Godzilla (2014)
May 16, 2014 12:44 PM - Subscribe

The world's most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

While I was a fan of Pacific Rim as a dumb popcorn movie, I was skeptical that this would be good given the early good reviews (a few days ago the Rotten Tomatoes score was 85). I went to a preview screening Thursday night and had a blast. This was one of the most entertaining big summer blockbusters in years.
posted by mathowie (69 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I can't believe how much I loved this movie. I went in not knowing anything more than it was higher rated than the 1998 version, and that Bryan Cranston was in it. A few notes as I was watching it:

It's a bummer Cranston only lasts about 45min into the film, I wanted to see more of him.

I loved that you don't see a monster (is it a Mothra?) for almost 45 minutes, and then you don't get to see Godzilla itself until about an hour into the film. So much buildup!

The monster fight in Hawaii was excellent, but the Honolulu airport does not look at all like that (it looks like this, much smaller). They digitally put the words "Honolulu International Airport" over San Francisco's international terminal. There's also no monorail tram in Hawaii either, that seemed also plucked out of SFO.

When the Japanese research engineer guy says "it appears the monster is going towards another monster's call" I was SO hoping they'd cut to a scene with a flying turtle with rockets coming out of its legs (Gamera), but it was still good to be another Mothra thing.

Some of the stuff in SF was goofy. When the wife of the military kid of Cranston puts her kid on a "bus to Oakland" they show it crossing the Golden Gate bridge instead of the Bay Bridge that leads to the East Bay where Oakland is located.

The overall visual effects were INSANELY GREAT. When the monsters slammed into buildings, it looked really real and wasn't all CGI fakery like many shots in Transformers or Pacific Rim were. I think the CG software is getting increasingly better at lighting, reflections, and dust particles because the destroyed cities looked really realistic.

Unfortunately, this film suffered from the same problem Pacific Rim had which was not many female roles at all (there might be more in this, but probably less speaking time and less crucial to the story). On the positive side, even though the first half of the film takes place in Japan, the movie doesn't play up anything remotely wacky about Japan. The original Godzilla movies were hits here probably solely because Japan seemed so weird and exotic to Americans 40+ years ago, but Japan is treated with respect at every aspect of the story, with no cheap goofs on any part of the culture. I thought that was pretty cool.

The final fight scene was amazing, it reminded me of a well-choreographed Hulk Hogan match where it looked like the Mothras were going to kill Godzilla, but then Godzilla came back and kicked so much ass! And was that a nod to a Mortal Kombat fight sequence when Godzilla ends it by ripping the head off of his opponent? So awesome.

The tear-jerker reunion at the end was fine too, even though you could see it happening a mile away, I still teared up and was happy that the movie had to give me ALL THE FEELS.

The audience cheered when the credits rolled and my first thought was "damn that was good, I hope they're going to make sequels of this." About a quarter of the audience hung out to the very last credit, wanting more (nothing happens, just credits).

Hours later and the adrenaline was still pumping through my body. That was a seriously good popcorn action movie, all the positive reviews are well-deserved.
posted by mathowie at 12:48 PM on May 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


I forgot to add, you should see this on the biggest screen you can with as many people as possible. I loved seeing Pacific Rim (as dumb entertainment) last year in a theater, but I have friends that didn't care for it and it sounds like they mostly just watched it at home. You don't get the impact of a giant towering monster fight unless they are 30ft tall in front of you with bass coming out of the speakers that shakes your seat. It's a lot more visceral and fun in a theater.
posted by mathowie at 1:07 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm not seeing it til Monday but all I really want out of this movie is for Bryan Cranston to kick Godzilla and yell GET OFF THE TOILET
posted by elizardbits at 1:37 PM on May 16, 2014


Waiting in line to get into the theater to see this. The place is mobbed; this is going to be a huge hit.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 PM on May 16, 2014


I really enjoyed it, despite not being a fan of the original movies. Godzilla steals the show, and it's probably the most fun I've had in a theater in quite some time. A lot of that comes from the fact that the director is able to parcel out fight scenes and major effects shots. On the other hand the people I saw it with said that this was a mark against the movie, wishing there was more Godzilla action.
posted by codacorolla at 6:24 PM on May 16, 2014


I also enjoyed it, despite the dearth of worthwhile female roles. (I kept hoping for more from Sally Hawkins' character.) And despite not particularly liking the protagonist, and despite it being really kinda silly in many parts. Oh, and despite the bomb countdown that is straight out of Ebert's Little Movie Glossary.

