Sunday, May 18, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

Photo: Godzilla's movie poster, from its Wikipedia page.

Some quick bullets about Godzilla 2014.  Bottom line: if you like action movies, monster movies, or war movies (yes; see first bullet, below), you should go see this.

--The real star of this movie (even more than Godzilla and his pals) is the director, Gareth Edwards.  The direction for this movie is truly unbelievably good, much more so than is necessary for a movie like this.  Even critics who didn't love the movie said Edwards did a great job.  The best thing I liked about the direction was that it purposely shied away from shots of the monsters fighting, and instead focused on the people below in a you-are-there kind of way.  It was like combining a Godzilla movie with The Hurt Locker.  If two giant moth monsters were to suddenly awake, and try to get together to mate, and were intercepted by Godzilla, it would look exactly like this to the people on the ground, caught in the middle of it all.

--There are so many nods to other movies in this movie, I lost track.  The ones I remember: Jurassic Park (many scenes; one in particular: the one where Jurassic Park's Dr. Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm sat in the stopped car in the pouring rain, and wiped away the mist from the window to worriedly see outside; this is enacted exactly the same in Godzilla); 2001: A Space Odyssey (many scenes; especially when the guys in Godzilla parachute into the battlezone to the same exact insane singing as in the ending of 2001, when David passed Jupiter and entered the psychedelic light); countless 50s and 60s Godzilla movies, especially the ones where the dino costume seemed way too big (and Godzilla's roar is the same as it was in the 50s, amped up for 2014; oh, and don't miss the Mothra sign); Jaws (the main family's last name is Brody, and someone says, "Are you Brody?" just like in Jaws).  There's a motion-detector that looks exactly like the one in James Cameron's Aliens.  Sounds just like it, too.  That's all just off the top of my head.  There are many more.  This became one of the joys of the film for me--finding all the homages.  This sounds distracting, but it wasn't.

--Not too much acting is expected out of the actors.  When Elizabeth Olson headlines your cast, this is a good thing.  But this isn't a Merchant / Ivory film anyway, if you know what I mean.

--The film has no pretense to be anything more than what it is: A wonderfully directed, at times breathtakingly beautiful action movie that has three monsters.  (I see this as more of an action movie than as a monster movie.)

--The action scenes do not last too long, as a few of Man of Steel's did.

--David S. Goyer and Frank Darabont assisted with the screenplay.  Those are Dark Knight and Walking Dead names.

--There are no subplots involving a dumb romance, or a boring father / son conflict, or a cardboard villain.  Just monsters and mayhem.  The main character / hero saves a little boy or two, but that's okay.  He's supposed to do that, right?  And it's not drawn out or sappy when he does.  This was the problem with 1998's Godzilla, which had very good special effects and action scenes, but aspirations of personal conflict and relationship issues that nobody cared about.

--It's not too long.  Just over two hours.

What else do you need?  Go see it.

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