Sunday, June 1, 2014

The King Of Monsters!

Saw it! Loved it!

The newest Godzilla was very entertaining. Not a perfect monster movie, but a darn good one with some neat gimmicks and some clever tricks for both the veteran and the novice Godzilla fan.

First off, I am perfectly fine with Godzilla's new heftier appearance, making him more of an actual animal (key to the story) and less of a symbol. This kind of adaptation is just like what happened with the most recent King Kong movie in which he became much more successfully apelike. The limits of old-fashioned special effects, be they stop motion or suitmation created approximates  which became iconic hybrids, not quite animals but weirdly humanesque. That gets lost with the modern ability to create a more accurate creature.

That said let add a SPOILERS warning here.

Careful, you don't want to ruin this moment.

One thing the new Godzilla movie did superbly was the slow reveal of the creature. I've been dismayed how much they let us see of the new version in ads and things, but in the movie we are introduced to Godzilla slowly. First a few back scales in the ocean, then a full ridge slithering through the sea. Later we get glimpses of legs and feet and finally the full shebang...we thought.

The most thrilling moment in the movie came when Godzilla is in full battle with the "Mutas" and we see the first glimmer of his scales as he warms up his atomic heat-ray breath blast. The crowd I was in had a real murmur of anticipation and there was that unabashed pleasure when Godzilla unleashes the fiery blast. Up to that time it was unknown (to me at least) whether this more realistic Godzilla was going to be able to do this. I'm ecstatic that he did as it was the highlight of the monster side of the movie for me.


Since this movie was opening I took the opportunity to share with my classes the original Japanese version of the vintage 1954 classic. The only truly serious installment of the series, this surprisingly effective horror movie (which is how I sell it) found resonance with the some of them and elicited some vibrant conversations as we've compared the two movies, one for their generation and one from many years ago.

It's been fun indeed to welcome the big guy back. I hope we see more sooner than later. Now I want to go see this one again, and maybe for the first time in a very very long time I'd like to see it in 3-D!

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  1. I saw "Godzilla" the other night with a friend and his two sons. When Godzilla finally used his atomic breath, the 7-year-old was literally jumping up and down in his seat, chanting "Atomic breath! Atomic breath!"

    Normally this is the sort of thing that really annoys me when I'm watching a movie... but since I was a 40-year-old man on the verge of doing the same thing, I guess I can give the kid a pass.

    Awesome movie!

    1. I know how the kid felt. I wanted to jump and down too.

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