Godzilla Review - Back To Being King Of The Monsters


(Editor’s note: Yes, we know Godzilla didn’t originate in comics, but he’s been in tons of comics, so he’s welcome on Bam Smack Pow any time he wants!)

How We Got Here

In 1998, America had its shot at making a Godzilla film that as everyone knows, took a total crash landing. There were a couple things that drove fans everywhere utterly insane, such as the monster not looking like Godzilla at all. It felt like a different monster that they just slapped the name Godzilla on to try and make money, not bashing the fact that the film was really good as long as you don’t expect it to be Godzilla. After that, as some may know, Toho Pictures in Japan got the rights back and made Godzilla 2000which made everyone feel a lot better to see that the real monster that we all knew was back on the screen. It also repaired everyone’s hearts who were broken thinking that 1998′s film was the literal nuke that was dropped on Godzilla films forever. Toho then made a few more movies, including Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., and Godzilla: Final Wars. Godzilla : Final Wars came out in 2004, and was, as you might be able to tell, the last movie for Godzilla which included Japan finally getting back at America for the 1998 film.

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Godzilla in 1998, and thus, not really Godzilla!

Needless to say the human subplot as usual was not good at all due to Japanese super soldiers, a cheesy screenplay, and tons and tons of Kung-fu. However, it included the 1998 monster who got brutally beaten by the normal Godzilla and the monster battle scenes were very cool. After a long period of being away, the announcement came that in 2014, another shot for an American comeback of the Gojira (Godzilla) that we all love would be coming. Still, a lot of people were very nervous to see how this movie would turn out. A few months later, the news came that two writers hopped off of the project due to conflicts in the story focusing too much on the humans. Getting to my spoiler-free review of the film, the news was sadly a bit true, but not enough to make the movie bad at all. The overall film was no doubt an excellent next installment to revive the series and bring it forward to a newer generation.

Godzilla 2000

Godzilla 2000 was a return to form in Japan.

Mostly Spoiler-Free Review

The first thing you need to know about this movie is that this is definitely a film you want to see in IMAX due to the fact that the volume is loud and the screen is huge so you can really get the feel as if you are watching two monsters battle in a city in real life. My only real problem with it is that it takes forever to get Godzilla on the screen, and the human subplot takes forever to get through. Due to this, it may seem silly to actual die-hard Godzilla fans, but I’m going to touch on performances. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcolm In The Middle) fans please do yourself the favor and save your money. His part is smaller than the trailer makes it look like, but for the time he is in there, he carries the film. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Savages) did a good job but certainly did not fit the role of a tough army officer at all. He just can’t turn back from being Kick-Ass no matter how much he tries. Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy, Red Lights) did a decent enough performance playing the damsel in distress but didn’t show too much emotion as a mother for her kid. Last but definitely not least, Ken Watanabe (Inception, Batman Begins) stole the show as he was believable and had the best lines, seeming as if he was the only one who made this dry human subplot enjoyable.

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Ken Watanabe, doing an awesome job looking horrified.

 

Onto the aspect most fans are waiting for: the monsters! Well there is no doubt that the monsters saved the film from going downhill. There are two main monsters besides Godzilla, one a male called Hokmuto and the other a female called Femuto (image shown below). Both of these monsters definitely fit as good villains to Godzilla, as one has flying capabilities and they are both very strong, Femuto being stronger and bigger than Hokmuto. They serve as a great threat as they are looking to give birth to, no joke, about 800 more of their kind of monsters and cause tons of destruction along the way. It comes to close calls at times with various heart-pounding scenes that without a doubt leave you on the edge of your seat. As far as their looks are concerned, as any classic Godzilla fan knows, if you watch any of the original films all the villains look pretty silly. This time out, there is no doubt that both of the monsters are built to be terrifying and look like a threat to the audience thanks to modern-day CGI giving its wonderful helping hand. They look realistic enough that if you have kids, you may want to think twice about bringing the young ones to the theater or especially an IMAX for this one.

Muto

One of the Mutos.

Now for the one and only … Gojira! What isn’t there to say about our hero Godzilla? Going back to the classics again, the first ever film was meant to be a horror for Japan and was considered a bit scary even though today we watch it and can’t help but laugh at the toy trains, trucks, buildings and planes getting crushed. Eventually, throughout the films it seemed that Godzilla was a joke due to things such as him smiling in a movie, doing kung-fu arm/hand gestures, and lets not forget the world-famous Godzilla dance! Even though the franchise lost its seriousness, just like today’s Marvel movies it had a great story, it was full of characters and it lasted for tons of sequels. In the new film, Godzilla was totally taken seriously, which definitely fits in with current times and makes it more believable in terms of thinking how this world would be if Godzilla was real. In fact at times it was so realistic feeling I got chills down my spine when Godzilla would look toward the camera, along with the footstep sound effects that were so crystal clear I felt as if I was in the same city.

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Godzilla lets out his world famous roar.

