It’s kinda funny when i think about how much i like Godzilla. I never watched a movie of his before 1998’s “Godzilla” (i loved that movie btw, i plan on watching it again sometime), and yet i knew who Big G was and thought he was the coolest thing ever (he is still right up there).
In the meantime i have watched a number of his films, and my childhood enthusiasm was well placed as i quite like all that i have seen. So when i heard that he was picked up for a big budget Hollywood film i was very much looking forward to it. In fact that was my most anticipated movie of the summer.
It’s great that Big G got himself picked up again by Hollywood, as there are a lot of benefits that come along with it. First and foremost is money, lots of money. Godzilla had a budget of 160 million, compare this with Godzilla 2000‘s budget of 13 million and you can really see the dichotomy in the situation. With more money comes a higher quality look, to the visual design as well as the SFX. While most if not all of the destruction is rendered with CGI, it is of the highest quality and staying with rubber suits and cardboard buildings simply wouldn’t gel with the film’s serious tone.
What little parts of Godzilla we see in this film manage to paint him in the most satisfactory light. His meaty redesign and treatment as some elemental force of nature is a very welcome way to be involved. This is also the first thing that i distinctly remember Brian Cranston being in, and while i haven’t seen “Breaking Bad” i can certainly see how his involvement probably helped lead to its enormous success.
Lastly Alexandre Desplat’s score while is suitably chaotic and driving (particularly its opening segments) and provides a suitable underscore to the destruction on display.
Oh, and the comic con teaser is honestly one of the best teasers to have been released. Here watch it again as loud as possible:
The so called JAWS defense for this film (in regards to the treatment of Big G) doesn’t hold water for me. Not remotely, like none… I can’t make that clear enough.
This is for a number of reasons, firstly the shark in JAWS was a main character and primary antagonist in his movie. A direct comparison shows the world of differences between the two character’s and their over all relevance to the plot. Just ask yourself: Who drives the plot in “Godzilla” vs JAWS? The answer is that the Muto’s make the story happen. The male hatches at the beginning of the movie starting the story (inciting event), the male destroys the nuclear plant giving Breaking Bad and Kickass personal motivations to continue to engage in the plot, the male Muto hatches and moves the plot along (start of second act), the male Muto makes Godzilla awaken and follow him to Hawaii, the Male Muto makes the female awaken, the Muto’s are killed thus ending the story.
I’m not going to break down JAWS, as a casual glance at it will see that the shark motivates everyone and everything in that story. Godzilla does nothing but support the story by helping it end, that’s his involvement, that’s his purpose in the story. Yes he provides antecedent events and information, but like all prologues if you examine the actual story playing out you will find that it has no real bearing on the plot. Thus i find the film very unsatisfying, as i came to see a Godzilla movie. Not watch Family Loving Marine #3, and generic monster’s #5 and 7 run around the globe.
Structurally JAWS is different as well, the film didn’t cut to what Brody’s Wife or the Mayor were doing when the shark was attacking. Here in “Godzilla”, the film constantly cuts away to focus on bullshit (anything involving Kickass’ family) or plot developments not motivated by Godzilla (all of them). Also, the shark in JAWS had one big reveal (the bigger boat scene) Godzilla has no less than 4. There is also the fact that the shark in JAWS lives in the water, and therefore it is easy to keep everything but his most direct actions hidden from sight, not so with Godzilla and the Muto’s as they fight on land and smash buildings down. As result when the plot moves away from the monsters fighting it’s not really building tension its just teasing the audience, and i find personally that you can only tease so much before it starts to feel artificial.
There are other problems as well, i don’t understand the logic that states people need something to “relate to” in a film in order to be involved. I don’t relate to stock marine #3, concerned wife #7, or fat faced son #2. I don’t care if their lives are being affected by the Muto’s actions, i don’t care that they’re reunited and live happily ever after. I don’t give a shit. Yet they’re thrusted into my face in time and again in place of interesting events and/or people. Now this isn’t universal, but for me all a plot needs to be is interesting and all a character needs to be is likable in some way for me to get invested into what is happening to them.
Godzilla, recalls Batman and Batman Returns in that the supposed main character is a supporting character in the movie named after him. The film constantly shifts focus away from him to uninteresting place holders, and as a result makes the film a wholly unsatisfying experience. Thankfully the film is at the very least competently put together, and spares itself from being a bad outing for Big G to have had.