Sunday, May 18, 2014

Godzilla 2014

So I saw GODZILLA last night, and if you only want a short, non-spoliery review, stop at the end of this here paragraph.  It's very adequate entertainment- it's loud, 20 minutes too long, predictable and has some good moments in it.  I mostly liked the score and actors were pretty good.  Script could have used a couple more edits, but I don't think Hollywood employs editors these days.  OK, now onto the spoilers.

I wish Bearzilla had looked better.  He mostly acted like Godzilla, points there, and sounded like Godzilla, but the body itself, no neck, no shoulders, the ugly feet ... bleah.  Not the worst monster ever, just not great.  I'm amazed they thought this was a great design.  He really didn't have much personality, but there was a little, I think.  The MUTO were just generic Giger (RIP) inspired creatures, nothing exciting either.  They had no personality, just giant animals to be stopped.

I do like the fact that Godzilla is basically the hero monster.  It's too bad he was barely in the movie and then all the battles were in rain, night, or both and with so much dust and debris floating about to obscure the effects even more.  So over that.  The last shot was great though, people cheering him as he leaves SF.  He's really basically the 90s Gamera in this movie, since no mention of his origin is there.  The build up to the first blast of atomic breath was pretty great, I gotta say.  I don't know why they bothered with such a long reveal for him though, since the car commercial had already been on TV for a week at least, and everyone knew what Godzilla would look like.

Which leads me to the script- we are led to believe in the first act Godzilla is something to be stopped, then suddenly he's the hero and will be stopping the MUTO?  Why bomb him in 1956 if he was posing no threat?  Of course, they couldn't know that, but still... it's not like that's the only flaw in the script.  What happens after he kills the MUTO?  If he's the alpha predatory what does he do now? Or feed on?  The only time I was caught off guard was when Cranston's character died.  What was the point of building him up like that?  He overacts during the emotional scenes, too.  His character could have been changed to scientist X for all the impact he had on the movie.

The whole subplot with his family could have been taken out completely, actually, with no harm to the movie.  Lots of the army scenes as well could have been shortened- falling off the railroad bridge for thousands of feet and surviving hitting the water?  There's a lot of little things to pick at, which I'm not going to go through, but things like that are "death by a thousand cuts".

I wish there had been more monster action.  There was a lot of frustrating shots where the monsters would start fighting and then he'd cut to the doors shutting or the TV, or just away.  ARGH... I came to see Godzilla battle monsters.  There's too much needles human action (what did we need to see the HALO jump for, really?).  And that tiny little title on the screen...GODZILLA should be splashed all over.

So it's a middling Godzilla movie, about a 6.2 out of 10.  It's way better than the last remake and better than both King Kong remakes.  Edit a half an hour out of it, and more monster battles into it and I'll see it again.

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