Sunday, May 18, 2014

REVIEW: Godzilla: The IMAX 3D Experience


Aaron Taylor-Johnson,
Ken Watanabe


May 16, 2014

Gareth Edwards

Warner Bros. Pictures

2 hours 3 minutes



The last time America released a film with the name "Godzilla" plastered on it, fans and critics walked out of the theater feeling scammed and sad.  Now, 16 years later, Warner Bros. and director Gareth Edwards felt that a new film based on the popular Japanese monster had to happen so the beast can come back in style.  While I will admit that the monster of Godzilla, when he's in the film, is awesome, and the battle sequences between him and these two insect like creatures were awesome and exhilarating.  However, if you take that away, you have over 70% of exposition, character development, and easy to make fun of moments left.  Having said that, all of the stuff that I didn't like about this movie sort of added to the campy type of fun I had with it.  "Godzilla" is flawed, but it all pays off when the monster comes in to kick some serious ass.

In terms of acting, the best performance without a single doubt is Bryan Cranston's role as the father to the lead protagonist, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson of "Kick-Ass" fame.  Not only is his performance the most believable out of the entire cast, but it also brings the most emotion to the film. The fact that he only plays a pivotal part in the film's first half hour in my opinion is criminal, because THIS is the character who I would have loved to have seen more of in terms of interacting with the world's exposure to Godzilla.  Having said that, everyone else is fine.  Nobody other than Cranston really stands out for me, because everyone was good for what they played.  Nothing special, just good overall.

My biggest problem with the movie is that it focuses too much on the human characters and too little on Godzilla, who doesn't make his first appearance until the 70 minute mark.  When I think of a movie about "Godzilla," I expect a movie that features the titular character prominently and often.  I wouldn't mind that if the story and the characters were developed enough where I actually got to care about everyone, but here, I just couldn't.  It felt as if the screenwriters were trying too hard to cram in as many human characters as possible, and by doing that made the film feel long and kind of boring in a way.  And here's a little nitpick: do we really NEED to have the US Military in ever single monster/disaster movie out there?  I get it, they do a lot for our country, and I admire their field of work.  I don't need to see them in every single movie involving some type of force destroying the world, though.

The visual effects and Gareth Edwards' direction really helped to make this film work with its gritty and dark atmosphere.  While it's not necessary to see this in 3D, the overall IMAX experience is a fun one, and in my eyes is the ideal way to see Godzilla's return to the big screen.  There are several scenes that not only are directed well, but shot well also.  Two scenes that come to the top of my head involve the military officers shooting flares into the sky and the officers skydiving into the destruction that Godzilla and his enemies have caused on the city presented in the film's climax.  Edwards has a keen eye for making a solid monster flick, and I'd love to see him tackle more cinematic monsters in the future, as long as they prominently feature the monster more than the humans.  Hopefully in his next film we don't have to have so many shots of random citizens giving "trailer shots" and just pose to the camera while they're looking at the off-screen destruction.

While "Godzilla" has its flaws, I'm not gonna lie and say I didn't enjoy it, because this was a fun movie.  Not exactly for the right reasons, though, since there were some unintentionally hilarious moments scattered in the film.  However, the action was a lot of fun, and seeing Godzilla himself kick ass was just awesome to watch on the big screen.  As someone though who was expecting an action film about/starring Godzilla, I will admit that this was disappointing.  This is definitely better than the 1998 "Godzilla" film starring Matthew Broderick, so if you were hoping for that then here you go.  As a movie being advertised as the return of the world's most famous monster, I was let down.  On summer-blockbuster standards, however, this is a solid movie that is definitely worth seeing on the big screen.  If you can, try to see the film on the biggest screen in your area.  And if that means going for IMAX 3D, despite the 3D being kind of pointless, then I'd honestly say do it.


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