It’s not often I get to start a review that way and it be relevant to whatever I’m writing about. But those that know me, know that I would say it anytime, anywhere, regardless of relevance. In any event, Godzilla has a signature trademark battle cry that I believe even the weest of children will be familiar with.
Unlike X-Men: Days of Future Past, I did not get a super advanced screening of this film. However, I did see it early Thursday evening and relatively close to home without having to wait in horribly long lines for a disgustingly long amount of time. More on that later. But I will say that I appreciate these summer blockbusters doing these midnight showings way before midnight.
So let’s get a few preliminaries out of the way for those that aren’t familiar with what this particular Godzilla is all about. This is not a sequel nor a remake of the 1998 version that terrorized Manhattan with Mathew Broderick. This is considered a reboot of the original classic from 1954 when Godzilla first started terrorizing cities. No I haven’t see it (yet) but I hear that it’s better than it make look. No worries, you don’t need to see any previous Godzilla films to enjoy this one.
I have to point out title designs for this film, as I’ve been studying them lately. When they come up, there are lots of things redacted on the screen to reveal the credits they want you to see. What’s blacked out is what’s interesting as they may or may not be plot points for later. It’s not really that important but I found it interesting so that’s why I’m pointing it out. Besides interesting text effects, background footage is being shown that is indeed important to the plot.
Godzilla boasts an international cast that starts with–no, not Bryan Cranston, but Ken Watanabe. I just wanted to throw that in there for those that are lured to this film for the brilliance of Cranston and feel a void left by the ending of Breaking Bad. Cranston’s character and Walter White share some similarities, none of which I’ll diverge here. Aaron Taylor-Johnson also makes a strong appears as a leading man that isn’t in an odd green jumpsuit as a masked vigilante. I think he pulls it off but it was odd to me as he kept reminding me of some other actor. Casey Affleck? Maybe. Elizabeth Olsen plays his wife, which interestingly enough, the next film they are in together they play twins. There’s also David Strathairn, an actor I’m considering putting on my underrated list. Not necessarily for this film, but I tend to like him in lots of films I’ve seen him in so it’s always a pleasure whenever he pops up. Directed by Gareth Edwards, who is best known for his movie Monsters which I’ve never seen but have heard about and should look into.
Our story starts in 1999 as Watanabe is studying fossils of some very large creatures that may not really be dinosaurs. And within his searching, he finds some radioactive “things” that eventually cause trouble 15 years later. But not before setting things into motion that makes Bryan Cranston very obsessed. Due to Cranston being arrested in Japan, his Navy son is forced to bail him out only mere minutes of returning from a tour. Discoveries that are soon followed by doom and destruction take the film from a “the government is keeping secrets from us” to “oh my goodness, that huge thing is going to get us” kind of a film.
What I liked about all giant creatures in this film is that you get some really good looks at them, when it’s appropriate. I’ve heard Pacific Rim being brought up a few times, which I love. And oddly enough, there’s something better about Godzilla… when it comes to huge creatures I mean. When we finally get a good look at Godzilla, who, by the way, makes the best entrance that only a king of all monsters can make, you know you’re dealing with something that will rip you to shreds. And there definitely is a classic vibe to this Godzilla as he storms through the city, as if you almost can imagine some guy wearing a giant lizard suit. Almost.
I liked this movie a little better than I thought I would. I came in with no real expectations other than “he better be big.” But the story was very interesting and I thoroughly felt genuine dread… which might sound odd to enjoy that, but in the context of a well crafted disaster film where you want to see things destroyed… you almost get the feeling of reality like this could really happen. Perhaps it’s seeing the rubble of a destroyed city looking so much like 9/11.
I will say that I probably regrettably decided to attend a regular 2D version of this film when the gargantuon Godzilla is the biggest he’s ever been in this incarnation. So it would have made more sense to see it in 3D IMAX, or even just IMAX if that were available. But it’s not without quick research and budgeting that I came to my conclusion… I had already decided I’d see it twice since I know have movie companions that will accompany me this summer, but I wouldn’t be able to bring anyone this trip. SO I opted for the cheaper ticket so I could judge how the 3D probably would fare. And I gotta say, I wish I saw it in 3D. As it turns out, I noticed quite a few reviewers saying that 3D was the way to go and that this has been one of the best conversions so far. In a future post, I will be writing about how 3D films might not be such a fad after all.
In any event, I totally recommend seeing this film immediately on the biggest screen and in 3D. The 3D isn’t a gimmick here, it’s more for depth, from what I’m told. It’ll give you the feeling like you’re really looking up at monsters, or fleeing from them. One warning: watch out for birds.