Friday, May 16, 2014


This new Gareth Edwards helmed Godzilla is a wonderfully giddy experience.
It breaks formula right from the start and really never allows itself to feel obvious or overly equated like many summer blockbusters tend to do. What Edwards has accomplished with this film is both surprisingly obvious and completely underutilized in other features. Basically, stick to the basics. Cover your ass. Make certain your plot makes sense and the characters within it make their choices because those are the choices they would actually make. And (perhaps most key) don't overdo the effects. Give the audience just enough of the good stuff to make them want more.

When I take the time to look back on the "blockbuster" over the last fifteen years, I see only a slight few successful films that have attempted big CG effects. And a whole lot of just garbage attempts. It's obviously difficult to make it all look good all of the time. So when you know you don't have the time or budget perhaps the best thing to do is keep it small. Something that Godzilla, even with its budget and expectations, masterfully accomplishes.  I mean, Godzilla himself probably doesn't even show up for the first time until 45 minutes in. But I didn't care, because I was so enthralled in Bryan Cranston's mad chase for the truth.
Now that comes from my adult side... my inner child was probably more confused by the fact that every time Godzilla began to fight, the film would cut away to some other event... my inner child was probably saying, "What the hell!?!? I wanted to see that!!!" Okay, so my adult side was saying that too a little bit. All of the wonderful character and plot building aside... all of that wonderful simplicity was all well and good... but I do still wish that Edwards had at least given us one extensive monster fight to sink our teeth into... something that Peter Jackson's King Kong did so well back in 2005.

But no matter what I feel about that, I keep coming back to the realization that the lack of monster fights didn't really effect the film in a negative way for me. I've actually already managed to see it twice, and in some ways it helped me enjoy the film more the second time by recognizing that at heart it was a story about people... and their effect on the world. Action. And reaction. The monsters are only a response to our own growth.

Bryan Cranston is of course wonderful to watch, but be aware, this is NOT his movie... he only plays a part in it. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does a fine job taking the reigns. He's not my ideal Godzilla hero, yet somehow by the end I was practically a hundred percent on his side. Elizabeth Olsen didn't get enough to play with, but she still managed to fill her limited role with an amazing honesty. She has proven to me in a very short time that she has all the chops to be a star for a long long time. Juliette Binoche was also wonderful to watch. But then the one two punch comes in... Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn! These guys are absolute pros and always so interesting to watch. I'm just glad they made it into the film because they brought a vibrancy to a B story (with A intentions) that I don't believe would have been at all interesting without such fine performers filling those roles.
The surprises this film offers are myriad. The cast, exceptional (if not occasionally underutilized). The cinematography, simply amazing. What I suggest you consider before going out to the theatre is... are you ready for the first truly awesome ride of 2014?

No comments:

Post a Comment