The Return of the King: Godzilla

Title: Godzilla
Release: 2014
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cinematographer: Seamus McGarvey
Composer: Alexandre Desplat
Studio: Legendary Pictures
Distributed: Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated: 5 stars out of 5

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The Good:  Godzilla is a movie made for Godzilla fans, not the general audience. And thank you Gareth Edwards for that. I mean that. Thank you. If this movie were made for the general audience, we would have had pointless destruction porn. All we would have saw was a two hour fight with no emotion of depth of character. There have been way, way too many movies that have destruction scenes with zero depth. While that may be interesting for the general audience, that wouldn’t be what a Godzilla movie is about. Yes, there are awesome fights in this movie. Yes, I shouted ‘HOLY F**K’  more times than I can count. Especially the way the fight ended.

This movie is made for 3D. The cinematographer did a great job conveying the sheer overwhelming size of Godzilla. No other Godzilla movie was able to do it as successfully as this movie. It wasn’t that the monsters were flat out bigger than any human or building in the movie, it was how 3D made it seem that much more apparent that Godzilla dwarfed everything around him. It felt like you were there staring at Godzilla’s shoulder as it took up your entire field of vision. Or when the troops were parachuting in…. Godzilla’s thigh was the only thing seen through the clouds. It was a great use of 3D, exactly what I was hoping for.

This is the type of movie I could go on and on praising. Rather than doing that, I want to finish up with my favorite moment of the movie. Godzilla was getting back to his feet, looking exhausted. His shoulders were slumped and he was trying to catch his breath. It made him feel somehow human at that moment. Here he was, the king of the monsters… and he was winded. Oh sure, when the movie ended, there was no doubt that Godzilla was (and is) the king. That moment made the fighting that Godzilla was in feel so much more real. When you watch the movie, you’ll see for yourself. Maybe that’ll be your favorite moment. Maybe it’ll be when the military tried to nuke Godzilla (hint, it didn’t take). Or maybe it’ll be watching the MUTO take flight for the first time. Hell, there was so much to like, it is scary.

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The Bad: The movie ended. Damn it.

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The God’s Honest Truth: As I said earlier, this movie was made for Godzilla fans. Don’t go in expecting 20+ minutes of monsters fighting. This movie isn’t Pacific Rim. Hell, Godzilla didn’t make a full appearance until about an hour into the movie. But when he does, his presence was goddamn awe-inspiring. There was no doubt you were in the presence of a god.

But it really must be pointed out that Godzilla wasn’t as present within the movie as some may have wanted. Heck, the audience was only treated to an epic monster fight close to the end of the movie. Before that, we got a ton of build-up. I can see that could be annoying to some people. To me, I thought it rocked. It was exactly the way Godzilla movies used to be. Build up, build up, build up. And then everything comes to a head at the end. Yeah, I fanboyed out. So sue me!

There was some nice subtext in this movie. No, I’m not going to delve into it. There’s no need. Tons of articles are out there examining how Godzilla represented nature being out of man’s control and how humanity’s is better off letting nature balance everything out itself… and to stop screwing with nature. All I’ll say about it is this… I love it when important philosophical and ethical messages are portrayed as giant monsters beating the hell out of each other. I think everything in life would get settled far easier that way.

Go see the movie. See it in 3D. Just go and see it….

Now.

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