New “Godzilla” is best of summer
Its hard to talk about Godzilla without giving anything away for newcomers and those who wish to go in spoiler free. So I will be fair and for those who wish not to be ruined to read this paragraph till it ends. First, I didn’t see Amazing Spider Man 2 (hell, I didn’t bother) and Neighbors. This was the movie I decided to start my summer on and I’m thankful I went to the Thursday screening. If you… enjoy blockbusters that give a lot of character depth, this is the movie for you. But if you wish it was more action packed like World War Z….chances are you’ll still give a damn about it. With that said, those who wish to hear my thoughts….proceed with caution. Again, I will try to make this spoiler free as possible…but I can’t guarantee much….
I was worried when they made plans to do another Godzilla and even after watching Godzilla 1985, I grew a little cautious after seeing what kind of “mockery” they did. Again, I have an upcoming episode on this so I’ll leave that there. But with a new movie on the big monster, I was curious. Trailers showcased his mighty and dynamic ability and presented that monster movies CAN be serious and fun too. I went in hyped as hell and boy, I wasn’t disappointed…well, almost.
The minute the opening credits started, I was hooked. Supposedly this is meant to be an “origin” tale but really they just sum it up in the opening title scene. Smart move. In fact, a lot of this movie is just told though images and subtle actions which give it an almost balletic feel that is moving and haunting at the same time. It knows when to be quiet and when to be serious and I haven’t seen anything like that since last year’s World War Z and The Crow.
The story is centered on the human characters that survive the chaos and most of the film is placed on a “family” kind of theme that doesn’t feel too phoned in. While I’m glad to see we get some heavily developed characters, the problem is that less time is focused on Godzilla. In fact, a good bulk of this movie is a huge tease as every confrontation and bit of monster destruction is saved till the final third when EVERYTHING is seen and not kept secret. Even I found myself rather disappointed with the first Godzilla fight between him and a giant bug like monster (which props to the design) is reduced to a quick news report.
But again, this all build-up and suspense to the final act when a California city is put to rubble from Godzilla’s battle between two “MUTO” creatures that are like giant cockroaches with a fiery bite. If you are able to put up with the character development and patience for the final act where it all pays off, good for you. If not and wish it was action-packed…well, I still say its worth going through it.
You see, most of the Godzilla movies in the past focus on the monsters and little on the human characters. Not sense Godzilla Vs. King Ghiedorah, can I remember an entry in the series when human characters were the focus. They move the plot as they are in the middle of Godzilla’s brawl and the monster’s path of destruction. It really puts you in the moment and has an rather grim throwback to the natural disasters of the past. It treats the monsters like if Mother Nature herself was on a rampage as MUTOs represent the wind and Godzilla controls the tsunamis of the seas. Its funny how when Godzilla is enraged, he creates a tsunami before battle marking his entrance and yet at the end, it is bookended when he returns to the waters and makes calm waves. Nice touch.
Above all, this is truly a vast improvement over the 1998 film and it shows. While you do get less of the big lizard, you still get a very engaging and fun flick that I will admit is by far the darkest Godzilla movie I’ve seen to date since his fight with Destroyah. In a way, it does feel like a reboot of that one considering the insect-like tendencies of the MUTOs. In a way, we feel like ants to them when they battle it out and make us wonder what is it like to be small and in the middle of a monster’s brawl. Director Gareth Edwards of Monsters successfully captures this so well it makes Pacific Rim seem like a TV show and less of a blockbuster. Hell, it blew that movie out of the water tonight and I’m not surprised if it does the same for many. All I can say is go in with low expectations as hopefully by the end, you will see the (or if not) ONE of the best summer movies of the year so far.