Monday, May 26, 2014

REVIEW: Godzilla (2014)

Looking for an excuse to try out the new Cineplex V.I.P. theaters, I sought to check out the new Godzilla. I can tell you that the seats are very comfortable, and the service is great and the food is pricey, but the lounge area is nice, but the screens and sound are much better in the UltraAVX section. Now as for the film itself, well, it's a pleasant surprise as here we have a film about Godzilla made in America by people who actually tried to make a good film and didn't just treat the subject matter as some throwaway B-movie.

That said, the new Godzilla is still very much a B-movie, but it manages to be one of the better ones. There's emphasis on human drama, and portrays quite well the spectacle from the human point of view. Though some of the plots points are still cliched and sometimes even tied up too conveniently, the sum still manages to be better than the parts.

Setting the story in the tragedy of events like the Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant meltdown, we join a physicist played by Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston who loses his wife and a few of his crew at a power plant disaster. However Bryan's character, whose name I don't remember, isn't convinced that what happened was simply the result of an Earthquake and so is determined to uncover the truth. He convinces his son to humor his conspiracy-believing father to infiltrate the site of the disaster, where they discover that the Japanese and American governments are covering up evidence of a strange ginormous chrysalis which is feeding off the radioactive energy. And they arrive just as it's about to hatch. What emerges is a strange gigantic creature that escapes its captivity and goes on to bring disaster on the surrounding regions.

Not only that, but we also learn that for a long time now, the military has known about the existence of another large creature that roams the waters, believed to be ancient and one that maintains the balance of power on the planet like a god.Called by the Japanese - Gojira. Now that another new creature has emerged, it appears that Gojira is setting out to find and confront it. The victor will determine the outcome of the world's balance.

Those going into this genre know what to expect. Destruction. People panicking. Lots of tanks and soldiers and explosions. Well, the film actually makes an effort to try and not go down that road, perhaps smartly in my opinion, because this way the film doesn't bore you down on just one action sequence after another save for the climax, as, let's be honest, there's only so many ways one can make two flailing monsters in a city that exciting. Plus it also saves on FX costs! So we do get some near heart pounding moments but then we are pulled away through circumstances to wait for another time to really see the monsters going at it, and when it finally does, it fells good man...

I should note that I saw the 3-D version, which I believe was a conversion and not shot in 3-D, and the results are not very good with a lot of ghosting and issues, so I'd avoid the 3-D version if possible. This movie will only really be of interest to those who were interested in the genre to begin with. I'm sure you will be pleased. Others may find a fun time-waster of a film to eat popcorn with and joke about, but there's nothing more substantial than that, so if the idea of giant lizards fighting in New York doesn't sound that great to you now, this film isn't going to change your mind. For everyone else, it's a decent viewing. Very descent indeed, though if you were hoping for more explosions : less talky human drama, then you may be a little let-down.

And for you concept art-book lovers, do stop in and check out the art book of the new Godzilla movie which has lots of nice concept pieces of the monsters and scenery!