I am not a special-effects person at all, and yet they were so good in this movie that I really enjoyed the heck out of it.
posted by whistle pig at 7:09 PM on May 16, 2014


I might write more about it later. The crowd I was in cheered in two places, both felt very earned. It didn't transcend the genre or anything, but I didn't need it to as I've loved these kind of movies since I was a kid, and this is a really fucking good one. This video pretty much sums up my feelings right now.
posted by sparkletone at 8:08 PM on May 16, 2014


This was a movie almost entirely devoid of catch-phrases, so I'll have to settle for this:

ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAR
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:43 PM on May 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, and despite the bomb countdown that is straight out of Ebert's Little Movie Glossary

But... but it isn't a race-against-time countdown. The protagonist is a bomb-disposal expert who offers to help dispose of a bomb and never actually gets a chance to dispose of a bomb. Half genre-subversion, half reinforcement of the movie's bluntly-stated theme that humans are a sideshow to Nature's vast drama and our actions are basically meaningless.

...if you'll excuse me, I think I need to write a short essay about how this is the most purely Lovecraftian movie to come out in ages.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:45 PM on May 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Very fun movie. I got a little distracted by all of the shoutouts to classic movies like Alien(s) and The Birds but Gareth Edwards is a heck of a director. The film was very well constructed and paced and the action scenes were largely devoid of shakey-cam chaos stuff.
posted by octothorpe at 8:50 PM on May 16, 2014


I dunno, I found the bulk of the film to be a little... Humourless. I don't need every film to be a Marvel-esque quip-fest, but a little light and shade would not have gone amiss. (Also, agree about Sally Hawkins, what a shame). That last half hour was brilliant, though.
posted by dumdidumdum at 1:05 AM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mad science! Did you know that the whole earth was heavily radioactive ten million years ago but it got better? Did you know echolocation is a good way to communicate between Japan and Nevada?

This movie knows it is completely ridiculous and plays it straight anyway, and I love it for that.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:02 AM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Real news article apparently; one does wonder if these things are sometimes timed to coincide with major entertainment events.
posted by Wordshore at 4:03 AM on May 17, 2014


My main complaint about the movie was the one that I have about a lot of these types of movies: the horribly bland boring white guy leading actor. Pacific Rim had the same problem as did Avatar (and anything else that Sam Worthington has been in).
posted by octothorpe at 10:02 AM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Matt Singer (The Dissolve/Filmspotting) says it better than I did:

"The most interesting guy in the movie gets written out after the first 20 minutes and the rest of the time we're stuck following Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who has more names than facial expressions."
posted by octothorpe at 10:31 AM on May 17, 2014 [8 favorites]


I wish I wish I wish that they had killed Lt Bland and we got Cranston rescuing his grandson as a redemptive arc.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:48 PM on May 17, 2014 [6 favorites]


I didn't really care for the movie.

I didn't care about the plot, I didn't care about the people (that lead :|), and although I wanted to care about the monsters I didn't really find myself that excited by them either. I was basically just thinking about how much I wanted it to be Pacific Rim the entire time...
posted by Strass at 2:24 PM on May 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


We saw this in Imax 3D last night, and had SO MUCH FUN. I loved that we didn't see the monsters for ages, to let the suspense build and build. I loved the effects -- the monsters and fight scenes and everything were astonishingly well done. Of course there were things I didn't like as much -- the boring main character, the happy ending you could see coming a mile away, and the thing I'm groused about the most today -- the bomb going off (I assume?) and somehow not killing everyone that was anywhere near it, including Bland Protagonist.

But even with the quibbles, it was an awesome, fun movie, the audience was totally into it, and I'm already clamoring to see it again.

Oh, one warning though, if you get motion-sick: there are a bunch of scenes that involve shaky cameras and such, and in the 3D especially, they might make you queasy. They made my motion-sickness-prone husband feel quite ill a few times, and even made me feel a littlke pukey once or twice, and I never get motion-sick. I don't know if it'd be better in non-3D.
posted by sarcasticah at 5:28 PM on May 17, 2014


My only complaint was that I wanted MOAR BRYAN CRANSTON to do SCIENCE with Ken Wantanabe. The kid from Kick Ass and the Olsen sibling did a fine job, but it was pretty much Cranston's movie, even though he didn't have that much screen time.
Also: My eyes got a bit moist when Godzilla went down. I am not ashamed.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:29 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


This movie knows it is completely ridiculous and plays it straight anyway, and I love it for that.

