Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Godzilla - In Search of Godzilla - Spoilers

By Ken Parker

One of my co-writers on this blog wrote a nice little review that told me ahead of time whether I would like this film or not.  I don't think we have agreed on a movie ever and since he liked it I figured I would hate it. Truthfully I stayed away from any review including this one but was not surprised by his reactions to the movie.  I, on the other hand, claimed early on that Godzilla was the film of the year for me and it was the one I was looking forward to the most.  A friend who saw it Friday had some issues with the lack of Godzilla in the film and I was fine with this because I did not want to see wall to wall Godzilla. I wanted to see human characters and their interaction with this walking disaster called Godzilla. I knew this would not be as fun of a film as Pacific Rim and since my co-writer, Harvey the Pooka, hates fun films, that would certainly be in Godzilla's favor.

I finally saw this movie today and absolutely loved how Godzilla was slowly introduced into the film with a few glimpses here and there.  Perfect.  But wait a minute, something is still not right here.

The movie was told from the perspective of the human characters but unfortunately those characters are average.  They are good actors all but apart from Cranston's character, it was hard to really feel for any of them.  There was not enough material for us to come to grips with these people.  The jumping around of the scenes generated very short times to see these characters.  Not enough time to develop characters.  I would argue that some of the characters in Pacific Rim were better developed than in Godzilla!  So if Godzilla is not going to be front and center then allow these characters to have more screen time. I don't want to see a three hour movie either but somehow the writing for these characters was not strong enough for them to carry the movie along.

Hey, it's Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch
Wait, the movie was still two hours.  If the characters did not have enough time (or at least did not have quality scenes for development) and Godzilla was only in it for a couple of scenes, what took up all the screen time?  Well, we did have quite a bit of story thrown in there that seemed to mask the character development.  Take out a few of those lingering scenes where the trains are attacked by the MUTOs and you can have more character moments.

Speaking of MUTOs, even they have more screen time and I would argue were the main monsters in this film.  The film was told from the human perspective based on what the MUTOs caused and were doing. Godzilla had a true cameo for sure.  He has a supporting part in his own film.  Count the minutes and I think the MUTOs are in it twice as long as Godzilla.  How can this be a good decision?

I was all in on Godzilla appearing right at the end for the final battle but even that battle was short and hard to see.  We constantly cut between the battle to soldiers transporting a nuke then to Olsen's character running down a street and then back to the battle.

Godzilla is a hero and toward the end of the film he was treated as such, as he should be.  But his truncated screen time really does not allow enough build up for this.  At one point he is stabbed and a building falls on him.  He looks defeated but saves the day in the end.  Allow us to see Godzilla do more than this so we can get to know him.  We know the MUTOs' motivation in all this, that is made clear but Godzilla is just there. My viewing audience did not cheer for Godzilla.  I even heard laughing at the newcast claiming Godzilla saved the day.

Some of the best films of all time downplay the 'monster' until toward the end of the film.  Alien, Jaws and the original Godzilla keep the monster mostly hidden from sight until toward the end BUT their presence is there early on.  Their threat keeps the story tense and moving to that highly sought after climax of appearance and resolution.  Godzilla's presence was downplayed.  Only Ken Watanabe's character (Dr. Serizawa) tried to give the audiences some mythology and back story to Godzilla but not enough.

I felt the pacing, effects, music and look of the film was great.  The film did not miss by much.  While I was disappointed for sure I will see a sequel hoping that character development for all will be more of a priority for both the humans and Godzilla!
Godzilla is happy with this idea!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment