Thursday, May 29, 2014

Godzilla (2014): Review

Like many of you, I grew up with Godzilla and have been optimistically hopeful that one day someone would make a great movie. Thankfully, the new Godzilla movie does so many things right that it's easy to overlook any faults. Godzilla is a big, loud, messy and incredibly fun film than has reconnected me to that roaring monster of my youth.

At the core, this is a disaster movie that happens to feature a giant monster (or two) which means the human peril should matter but it doesn't. Bryan Cranston gives an extraordinary performance, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is an understated, emotional kick-ass as the perfunctory human element. But no man can compare to Godzilla. After an excruciating buildup, Godzilla does show up but the director isn't giving in to our instant gratification. Even after the first brawl ensues, its relegated to the background, out of focus long shots, or doors close in front of the camera cutting off our view. We will wait a bit longer, but ultimately, we're left awe-struck, satisfied, and yearning for a sequel (which has already been announced).

If one question must be pondered it's whether Godzilla is a friend or foe. He is repeatedly called the "ultimate predator" which means humanity is not a threat, but still he managed to kill quite a few people in his wake. I asked a friend and he put it succinctly:
I think the ambiguity of Godzilla's motivation is part of the charm. You're always hoping he does the right thing, but you can't be 100% sure he will. The reason the audience cheers for him is entirely because deep down they know he's the good guy, even if he knocks down a few buildings. If he was just as bad as the other monsters then it would be like watching a football game where you don't really care which team wins.
But we do care, and we do cheer for Godzilla. It's a thrilling summer movie that will appeal to many audiences, especially those lucky enough to splurge on the IMAX 3D ticket. This is a remarkable 3D film even though it was not shot in 3D. (And take a look at these beautiful alternate posters!)









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