**Mild Spoilers – Nothing Direct**
The King of the Monsters – that is what they once called him. There was a time in past when Godzilla was more of a spoof character (not specifically talking about the 1998 American version, but that’s certainly part of the consideration). As with any movie franchise at a certain point the developers run out of ways to make good films and they just start making things people will hopefully shell out money to see.
This revamp of the Godzilla character, directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters) who makes his blockbuster movie debut with this film comes out swinging for the fences.
The writer, Max Borenstein is a relative unknown with no major motion picture experience; which unfortunately shows in the human character development.
Let’s start with the bad, since there isn’t much and there’s no terrible. I am of the camp who thinks that monster movies should focus on the monsters; especially in a Godzilla movie where you can have epic battles and don’t need an intricate character-drive script to tell an amazing story. “Godzilla fights a Monster in downtown San Francisco for an hour” – Best. Pitch. Ever.
The problem with Godzilla from a human character standpoint is Borenstein tries to make us care – I’m assuming with the hope that the audience will then care more that these people are in danger. They even tried to establish the fatality element with killing a “main” character early on. But in reality, American movies have a track-record of not letting focal characters die so even when they are in “danger” they’re really not.
I never once care about the humans in this movie; the acting isn’t bad, it’s not the actors fault – I wasn’t compelled by the nature of their story to become invested. Other than Ken Watanabe’s character, who has maybe all of 20, introspective and impactful lines. Now; on to the good stuff.
GODZILLA IS A BADASS.
Taking inspiration from some of the cheesier Japanese movies in the past Godzilla is the good guy – even though the United States military may have alternate ideas about that. The scene where you first see him brings back so many memories of all the previous incarnations and his feet (which are the first part you see) look somewhat funny because they are so thick and stumpy, but when you see him in all his glory it is a sight to behold.
In the story, Godzilla is basically a bully – like the Earth is his playground and if you think you’re badass enough to play here we’re going to rumble and I will probably breathe fire in your face. Watanabe’s character is who first realizes that Godzilla isn’t part of the problem but is their only chance at a solution, he has a great line where an Admiral asks his advice for solving the problem with the creatures rampaging though the Western United States and he just says, “let them fight”.
The overarching story involving the creatures is solid – I don’t want to give anything away but it makes sense from a natural order perspective. Special effects are masterful and though you are left wishing the fight scenes between Godzilla and his opponent were even longer there is still plenty of destruction for the rampaging glutton inside you. To that point, there’s even a scene where an entire skyscraper falls on top of Godzilla…seriously.
The film’s been out in the US for about 36 or so hours and if you haven’t seen it yet, get off your ass and go to the earliest show you can today. I went to a theatre that is notoriously dead (as it is in a mall that barely even exists anymore) and it was still a relatively full seating.
As with any action-laden movie viewing thus on the big-screen is a must, but when you see Godzilla fill the screen and roar, don’t be surprised if your pants feel funny.
Until next time,
I remain your Bin Fodder Movie Reviewer Extraordinaire.