Yeah, there were so many little things that were just so ridiculous - our personal favorite being the part where the MUTOs pass the warhead back and forth like they are making out and its abc gum - that just, for whatever reason, work, and if they had tried to play it as a joke, it would have failed miserably. But it still made us grin like idiots. And maybe punch the air.

Basically, I could tell the couple behind us were a little apprehensive when the group of 14 year old boys sat at the end of the row next to us, but I'm pretty sure we gave them a run for their money on the reactions.

And while I agree with everyone that the younger adult characters were pretty thin, I would watch "Elizabeth Olsen's Eyes React To Stuff - The Movie" in a heartbeat.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:48 PM on May 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


My stupid complaint is that the fights all happened at night. Gimme some broad-daylight brawling!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:24 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the monster bits. And it looked fantastic. But for me the whole film was so plotless, and character-less. Nothing made sense in the slightest, and none of the characters actually did anything. Flat really.

Now, if they had continued the Cranstan storyline maybe it would have been better, but apart from the fact that he was great there was totally no need for that opening plot with him. It could have been covered in a two min segment to give the background.

I'm still glad I went to see it, and enjoyed the monster action (it needs the big screen) but it could have been so much better.
posted by Fence at 6:34 AM on May 18, 2014


Yeah a friend of mine was deeply, deeply sad that the biggest and best fights happened at night. Especially since that was one of his central complaints about Pacific Rim.

I actually think PR and this Godzilla movie are more properly characterized as very different genres. PR is a giant-robot movie in the anime tradition, with characters who were very clearly nods towards the sorts of archetypes you'd see in animes. This was also what drove its biggest problem, pacing, because it wanted to cram an entire season of an episodic show into one movie.

Godzilla was, obviously, more in the camp of the original Godzilla movies, but even there I'm a little confused by it?

Original Godzilla was part of a national reaction to having two cities destroyed by nukes. Like, there was a trailer for a movie about tornadoes destroying the world before Godzilla started, and that actually seemed like a more rightful heir to that kind of existential anxiety movie, only with the more modern twist of climate change.

Thematically it was weird.

What does it mean when, in the context of a plan to lure monsters away from population centers, a Japanese man reminds an American admiral of Hiroshima? Isn't the Admiral's plan a reversal of Hiroshima/Nagasaki?

More practically, why didn't they transport the warheads at 40k feet altitude in a C5?

Why didn't the MUTOs make a beeline for a large nuclear power plant? Why did the egg-layer leave Yucca Mountain?

The detonated warhead was described as having a multiple-megatons yield. What difference would it make that it was like 10 minutes out to sea on a tugboat?

I dunno. It just kind of felt like the writers were pulling on levers without any understanding of what they were connected to or what gears were getting engaged.

I mean, I enjoyed my time in the theater! But it wasn't as, I guess, internally consistent as PR? The monster design was fantastic, and I thought it was amazing and super cool that they did something with the CGI in the final fight to make certain scenes look a little bit like models on a soundstage. I have no idea how a visual designer does that, but it was such a great touch. And other scenes gave you a great sense of the scale of the monsters and the devastation that was occurring, in a way that PR kind of failed to do.

Very fun movie! But its internal logic was so flawed and the human/family drama was so... so uninteresting? That I just couldn't really get into it.
posted by kavasa at 9:06 AM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


And to talk a little more about the family thing: it's actually surprising to me that it fell down as badly as it did. The opening with the forgotten birthday banner was so corny, but by the time whatserface (seriously I have no idea what anyone was named) was running from the radioactive fog I was happy to buy into the family drama. But then it was 15 years later, they'd changed all the dynamics, and the only thing I could think during the argument in the paranoia shack was: "they haven't earned this".
posted by kavasa at 9:08 AM on May 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


My wife and I saw it last night in "real3D" in a 500+ seat theater. We went to the 9:15pm showing and there were maybe 3 dozen people in attendance.

We enjoyed the show, but I felt the 3D didn't add much to the experience. It took awhile for the plot to get going, and like others above felt it would have been better if Cranson was the one driving things forward but I did like the little call-backs to previous movies (the bugs and moths in the classroom, the dino and army-men on the bedroom floor). I also liked how the monsters harkened back to "Man in Suit" design, even being CGI creations.

Overall a B+ movie, worth seeing in the theater.
posted by jazon at 9:31 AM on May 18, 2014


the only thing I could think during the argument in the paranoia shack was: "they haven't earned this".

I spent that whole scene wanting to smack the kid. They were trying to imply that he was fed up with his dad's paranoid delusions, or something, but in the whole film Cranston's character demonstrated far, far more competence than the son did. The paranoia shack scene just came off like the kid wasn't interested and didn't want to listen, neither of which particularly says "loving relationship" or even "relationship". If we'd seen Cranston actually behaving irrationally, it would've been an easier sell, but we're never actually shown any reason (other than, I guess, him being arrested being somehow discrediting) to believe that he doesn't know what he's talking about.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:31 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


What difference would it make that it was like 10 minutes out to sea on a tugboat?

Two to five miles would make a big difference. Having the blast on the other side of the coastal range would also help.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:02 PM on May 18, 2014


I liked the nuke going off in the distance in the background, rather than cutting away to it. Nice touch, that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:27 PM on May 18, 2014


There were a lot of little directorial touches like this that I noticed, which, even though the movie wasn't perfect, made me think "why can't other summer popcorn movies try this hard?"; it made me dislike certain movies I already dislike even more.

Speaking of neat touches, I loved the opening credits.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:44 PM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Saw it yesterday in 3D and quite enjoyed it. Per the characters, I never recalled characterization being a major part of previous Godzilla films, so I wasn't too perturbed by the skim milk version from yesterday. I didn't think it was a stretch for the son to be exasperated by his father. When for 15 years, in an event that resulted in the death of your mother, and everyone in the world tells you it was an earthquake and your dad is insisting that it was something else...but in the world without giant monsters, what else is it? Is he supposed to believe that there was an evil mastermind with an earthquake machine? I think it would have been different if his dad had claimed that something caused the earthquake, but instead, he's claiming something else happened entirely. It sounds bonkers.

I only had a few nitpicks. Everyone kept on using small arms fire against gigantic monsters, repeatedly, after it had been obvious that it was pointless. Yeesh! Second, in the beginning, Cranston and his wife drive to work in a Subaru in Japan. Cranston, seated in the left of the car drove. So either they imported their Japanese import to Japan or no one thought to put the steering wheel on the right side of the car. Whuh.

I was also totally irritated by the Fiat commercial prior to the start of the movie which showed the big guy in full sunlight stomping around eating cars. Yes, in a movie setup deliberately to restrict and hint at the size and scope of the big monster, they spoil it with a stupid Fiat commercial. Blegh.

I would have loved a bit longer fight scenes, but I enjoyed what we did get, and respected many of the decisions to shoot them from the perspective of someone on the ground watching. These were made even better with the depth provided by 3D. Godzilla, himself, looked great and my heart skipped a beat as his back scales began to charge in preparation for his atomic breath. I thought, "Oh hell yeah!"
posted by Atreides at 7:38 AM on May 19, 2014


I think the theatre I saw it at had underpowered their bulb and I think I'm going to go see it again.
posted by Brainy at 9:14 AM on May 19, 2014


I only had a few nitpicks. Everyone kept on using small arms fire against gigantic monsters, repeatedly, after it had been obvious that it was pointless. Yeesh! Second, in the beginning, Cranston and his wife drive to work in a Subaru in Japan. Cranston, seated in the left of the car drove. So either they imported their Japanese import to Japan or no one thought to put the steering wheel on the right side of the car. Whuh.

I'm pretty sure that she was driving, not him.
posted by octothorpe at 1:11 PM on May 19, 2014


Yah? If this is true, I'll happily allow someone to buy me a ticket so I can go back and confirm it. Yup.
posted by Atreides at 1:51 PM on May 19, 2014


The BF and I just got home from a very lightly attended Monday afternoon showing in Times Square. Up until last summer, I would have thought it was amazing, but now I have been thoroughly spoiled by "Pacific Rim." This was way short of that. It was like Bryan Cranston's character dies, and Ken Watanabe is standing there all, "Well, fuck, what do I do now?" I'd almost rather go back and watch "2012," which is saying a lot.

So yeah. Great special effects, but I had no skin in the game.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:25 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I loved it because it reminded me of the old Godzilla movies I used to watch as a kid.

Does that make it memorable or brilliant? Nope. Does it make it incredibly comforting and delightful? Hell yes.

I prefer Pacific Rim when it comes to "Mankind versus giant monsters", but this wasn't "mankind versus giant monsters", this was "Mankind tries to fight giant monsters, realises it can't, so finally lets the giant monsters fight each other".

