Monday, May 26, 2014

Godzilla (2014) Review

With the advent of the Summer Movie Blockbuster season of 2014; Godzilla is back, rampaging his way into the hearts of adult and child alike.

"Up from the depths, thirty stories high, breathes fire, his head in the sky, Godzilla! Godzilla!"

I have to say, this is the best Godzilla movie I have ever seen. And I'm pretty sure that I've watched them all by now.

Here's six reasons why Godzilla is such a good movie:

1. Character Driven

Father and son return to their home in Japan to retrieve precious data that was saved on some hard disks, and pick up their old mixed tapes, because they were awesome! 

While there have been a lot of complaints that there are "too many characters" in this movie, and that it focuses on people far too much, I think that this is one of its strongest traits. Everything happens in this movie for a reason, there is foreshadowing going on all over the place. Everything that occurs in the plot is something that personally happens to the main characters, which gets the audience emotionally involved in the plot, and allows them to really cheer Godzilla on when he shows up to save the day. The clever set up of the film's main antagonists, and the horrible losses they suffer, are expounded upon tenfold when it is revealed that giant monsters from before the Time of Man have resurrected and are wreaking havoc in the modern world.

Sure, there were a couple of fight scenes between Godzilla and the MUTO's that were seen specifically from the POV of the main character, so that we don't get to watch the entire fight, but I think that was done on purpose. I wouldn't be surprised if they had to edit the monster fights down to keep the movie a reasonable length, and that there will be Extended Editions and Director's cut DVDs and Blu-Rays in our future that will provide the monster fights in their entirety.

2. Someone Did their Science Homework, and I Give them an A!

There was a lot of thought and theoretical science going on in this movie. From the seismic waves and the EMP blasts of the MUTOs, down to what effect the weight and mass of the giant monsters would have on the environment.

For instance, they figured out that something the weight and size of Godzilla would cause a Tsunami when it walked from the deep depths of the ocean onto the shore and added it to a crucial scene when the titular monster first walks upon the shores of Hawaii.

Water Science! Woo!

On a side note, I really wish that the people involved in the filming of Prometheus had done the same amount of research regarding science prior to making their movie, because then it would've been a good film. Sigh...

3. Did I mention that there are Monsters that Devour Nuclear Radiation? Because there are.

That funny hooked shape thing that is all lit up, yeah, that's the chrysalis of a MUTO that has attached itself to a nuclear reactor in Japan.

The MUTOs are dangerous parasites; prehistoric insects that fed upon Godzilla's species and those like them that ate radiation as a food source. Is this implausible? Probably not. There are extremophiles that we've discovered that survive via chemosynthesis, for instance, so it's not that huge of a leap into the scientific unknown for there to be animals that consume harmful radiation from nuclear reactors as a source of food, right? At the very least, it's far more believable than anything "Prometheus" ever gave us, as there is more weight, and intelligence behind the science of "Godzilla" than then there is in the horrendous "Alien" prequel.

Am I saying that Godzilla, in addition to being a giant monster movie, is quite possibly, a science fiction movie as well? Yes, I guess that I am. Deal with it.

Anyways, I digress. Let's go on to the next reason why "Godzilla" is so freaking awesome.

4. Avoids the "Military is Evil" Cliche

In this movie, the military is there to protect people. The top brass of the NATO military are actually polite and give a very good reason when they tell the scientists whom are warning them of impending doom if they go through with their plan to eliminate the MUTO and Godzilla threat, why they have to go through with it; to save thousands of people's lives. That, my friends, was refreshing.

Maybe I've seen too many zombie movies as of late, but the" evil army does bad stuff to people" seems to be a common plot thread.

The army science as well is correct with one exception; that one line about modern nuclear warheads being more powerful than the one that was dropped on Bikini island way back when during the nuclear testing. That simply is not true. Silly military man. You funny!

5. The right balance of disaster film and giant monster movie (aka daikaiju film)

Godzilla is a force of nature, and an intelligent one at that. Our nuclear submarines woke him up, and he stayed in the depths of the oceans, until the very parasitic creatures that feasted upon his brethren resurrected and started to reproduce, using nuclear power plants as a source of food.

Even after the tanks start pummeling Godzilla with ineffective ordinances, he goes out of his way to swim under aircraft carriers and the like, and does not start to make a lot of damage until he spots his prey, the dreaded MUTO scum.

In the end, all of humanity's weaponry was ineffective, and we had to rely on Godzilla to kill the M.U.T.O.s and stop them before they killed us all. 

6. Monster Design

The "Cloverfield " Controversy

Some people believe that the MUTO's design is a direct rip off of the Cloverfield monster. While there is a slight resemblance, I disagree.

Both the Cloverfield monster and the MUTO's body design is based on insect biology. The legs and body shape in particular were taken from insects like butterflies and beetles. 

Here's a GIF that shows off the body structure of the male MUTO.

Now let's look at the giant beetle "tanker" bug from the movie "Starship Troopers." Check out those legs, the joints bend backwards, in the middle of the leg.

And here's a picture of the female MUTO The knees of the legs bend backwards, and the leg joints attach on the side of the body, just like the beetle above.

Also, the legs of the male MUTO (aka the HokMUTO) are more reminiscent of a butterfly, especially when it unfurls its giant bat-like (or should it pterodactyl-like?) wings and takes flight. 

That is why I believe that it is just a coincidence that there is any sort of resemblance between the Cloverfield monster, and the MUTOs.

Oh yeah, and Godzilla Got a Makeover!

His face is very expressive; right up to his big puppy dog eyes and the movement of his muzzle. Yeah, that's right, I think Godzilla is adorable.

D'awwww! Look at that big ol' lug! I just wanna hug him! 

One of the best parts was the fact that you could visually see the force of the air when Godzilla roared. His throat moved, and his cheeks actually wavered in the wind coming up from his massive lungs. 

Oh, and did I forget to mention that they brought back the atomic fire breath? Because they did, and it is used at just the right moments in the movie to get the audience to cheer for the big old brute during his epic fight scenes with the two MUTO's. 

All in all, "Godzilla" is a solid action/sci-fi/giant monster movie, and I highly recommend it. In fact, I'm so sure that you are going to love it, that I can almost guarantee 100% that by the end of the movie, you will be cheering for Godzilla to win! 

Can't wait to watch "Godzilla"? Here's a compilation video for you to whet your appetite. 

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully if we do get a sequel it can live up to this film and improve upon it to extend Godzilla's cinematic life a little longer. Good review Cassie.