Monday, June 23, 2014

Godzilla (2014) - No King of the Monsters. Grade G

Godzilla (2014) is no King of the Monsters. 

Legendary Pictures has produced and Warner Brothers and Toho (the film company responsible for approximately 28 Godzilla films) have released the latest incarnation of Godzilla with much promise and hype.  With mega stars like Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad"), Ken Watanabe ("The Last Samurai"), Juliette Binochet ("The English Patient"), David Strathaim ("Good Night and Good Luck"), the movie promised way more than it was able to realize.  None of these actors were the stars of the film and most of them had slightly more screen time than that devoted to cameo appearances or guest starring or "also starring" roles. 

The trailers to this film suggested that at least Cranston would have a major role in this film.  However, unfortunately, Cranston is last seen in this move a mere 30 minutes into this 2 hour film.  This blog will not contain any plot summary.

I know at its core this is a "monster movie" which requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief.  However, even giving that to this film, there are so many holes in this plot its difficult to make it to the end. 

One glaring example is a scene where our hero, Ford Brody (son of Bryan Cranston's character) is about to conduct a HALO jump with members of the special forces from an altitude of 30,000 feet.  Never mind the fact that Brody is a special munitions disposal officer who may not have any experience in HALO jumps.  Also, never mind that this jump is taking place from a C-130 cargo plane.  Never mind that seconds before the jump, Ford is talking with his fellow soldiers in the cargo bay of the plane with no oxygen assistance.  Never mind that all of the soldiers are not tethered to anything in the plane but are at first sitting on a bench and then standing in the bay when the bay door is opened.  The director of the film at least had the soldiers secure their oxygen masks seconds before the door is open.  Despite this, once the door is opened, there is no rush of air - leading me to believe that the cargo bay was never pressurized which must mean that the jump team must have had Godzilla-like lung capacity.  Once the cargo bay door is opened, there is no air resistance and the team merely jumps out of the plane in a hodge podge fashion. 

The redesign of Godzilla is an improvement from the 1998 film fiasco.  The 2014 design of Godzilla is true to form of the Toho design with an upright Godzilla along with spikes on his back that glow when he shoots radioactive rays from this mouth.  (That signature ray is used only twice in the film.) 

The fight scenes in the film are extremely disappointing.  The film uses a tactic of only showing the fight scene up close and personal for a few minutes and then either flash forwarding to the aftermath with no explanation of what happened or to continue the fight sequence from the vantage point of a character watching it from "news coverage" from a small screen television.  I understand that CGI is expensive but this is hardly the solution.  (It reminds me of the massive battle scene build up in "Kingdom of Heaven" at the pinnacle battle in the siege of Jerusalem only to having the battle scene abruptly end with a cut shot to its aftermath.) 

Godzilla's roar is highly altered from Toho's signature roar and any close up of Godzilla is limited and short in duration.

Having recently seen Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1956) which is the American version of the 1954 film, the plot, score and appearance of Godzilla was more deftly handled in the original than in this outing. 

Despite this negative review, it appears that there will be at least a sequel to the 2014 film.  I sincerely hope its better than this send up.

Although the CGI - when it is on the screen for any duration - is good, the plot and storyline of this movie leaves much to be desired and leaves me longing for the 1956 version.

Duck and hide from this film and if you need a monster movie fix, check out the original.

Thank you for reading this blog and I will strive to post more.  This is my initial blog and I certainly hope you found it enjoyable.  I will continue to polish my prose as I move along with additional blogs.

Until next time, please keep a seat reserved for me and keep watching. 


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