Escape to the Movies: Godzilla - Breaking Kaiju

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Godzilla - Breaking Kaiju

Bob thinks that if it weren't for all the other human characters, Godzilla would be a perfect monster movie.

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Long time fan of Godzilla here and I have to say I found this movie to be incredibly underwhelming in many ways. While what was there was really good and well acted it just didn't deliver on the beats that I've come to expect from a Godzilla film.

The biggest issue is the lack of action, or rather the teasing of a massive battle only to get a cut away to something I didn't really care about and added a whole lot of nothing to the film over all. The biggest example of this is Godzilla's reveal on Hawaii and the first "fight" with the M.U.T.O. which is setup to be a great clash only to suddenly cut away to Ford's son watching the news where you get about five seconds worth of awesome looking fighting just so we can see his wife looking upset at the TV after she hadn't been paying attention to it. I'm fine with a lack of action but don't dangle it in front of my face then yank it away at the last possible second.

To me it just felt like there wasn't enough Godzilla in this movie and I don't care what anyone else says this is his damn movie. The human element has to be there but it shouldn't be to a point where it is dominating everything that is happening. The final fight gets setup, we see the fight start to unfold, then it cuts away to Ford and what he's up to instead of focusing on the far more important monster battle that is taking place. It's like this film had Cloverfield syndrome where there's this massive aversion to keeping the monsters on screen because clearly this isn't why people came to see it.

The actors do a great job, I enjoyed the story behind everything, loved the design and tone of the film, it just needed more. Where something like Pacific Rim didn't shy away from the action and left things to the background at the right points like Mako's memory of the Kaiju attack when she was a little girl, Godzilla felt like it was content to spend 90% of the movie teasing a monster battle but never actually delivering on it and even when it did it couldn't help but cut away to something else now and then leaving the fight scene in limbo so when the audience could finally return to it they weren't sure what was going on or where things had progressed.

This is a good movie but it's not a good Godzilla movie I'm afraid. The potential is there and part of me wonders if there is a director's cut which contains the fight scenes instead of the cutaways. I walked out of the theater tonight wanting more but not in a good way. It was awesome to see the big guy back in action and having his old abilities back but Godzilla felt like he was playing second fiddle to the human characters which are hard to invest in when you keep getting the tease of Godzilla and the M.U.T.O throwing down.

I kinda wanna see it just to see Godzilla, as I've never been to a cinema to actually see a Godzilla film. This is going to be a painful fence sitting affair until I come up with a decision.

I almost want to spoil the film for myself if the vast majority of it is so awful.

I think you're fair in this review, especially since you make the comparison to Jaws so we understand where you're coming from.

Also, I'm hearing a lot about this old-guard critics vs. geek critics a lot from you lately. Has this become an actual problem?

scw55:
I almost want to spoil the film for myself if the vast majority of it is so awful.

There really isn't anything to spoil and no serious twists or anything like that.

Sweet that saves me money.

Gonna wait until the DVD is out for rent.

I enjoyed the hell out of this movie, was even more impressive at the IMAX (that ROAR!! :3).

To be honest though, while the humans did kind of get in the way of some of the monster mashing action, there was a nice balance to it. The situations were rather well thought out, the reasons for these things being there was decent enough for a "new twist", at least to me.

Probably will go and see it again at some point.

about Batman - why does his armor have pecks and sixpack? WHY???

Marik2:
Sweet that saves me money.

Gonna wait until the DVD is out for rent.

Stuff that. I'll wait till it's on sky movies premiere and watching for free.

So this is totally unsurprising based on Gareth Edwards track record. Monsters was similarly well handled on a technical level, but also too much in love with delayed satisfaction, and the human element was lifeless and boring there too.

I'm still seeing this, but god almighty, why pay for Brian Cranston and Ken Watanabe and then have them not be the center of the film?

Keji Goto:

scw55:
I almost want to spoil the film for myself if the vast majority of it is so awful.

There really isn't anything to spoil and no serious twists or anything like that.

Is it that predictable of a Man hunts Wife during the Apocalypse?
I might wait until it gets released on DvD and someone inevitably releases the Fan-Edited version which cuts out all 100% human scenes.

To me, in a Monster film, the core ideal should be Monster(s) being monsters. Any human characters exist in the film to be tormented and to show how hellish the environment is. Them having character is a bonus.

