Dir: Gareth Edwards
I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Godzilla movies. They honestly have not been very good – at the best they have been great camp and at the worst they have been completely boring to the point you just want Godzilla to destroy everything and move on to something else. To me, the franchise is at its best when they goofy scientists and little kids provide a little bit of story moving, and more of Godzilla kicking whomever’s hiney all over greater Japan.
The last attempt at a US made Godzilla was back in 1998, and at the time I recall it being disappointing and full of forced “in-jokes” like Mayor Ebert that just fell flat. Plus Godzilla looked ridiculous. I seem to remember writing a Movie Czar Reel Review about it (an old email list of movie reviews. Maybe a long time Club Josh visitor has a copy??) but alas I probably have it on an old Zip drive (that’s a bad in-joke for those of you who watch Godzilla 2014).
Getting to this year’s version of Godzilla. I really enjoyed the movie. It was much easier to follow than the last Godzilla movie I watched – Godzilla Final Wars (which I cannot recommend enough for pure out of left field confusion and awesomeness at the same time). The story centers around Ford Brody an Navy man who has a father (Bryan Cranston) who’s obsessed with an accident at the nuclear facility in Japan way back in 1999. Most of the Japan nuclear stuff seemed a bit awkward with Fukushima and the 3/11/11 Tohoku disaster still fresh in our minds, but the movie tip-toes around it and thankfully before too long we are in Hawaii. Poor Ford just wants to get back to his wife and kid in San Francisco, but Godzilla and some newly awakend M.U.T.Os just get in the way.
It’s an enjoyable journey through the 123 minutes but I have to say some of the early glimpses of Godzilla and the M.U.T.O. battling it out tease us as to how awesome these battles could be. There is the cimactic battle over SF that is pretty great, but the filmmakers seem intent on polluting a classic Kaiju battle with dumb people stuff. As I said, a good Godzilla movie uses the people as fluff and provides good high-quality monster battles. I think the filmmakers did such a good job with the early teases of Godzilla battles, that they left me wanting more. The rest of the film is littered with some great disaster movie elements that I love: the separated child, the pet running, the sacrifice of a loved one, and token exchange of sentimental item to name a few.
So check it out – certainly a good popcorn flick. I did have to laugh at all the previews for movies like Transformers and Jupiter Ascending because they all seemed like the same movie with slightly different plots. Lots of big things blowing up and battles. Made me think that the cinema is ready for a crossover like Godzilla vs. Transformers.