BWAAHHHHH!! THIS MOVIE WAS GREAT!!!!! FWEEEEEEEE!!!!
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s get to it, shall we.
Full disclosure: I have been a Godzilla fan for as long as I can remember, but I’m pretty sure it started with the 1998 version, WHICH I ACTUALLY LIKED. Sure, watching it now makes me cringe at the graphics, but it was 1998, what do you want? But the plot was as solid as a Godzilla movie is going to get, Godzilla himself was sleek, fast, and memorable. Yeah, it was vastly different than the original, but who cares? That’s the point of a remake. And don’t even let me get starting on singing praise for the show they made for Fox after the movie failed to inspire a sequel. SO GOOD. If you have Netflix, GO WATCH IT NOW! But all that rambling doesn’t mean I don’t love the original. Like I said, I love Godzilla in all shapes and forms.
*ahem* Moving on.
This movie was a weird one for me to go see. In literally all the trailers and taglines, I couldn’t figure out what the plot was supposed to be. It was very vague, which set off some alarm bells for me. See, generally, when not a single trailer shows us what we’re supposed to actually be looking forward to (other than the giant lizard we all are paying to see), it means that there isn’t much to it.
Turns out, I was right. The plot is very shallow. Oddly enough, that doesn’t detract too much from the film.
What does detract (somewhat) from the movie is the director’s dipshit idea to only give us 30 seconds of monsters at a time. CURSE YOU GARETH EDWARDS!!! WE CAME HERE FOR THE MONSTERS!!!
Ok, so here’s the point where I say SPOILERS AHEAD!!! GET OUT NOW IF YOU WANT THE OBVIOUS PLOT RUINED!!!
The story starts in 1999 in the Philippines, where a mine has fallen in and some scientists were called in to look at the weird remains they found in the pit. From the start, there was some weird symbolic shit that never got resolved in that the company the scientists were working for is called “Monarch” with a completely non-ironic butterfly logo. First of all, anyone who has ever seen The Venture Bros. will immediately think
And that’s never a good thing, because it’s all I could think when they repeated the name. Second, I wasn’t sure if they were deliberately trying to invoke the Mothra nostalgia. The thing about that is that I’m not sure how many people know about Mothra, even those who like Godzilla. I mean, it might just be because my roommates’ relationship to pop culture is about as intimate as a long distance relationship with a squid, but the 1960’s Godzilla isn’t exactly making its way around “kids these days”. Whatever. It was funny to me, albeit confusing, so that’s all that matters, right?
Going back to the actual plot, I’m not sure what kind of remains they were supposed to be, but they were huge and they were locked away with two egg sacs, one of which is empty, a big gaping hole in the mountain implying that something big and bad has escaped and is on the rampage.
Which brings us to the sort of main characters. In one of those saccharine openings that just screams DISASTER AHEAD!!, we see the main kid, Ford, waking up and trying to put up a banner for his dad’s birthday. His dad, played by Brian Cranston, is obsessed with some weird anomalies involved in the nuclear factory that he and his wife work at, and it’s sort of implied that he’s kind of one of those negligent fathers, but honestly, other than this one time, we don’t have any reason to feel like he would be, especially when we see him interact with his wife.
Actually, the entire first half hour is really depressing. I think it’s the only part of the movie where there’s any actual character development, which is damning with faint praise since there literally isn’t any throughout the entire rest of the movie. Cranston’s wife dies in a tragic and unexplained accident at the plant, the entire scene uncomfortably “real” for me. I was like “shit, is this going to be the tone for the entire movie??” and the question wasn’t really answered until after the first monster actually made it on screen.
So, blah blah blah, 15 years go by. Ford grows up, gets married, has a kid, joins the military, and is estranged from his father. Alright, monster movie checklist done.
List off a cliche and it’s in this movie. I’m not even mad about it, but it was awkwardly obvious to the point of letting me get distracted from action to nitpick while watching. Also, there are a lot of inferences to the old Godzilla, including a not even shameful reference to Mothra (aside from the Monarch stuff mentioned above), a bizarre foreshadowing to the monsters to come.
Ok, so Brian Cranston gets arrested in Tokyo so Ford has to go get his ass out of jail and gets dragged into the conspiracy theory that the accident at the plant was actually something else. Ford, of course (since we’re still careening straight through the cliche grab bag), doesn’t believe him and just wants to have a “normal” family. But then Brian Cranston convinces him to break into the quarantine zone just to get his old floppy disk research from the day of the accident, because he’s been monitoring exactly the same patterns recently.
So shit goes down real heavy real fast after they get arrested and talk some more.
The monster is able to eat radiation and emit EMP pulses that shut down literally every electronic thing ever in, like, a 10 mile radius at least. I call them “Cockroaches from Hell”, although to be honest, and sine I just took an invertebrate zoology class, they’re a weird combo of cockroach, tick, spider, and imagination. A point in favor of this movie is that the monsters feel big, and the humans feel small, and that’s probably partly why they’re all so insubstantial (the humans, not the monsters). Also, their roars are, like, the coolest things ever! I wish I had a sound clip. Guess you should just go see the movie 😉
So here I have to turn briefly to the issue of the radiation thing. Holy shit! These things EAT radiation! This is a thing that would make disposing of nuclear waste easy as pie and they never address it! Just call up Godzilla every few years and toss the waste to him! He’ll be happy and won’t destroy things and then the world wouldn’t have that bullshit about disposal of this stuff to whine about and we could solve the energy crisis! What the hell!? It’s never even brought up in the film! I DEMAND ANSWERS FILM!!
