So, this is my second post and I think these posts will be up on a regular weekly basis. So for anyone who reads or follows my blog, every Friday I’ll have between 1 to 3 posts up for you to enjoy!
Now, onto this week’s first post!
Another week brings with it another blockbuster, and this week was the turn of Godzilla. While I enjoyed the film there were two minor problems I had with the film, the first of which is split into two parts.
(***SPOILERS AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE YET, YOU HAVE BEEN FOREWARNED. DO NOT READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE MOVIE OR YOU DON’T CARE IF THE PLOT OF A FILM/SERIES IS RUINED FOR YOU***)
Amongst Godzilla, the other blockbusters I have seen this year include Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Cap’s second outing was brilliant. Spidey’s second outing was good but I was disappointed at some points. What I couldn’t help but notice about these three films in particular was how misleading their trailers were.
Bare with me for a second.
Whilst I do understand that trailers aren’t supposed to give too much of a film away, with Captain America, the trailer I feel, completely undersold the movie. When I first saw the trailer, I didn’t see anything that really grabbed my attention and blew me away. I was expecting it to be an average film just to fill the void between The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
But boy wasn’t I wrong.
Then, with ASM2, the significance of The Rhino to the plot of the movie was oversold by it’s several trailers. And, with Godzilla I got that same feeling. The role of Bryan Cranston’s character was displayed in the trailer as a coherently significant part of the film. I thought his character would make it to the end.
By at least the first 45 minutes, Cranston was gone.
But that wasn’t the thing I was a bit troubled by. Hell, I would be lying to you if I said that Cranston wasn’t part of the reason why I went to see the movie. What I was slightly annoyed about, and this is me nitpicking here, was how the film was advertised in the trailer as a non-stop monster mayhem flick.
Instead, the movie featured the central human characters trying to avoid death at every cost, including trying to survive a train falling off a broken track or a bus full of kids attempting to escape a collapsing bridge as the army and Godzilla battle MUTO’s. Every time Godzilla would get into a bout, the film would close it off and switch to a news report of the battles taking place.
Now, while I appreciate film as an art form and I didn’t mind that the film did this, I can imagine a lot of people who, on a Friday night, are looking for a 2 hour mindless action destruction fest, end up being pissed at the movie for not giving them what they wanted.
The people paid to see Godzilla get down and rumble.
However, to the film’s credit, I think if they had shown every single one of Godzilla’s battles with the MUTO’s, after the second one I might have gotten bored because it would turn into one of those; “too many fireworks ruined the party” situations. And maybe that’s why as awesome as Pacific Rim is, I don’t think I could watch it again because the film is clustered with a bit too much monster vs monster (or giant robot) action.
Less is more.
My second issue with the film is in regard to the human characters and the outcome of their fates. Now, when it comes to disaster movies, I always hate it when it reaches a “happy” ending. In most disaster movies, by “happy” I don’t mean that the disaster is necessarily over, but by “happy”, I mean that most of the central characters at the heart of the film’s story somehow miraculously make it out alive. And reunite happily with their loved ones.
This has been the case in a lot of Roland Emmerich movies. Yes, I’m talking about you, Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow, 2012 and even Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
I know I’m coming off as a bit cold-hearted, but come on! We’re now living in a time where cinema-goers want to see their films and their stories grounded in reality. For arguments sake, if a disaster occurred in the same vein as the movies I’ve just mentioned, can you honestly say so many people would accomplish that happy ending?
And when watching Godzilla, I thought the story was thinking amongst those lines. Bryan Cranston’s wife in the film is tragically gone at the start of the movie, and like I said, Cranston also meets a heart breaking fate early in the film.
But the fate of his son, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, his son’s wife (portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen) and their son by the end of the film is that they are tearfully reunited even though the city has been levelled by Godzilla’s battle with the two MUTO’s. Endings like that take out the realism from the film and make it seem a little cheesy.
Yeah it sounds bad that I wanted at least one more central character to meet an untimely end but like I said, realistic circumstances and all that jazz…
That’s not to say the film is without it’s merits. The film’s first trailer mislead us to believe that Godzilla was the creature that had to be taken down because it looked like it was threat to mankind. So it was refreshing to see the giant lizard used as nature’s response to balancing out forces that was causing harm to the earth and it’s inhabitants.
Letting nature take it’s course…
On the acting front everyone played their roles well. Cranston, as always, gives a magnetic performance that has you pulled into the narrative and the characters. Maybe that’s why I’m a little pissed he wasn’t in the film for a huge portion of it, because none of the other characters filled that void.
Ken Watanabe spent most of the film with his jaw hung open in awe, whilst Taylor-Johnson, though you rooted for him to get back to his family, was quite stoic throughout the run of the film. His most memorable moments came when he had to convey some emotional depth, especially in his scenes with Cranston.
Elizabeth Olsen also gave a good performance but unfortunately we didn’t see a lot of her in the movie to judge her on.
Without a doubt, Godzilla is going to get compared with Pacific Rim, and there were some parts of the former I preferred to the latter. Godzilla was well filmed, which made the action sequences a lot more watchable and in all honesty I preferred Godzilla‘s action sequences to Pacific Rim‘s set pieces.
To reiterate; less is more…
While Godzilla‘s action was more on the human side, if I had to pick between the climactic sky diving scene in Godzilla to any Kaiju fight scene in Pacific Rim, I would happily pick the scene belonging to Gareth Edwards; picture. The execution of the Godzilla sky dive was superbly simple, yet while watching it at my local IMAX screen I found it to be incredibly breathtaking, especially when Taylor-Johnson’s Ford Brody dives alongside Godzilla’s gigantic scaly surface.
Overall, I enjoyed Godzilla. It’s amongst the other strong candidates in the summer blockbuster pile this year. Like I said, it will be compared to Pacific Rim on a lot of occasions, but it does stand on it’s own two feet and proves to be a film that is unique and different in it’s own right.