Another thing that was important was the design was perfect. Even though he was a bit overweight compared to his other looks, the spikes on his back were great, especially during his classic swimming scenes. When you first see those spikes pop out of the water, it’s sure to make your heart start racing as the music grows louder and more intense as he approaches his destination. The roar is definitely something that needed to be mentioned as it was no doubt amazing, bringing the classic roar but more intense with a bit of a growl noise at the end of it. And if you’ll allow me one small spoiler, I’ll answer the final question you have in your mind: yes, he does his signature power, and when it happens, you will fanboy/fangirl in your seat knowing that this movie got it right. It’s beautiful.

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Godzilla stomped into theaters with advance screenings that started Thursday, and is currently sitting at $196.2 million worldwide. This movie is definitely worth seeing, as when the monsters step in, it’s the kind of thrill fest that every Godzilla fan has dreamt of for some time. Don’t let the subplot get in the way as this film is beautiful, but also do yourself the favor of getting the full experience this movie wants you to have. See it in IMAX and don’t wait for it on DVD. I’m hoping for a sequel to be announced soon.

Tags: Godzilla Godzilla 2014 Movies

2 Comments on Godzilla Review – Back To Being King Of The Monsters

  1. darkchaos says:

    The movie was great but aside from that, Godzilla’s design was far from perfect. There’s at least 10 small things that need changing:

    1) too overweight.
    2) fix neck.
    3) fix arms, i can’t tell where they are attached
    4) his snout is too stubby and short
    5) his eyes are TINY. I wanna see scary intimidating eyes
    6) they screwed up on his roar big time and it doesn’t sound remotely realistic. it literally sounds like rubber rubbing against each other
    7) the texture of his body looks slimy and shiny like an amphibian rather than dry-er thick hide. He was rather jiggly.
    8) His atomic breath is Very small and not as intense compared to the original japanese godzilla (and i don’t refer only to ’54 godzilla)
    9) Spikes are Tiny and the glow is very faint.
    10) the ending did not do him justice.

    I find 1999-2000′s godzilla from Godzilla 2000 to Final wars much more intimidating than CG godzilla 2014 because of the roar and the perfect body shape as well as the snout and face of a demon as he is always been described to have. making him too animalistic was a mistake but not an entirely bad one. the dorsal fins were much larger and having the fins spark up like crazy from radiation would have helped the audience get truly pumped. the whole 2014 movie just feels like its made to make us be on the edge of our seats but can never find a moment to jump up and scream for the big lizard. the only reason why he seems to make a big impact is because of the speakers and overused subwoofers for the overused bass in his roar and stomping.

    i can guarantee you that once people buy the dvd’s they will miss that IMAX experience. And I admit, even I will miss it. Thinking back on it, I prefer to have the roar overshadow his presence and foot stomping than what we have no, which is the opposite. I was expecting more roaring and lashing and screaming and crying from the monsters in a really brutal fight. but a lot of the fight at the start was just seen in the distance and not directly onto the monsters till the very end.

    the movie was far from crap, it was almost perfect and I truly enjoyed it. but godzilla just given too small of a slice in the film. I understand buildup is important but movies are just crappy with too much human subplot or humans at all. I understand that it was necessary to show glimpses of godzilla in the past and present as well as glimpses of his fights only, but when you see a monster that Just arrived with a tremendous thud from his feet, it leaves a bad taste of anticlimax when the camera strays away from their fight and skips to the next morning with no monster in sight in the city, with humans being clueless as usual trying to locate every monster. Godzilla fortunately was trackable because his dorsal fins were sticking out.

    also despite i was in the IMAX theather with extra speakers I can hardly hear some of the lines they say throughout the film. and thats not an issue in japanese movies. its the opposite. in american /western media the noise/bass/explosions always drown out voices (even the music gets drowned out or the music drowns out voices). In the japanese movies you hardly have that issue. And it ruins the experience because I really wanted to know what they said because its all part of the story/experience and movie viewing.

    it felt too much like there’s patriotism hidden. An american soldier , saving the US.

    its like watching american godzilla movie ’54. it was utter crap. whenever they showed the american, all we see is a guy talking on the phone trying to make the headlines. not knowing where he is doing or going, or just running away, and taking out much of the subplot with his mere presence. because hey, no one would watch a foreign film if it doesn’t have an american actor plastered all over it. because its americans. they don’t give a damn about foreign movies.

    americans expect people to cater to their wants and needs but when their movies are shown across the world, people across the world watch the movies happily without complaints.

    I’m tired with americans being so stuckup about globalism and sharing cultures.

  2. Navyvetew1 says:

    Too much story and not enough Godzilla.
    Main hero, EOD guy was weak actor.

    Being a former sailor, the naval scenes were very unrealistic. Why cannot filmmakers lately ever get this right?

    The carrier and an escort ship were following or escorting Godzilla they were very, very close. No way in heck any ship captain would place his ship that close to anything dangerous. Most escort ships don’t even like getting close a carrier. Google Belknap CG-26 and you will see why. Also the harbor scene where all the ships are very close and facing crisscross to each other. Beyond ridiculous. (Same by the with XMen: First Class)

    Yes, I know the general public would never notice this but it still bugs me. lol

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