I suppose we do have The Host for a Monster Movie with 3D characters.

Mmh. So this looks like a rental with fast-forwarding through young-white-guy scenes. Not sure I want to see this movie in a theatre just for a brief monster fight. Pacific Rim at least had lots of those and characters I cared about.

Get well Bob. My voice sounds about the same right now. All day morning-vader voice.

NEXT!

It's, well..it's complicated, maybe this is why I'm not a movie critice but i generally didn't feel to bad about the military characters, I felt genuinely tense and right there with the vcharacteter several times when stuff like them being on the bridge with the MUTO. I do agree that it at times feels a little forced, but at the sametime this is (what i've come to determine, I've not gotten to see the original godzilla film) very much similar to the original in that it's less the creature godzilla and more the human reactions.

But I generally feel I'd reccomend watching it in theater (maybe matinee though)

I'm still gonna go see it because I loves me some Godzilla, but it's kinda good to know some of my initial misgivings were probably well deserved.

The human characters were kind of my biggest concern with this flick. My only previous exposure to Garreth Edwards was with Monsters, which was an uninteresting 90+ minute shit show of heady handed proselytizing delivered by bland, uninteresting characters with no relatable motivation.

I was on the fence about this one, mostly since the "other" american made godzilla completely sucked. So wait, your telling me Godzilla is just thrown in just for the heck of it and isn't the main focus of the film? WTF?!?!

Godzilla's motivation? He's a giant Kaiju Atomic Buddha who only rises up to restore balance to the universe.

Now THAT... that's what I was worried about when it came to this movie. I don't mind that the film puts a focus on its human characters and their perspective, or that Godzilla isn't in the film that long, because that's pretty standard for a 'Godzilla' film. The problem seems to be that the stuff we're supposed to pay attention to and get invested in in the interim just isn't interesting period.

Oh great, it look like Bob and another movie critic on here got something in common.

I'm not saying they are wrong, it just still seen to enjoyed it despite the flaws they had mention. I suppose the reason why Godzilla wanted to kill the Muto's was that it was mention that they are parasitic to Goszilla so I guess Godzilla wanted to killed it now rather than waiting for them to sucked him dry.

While I did like they protray Godzilla to be the hero well passive compared to the Muto but I did thought the ending was abit too much-

I mean sure he did dove underwater to not harm the ships and it wasn't his fault that the bridge got destroy and I assuming most of the civilians made it out of the breaking bridge section. Otherwise, his landing on Hawaii and the battle in the city he probably did killed some people even if it was not his intention.

Evonisia:
I kinda wanna see just to see Godzilla, as I've never been to a cinema to actually see a Godzilla film. This is going to be a painful fence sitting affair until I come up with a decision.

I was going to take my daughter to this to have bonding "See, honey? This is a monster movie dad grew up with" moment. Overdrawn build up with no satisfying payoff? Pass.

longjones:
about Batman - why does his armor have pecks and sixpack? WHY???

What? Do you think Batman should be like, some kinda..."ninja" or something, with a smaller, more mobile and lightweight costume that allows for speed, flexibility, maneuverability and cunning, as opposed to "I'm here to beat down everyone in the room" body armor? Pssh! Where ever would you get an idea like that.

I cant say I'm surprised with bob's review. He is clearly a lover of the campier 60s-70s godzilla movies and is probably still burnt out on the more serious types of movies that were once campy i.e the dark knight trilogy (though godzilla started out serious then got campy and is now returning to serious). idk i just seems like bob really just wanted pacific rim with godzilla instead of gypsy danger. And speaking of pacific rim bob as much as you may or may not want to admit it that film suffered from similar issues but you didn't seem to care at the time so what changed? I would actually contest that yes the slow build works better than in pacific rim since after the hong kong battle the battle at the breach just didnt seem that great compared to it.

Bob seemed to dislike this movie far more than I thought he would. Though I will agree that the stuff when Godzilla shows up is indeed the highlight of the film.