So the Muto, for that is what they are calling them for reasons I didn’t catch, flies off and kills Brian Cranston on the way. It’s never a good sign when the first thing I thought when that happened was “shit! he was the only relatable character!” even though he was also obviously going to die.
There’s some more talking and I think this is about the time when Ford encounters the military.
The military in this movie is hilariously useless. It’s basically like this:
for every monster in this film. They all shrug off even missiles like “meh”. It’s actually hilarious to watch the military continue to try to shoot these things.
Hey, remember that there’s supposed to be a Godzilla in this movie? Well, I forgot to mention that he does show up a little bit here and there in the beginning. They kind of do a little tip of the hat to the original movie, but it’s not a direct “sequel”. But they do basically say that everyone in power and in science knew about these huge radiation eating creatures that live at the bottom of the sea because . . . . reasons . . . . yeah, don’t think about it. The science part of this science fiction is . . . . well, it isn’t, but it sounds solid.
BUT WHO CARES MONSTERS!!
So Godzilla finally shows up after much mayhem caused by the Muto, and it is suggested by the wide-eyed scientist (who I swear is on drugs the whole time) that he will eat the Muto. He suggests just letting him take care of the Mutos (for yes, there are two) because then he’ll just go back to the ocean afterward. Which makes the stuff from the 50’s when they tried killing him the first time completely confusing, but whatever. It makes for cool visuals and a blatant disregard for nuclear bomb rules.
Ok, Godzilla is literally the best part of this movie. His general attitude is thus:
The tagline for most of the movie could just be “Godzilla don’t a give a shit.”
AND IT’S FRICKIN AWESOME!!
He fights the Cockroaches from Hell in Hawaii and then in San Francisco and each time, he’s the most badass thing on screen. Screw the main character! He’s fine, but he’s bland. MOTHER FUCKIN GODZILLA IS HERE!!!!
He just cruises around the screen, in absolutely no hurry to further the plot. He feels colossal, like he doesn’t really do much most of the time. When he swims, they says he’s moving fast, but I think that’s because of his sheer size because he certainly doesn’t move like he gives a fuck. He knows where he’s going and the humans’ deadline isn’t his problem.
So they all finally converge on San Francisco and there’s this really hilarious moment on the Gold Gate Bridge where Godzilla is just doing his cruising thing and stops for literally no apparent reason and rises up out of the bay just so he can destroy the bridge. It was like he was suddenly like “oh, shit, there’s the Gold Gate Bridge. My contract says I must destroy it.” and therefore does. It’s a weird scene in that they also try to cram a sequence of “main character’s son is in danger”, but nothing comes of it really, so it’s just pointless distraction from the monster the director seems really reluctant to show us for more than 30 seconds.
Seriously, I know you’re trying to build up the suspense for the final fight sequence Gareth Edwards, but the rest of us came to watch the monsters, and we’d kind of like to see them! There were moments of monster cock blocking in which (I kid you not) the entire theater went “OH! come on!”
So for the final fight, we’ve got the wife trapped in the city, the main character twatting around with a nuclear bomb (I really couldn’t even begin to explain that clusterfuck of a plot point), and Godzilla fighting the two Mutos. And when we finally get to see them fight for more than thirty seconds it’s like
YEAH!! MONSTER FIGHTS!!!! THAT’S WHAT WE’RE HERE FOR!!
But here’s the thing. The monsters really appear to be intelligent. Like, they can solve problems, as seen by the first Muto escaping the net thing they had it in in the beginning, they can discern what is a threat to them, like the military, they show some emotional connection to their young, which blow up in a Godzilla (1998) homage, and Godzilla seems to be able to discern what is trying to help him and what needs to be eaten. So he ends up being even more appealing than even the one in the 1998 movie.
Which makes the end all the more of an emotion jammer. See, he gets seriously wounded by the Mutos cause they gang up on him like little bitches and stab him with their sharp evil claws. But he still pushed through and manages to destroy them with his MOTHER FUCKING ATOMIC BREATH! But in the process, he sort of has a moment with the main character and a building collapses on him and then the second Muto stabs him some more and after giving a triumphant roar, he dies.
Wait . . . .
One usually has to go into a Godzilla movie made by Americans with the knowledge and acceptance that Godzilla will die. But never have there been so many reasons for him to not die. And they made us get so super attached to him by the end that it was actually like
Oh, and the main character survives and is reunited with his family and some shit. And they disregard nuclear bomb rules again.
Pff. Had you going there, didn’t I?
But seriously, it was actually one of those moment where I was sitting there going “But – no – you can’t . . . .” before there was a bit at the end where he sort of comes back to life for no apparent reason, but it’s like I didn’t even care any more because HOLY SHIT A GODZILLA MOVIE ENDED WITHOUT HIM DYING AND HE GETS TO GO OFF TO SLEEP ON THE OCEAN FLOOR AGAIN CHEERED AS A HERO!!! That hasn’t happened since the 1960’s films where he faces off against Mothra and Mechagodzilla! It’s one of the best feelings in the world and that’s actually probably the main reason I loved this movie so much. Because the minute that big, lovable lizard appears on screen, I just adore him to bits and never look forward to the ending where the military destroys him and everyone cheers
the tossers So seeing them cheer him on as he just sort of returns to the sea was one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever seen.
And that’s about it. Fade to black. There was probably an after credits scene, but I forgot to check.
So that was Godzilla! As I’m writing this, I realize there’s nothing in the movie to make me enjoy it, but somehow, I do. I enjoy every over the top scene, every explosion, every monster sound, ever roar, every fight, and every goddamn time mother fuckin Godzilla was on screen. Hope you go and enjoy it!