If Godzilla were to appear in a pink dress with a musical dance opening scene in his new self titled film it would still be ten times better than Roland Emmerich’s big dumb iguana from 1998. That version of Godzilla was so awful that the king of the monsters became radioactive for studios causing the big guy to lay into Hollywood hibernation. Then Gareth Edwards, director of the little seen but well done indie, Monsters was tapped to bring Godzilla back to life and help him assume his throne as the king of the monsters. Add in a serious approach advertising campaign and you have one of the most anticipated films of 2014.
Edwards takes advantage of today’s special effects and sticks to Godzilla’s B-movie roots in bringing the radioactive MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) back to life – erasing the awful image of Emmerich’s Godzilla. The fantastic marketing campaign depicts a Godzilla film that is given the Nolan Batman treatment. That’s really not the case in Godzilla. The trailers actually show you what the new Godzilla film is about. The core of Godzilla is a disaster film where the monsters are the act of nature with the world reacting.
The MUTOs wreak havoc on the cities from one side of the Pacific to the other with the whole world watching as the things of nightmares become reality in very entertaining fashion. I have a feeling though, that some audience members may have a problem with amount of screen time the title character gets. Godzilla is really just an outside presence for most of the first two acts, but when he does show up it’s worth it. Just be patient.
This may disappoint some, but the other MUTOs get plenty of screen time and actually steal the show for most of Godzilla. If you look back on the classic Toho Godzilla films, our scaly hero wasn’t in most of the action. More time was dedicated to the other monsters such as King Ghidorah, Gigan or my personal favorite MechaGodzilla. That is what we loved in the classic films was the adversaries and Edwards stays true to Godzilla’s B-Movie roots. Some may see it as a tease how Edwards reveals the fight scenes to the audience, but really he’s roping you in for the big showdown between the beasts we have all been waiting for. I applaud Edwards for not overdoing with continuous battles which leaves us wanting more.
The one negative you could take away from the new Godzilla is the use of the cast and the science behind Godzilla and the other MUTOs. The thinly developed characters and the MUTO origin story are straight out a B-Movie from the 1950s. The scientist give you a simple explantation and you are to believe it. The human cast lead by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and a limited Bryan Cranston aren’t given much to work with in terms of the script. The humans are really just there to give the disastrous images from the well-managed point of view camera shots from the ground as the creatures use different cities as their own MUTO octagon.
As for the science of Godzilla, I have to ask. Do we really care? Just like the actors, I don’t care about Godzilla’s biology. What I do care about is seeing some monster carnage. After setting the table for 25 slow burning minutes that is exactly what you get. Sure I would have loved to see Godzilla more, but that big radioactive Palmetto Bug is plenty wild with its unique powers that gives Godzilla the fight of his life. Turn off your brain and enjoy the summer popcorn movie battle royale.
Director Edwards takes a good step in the right direction with this modern update of Godzilla by sticking to its classic formula. Monsters arrive, people watch TV, panic and we get the MUTO showdown we’ve been waiting for with atomic fire and all. Make sure to not be cheap and see Godzilla in the IMAX 3-D. It’s how it should be viewed and worth your pretty penny.Welcome back, big guy.
Overall, I give Godzilla 3 out of 4 potatoes.
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