I saw the movie last night and, after some heavy contemplation, I would say this was OK but could have been a lot better. I will agree that this movie spent waaaaaay too much time with the humans and very little on Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.'s. Bryan Cranston's role in the film was definitely too short. I wish we had gotten to know more about Ken Watanabe's character and his history with Godzilla. It's safe to say that the wrong movie was made; instead of focusing mostly on Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, the filmmaker should have stayed with Cranston and Watanabe while offering more giant monster battles. But this is what you get when your director's skill level is between mediocre and piss-poor. -_-

I'm not gonna fault Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen for their weak performances. I'd say the blame has to be shouldered on director Gareth Edwards and the lackluster script. If your director and script are that woefully inept, then your actor's performance is gonna suffer because of it. Hopefully, we'll see a better performance from both of them in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Overall, I'm not gonna rush out to see this movie again. As for those who want to, I suggest you wait until DVD/Blu-ray or cable. That way, you can fast-forward to the good stuff and skip the boring crap.

Or, you can wait until someone on YouTube posts the best parts. ^^;

Unless there is some guy that screams " Run is Godzilla!" then this movie be a let down in almost every single aspect. But what do you expect Hollywood is kinda ruining every single nostalgia piece simple by making it too well to American.

scw55:

Keji Goto:

scw55:
I almost want to spoil the film for myself if the vast majority of it is so awful.

There really isn't anything to spoil and no serious twists or anything like that.

Is it that predictable of a Man hunts Wife during the Apocalypse?
I might wait until it gets released on DvD and someone inevitably releases the Fan-Edited version which cuts out all 100% human scenes.

To me, in a Monster film, the core ideal should be Monster(s) being monsters. Any human characters exist in the film to be tormented and to show how hellish the environment is. Them having character is a bonus.

I suppose we do have The Host for a Monster Movie with 3D characters.

It's not that predictable but towards the end it gets a little ridiculous how Ford somehow keeps getting involved with every military operation involving Godzilla and the M.U.T.O.s despite not even being with the branch he's enlisted with. He wants to get back to his family but he wants to help out even more and it just so happens that everything going down is right where his family is. Two birds one one stone kind of situation.

This movie is about the human characters first, then the M.U.T.O.s, and finally Godzilla last as he is the only one who can truly stop the M.U.T.O.s apparently.

I didn't feel like Aaron Tyler Johnson's acting was that bad in it, just that the script never gave him much to work with and kept dragging him along because he's the main character for some reason. Ford just isn't an interesting character and obvious motivations to do what he does. Cranston on the other hand got a lot to work with in breathing life into his character and working into his strengths as an actor. Everyone else is basically there to explain what is happening (The military is doing this, Godzilla is gonna that, the M.U.T.O. are currently there, you get the idea) while what you want to see happening keeps getting cut away in favor of something far less interesting and in some cases incredibly pointless to the over all movie.

Almack:
I cant say I'm surprised with bob's review. He is clearly a lover of the campier 60s-70s godzilla movies and is probably still burnt out on the more serious types of movies that were once campy i.e the dark knight trilogy (though godzilla started out serious then got campy and is now returning to serious). idk i just seems like bob really just wanted pacific rim with godzilla instead of gypsy danger. And speaking of pacific rim bob as much as you may or may not want to admit it that film suffered from similar issues but you didn't seem to care at the time so what changed? I would actually contest that yes the slow build works better than in pacific rim since after the hong kong battle the battle at the breach just didnt seem that great compared to it.

I don't think he was complaning about it being dark. He was complaning more about the boring human characters rather thean the film being dark and gritty.

Wow, this makes Pacific Rim look good? this must be bloody awful as Pacific Rim was absolute crap, it did after all make Batman & Robin look well written, acted and directed!

On the other hand after all the bitching and whining about Superman Returns not having Superman punch enough when we got it in Man of Steel is went on far too long and was just boring after about 2 minutes.

So maybe not having much monster on monster action is better as then the part of the movie that should be fun doesn't become dull and stale.

Am I the only one hoping for a Kingdom of Heaven-style director's cut of this?

Andrew Siribohdi:
I think you're fair in this review, especially since you make the comparison to Jaws so we understand where you're coming from.

Also, I'm hearing a lot about this old-guard critics vs. geek critics a lot from you lately. Has this become an actual problem?

Yeah! The context about why something done poorly in this movie vs. where and why it was done right in another movie is what makes a well crafted professional review so much better than me saying "It was slow and sucked". Good on ya Bob.

Bob, what did you think of the plumper Godzilla? Even in the bits I've seen he looks good sometimes and kinda goofy others.

tdylan:

Evonisia:
I kinda wanna see just to see Godzilla, as I've never been to a cinema to actually see a Godzilla film. This is going to be a painful fence sitting affair until I come up with a decision.

