First appearing in 1954, where he was a man in a concrete suit (the studio couldn’t afford rubber) menacing a bunch of matchbox toys in a bathtub and some cardboard sets, Godzilla has been menacing Japan right up until the present day meaning that it is recognized by Guinness World Records to be the longest continuously running movie franchise, having been in ongoing production from 1954 to the present day.
And yet, despite all that, Godzilla’s never really broken into the mainstream. I mean most people are aware of Godzilla but ask the average movie goer to describe his rogues gallery and I’m willing to bet 95% of people wouldn’t get more than two or three.
That’s probably because most peoples knowledge of Godzilla comes from the 1998 Roland Emerich version (myself included). I caught Shin Godzilla when it came out, wasn’t terribly impressed as the special effects would have been laughed out of town in the ’70’s but I went into Godzilla: God harder looking forward to the experience.
I mean, Pacific Rim is one of my favourite films, I love big monster movies (even if the genre is probably going to go into ‘hibernation’ for a few years) and this film seriously delivers on the whole skyscraper sized monsters going at in multiple environments.
Forget the 2014 versions bright idea of always having Godzilla slightly off-screen until the end (The director claims he was inspired by Jaws but the two films place people in VERY different mindsets which is why most people were miffed. It didn’t help that the human characters were flatter than if Godzilla had stepped on them)
But pretty much all of those flaws are fixed in this film because yes, the human characters are still flatter than if Godzilla had stepped on them and they spend all their time searching for a McGuffin and staring at screens whilst all the military tech gets shown off to such an extent I had to check the Michael Bay wasn’t involved.
But you forget about all that cardboard the second that the Titans come on screen and start going for it. Each titan unique and distinct from the other, each with it’s own color scheme so you can quickly identify who’s on screen.
And they look so… beautiful. There are so many frames of this film that would look amazing as posters and the soundtrack!
The traditional Godzilla theme has been turned up to eleven, hell, the whole soundtrack sounds like the composer was told that “This is a movie about skyscraper sized monsters beating the living snot out of each other. Go for it.” And a bonus to whoever put Go Go Godzilla over the end credits. I loved that song growing up and it’s so great to have been reminded of it.
Sadly though, for some reason, a film cannot be two hours of CGI monsters screaming at each other and whilst I like the way the camera panned from an awesome fight to the humans trying to get the hell out of there and then back again. Because that’s the part of the movie that your actually going to care about.
As, well, within about five minutes you’ll have worked out every single piece of cardboard’s complete story ark. I mean, don’t get me wrong, It’s great to see Charles Dance getting work on the silver screen and Millie Bobby Brown again proves that as long as she can stay on the rails she’s going to be one hell of an A-lister in about ten years. It’s just that it’s all wasted. Apart from Ken Watanabe, he’s slightly less wasted than everyone else as he gets, if you squint hard enough something that might resemble a character arc except that you’ll see it coming a mile away.
So, what I’ve said 632 words trying to say is that this film about giant monsters fighting features of lot of giant monsters fighting. It’s tense at times, exciting at others and all the best characters can only communicate in screaming roars.
Sadly though, whilst the giant monster battles are amazing on the big screen, when it comes on the TV, your going to notice that the humans speak only in exposition, their either staring at screens or having some of the worst choreographed gun battles I’ve ever seen.
Yes, gun battles, in a Godzilla movie.
No, me either.
Also, what is it with seemingly every villain in blockbusters wanting to be Thanos? Look, I get it, I’ve worked in retail and try to live in London so I approve of a decrease of the surplus population, but it’s just getting a bit tired as a motivation and doesn’t really make sense here. Debating whether to try to work with or destroy Godzilla, reconsidering our place in the the food chain and desperately trying to work out how to survive against beings that are so far beyond us that they might as well be Gods seems to me to be enough issues for one film.
Except with dialog that most of the time sounds like were in a video game cut-scene just before the player gets handed their objective, maybe it’s best that the villains have such a simplistic motivation.
So, see this on the biggest screen that you can, buy either The Art of Godzilla: King of the Monsters so that you can see those mind-blowing images again and again because on the small screen a lot of the flaws that have been covered up by the sugar rush of the fights are going to become really, really obvious.
Great sugar rush though.
My Score- See It