I worried they were going to do a Godzilla 1985 moment, which, as I have said before, wrecked me, and if Ken Watanabe even shed a single tear, I would've lost it, but, thankfully, the big guy exhaled, blinked a few times, went "What the fuck was I doin' last night?" then stumbled back home after his post-MUTO hangover.

Come back, big guy. Bring Mothra and the fairies with you.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:08 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Mighty God King weighs in and says both pretty much what I would say both in defense of and against this movie.
posted by sparkletone at 8:59 AM on May 20, 2014


Yeah, killing off two of the best actors in the first part of the movie seemed wrongheaded. Why hire Juliette Binoche just to have her spent five minutes running down a corridor from a menacing cloud of radioactivity and then die?

Oddly I'd just watched Three Colors: Blue and Cache in the last two weeks and was excited to see her in another movie and then she just turns out to be a plot device for the main character to mope about.
posted by octothorpe at 9:48 AM on May 20, 2014


Saw it yesterday in 3D and quite enjoyed it. Per the characters, I never recalled characterization being a major part of previous Godzilla films, so I wasn't too perturbed by the skim milk version from yesterday.

I haven't seen this yet, sadly, but I don't mind being spoiled. I do however have a big problem with this sort of thing happening in movies. Like, I dig Pacific Rim, and have watched it at least a dozen times. Or, more accurately, have watched the actual good bits a dozen times. Same with the Transformers movies.

What angries up my blood is a movie being sold on a certain premise, i.e. Godzilla, but then being 80% shitty asshole moron characters being played by wooden planks, and only 20% movie, but the attitude is "the characters don't matter", and I'm thinking, well, if the characters don't matter, why the fuck have I been watching them mouth-breathe their way through stupid dialogue for the past 45 minutes? Either write dumb cliche characters and have them only be on-screen for ten minutes, or write interesting characters properly and at least generate a plausible excuse for not having the budget.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:25 PM on May 20, 2014


What angries up my blood is a movie being sold on a certain premise, i.e. Godzilla, but then being 80% shitty asshole moron characters being played by wooden planks, and only 20% movie, but the attitude is "the characters don't matter", and I'm thinking, well, if the characters don't matter, why the fuck have I been watching them mouth-breathe their way through stupid dialogue for the past 45 minutes? Either write dumb cliche characters and have them only be on-screen for ten minutes, or write interesting characters properly and at least generate a plausible excuse for not having the budget.

My standard was previous Godzilla movies, not all movies with giant things or CGI denizens. The problems that arises, at least in this movie, is that the main character is Godzilla, and oddly enough for myself, I was disappointed that we didn't get to "know" him better. That was the characterization absence that actually bothered me, and it's not an easy one to pull off without making Godzilla too well known. To a degree, he's just this giant muto homing creature without much thought or intelligence. He learns they exist, he chases after them and tries to kill them, and then that's it.

Per the characterizations in Godzilla in the human characters, there really isn't much time allowed for it to happen. People are moving, reacting to events, and the question arises, is it appropriate to inject something here? I think they lay the lines out and makes sure none of them become tangled, where each person can be interchanged with another and no one notices the personality change, as there are distinct personalities, but the characters who stay with us the longest are professionals - and as bizarre as it sounds, their profession has somewhat endeared them to handle the situations that are unfolding without a lot of room, required or not, to affect who they are.
posted by Atreides at 6:43 AM on May 21, 2014


I liked the effects, and I liked the monster fights.

Generic Military Protagonist and Central Casting Wife and Child bored me silly. Was there any point in the film where you thought there was any chance whatsoever that Lt. Generic and his family were not going to (a) survive relatively unharmed and (b) be reunited at the end after the big monster fight? All Lt. Generic did during the entire movie was inexplicably not die because he had a plot shield. How did he get off the dangling tram? How did a fall off a bridge that high not only not kill him but leave him healthy enough to go skydiving hours later? Have they checked this guy for some sort of mutant luck displacement powers that save him by killing everyone around him? (Maybe Dad was lucky they were estranged, it was only getting back in proximity that killed him...)

Godzilla was fun. She[1] had a great entrance via the smoke, and I squee'd when her spines lit up and I knew the lightning-breath was going to make an appearance. The bit with her swimming along with the navy like a porpoise was interesting, and also justified the military being willing to believe she was not the primary threat.


