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Author Topic: Godzilla (A+)  (Read 8004 times)
Sam Gurney
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« on: May 15, 2014, 09:58:12 AM »

There’s a dichotomy to Godzilla as a character that’s seen him remain so iconic throughout 60 years’ worth of incarnations. He’s destructive, but heroic. He’s there to hunt, with no desire to interfere with humanity, but cannot help to do so. Humanity as a backdrop has always existed throughout his legacy. He battles an array of cult monsters while we fire at him with our puny weapons. He laughs at them.

It’s also fairly unique in regard to Hollywood’s reluctance to touch it (1998's Godzilla being the only Hollywood produced version), and perhaps rather tellingly turn to Gareth Edwards to direct, off the back of his micro-budget debut ‘Monsters’ that focused on the human element of a world besieged by… monsters.

Tying nicely into Godzilla’s 60th anniversary, the release of his latest re-birth takes an unusual path away from most modern blockbusters in using Godzilla, the iconic draw of the film, as an enormous support to a tense emotional drama. How would a real world with real human relationships react to the discovery of a giant monster?

From Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) obsessively trying to untangle a massive cover-up, which killed his wife 15 years earlier, to Dr Serizawa’s (Ken Watanabe) investigation and pursuit of Godzilla as a God-like creature here to restore balance, it offers an incredibly visceral expansion to the monster movie genre. Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a bomb disposal specialising soldier, finds himself at the centre of Godzilla’s path to hunt the parasitic Muto, a creature ploughing through civilisation on its way to find its mate and nest some radioactive babies. Just by following his instincts, Godzilla’s existence changes the lives of everyone.

It’s such a big, entertaining spectacle beginning and ending on humanity’s insignificance in the face of nature. The monster fight sequences balance that delicate line of being left wanting more. It’s always spectacular, but much more of a sideshow than you’d expect. There’s never a disconnect from the action, the characters are skilfully drawn and well grounded, with such otherworldly elements as Godzilla and the Mutos layered in seamlessly. And what self-respecting blockbuster would be complete without the closing threat of nuclear annihilation? Literally none. But it ties into the story so well that it doesn’t feel lazy.

There are some truly incredible sequences, encompassing very impressive direction and sound design, with every action set piece hitting the mark. Visually, the artistic decision to mask Godzilla behind smoke/ash/debris really adds a lot of depth to him as a character blending into the destruction around him. His presence is much more haunting than you’d expect.

It’s been marketed extremely well too; he’s never been flaunted in our faces. When you do see him in detail, it’s pretty incredible. He’s so expressive, like watching a dog plotting his next move to con food out of you. He slots nicely into a very impressively assembled cast, with the aforementioned stars alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn all going above and beyond what you’d predict from a Godzilla film.

Hereby setting itself as the benchmark for an era of blockbuster defining itself on disaster porn, it really delivers on everything you’d look for, without holding your hand through it or sticking to conventions. It even presents itself with a certain amount of subtlety. The denouement of the final battle between Godzilla and Muto is jaw-dropping, and a memorable final shot is delivered without fuss. Damn impressive.

Grade: A+
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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 10:29:21 AM »

http://www.movie-moron.com/?p=30100

After a long period of abuse a few years ago, the A+ has been banned in all but the most exceptional of cinema-changing circumstances.
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dnwilliams
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 01:36:20 PM »

Abuse?
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dalmatianjaws
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 02:55:21 PM »

Translation: he didn't like it as much as we did.    Wink
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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 03:56:04 PM »

Yeah 2009 was the greatest year ever for cinema.
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dnwilliams
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 01:09:03 PM »

We can't all be lovers of mumblecore and avant-garde art cinema like you, Sheridan. Some of us just wanna watch shit blow up good.

'09 was a pretty decent year for movies too: Up, Moon, The Hurt Locker, District 9, Inglourious Basterds, A Serious Man, Bronson, Black Dynamite, Fantastic Mr Fox, Up in the Air…
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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 02:15:22 PM »

And our favourite movie of all time, Easy A.
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dnwilliams
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 02:25:42 PM »

Never saw it, looked pants.
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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 10:46:39 PM »

My mini-review: http://www.movie-moron.com/?p=30100&cpage=1#comment-276963 What did DNWilliams and DJaws think?
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dalmatianjaws
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 10:58:04 PM »

Probably won't see it. I have to say I liked the trailer and might just leave it at that. Never been a huge Kaiju fan. Liked MST3K's riffs on Gamera more than I liked actual Godzilla films. Most of that original film's power comes from its metaphor (Godzilla being the personification of the A-Bomb on Japan, etc, etc) but the films themselves were never that interesting to me.

I rather liked Cloverfield. Some people say it's a bad movie, but it really isn't any worse (in terms of craftsmanship) than the original Godzilla, and it's America's take on 9/11 just like Godzilla was Japan's take on the A-Bomb, that makes it special in my book.

I'm not sure what this new Godzilla is supposed to MEAN, if that makes sense. A large monster rampage movie is a lot of fun (Pacific Rim) but if you remove the meaning it all feels a little thin (Pacific Rim).
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Sheridan Passell
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2014, 06:07:50 AM »

I enjoyed Cloverfield, particularly the journey of internet rumours, guessing what the monster was, then the way they gradually revealed it onscreen. It might be the second best use of found footage after Blair Witch.

I'm stunned how meh I felt about Pacific Rim and Godzilla while watching them. Were they fatally flawed or am I just... getting too old for this sort of thing? Jury's out. I saw Godzilla back to back with Days of Future Past, Future Past was brilliant.
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dnwilliams
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2014, 07:38:04 AM »

I've missed a ton of major releases already this year, might catch it in the next few days.
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dalmatianjaws
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2014, 02:09:07 AM »

Pacific Rim was an incredible letdown for me. I love the director and the concept but was pretty stunned by the poor writing. I expected it to be either incredibly stupid and fun, or actually have a brain and soul inside a silly exterior (like his first Hellboy movie) but it was neither. they actually managed to be over the top and boring at the same time.  They spent a lot of time on character (good!) but the characters were one-dimensional (bad!). The tentpole fight scene was incredible in terms of spectacle, but spectacle doesn't cut it anymore (something Marvel seems to understand).

Haven't seen the new Godzilla, so I can't say a thing about it.
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