Godzilla (2014 Gareth Edwards)

Godzilla

Gareth Edwards 2014

 

Let me begin by saying I never watched Godzilla movies. Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of monster films? But seriously, I had seen the film when it came out and enjoyed it but when it came to reviewing it, I was lost. And truly, I have always been lost when it comes to Godzilla: is he a good guy or a bad guy? Is he the monster or are the MUTOs?

I’ll start with basics. I liked this movie because it gave me an origin for the monster(s) and gave the main characters a background—a reason to be the focus. My only real complaint was the early loss of Bryan Cranston’s character Joe Brody (Brody—Jaws–haha) because he had so much more personality and likability than his son Ford. I read Roger Ebert’ review of this movie and he compared Cranston’s character to Roy Neary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So why kill him off? That bothered me and I felt like it was a big mistake. Removing Joe Brody took away a lot of the intellectual portion of the movie turning it into a more action hero film.

Then there was Ken Watanabe’s character Ishiro Serizawa who started out strong but turned into the “token Asian” who tearfully cheers for Godzilla like he’s a mascot which is what I fear they were going for here and that felt wrong to me. Like Serizawa knows what Godzilla’s motives are all along based on what? His cultural heritage? Transactive memory? I didn’t buy it and he became like a child who fiercely believes in Santa Claus. Don’t get me started on the female characters who could have played bigger roles, but really didn’t get the screen time or plot line they deserved. They were relegated to sidekicks.

But let’s get to the monsters. The MUTOs and the king himself, Godzilla. Ok, I get the nuclear/radiation connection. I get the humans messing with nature warning. But what I don’t get is which of these gigantic creatures is the “monster”? The MUTOs were obviously made out to be the bad guys, but were they? Weren’t they just trying to make their way through a world that wasn’t made to accommodate them? Neither they nor Godzilla seemed to have malicious intent towards humans, we’re just little ants in our colonies below them. The fight between them causes mass destruction. Godzilla does as much damage as the MUTOs really. The MUTOs busy building a family while I guess Godzilla is trying to balance nature? Meanwhile we little ants are trying to blast them away with weapons similar to those that created them. Humans, I am quickly discovering, are actually quite stupid.

For me, this movie was entertaining as an action movie. It kept me interested with very little down time between action scenes. Could it have been better? Sure. Was it a monster movie? I guess so (my classmates who adore Godzilla will probably skin me alive for even questioning it). Does it belong in the horror genre? I’m gonna have to say no to that.

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6 thoughts on “Godzilla (2014 Gareth Edwards)

  1. Aaron Dalzell says:

    No Joe-La I will not skin you alive, well maybe your arm and a leg, but not too deep. 🙂

    Actually, you brought up something I never thought about, that it did seem like the MUTO’s were in a world not accommodating to them. While that could be said with the case of several Godzilla monsters in the past, but to me, the MUTO did lash out at the people at times where Godzilla kinda just left them alone, hell he rose up from the city and left after his job was done, never touching another building, while the MUTOS invaded a city to force themselves in and build a nest. I think there were some clear signs as to who was a villain. And Godzilla did block the missiles from hitting the bus on the bridge, and he also was courteous enough to try and go under the boats while the MUTOS shut the power down and killed many airforce pilots.

    And yeah, Godzilla, at least to me, was more Science Fiction. I never understood the balance nature stuff either, but when Serizawa says, “Let them fight,” just sent a shot of adrenaline through my veins, and only a Japenese character could say that and make it cool. I would have probably been pissed off if the Japanese guy wasn’t rooting for Godzilla, but for me it’s nothing racial, just what I grew up watching and became accustomed to. There’s always been the one Japanese character that cheers Godzilla on, it’s just a staple of the series.

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  2. vanessaessler says:

    I also felt confused as to what Godzilla’s plan was. To balance nature? To prey upon the MUTO’s (but weren’t they parasites of the Godzilla species)? And if they were his prey, why didn’t Godzilla eat them at the end? Was Godzilla the good guy? I don’t think it mattered who was good or bad. It seemed more like the point was to make humanity seem insignificant. Everything the characters did really didn’t save the day, it was Godzilla’s battle. So Godzilla winning was the best outcome for humanity, however I didn’t think for an instant Godzilla was battling to save humans. I’m probably thinking too in-depth here. I think this is meant to be a fun, fast, action sci-fi, so the plot holes and vaugness were probably inevitable. If they tried to explain everything the plot would be bogged down. It was more entertaining than I expected, but not something I would have picked out to watch.

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  3. Joe-la, I have to agree with everything you said. It was a very flat movie, and it seemed like a lot of the monster elements were there strictly to a.) deliver a message and b.) move the narrative forward. Everything seemed to work out as it was supposed to, as if everything was running on a track. Does that make sense? I hope so. It felt more like a ride than a movie, I guess is what I’m trying to say.

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  4. lisettegallows says:

    I was actually surprised how much I liked this movie.

    I loved Joe Brody’s death (right when he was about to get everything he fought 15 years for more on my blog), I found Ken Watanabe’s character a really nice evolution of the stereotype, and except for the fact that they are sixty foot tall things running around, I would argue that there are no monsters in this film.

    For started, I deeply empathized with the muto because they were only doing what was natural, trying to create their own family.

    Additionally, Godzilla in this film is described not as a creature created by our nuclear testing, but as an ancient monster we tried to kill and hid the evidence under the guise of “testing” (opening credit sequence). The Japanese man recognizes him as kami (the spirits in shinto which bring order and balance to the world) so his admiration and respect for the monster are religious (maybe… I want to watch the director’s cut which has more Ken). He even calls him a God which is confirmed when the “alpha-predator” kills the muto and recedes to his deep sea home to feed on the earth’s radiation.

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  5. kmmoreno1 says:

    Oh Joe-la you are my third post on Godzilla, and I am tired of giving my reasons for not liking the movie. I will comment however on something you mentioned in yours that I hadn’t really thought of before. I had not watched this version before, but I do remember sitting in front of the tube as a kid watching Godzilla. Then there was this version that we had to provide an in depth review. I mentioned this in my thread, I enjoyed the movie as a whole, meaning just viewing the film in its totality. But then I had to review it. I think sometimes when we watch films as a critic, it takes away from sitting back with popcorn and just enjoying it. We are forced to critique the various aspects of the film, and thats when things often fall apart.

    So that said, in my review I was took busy taking notes, then I saw a dinosaur swimming in the ocean. Where did he come from?? If I were just watching the film, I would have just thought, “cool, another monster.”

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  6. Joe-La, I have to agree with everything you said. I never thought Godzilla was a “monster” — just a big guy knocking into the furniture and smashing vases every time he turned around in his cramped apartment. The MUTOs were also just following their own agendas, and we humans, as usual had to go and take it all personal-like.
    I have to say, though, that the “origin story” in this version of Godzilla is not the REAL origin of the Big G, so I hope you didn’t write it down, or anything.

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