WARNING: Spoilers! If you haven’t seen Godzilla yet, read at your own risk. 😉
Over all my friends are just as weird and nerdy as I am, each in their own way. Like several of my friends I have been a Godzilla fan for a long time. Yes, I still need to replace the G-movie collection my ex kept (the hit order is still in effect). And yes, I admit to liking the 1998 Godzilla with Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno. Don’t be hating, just read. I will also admit to not watching any Godzilla movie after the 1998 version. All that being said, I was seeing mixed reviews as the first showings this year’s Godzilla were hitting the big screen. You can find one such review at Biff Bam Pop with my friend Glenn Walker. I was very excited to see the newest version since it was being lauded as a Hollywood version of the Toho Limited-style movies.
Now, last night I saw my favorite lizard, in 3D, and I have to say I absolutely loved it! If you’ve seen the original movies you know they have almost Shatner-esque over acting coupled with cheesy effects. This version of Godzilla has better effects but it still looks almost like slow-motion film of actors in suits during the monster fight scenes (except for the last scene, later on that). Yes, as my pal Glenn points out the two monsters Godzilla fights look strange and alien. I thought the male MUTO looked like a bat-praying mantis hybrid while the female looked more spiderish.
Let’s talk about the science. The actual science is what a lot of people despised about the 1998 version. But be honest. It’s a monster movie. It’s supposed to be unreal and totally impossible. Monsters can’t actually come to live and roam the Earth, can they?! If had really believed that the Wasp Woman was a possibility in reality I would never have used make-up a day in my life! In this version, G-man is an ancient apex predator that feeds on nuclear energy, all of his species and the parasites (the MUTOs), going deeper into the Earth to get closer to the core as the outer atmosphere changes to support more human life. I thought this was a cool concept. Especially when they show us an underground cavern that is actually the remains of one of these giants, with ribs and a spine laid out in perfect order. And the weapon/self defense of the MUTOs being an electromagnetic pulse made it a formidable danger for our modern society, which is a nice nod to the dangers of nuclear bombs that was the unspoken enemy in the originals.
One point Glenn makes is that he noticed people cheering when Godzilla appears and that he’s viewed as a good guy instead of a destructive force of nature. I admit I cheered, too. There is a lot of human-based storyline in this movie and less of the actual monsters. Which is why I was thrilled to see the massive spinal ridges of G-man breaking the surface of the ocean when swims into the daylight. Godzilla was still very destructive. The tailspin knocking the male MUTO into a building to kill was a nice touch. I cheered then, too. I would say the big lizard is more an antihero in this movie. He’s not there to destroy San Fran just because it’s there. He’s there to take down the giant lovebirds and restore balance. He does his job and goes home. I’m cool with that.
Glenn’s review also breaks down the casting. I will say that it was disappointing to lose Cranston’s character so early but it was necessary for his son, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, to suffer the loss of both parents and realize the danger to his own family in order to keep going in the face of certain death. And in Taylor-Johnson’s defense, his character is military. Training knocks all the squishy emotions right out of them. While not overly emotive, I thought the character was portrayed fairly accurately for the background he had. I will agree with Glenn that Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa was perfect.
Okay, one last thing. My favorite part is near the end, the last of the monster fight scene. The mama MUTO is about to devour Taylor-Johnson, a bomb and the boat they’re on all in one vengeful bite. Godzilla, who we see fall right before this scene, pulls her back, pries her mouth open, and shoots atomic fire breath right down the bitch’s throat. Then he rips her head off. Yes, I cheered. It was beautiful. And the least cheesy looking of the monster scenes, I may add. If you’re a fan of the monster genre I would highly recommend seeing Godzilla. I will probably go see it again. Yes, I loved it that much. And I will be buying it on DVD. I may even have to get a poster.