Theatrical Review: Godzilla
Before I even get to my thoughts on the big guy’s big return to the big screen, it feels important that I first mention/confess that I’m about as far from a Godzilla expert as anyone can possibly be. I’m totally ashamed to even admit this, but in the interest of full disclosure, the only Godzilla movie I’ve even seen, in full, is Roland Emmerich’s much-maligned American remake from 1998 – and even that I haven’t seen since I was a small child.
So yea. I just wanted to mention that, in an effort to make it clear that what you’re about to read is a Godzilla review written by a guy who doesn’t really have a soft spot in his heart for Godzilla. So feel free to value what I’ve got to say about the movie or totally disregard it, Godzilla super fans. My feelings won’t be hurt either way!
Directed by Gareth Edwards, who landed the gig based on his excellent 2010 indie film Monsters, Godzilla 2014 stars Bryan Cranston as a nuclear plant supervisor-turned-conspiracy theorist (Joe Brody) who becomes convinced that the so-called ‘natural disaster’ that killed his wife was actually something much less natural than everyone has been told. His son by his side, Joe sets out to discover the truth about the disaster, and it’s not long before that truth is revealed; in the form of a few giant monsters, including the big G himself.
Yes, there are more monsters in the film than just Godzilla, and while I personally subscribe to the ‘more the merrier’ way of thinking, especially when it comes to big ass monsters, their inclusion ultimately hurt the movie for me, rather than helped it. The problem is not so much that there are other monsters running around wreaking havoc, the problem is that the other monsters take center stage more than Godzilla does, to the point that Godzilla feels like an afterthought to everything that’s happening… which is weird, considering the film is called Godzilla.
In many ways, Godzilla 2014 plays out like the ‘Godzilla vs. (insert other monster)’ sequel that you’d expect a Godzilla reboot to be followed by, more than it does the straight-up Godzilla reboot that it probably should’ve been. It was as if Edwards and company were trying to do too much right out of the gate, and essentially make the ultimate Godzilla film, and in doing so they ended up taking way too much of the focus off of the King of the Monsters himself, reducing him to a giant wrecking ball who just pops up every once in a while, to destroy some shit.
Oddly enough, Godzilla’s screen-time in the film – which runs just over 2 hours – is very minimal, and while I understand why filmmakers like Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg used that technique for films like Alien and Jaws, it just doesn’t really make sense here, as we all already know what Godzilla looks like, and know what he’s all about. Remaking Godzilla and giving him limited screen-time is kinda like remaking Texas Chainsaw Massacre and keeping Leatherface hidden for the majority of the movie, which is a total disappointment, no matter how you slice it.
But again, my biggest problem with the whole thing is not just that we don’t see all that much of Godzilla, it’s more that he doesn’t even feel like the main attraction of the movie. Instead, much of the spotlight is shined on two praying mantis-like creatures, and it’s them who the story really seems to be built around, which is a shame considering they’re not very interesting or cool looking. Can’t help but feel the ball was dropped in the monster department, even though Godzilla admittedly looks totally awesome, and perhaps the most hulking and badass he’s ever been.
On the human side of things, the characters are unfortunately as uninteresting as the monsters that aren’t Godzilla, and they’re as underdeveloped as the messy overall story. The only interesting character in the whole thing is Bryan Cranston’s Joe Brody, and let’s just say he’s not in the movie nearly as much as he should be – hm, I’m sensing a pattern here.
Aside from Joe, we’ve got his son Ford, who is essentially a dollar store ‘Action Hero!’ toy come to life, Ford’s cookie cutter wife who never feels like a real human being, Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Ichiro Serizawa, a scientist who does nothing but constantly look pensive and say ominous things that provide totally unintentional doses of hilarity, as well as a couple hundred generic military dudes.
There’s literally not a single character worth rooting for, as is often the case with these Hollywood military-heavy disaster movies. I much prefer to see monster movies told from the point of view of human beings that we can actually relate to – Super 8 and Cloverfield both come to mind – as I often find myself not only bored by all the military/scientist lingo but also downright confused by it. I quite honestly had no idea what most of the characters were even talking about through the majority of the movie, and with no relatable characters to latch onto, I was provided with absolutely no reason to care.
