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Godzilla

I'd just settled into an incredibly good one post most days routine here, and then just blew it all to hell over the past week. NYC, dancing, and basketball are all throwing it off for a bit, but I'm sure I'll get back into the groove soon.

I did spend a glorious weekend in New York, seeing some incredible shows: Cabaret, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Aladdin. The late Hedwig time did allow me to catch Godzilla in times square after Cabaret. I've been spoiled by my early Saturday morning movie prices. Prime time 3D film in the most expensive block of real state in the country cost $19.50 (?!). At least that'll get me to my next AMC Stubs reward that much quicker.

My general feeling about this movie is that it was about as good as could be expected. Some things worked better than others. Most of what didn't was forgivable. And the standard for these tentpole Blockbusters is pretty low. Entertainment value over quality, yeah?

Things actually got started on a very good foot. We started building some tangible character development, setting up some very real emotional stakes and just teasing at the action. It was looking like we'd actually get a monster movie with as much substance as destruction. Unfortunately, that all came to an abrupt halt mid movie. Certain events quickly occured that cut off that story line, and we were quickly hurried into "Look at the monsters destroying everything". Apparently there were multiple writers and rewrites involved, and I'm guessing somewhere along the lines a producer or other higher up stepped in and demanded more carnage. Sigh.

However, I will say that I very much do enjoy the way that the monster action was handled. It wasn't a Man of Steel "destroy everything without a second thought" nor was it a Michael Bay "lots of quick shots showing something that looks cool because it's fast". Our first glimpses at Godzilla and the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) were teases, taking the Jaws approach of less is more. We were more than halfway thru the film before we saw either full size and on display. There was also a patience to the action. Instead of frantically trying to show as much going on as possible, it was like we were taking a step back and letting nature run its course. We mere mortals of course would be powerless against such huge creatures, and except for the obligatory hero attempts, it mostly played out as a sit back and watch and wait. Buildings crumbling felt more like a natural course of events because to these creatures, they were just things standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. It didn't feel forced like someone wanted to destroy things because it looked cool.

My single favorite thing about it all was how Godzilla was portrayed as a misunderstood anti-hero. He wasn't destroying Tokyo (or Hawaii or SF) just because he could or because some insignificant human made him mad. He was hunting the MUTO's, trying to restore nature's balance. Maybe he caused a lot of trouble himself, but he wasn't the one at fault to be feared. I just thought it was an interesting turn.

I did get a little annoyed with the excessive deus ex machina. Really? Aaron Taylor-Johnson just happens to find a military train that will take him home, and he happens to be the one guy who can operate the weapon they were going to send in anyways? Among other situations. Again, I feel like those types of events were a result of some Hollywood bigshot yelling that he didn't care about the story or the characters, he just wanted to see something shiny. It made for a disjointed film, but one that at least tried very hard to stand out from the rest of the summer Blockbuster action movie pack.

Godzilla - \m/ \m/ \m/ \n
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