Last weekend I went to see THE movie of the year: “Godzilla”. Apparently half of humanity saw it as well, cause my Facebook timeline has been full of “Godzilla”-themed statuses since its release day. Considering that I love action movies, especially with big monsters, I had high expectations. Did it live up to them? Before you read this review, be aware that it contains major spoilers!
Two evil “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms” (= MUTO) decide that San Francisco is the right spot for some sexing and egging, being totally unaware that all those small tiny humans actually die when you stomp on them – sounds almost like a sexy picnic with an ant pest but of course someone spoils the fun! Godzilla butts in to “restore balance” and a young hero tries to save his family and accidentally helps saving the world in the process.
The catastrophe starts with the typical seismic irregularities and ends with the big showdown in San Francisco – accidentally also the hometown of our hero! Big surprise! Of course we also get a nice scientific subplot to explain all the awesome monster action going on. The good old “Science vs. Military”-formula strikes again! A catastrophe threatens humanity. A bunch of scientists are super smart and know the right solution, but the military wants to nuke out the problem instead. I think I’ve seen this story 38.299 times already. It would be cool to get a crazy doctor and a reasonable general instead. Or something entirely different! Maybe next time.
I also didn’t like that the existence of the Kaijus in “Godzilla” originates in ancient times with the MUTOs and Godzilla being remnants of a far gone age, while the Kaijus in the “Pacific Rim” movie came from a different dimension. Now, I realize that those are two different movies by two different directors, but both of them have hinted that the movies would connect in the future (both already have confirmed sequels). So I’m really curious on how they will deliver that with using those two different theories. Maybe a clash of extraterrestrial Kaiju with terrestrial ones? OMG, mind blown!
The MUTOs are some ugly flying locust thingies with elephant feet, a triangular head and really mean facial expressions. But well, that’s the consequence of sexual frustration!
While the female is much bigger than the male one and has eight legs – two pairs of forelimbs, a small pair on its chest, and a pair of hindlegs – the male MUTO has six legs with an additional pair of wings similar to a pterodactylus. Their biggest power is the ability to unleash electromagnetic pulses. They communicate via echolocation and feed off radiation.
Many Godzilla fans criticized that Evans didn’t revive one of the classic Godzilla opponents, but in my opinion this shows that the “Godzilla” series has reached a new era which includes new ideas instead of just rehashing the old stuff. The design of the MUTOs shows true creativity and they look really awesome on the big screen.
Godzilla is obviously a force to be reckoned with. While there are tons of Godzilla movies out there already, Mr. Evans’ Godzilla looks mean, massive, and absolutely amazing. The dude just stomps in, looks at you, breathes some atomic fire around and you’re totally in awe. Let’s be honest, Evans could’ve totally ruined the whole movie with the wrong design of the dude, but fortunately this is the best version I’ve seen of him so far. Instead of looking like a dinosaur, Evans made sure to make the king of monsters look like the famous classical Godzilla from the old Japanese movies – just more badass.
The main plot – Godzilla awakened to restore balance by killing the MUTOs – developes in the course of the movie and the viewer starts to like the mean looking guy even though he just (accidentally) killed a bunch of people and destroyed the city, but hey, collateral damage can happen when three big ass monsters fight right in the city of San Francisco. In the end, Godzilla is the hero, wags his tail and goes for a swim. Perfect ending!
The Human Hero
Of course there had to be a human hero. There’s no way around that. Our human hero is a guy who lost his mom in an atomic plant when one of the MUTOs was hungry for nuclear power. Now he’s a soldier and happens to always be in the most exciting places during the Kaiju invasion. A train is attacked? Of course hero guy is in it. A subway gets demolished? Oh, there’s hero guy again, saving a little boy while he’s doing his hero thing. The Kaijus need a place to mate? Why not choose the hero’s hometown? Evans didn’t show much creativity when he set up the Kaijus’ confrontations with the hero. I bet I wasn’t the only one who started to roll their eyes whenever hero guy was involved even though he was pretty buff. And no, I don’t remember his name, which shows exactly how deep this character was. I could look it up, but I could also wate my time with something more enticing.
“Godzilla” is a Kaiju-movie. It has been one for several decades now and the newest installment doesn’t stray from this path. While the scenes involving the MUTOs and Godzilla are aesthetically flawless and keeps you on the edge of your seat, the surrounding plot is lacking creativity, multi-layered characters and first and foremost: humour. Where was the wit? There wasn’t one (intentionally) funny scene during the movie. Big action movies like Transformers, the Avengers series or even Pacific Rim were such great blends of comedy and action. Unfortunately “Godzilla” relies too heavily on the action scenes.
For a first film in the series this was still a great start and I can’t wait for the sequel! When you add “Pacific Rim”, the Kaiju movies could develop into another huge movie series a la Avengers, Transformers or X-Men if the sequels get rid of their precursors’ flaws.
Best Scene: Godzilla firing atomic breath right into the male MUTOs mouth
Scene you shouldn’t have missed: Hero guy walking past a cocoon in an old fish tank – labelled with “Mothra”! Maybe a hint for the sequel?
Shoutout to the dude who fell asleep next to me. I mean…dafuq???
You can preorder Godzilla now.