Friday, May 23, 2014

Film Review: Godzilla (2014)

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
This is a movie which I get, and at the same time I am left wondering if I truly get in the way its creator shaped it. A few years back, Gareth Edwards directed Monsters, a monsters flick, which really wasn’t about monsters at all. In the same fashion Godzilla 2014 really isn’t about Godzilla.

Somehow, I think that this movie is mostly about large-scale things that happen behind actors back, way beyond in the distance. This feeling of “destruction is so large that even those miles away are affected” is interesting, and Edwards really didn’t want to get rid of it (it was present in Monsters too, but everybody thought it was due to a small budget). In this film, he can show whatever he wants, but he still decided to hold back on destruction as long as possible. Godzilla 2014 can even be called a destruction tease.

The story of the film is full of people who just about manage to do something before everything gets annihilated by ancient monsters. Its characters are fluid, and their tasks get filled in when they arrive at a certain place. For example, Aaron Taylor-Johnson character Ford starts out as a loving father and a husband, then he is an angry son who turns into a reluctant explorer, then a bomb technician, a random child protector and savior, followed by a railway scout and finally he transforms into a special forces member.

The logic behind this is very loose and the script just follows what the monsters are doing. Simultaneously, it’s not anything like monster vs. robot porn like Pacific Rim was.

Of course, its fragile development turns into a classical monster film in the end, and this brings a resolution of sorts. Here, Godzilla and evil monsters from the ancient history battle in Power Rangers style, destroying buildings left and right. He even gets a plasma breath superpower from thin air. Only Tommy and the other Rangers are nowhere to be seen.

I try to understand my own expectations for this film.

Did I want to see Pacific Rim 2? No, the original was just fine.

Did I want to see a better version of the Japanese monster than the previous horrible movie from 1998 where we hopefully saw Matthew Broderick and Roland Emmerich in the same film for the last time? Yes, yes and yes, and Godzilla 2014 really is a lot better, especially when things get blown away in 3D.

Did the film have any of the magic seen in Monsters? It had, but just a little.

It turns out that this was enough for me no to be disappointed.

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