Thursday, May 22, 2014

Godzilla (2014): Depressing Outcomes

OK Hollywood. 

Sit down, shut up and pay attention, because I’m tired of having to explain these things.

When the new Godzilla ended, I turned to my daughter and asked, “You know what they should have put in that to make it better?”

Without batting an eye she answered, “Godzilla.”

A large group of Japanese children were walking out with us, and they were all saying the same thing,
“That was SOOOOOOOOO boring.”

My family agreed.

That’s quite an achievement guys, making a film about a 350 foot radioactive dinosaur with a death beam breath weapon that outstandingly dull and lacking in its own title character.

*golf clap*

I think there’s more Godzilla screen time in the Fiat commercial.

Let’s all remember that, once again, I am not a rough audience for this kind of movie having been an unflinching fan my entire life.

I love the complex, high quality Heisei Era films, but I also am equally enamored with the campiest most ridiculous films from the 1970’s.

Although I agree that All Monster’s Attack was terrible, that didn’t keep me from watching it and enjoying it whenever it was on television growing up. My disappointment stemming from it not being a better entry in the series didn’t make me change the channel.

Heck, I saw the 1998 American Godzilla in theaters twice, completely by choice, had fun both times, and bought the tape, the flashlight, AND the big roaring toy figure.
Hail to the King (of Monsters), Baby.

Stupid or bad movies can at least be mindless, entertaining fun.  Boring movies are a dinosaur sized waste of time and space.

When the new film started, with stark depressing tragedy, I thought that it would focus too much on the real world reactions to the destructive aspects of a giant monster.  We’d have the awesome, high tech monster scenes off set by realistic takes on the levels of tragedy that type of attack would cause, similar to the Original Gojira.   This would have meant the film would be impressive, but no fun.

That would have been considerably better than what happened. 
The worst parts were the glimmers of promise.

In the few scenes where we could see Godzilla, he showed personality, the new body moved nicely, and he had what I imagine were great, if overly brief, battles.

But in a sold out opening night theater filled with rabid Godzilla fans, silence reigned for most of the experience.  There was ONLY ONE moment that led to applause and cheering.

A few minutes of awesomeness in over two hours of tedious film viewing does not a worthwhile movie night make.

Every time we would start to get excited at the monster footage, it would cut away to show the Kaiju on a TV with people watching it, then focus on just the people…if we were lucky.

Usually it would cut away from the monsters entirely to show the soldiers’, sailors’ and civilians’ reactions only.  The title character was a background event most of the time, so was the Nuclear Explosion now that I think about it.

Hollywood, pay really close attention to this:

When we go see a movie with GODZILLA in the title…


The image from the original film of Godzilla chewing on a train is iconic, not because anyone gives a rat’s patootie about the people in the train.


If this movie left Godzilla out completely, there would have been almost no difference in it, except for a bit of Kaiju Ex Machina at the end.

Like I said, there were glimmers of awesomeness in there, if subsequent weeks drop off doesn’t kill the sequel, don’t screw it up again.

I know emulating the original 1954 Gojira was the goal, but remember some important things.

1)  Gojira showed the monster as a minimally present, dark and shadowy form because in 1954 that was the best they could do.

2)  Gojira will always be a classic, but it isn’t the reason Godzilla is still beloved sixty years later.  The series really took off with King Kong vs. Godzilla.  This was the point when they started making the movies FUN.  Even the darker, serious Godzilla in the Heisei Series is surrounded by such Mind Boggling insanity filled situations that the fun was always present.

3) Similar to above, Alien worked as a fantastically scary haunted house in space barely showing the creature.  But it was the pluralized sequel, where the Xenomorphs were highly visible running amok everywhere that formed a franchise.

4)  To continue beating a dead horse:
Yes, everyone knows that Spielberg said if he remade Jaws he would never show the shark.  However everyone also knows what a shark is, how it attacks, what it looks like, and can view any of those on television, or the internet with ease, allowing powerful emotions to be generated by the viewer’s imagination.  When you’re making a movie about a ginormous, mutant, radioactive death belching dinosaur, The Discovery Channel is singularly lacking in live reference footage.  Let us actually see the dang thing as much as possible.

5) Finally, on a different “note.”
Get some of Ifukube’s themes in there.  This isn’t like Superman or Sherlock Holmes where the new interpretation needs to stand alone from the past.  Godzilla’s franchise has been running fairly constantly for sixty years, with his musical compositions always a big part of it.  There aren’t many franchises to compare it to with similar lengths.  Notice both Doctor Who and James Bond, both a decade behind the King of Monsters in lifespan, kept their recognizable theme song throughout.

And to stab the slain stallion a final time, when the James Bond franchise starts to wobble a bit, they don’t try to make another Doctor No, they try to make another Goldfinger.

With a sequel confirmed already, there’s little room for hope that the anniversary outing will end up angering Toho once again to the point they get their Big G machine up and running.  However, but since I’m not the only one who’s called them out on the lack of Godzilla on the screen, maybe they’ll try harder next time.  (Click here for an excellent, more in depth, look at the issues I’m kvetching about.  Warning, he uses some of the words I had to wait a few days before posting to get out of my system.)

Then again, the follow ups probably will be no better. They never listen.

At least something good came out of my daughter taking such a long time to get excited about Godzilla. We haven’t gotten that far into the franchise yet.  After wasting two irrepressibly drab and awful hours with the Sixtieth Anniversary film, we can go back to the movies made for the Tenth Anniversary. 


longbow said...

" There was ONLY ONE moment that led to applause and cheering."

Tail whip kill?
Blast buildup in the fog?
Project energy vomit momma bird to baby bird kill?

Jeff McGinley said...

I was keeping spoilers out of the main post, thanx for marking, and asking.

It was "C"

The others cut away far too quickly, more a "Whoah... oh, more emotionless army guy shots."

Chris said...

Great review! Just saw the movie over the weekend and couldn't agree more. The glimpses of awesomeness made it all the more painful. Very dull movie.

Jeff McGinley said...

Thanx for corroborating my findings, Chris. Luckily, there are a great many other good ones to choose from.