So what did I like about the movie? Well, honestly, not all that much. Again, Godzilla looked pretty damn cool, and there were a few scenes towards the very end that had me feeling like I just witnessed something really, really awesome. But the entertainment factor of the movie comes far too late in the game, with all the good stuff being saved for the final 20 minutes. Throughout the rest of the movie, the cameras cut away whenever anything cool is about to happen, like Godzilla doing battle with another monster, and it becomes quite clear that all the best moments are being preserved for a final bang at the end of the film, at which point it’s way too late.
In other words, the first hour and 40 minutes are totally uninteresting and unengaging, while the last 20 minutes are pretty awesome, and full of the action you were probably expecting the whole movie to be full of. And even then, it’s mostly two notably epic moments in those last 20 minutes that are worth sitting through everything else for, because even the majority of the final battle falls flat, due to how darkly lit the action is and how little of it we really see. It almost looks like you’re watching a little kid smash dinosaur figures together in a dimly lit bedroom, through binoculars, at least for the majority of those all-too-brief fight scenes.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t going into the movie looking for epic fight sequences, considering I had no idea that there were even going to be other monsters in it. And honestly, I’d be fine if there were very little monster action, and even very little Godzilla screen-time, if the story and characters were fleshed out and interesting. But since it’s devoid of either interesting characters or a good story, as well as very light on monster action, there’s really just nothing to see here, aside from those aforementioned final moments that will likely have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face – and perhaps even feeling like you just saw a movie that was way more awesome than it really was.
It’s a shame because Gareth Edwards proved with Monsters that he can make a damn fine monster movie, as well as craft interesting characters and an engaging story. I would love to see what he would’ve done with a Godzilla movie on his own, outside of the Hollywood system, because Godzilla 2014 is very much a Hollywood movie through and through, more or less embodying everything that Monsters intelligently wasn’t.
But again, I’m not a Godzilla fanboy, so what the hell do I know?
‘Ghostbusters’ Receives Slime-Covered, Glow-in-the-Dark Sega Genesis Cartridge
Sega Genesis’ Ghostbusters game was a complete blast and with the recent updates, patching in Winston and a few other characters was a much-needed update. The underrated game has recently seen an explosion in popularity thanks to those updates. Gamers are checking the full game out on Emulator sites. In addition, @toy_saurus_games_sales released some Sega Genesis game cartridges covered in glow-in-the-dark.
The Insta account @toy_saurus_games_sales is giving fans a chance to purchase the game for $60. The awesome cartridge also comes with a full-fledged exterior case.
Have you played the Ghostbusters game for Sega Genesis? If you have, let us know what you think.
In order to purchase the limited edition, slime-covered game cartridge head over HERE.
John Wick in Development for a Sequel and a Video Game
John Wick 4 was a complete blast and the ending pointed at the odd fact that John Wick might actually be… dead. I didn’t believe it for a second. Not John Wick. The dude is a tank. Lionsgate has already greenlit development for a John Wick 5.
That isn’t all the studio has in store though. It also appears that we will receive a big triple-A game based on the Baba Yaga.
“What is official is that, as you know, Ballerina is the first spinoff that comes out next year,” President of Lionsgate Joe Drake said, “We’re in development on three others, including and including television series, “The Continental”, will be airing soon. And so, we’re building out the world and when that fifth movie comes, will be organic — will be organically grown out of how we’re starting to tell those stories. But you can rely on a regular cadence of John Wick.”
In addition to those awesome projects, we also have The Continental TV spinoff coming and a whole new Ballerina film based on the assassins introduced in John Wick 3.
The synopsis for John Wick 4 went like this:
With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.
Are you guys excited about a John Wick 5 and a full-on, shoot-em-up video game based on Wick? Let us know in the comments section.
Tim Burton Documentary Features Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp, and Other Regulars
Tim Burton will always be a part of horror for us. He has a page indexed here and we love it. From Beetlejuice to Ed Wood the director has broken the mold time and time again. A documentary focused on Burton is headed to Cannes this year and will feature all of the director’s co-conspirators in action.
The four-part documentary features Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, Jenna Ortega, composer Danny Elfman, Christopher Walken, Danny DeVito, Mia Wasikowska, and Christoph Waltz. All of these awesome actors to talk about their time with Burton.
“Tim continues to build his aesthetic, the Burton-esque style, derived from a wealth of art, cinematic, and literary genres,” the release says “The documentary explores how Burton brings his vision to life through his own joyous idiosyncrasy and his ability to meld the ominous and the frightful with a sense of whimsy. Tim’s films are just the tip of the iceberg.”
The documentary will take us through Burton’s life and many adored films.
Are you excited to see Burton’s documentary? Let us know in the comments section.