20141107

A film review: 'Godzilla (2014)'

Origin: USA, Japan
Language: English, Japanese
Director: Gareth Edwards
Producers: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers
Writer: Max Borenstein, Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Genre: Science fiction
Casts: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins,
David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston
Release: May 16, 2014
Studio: Legendary Pictures
Distributors: Warner Bros. (International), Toho (Japan)

Before I went to see this new American rendition, I had the intention of watching Ishiro Honda-directed first film Gojira and the God-awful Roland Emmerich-directed reimagining (which we actually watch when we were little as this is one of the film that local TV channel TV3 keeps on replaying) back-to-back with my brother. Unfortunately, we didn't get to watch the former due to time constraints or something, but we did somehow make time to watch the latter... and boy was that a bad decision. We tried really hard to watch Emmerich's rendition with serious intent on the third attempt at watching it... but after realising that it was so badly made about half-way through the movie, we ditched it AGAIN and decided that it should be immediately removed from my external hard drive and to never be mentioned, heard of or remembered by EVER AGAIN. It was just WAY too unbearable to watch OR comprehend.

Thankfully, Bryan Cranston, one of the casts of the film of this new version of the iconic kaiju (who is also Malcom's dad, Skyler's husband... you know the drill), once said in an interview somewhere (I saw this in Wikipedia, of course... not like the actual interview) that this year's Godzilla by Gareth Edwards (a new British director who made an impressive debut with Monsters [which I haven't seen yet]) might just be so powerful enough, it can totally wipe out the memory of having seen the 1998 'masterful disaster' film ironically directed the former 'master of disaster films.'

You know what? I agree with him wholeheartedly, no questions asked. Le genius Heisenberg can never go wrong. NEVER! More sentences are coming your way, so bear with me.

This time around, instead of going for a full blown reinvention of the icon on both its appearance and origin, Legendary Pictures made this new Godzilla much closer to its homeland's counterpart. While Emmerich's Zilla (Emmerich's creature's official name because apparently, Toho both acknowledged AND hated the poor guy... if you guys watch Godzilla: Final Wars, you'll know what I mean [I haven't watched it yet, but a clip of that is present in this film's Honest Trailer]) did somehow manage to celebrate the creature's roots by making it look like a guy wearing a suit, he killed it bad by making the film's plot/editing too jumpy, casting decisions awkward (I mean, I just realised that after all these times, there IS a line between cheesy and bad taste and from the way I see it, it sits on the bad side of the road) and having it introduced as a mutated iguana. Edwards' version, however, made Godzilla again the involuntary saviour to mankind; a humongous creature (an 'alpha predator' as the guys in the film called it) that actually existed probably around the same time or years after Earth is created. We hate him for destroying everything in sight, but then again.... we also need him to stop other threats (where in the context of the film, its the MUTOs) from doing the same thing because if we do that ourselves, we would wreck everything that we have built (exhibit A: Emmerich's version!). It's kind of like a guilt trip, and 'a punishment that we deserve,' so to speak.

In the acting department, well, I can personally say that I only see Heisenberg do the actual acting here... and then his character was killed off before he could be explored a little bit more. Even the husband-and-wife chemistry between Taylor-Johnson and Olsen didn't really click that much, especially after knowing the fact that the same duo would also co-star in the upcoming Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron as twin siblings Pietro and Wanda Maximoff respectively, which made it even more awkward to see them go all lovey-dovey on-screen as a happily married couple. Okay, maybe some of the obligatory shocking reactions were kind of passable (because, duh, big ass monsters just randomly go on a rampage on your city to have... an epic sexy-time?), so there's that.

And then there were some other things about this film that is either good or bad, depending on which side are you on; the humans or the monsters... or both. If you are on the human side, then congratulations to you, because 70% of the film focused too much on how the humans react to Godzilla's passive and active presence; both their actions (like some instances: trying to diffuse an old-school bomb that they initially wanted to use to blow the MUTOs and Godzilla altogether, the prolonged run-like-hell sequences, the 'saving random strangers first, family later' sequences, some military 'splosions... you know, the works) and their emotions (from the run-like-hell and the drama between the family members of the main character... and that overly-dramatic reactions by Ken Watanabe every time he saw Godzilla's trail of mass destruction or simply every time its name is mentioned in any conversation) are definitely the stars here. On the monster side, however... according to the film's Honest Trailer, he only appeared 11 minutes and 6 seconds out of 122 minutes of the film's duration (WARNING: if you haven't watch the good Godzilla yet, DO NOT click the Honest Trailer link, as it contains SO MUCH SPOILERS) and his mad fighting skillz against the MUTOs? Since it's only 11 minutes-ish, you can only imagine how short the fight was (but still epic nonetheless, ESPECIALLY that last 'kiss of doom' move!).

Visually, it's awesome! I really can't say much, other than it having dark hues yet have that interesting bright crimson red colour palette especially on the third act of the film that compliments the destroyed and ruined buildings very well; probably a metaphor to the end of the world or something (or so I think.... I could just make shit up to sound deep, you know?). Audio? Was also awesome. The roar (or whatever noise the darn superstar was making) did indeed bring chills down to my spine and definitely screams "Fuck you, MUTOfakas! Leave these poor, pathetic humans alone!". I'm no expert in these two, so all I can say to these aspects of the film is... what a job well done!

And... I guess that is all. I don't know what took me so damn long to FINALLY finish what I started a FEW FUCKING MONTHS AGO RIGHT NOW. Hopefully whatever I said up here convinced you into admitting that Emmerich's Zilla is far inferior than Edward's badass, fat Godzilla. Can't wait for the sequels man! But first... have fun directing that Star Wars spin-off and that Monsters sequel, Edwards!

P/S: Man, I should've completed this review straight after I watched it, so that I can say you should totally watch this film in cinemas for the most optimum and terrifying experience. But alas, I was too late. Sorry, guys.

*Holy shithead. I've written this like in May or something. It is only NOW that I've decided to continue and complete this review. It's already November, too! Damn, son!

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