Wednesday, May 28, 2014
"Godzilla" (2014) - Final Thoughts & Sequels
With new summer blockbusters being released every week now, I feel it is fitting to discuss "Godzilla" one last time before other films begin to overshadow it.
The first is how much of a success this new Godzilla has been. Worldwide, "Godzilla" has already made over $1 Billion within just the first week and a half. This speaks volumes to me and says that the world is certainly ready for more Godzilla films.
There is a viable market out there for the King of the Monsters, and this new film proves that. Many contributing factors have gone into the success of "Godzilla" but I think the main reason was being so sneaky with the reveal of Godzilla and the plot of the film. The marketing and trailers made this film out to be a disaster movie, like "The Day After Tomorrow," where we can't hope to fight this threat and can only try to survive it. While that was not the route the film took, it did keep audiences uncertain of where the movie would go while still making Godzilla seem imposing and threatening.
The reason we went so long without a new Godzilla film was because the newer movies, specifically the 1998 film and "Godzilla: Final Wars," did not bring anything new to the table, nor did they make the audience care about its main character. Both films were not about Godzilla, but the bland characters that no one cares about as they try to save the world. With the 2014 film though, we see a return of Godzilla being the focal point of the film while still trying to give us something new with Godzilla being the alpha predator.
I still believe the biggest problem with this movie though was the lack of interesting characters outside of Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe. Aaron-Taylor Johnson's character is far too desensitized to emote during many of his action sequences and we learn nothing about Elizabeth Olson's character other than being a mother and a nurse. If there were just one more character on par with Cranston's level of sympathy and emotion, then I think this would have been a great movie.
Some people have complained that there is either too much human drama in the film, while others have said there isn't enough Godzilla in the film. Personally, I think there was just enough of both.
We see enough of Godzilla so that his scenes do not get stale or repetitive. That when he does something cool like chokeslam a monster, it actually was some weight to it. There is also just enough scenes with human characters that we give a damn about their survival and want to see Ford make it back to his family.
It's just that the acting does not necessarily support this level drama. Bryan Cranston pulled it off because he was able to make yelling every other line effective without going over the top. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does not have the same level. He gets the job done by not doing anything crazy and out of place, but does not grab my attention either.
So yeah, the monster scenes are the highlight of the film, but only because the acting was average. Many scenes, like the one on the bridge fighting the MUTO or jumping down from the airplane into the middle of San Francisco, had potential to be great scenes, but lack that big impact.
I have now watched "Godzilla" in theaters three different times, and each time it got better. The first time, I was probably more nitpicky and criticized it for very minor details and how it reminded me of other films. The second time, I noticed all the little nods and subtleties to the Godzilla franchise, in particular many references to Mothra.
The final time, I was wrapped up in the atmosphere of the film and just how suspenseful it was. With how much Godzilla is built up, leading to his ultimate reveal, this film is on par with other great works of suspense like "Jaws" and "Alien." This is a perfectly paced film, with each action building up just how massive Godzilla is and how screwed we are against him. The more I watch this film, the more I realize how good it is and the more I enjoy it.
I'd gladly go see "Godzilla" rather than watch "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" again.
This proves that there is a worldwide audience for Godzilla and there always will be. Which is why Legendary Pictures has already announced that there is going to be, not just one, but two sequels to this film. They intend to make a trilogy of Godzilla movies.
Not much is known other than that, though Gareth Edwards has said that he'll return to direct both films, even though he recently said that he'd be working on a spin-off Star Wars movie.
I can't help but recall somethings that Edwards had said in previous interviews though. When he was asked if the monsters in "Godzilla" would be returning kaiju from previous Toho films, he said that these would be entirely new creatures but that if there were ever a sequel, they'd try their best to bring back some classic Godzilla foes.
Of course, fans have now begun to spectulate what Toho monsters would be returning for a new Godzilla film. Personally, I'd love to see the return of King Ghidorah.
Ghidorah has always been portrayed as being much bigger than Godzilla, often towering over him with his three long necks bending down just to get at his level. Keep in mind, the 2014 version is the biggest Godzilla to date. Now imagine a King Ghidorah that is even more massive than this new Godzilla.
Throw in one more monster for good measure, like Mothra, and you have a movie that is sure to be another hit with both fans of the series and the general audience.
I'm already excited for the sequels, but only time will tell how they will fair. I hope that they learn from the mistakes of the first film and give us some more interesting and developed human characters, but keep in touch with what made this film a success.