[1] I say 'she' because Godzilla has been known to lay eggs.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:12 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Godzilla: Male or Female? Slate asks.

Answer: It's complicated. Heh.

Here's a question: Do we want a Godzilla movie where Generic Military Protagonist loses his wife and/or son?

It's a valid criticism, but the movie definitely wasn't afraid to kill off some of the talent, and his survival isn't necessarily out of line with the survival of all generic heroes in action films. Interestingly, there's an article floating around about the director's borrowing/nod to Spielberg in many areas of the film. Spielberg, for good or not, does have a reputation for allowing his protagonist to reunite with family and to survive incredible odds to do so.
posted by Atreides at 9:45 AM on May 21, 2014


I saw the movie in San Francisco, so it was fun to see my neighborhood get destroyed by Godzilla. Also we (the audience) collectively laughed at a few silly things, like when the BART stations are used as shelters. Hah.

I also liked all the little details in the movie, and the obvious references to the genre and past Godzilla movies. Are "MUTOs" supposed to sound like "Mothra"? I don't watch a lot of movies though, so I'm sure I missed a few references. For example, in Las Vegas, there is a scene with firemen entering a luxurious suite with classical music playing for a few seconds and then... well the movie resumes. What is that a reference to?

Despite those nice things, the movie was not that great. As was said before in this thread, all the characters are bland except for Watanabe and Cranston's . I want to see a movie about the two of them, not all the other idiots who can't reason or act logically.

I think there was a plot line between Watanabe and his female colleague (can't remember any names) that got cut from the script. In a scene, she calls him "sensei", which is a bit surprising as their relationship didn't seem that deep. I wouldn't be surprised if more scenes fleshing out their relationship were originally planned. People would have called it out as a rip off from Pacific Rim though.

...and here we are. Pacific Rim. Impossible to think of Godzilla without thinking of Pacific Rim, because Pacific Rim was just so good. In a pre-Pacific Rim world, this Godzilla would have been enjoyed - but now that we have Jaegers and Kaijus in our imaginations, it just seems bland.

I also waited till the end and was disappointed by the lack of hint at a sequel/bonus content.

Well, this Godzilla didn't cut it for me. I'll just watch this over and over again instead.
posted by belugacat at 9:28 PM on May 21, 2014


In Imax that HALO sequence was incredible.
posted by The Monkey at 10:30 PM on May 21, 2014


Mr. Pretty loved it -- he's seen the originals and felt the movie captured the same feeling of Godzilla as "force of nature" as opposed to pure good or evil.

I loved the monster fights, but there were too few. I hated the hero and got really bored with him being conveniently jetted in to wherever the action was happening.

The best part for me though was the full sensory experience provided by Mr. Pretty who made "roar" faces at me and raked my arms with his "claws" whenever Godzilla was on screen :)
posted by prettypretty at 3:03 PM on May 22, 2014






Yeah, I was totally disappointed. I thought the pacing was weird, I didn't like any of the characters and so much of it just did not make sense. Why did nuclear loving monsters pick San Francisco? Why were those ships sailing so closely to where godzilla was swimming, SO dangerous. EMP's will destroy electronics, not just stun them for a minute. And why in the hell was the last battle scene fought at night? I remember sitting there looking at a pretty awesome godzilla and like squinting to try and savor some more of the detail. They spent so much time on making him look badass and then they left him in the dark, literally. Ugh, anyways I give it a C.
posted by pwally at 10:55 PM on May 22, 2014


I had a good time but it felt like there was this more interesting movie kinda being suffocated by the BIG MONSTER RIGAMAROLE, like it would come out in these little ten second bits and then get pushed under again cause MORE DARK GREY MONSTARS.

Like, the opening title sequence (with that music! Easily the best part of this movie is the new theme. It's like straight up MARS ATTACKS but with drums) and you see all this footage and period filmstrips and the sinister project monarch logo and all the details being REDACTED away. That was ...signing a check the movie did not cash. (plus our theater fucked up the first ten minutes so I got to see it twice!)

I didn't hate it it was perfectly enjoyable two hours but ....ehhh? Theme park ride-y.
posted by The Whelk at 11:08 PM on May 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was more upset it didn't freaking look like the part of San Fransisco it's supposed to be in.
posted by The Whelk at 11:09 PM on May 22, 2014


And yeah, anything with the human characters was really really disaster movie template.
posted by The Whelk at 11:15 PM on May 22, 2014


Oooor, as Mightygodking and McMike point out, the movie is trying really hard to overcome a generically inoffensive script and these flashes of honest to god wit and design around the edges speak to that.

I mean I loved the The Birds reference too, how could not put in one if your disaster movie is near San Fransico, but it feels less like "yes we are totally committed to this visa" and a little more "Well I'm never going to be in charge of a movie this big ever again and they say I have to do x, y, and z but damnit I'm going to make it fun for me."
posted by The Whelk at 11:33 PM on May 22, 2014


The whole time I was thinking that they should have switched the roles and had Elizabeth Olsen play Cranston's daughter and had Aaron Taylor-Johnson be the critically under-written damsel that we keep cutting back to.

Am I the only person that thought that Cranston overdid it pretty hard? The wigs they unceremoniously frisbeed onto his head just before calling "action" didn't help.
posted by doctornecessiter at 5:57 AM on May 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, his hair was distracting but it's a silly disaster movie, I don't mind a little over-acting.
posted by octothorpe at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2014


Compared to how underacted everyone else was I don't mind some ham in my summer monster movie.
posted by The Whelk at 6:54 AM on May 23, 2014


Yeah, I was totally disappointed. I thought the pacing was weird, I didn't like any of the characters and so much of it just did not make sense. Why did nuclear loving monsters pick San Francisco? Why were those ships sailing so closely to where godzilla was swimming, SO dangerous. EMP's will destroy electronics, not just stun them for a minute. And why in the hell was the last battle scene fought at night? I remember sitting there looking at a pretty awesome godzilla and like squinting to try and savor some more of the detail. They spent so much time on making him look badass and then they left him in the dark, literally. Ugh, anyways I give it a C.

Wasn't San Francisco just the meeting point or something between the two creatures? One flying in from Hawaii and the other taking the scenic tour from Las Vegas?

One thing I realized was that Aaron Taylor-Johnson pretty much contributed nothing as a protagonist outside of setting fire to the eggs in the nest. He virtually failed at everything else!

1) Get his dad out of jail and back home. FAIL. He allows his dad to go back to exactly what he was doing and get detained, again.

2) Get the little kid back to his parents on the tram. FAIL. He kept the kid safe, but the kid ran off on his own and luckily right into his parents.

3) Help get the nuke to San Francisco via assuring that the bridge was clear. FAIL, they give the all clear signal just in time to have the train go straight into the monster.

4) Disarm the nuke after it's been pillaged. FAIL.

5) Rescue his wife and kid. FAIL, both survive without virtually any impact of his actions on the events going on in the film.

6) Get the nuke tugboat set to go out to sea. FAIL (at least the first attempt), the emp from the monster kills the engine.
posted by Atreides at 7:03 AM on May 23, 2014


I've liked David Strathairn all the way back to Return of the Secaucus 7 but this movie needed someone in that role to seriously chew some scenery.
posted by octothorpe at 7:04 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wasn't San Francisco just the meeting point or something between the two creatures? One flying in from Hawaii and the other taking the scenic tour from Las Vegas?

I agree that that's what the movie is saying, but wouldn't L.A. or San Diego be a more likely meeting spot between those two locations? Maybe the MUTOs' call-response conversation included something like, "Hey, I finally just saw Bullitt, let's go check out where they shot it."
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:31 AM on May 23, 2014


I would totally choose S.F. over those two, personally, and that's the non-native Californian response (ergo, MUTO response).
posted by Atreides at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I would totally choose S.F. over those two, personally, and that's the non-native Californian response (ergo, MUTO response).

Oh, I mean, yeah, ditto for me. If that makes me a MUTO, well then ROOOOAAAR [fist to the ground, EMP BLAAAST].
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:52 AM on May 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


I saw it last night at a drive-in with a bunch of people. It was the third movie out of three so it started at maybe 1 am in rural noplace. Even by the time the movie ended there were like 15-20 cars in the place which is seriously unusual for 3 am Vermont. I agree with what a lot of people said, though I enjoyed it. Good monster movie, less good overall movie but whatever, it was better than Blended which we saw before it.

- disappointing females - even the woman in the lead-ish scientist role doesn't get to do much and the supposedly awesome nurse-and-mom sort of feel down on both parts (I mean I don't know what he winning move is but I was assuming in a movie where FAMILY HAS TO STICK TOGETHER is a central premise, you don't put your kid on a bus while you wait for your notoriously not-awesome-at-planning husband)
- fewer fun things to learn about the monsters - I was hoping that the OMG SHE'S PREGNANT thing you learned when that one Muto was going over them on the trestle would be ... news somewhere along the line but instead it was like "Yeah duh, she has a ton of eggs, we KNOW"
- family reuniting being the core goal of hte movie -- I know SF pretty well and all the terrible damage that was inflicted on it was really tough to watch even though it was movie violence. That whole "It's okay because this stupid white family lives" part (even though they took care to have families of other races get reunited) is the worst part about disaster movies (I am looking at you 2012) generally

Agree with The Whelk, the openings credits made me feel that maybe this movie would have more subtlety but I enjoyed it pretty well anyhow.
posted by jessamyn at 4:07 PM on May 26, 2014


The Ichnology of Godzilla
posted by homunculus at 11:15 PM on May 26, 2014


Everyone kept on using small arms fire against gigantic monsters, repeatedly, after it had been obvious that it was pointless.

I took that as being symbolic of humanity's impotence. Pretty much nothing the humans did was any use, including, as laid out by Atreides, the main character.
posted by biffa at 1:44 AM on May 27, 2014


I wish they had taken it to the logical conclusion, someone taking a knife and running up and attempting to stab a kaiju in the heel or something.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on May 27, 2014


Why did they steal monster design tips from Cloverfield?
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:20 PM on May 30, 2014


I saw it just this afternoon and felt the first 40 minutes made a promise upon which the rest of the movie had no hope of delivering. I did dig the nods to other classic scifi (2001!) and found it an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, but almost every moment from the time the boring white guy left Japan until the credits rolled was not as tense as I hoped. I just never got the sense anyone we cared about was in real danger, probably because the only two characters we cared about died early in the movie. And I was also really distracted by the idea of all of the Navy personnel wearing BDUs onboard the carrier.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:31 PM on June 1, 2014


We had so much fun. We thought we'd just be chomping popcorn and watching Godzilla stomp on buildings, and then were wowed that we got some genuine acting and story (though brief) from Binoche for 5 minutes and Cranston for 45. Strathairn was wasted -- and I am sad he is getting so aged -- and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is strictly eye candy, he does not seem to understand the word, "act." But there was Watanabe!

I thought this movie did have a great line -- "Let them fight!" -- which is really what Godzilla style movies have always been all about. As for all the silly plot stuff like temporary EMPs and monsters that live on radiation, who cares, it's a summer movie.
posted by bearwife at 1:34 PM on July 2, 2014


I think this was a fitting tribute to the original Godzilla.

* It features one of my favorite actors in the lead scientist role - just like the original
* It makes a semi-decent attempt at science - just like the original
* It's sympathetic to the monsters - just like the original
* I got bored when it came down to the monsters crushing things - just like the original

I'm sad to say I fell asleep in the theater about the time that Godzilla was having its big confrontation with the MUTOs. But that's about the same point where I got bored during the 1954 film, so hey. Obviously this one lacks the cultural significance & gravity of the 1954 Godzilla, but I thought it made a good effort in that direction.
posted by isthmus at 8:41 PM on October 14, 2014


The original ran for 96 minutes. The new one ran for 123 minutes. That's about 27 minutes of extra time...which I bet if you cut out the father/husband trying to get back to his wife/family storyline would bring it close to the 96 minute mark.

Conversation:

Director: "So I want to recreate the original Godzilla in as many ways as possible."
Studio Exec: "Great, do it!"
Director: "It's done, brilliant, isn't it? Matches right up with the original!"
Studio Exec: "Uh."
Director: "What?"
Studio Exec: "Where's the family bit?"
Director: "What family bit?"
Studio Exec: "Every disaster movie has a family bit! 2012! Independence Day! The Day After Tomorrow!"
Director: "This is a Godzilla movie."
Studio Exec: "Exactly, even the last Godzilla movie had a family bit!"
Director: "No, it didn't."
Studio Exec: "Sure did! Godzilla was a mother!"
Director: [exits stage left]
Studio Exec: [shouts at departing director] "Can't wait to see the family bit!"
posted by Atreides at 9:40 AM on October 15, 2014


Just saw this, and it would have been more appropriate to call the movie Call of Duty: Modern Godzilla. Way too much emphasis on the adventures of elite EOD Specialist Lieutenant Ford Brody while he poses next to or rides in a bunch of sweet military hardware (which the movie establishes as ultimately useless anyway).
posted by FJT at 9:18 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


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