I was going to take my daughter to this to have bonding "See, honey? This is a monster movie dad grew up with" moment. Overdrawn build up with no satisfying payoff? Pass.

I'd say it had a very satisfying pay off.

King Whurdler:
Now THAT... that's what I was worried about when it came to this movie. I don't mind that the film puts a focus on its human characters and their perspective, or that Godzilla isn't in the film that long, because that's pretty standard for a 'Godzilla' film. The problem seems to be that the stuff we're supposed to pay attention to and get invested in in the interim just isn't interesting period.

this is pretty much my main problem with them movie. it focuses way too much on bland human characters and kills off all of the good ones. like bob said the Japaneses scientist should have been the main human character of the movie with the solider being a side character.

tdylan:

What? Do you think Batman should be like, some kinda..."ninja" or something, with a smaller, more mobile and lightweight costume that allows for speed, flexibility, maneuverability and cunning, as opposed to "I'm here to beat down everyone in the room" body armor? Pssh! Where ever would you get an idea like that.

No. But I don't think that armor should depict a naked man.

Say it ain't so, Bob. Say it ain't so...

Why do movies feel they need to focus on the humans in these types of movies? It's the same thing that killed the Transformers movies. That is not what people go to these types of movies for. Humans should be the supporting B role in the stories, not front and center. Sigh...

Still going to go see this at least once, but I fear my expectations have been extremely lowered.

Almack:
I cant say I'm surprised with bob's review. He is clearly a lover of the campier 60s-70s godzilla movies and is probably still burnt out on the more serious types of movies that were once campy i.e the dark knight trilogy (though godzilla started out serious then got campy and is now returning to serious). And yes I too get tired of old guard film critics neigh saying all the time when it comes to the current state of hollywood blockbusters. idk i just seems like bob really just wanted pacific rim with godzilla instead of gypsy danger. And speaking of pacific rim bob as much as you may or may not want to admit it thoughs werent the strongest of human leads either but i remember you giving it a glowing review making it your number 1 movie of the year. Though i can agree that yes the script handles the humans a little clunkly Elizabeth Olsen isnt really given much to do nor Serizawa for that matter.

I think Pacific Rim knew what it was/wanted to be and it embraced it. How do you have a movie called "Godzilla," that barely features Godzilla? To Bob's credit, as he said, that worked for Jaws, but the reason it worked was because we didn't keep cutting to the police chief trying to get back to his wife and child while other people on the boats were hunting Jaws. Also, the only reason we got the Jaws movie that we did was because they couldn't make the shark swim correctly, or something to that effect, so they had no choice but to use it/show it less. Godzilla doesn't have that excuse. Based on the review, how little Godzilla is apparently in it, and how little he is seen, why even call it "Godzilla?" Why not call it "Kaiju Rising," or some other such nonsense, and make us say "man! Could you imagine if they made a Godzill movie with those effects?"

My impression was always that the Navy was sailing in formation with Godzilla, not the other way around. Perhaps more specifically, they were following him since he happened to be going in the same direction as them anyway. That said though, I do agree over-all. I'm not quite as "movie critic" as Bob, so my review would be a lot more lenient, but I will note that basically in any scene where he joined-up with the military, there were several cases where I completely forgot which guy was the main hero because all of the army dudes looked and sounded so generically similar. I even forgot his name once or twice, and probably would have forgotten it completely if it wasn't for a couple of scenes that seemed to intent on drilling his name into my skull that it's like they realized that he's so generic and characterless that people might have forgotten.

Also, am I the only one who noticed how the movie pulled a psych on everyone watching it? The entire first portion of the movie takes place in Japan, to the point where a character in the States gets called over TO Japan, so you think "Holy crap, is this a major Hollywood movie that takes place on Earth and actually isn't centered around the US?" And then the movie yells, "PSYCH! Had ya going there, right? No, we're totally contriving a reason to move this thing to American shores." Don't get me wrong, it's not like it was a total surprise. They wouldn't have cast a family for him if they weren't going to be somehow relevant to the plot later on, but like Bob said, they were so bland and uninteresting that I honestly kinda forgot about them while Blandface and Malcom's dad were exploring the quarantine zone in Japan.

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