character study that just happened to have a few special effects in it.

I won’t say that I was hoping for the same thing with a Godzilla movie, but I was hoping for something more than what I got.

In this latest version of the story (which actually IS a continuation of the very first movie from 1954), we meet Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), the head of a nuclear power plant outside of Tokyo. In 1999, that plant went tits up. Seriously. It fell over and sank into the ground.

Instead of building another one on top if it, though, they sealed off the entire area and told people that it was too dangerous to live there anymore. Joe took his son, Ford, and went a little crazy. Of course it didn’t help that the accident forced him to seal his wife (Juliette Binoche) in a part of the plant that was exploding. That would drive me a little bit over the edge, too.

For the next 15 years, Joe studied the seismic activity that happened just before the accident. He finds a connection between it and the same activity that happened in 1954 when a giant monster attacked Japan. Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) knows there’s a connection, but doesn’t fully understand it. Or does he?

Meanwhile, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has just come home from the military to his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and son (Carson Bolde). Just as he’s about to get comfortable, he gets a call that his dad is in a Japanese prison and he has to go get him out.

Soon enough, Ford is put back to work in Japan fighting a giant monster that no one remembered existed, along with two other monsters that might be the real problem.

In 1954, Godzilla/Gojira was a pretty crazy concept. Giant monsters? How could that be good? Well, first off, don’t make it too obvious that it’s a guy in a rubber suit. Second, make it ABOUT something. Just nine years after the bombs were dropped at the end of WWII, Godzilla was a cautionary tale about nuclear power. Godzilla was created by the testing of nuclear weapons mixing with prehistoric fossils or something like that.

What people tend to forget is that first movie was pretty fucking bleak. It was a serious film that spawned hundreds of silly sequels that just got sillier until the 1998 Roland Emmerich fiasco. That pretty much killed Godzilla in ways that Mothra never could. (By the way, Mothra almost makes a cameo in this film.) It’s bloody awful and should be killed with fire.

Edwards and his crew are doing their best to bring the series back to its roots, although they do use the sequels’ “anti-hero” stance on Godzilla. In the first film, he was the villain. No question. He just came in and terrorized Tokyo. It was the later films that had him coming back to destroy other kaiju, saving humanity…while killing probably thousands of humans in the process.

Oh well. There are far too many of us anyway.

None of this do I have a problem with. I love Godzilla. I love the MUTOs. I love their design and the way they fight (although I could have done with MORE fighting instead of a lot of it taking place off screen.) I’m even ok with the fact that they change Godzilla’s origin story. (Now he actually IS a prehistoric creature that wasn’t created by nuclear power, but he’s POWERED by it.) What I’m not ok with is the fact that we don’t give a shit about ANY of the characters.

Let me start with this: There is a big complaint against this movie about the treatment of the one major Japanese character, Dr Serizawa. Basically, that complaint says that Godzilla is a Japanese monster. Why is the one Japanese character not given any character at all? Why are we only really concerned with the white people in the movie?

To that, some people will say, “If they movie had been made in India, it would have been mainly peopled with Indians. If it had been made in England, it would have been mainly peopled with British people. What’s the big deal?”

To this I say, “The movie takes place mostly in Japan. Why is there only one Japanese character? And why is that character completely characterless?”

Seriously. I know nothing about Dr. Serizawa except his name and his job. That and he’s fairly pragmatic about the fact that Godzilla is nature coming back to bite us in the ass. Does he have a family? Is he a workaholic? Does he really give a shit about anything at all that’s going on around him? What’s his stake in any of this?

There are exactly two characters in this movie that the audience is made to care about and they are dispatched within the first half hour of the film. I don’t care about Ford because, as much as I like Aaron Taylor-Johnson (mostly on the basis of the first Kick Ass movie and an REM video directed by his wife), he’s pretty boring here. As talented as I think Elizabeth Olsen is, she’s not given shit to do but run around, scream and look worried about her missing husband. Ken Watanabe is a great actor. He does nothing here. Absolutely nothing.

Another issue? There’s no logic to how these monsters work. The MUTOs send out EMP pulses that take out all power for a fairly large radius. Big Godzilla fans will know that this would come in VERY handy when dealing with the Big Guy. Nope. Just kind of forgotten about.

Oh well. I guess we can’t win ’em all, can we? I should have known we were in trouble as far as logic and editing were concerned when, at the beginning, there’s a scene with Mrs. Brody running down a hallway with two men. Depending on the shot, she was either in front of or behind these men. She was wherever it was convenient for the audience to see her.

Sigh…

Gareth Edwards is already signed on to make a sequel, according to IMDb. He’s also apparently making one of the new Star Wars films. Hopefully he’ll bring his Monsters game to those and not his Godzilla game. Really, anyone could have made this movie. And that’s disappointing.

Ok. Michael Bay couldn’t have made this movie. He would have fucked it up FAR worse. We wouldn’t have even cared about the monsters in his version.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS