Film Reviews

GODZILLA

By • May 27th, 2014 •

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GODZILLA has the excitement and intensity of watching a pair of turtles mating at the zoo. This story of epic destruction and nuclear military might progresses with the crawling paced tediousness of unearthing fossils at an archeological site. At least the grand stupidity of another oversized reptilian tale, ANCONDA, attempted to offer elements of drama and suspense, and even a little humor.

During the mid-20th century, atomic testing was done in the South Pacific. Inhabitants of island nations were burned as their lands were scorched by the US Military conducting horrendous testing. Stock images of such explosions open the film proceeded by a nuclear facility in Japan awaiting meltdown. The destruction scenes in GODZILLA are taken from the world photobook of recent disasters: Firefighters rescuing the trapped below fallen debris and rubble is reminiscent of the rescue effort at the World Trade Center, the tsunami that flooded and wiped out so many souls in Thailand, and the emergency center set-up at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Japanese quarantined area was less compelling and heartfelt than a recent CNN segment on Fukishima.

Regardless of how unrealistic the effects were in the first films, children probably cried and adults probably laughed. Still, Godzilla continued his domination in the world and has made his appearance decade after decade. The visual effects in this film are first rate only to suffer from a terrible story, bad direction, non-existent sound design, a canned score…just throw garbage at the screen. Lack of script and directorial originality is sacrilege to Tomoyuki Tanaka and his creature, Godzilla.

A few fighting scenes between Godzilla and Muto appeared to be in slow-motion. In one shot, the military moved about at a normal pace while the creatures fought in half-time. This leads to an issue with the use of shadow elements and quick glimpses. Since the audience knows the creatures’ appearances, there is no suspense in shadows around bends and split-second shots of monolithic body parts skirting passed skyscrapers. These are worthless and useless. Muto, the nemesis in heat, somewhat resembles Steven Spielberg’s creature in WAR OF THE WORLDS. In fact, when Muto is shown, a similar blaring low tone sound from WAR OF THE WORLDS is heard.

The sentimentality card is used early in the film, which leads to an empty void. Bryan Cranston’s character loses his wife at the nuclear plant who – flash forward 15 years – has a military enlisted son, Ford Brody, with his own wife and toddler. The relationship between the son and wife is a useless ploy for the audience to care about anything. Once again, from the contrived book of screenplays, loved ones are at great distances amid a disaster. Oh, will they make it? Brody, out of uniform and on his own time is given so much military information freely, and hitches rides with planes and trains across continents, that it’s laughable. So many elements go nowhere. Just like the kids on the school bus crossing the bridge. I have a better idea. New York City bridges are in a sorry state, it costs too much to take them down. Let’s call Godzilla!

Then there is Stenz – dominant, gray haired, military commanding persona, bringing out the missiles. David Strathairn should be cast as the perfect male enhancement television spokesperson. Yes, there is a product advertised on TV called ExtenZe.

As the story comes to a close, Godzilla snowballs MUTO. If you don’t know what this is, watch Kevin Smith’s CLERKS. Allow me to offer the screenwriter and director two alternate endings to give this film an edge. Number one: Bring out the ROLLING STONES from their Love Is Strong video. Let’s cheer as Jagger and Richards and their video vixens all of whom are as tall as buildings, wow the beasts into posh New York City leisure. Number two: That’s exactly it, number two. Godzilla and his deployment of excrement would poetically summarize the film while adding to the substantial ecological disaster.

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