Do we not have a thread on this? The movie's been out for weeks!

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My wife and I finally got a chance to see it (we work different schedules, so movie-going is sometimes difficult to arrange), and we really, honestly enjoyed it.

The moviemakers managed to stay true to the spirit of the original, and even the subsequent kaiju movies for the kiddies, but still managed high drama.

For one thing, they showed all the effects of the destruction of two cities on the people in those cities. This is in high contrast to Man of Steel, where thousands must have died in the battle between Superman and Zod, but not a single human being was shown (outside of the clumsy entrapment of Jenny Olsen).

For another, they kept playing the "child in peril" card. OK, maybe once too often, but still: Nothing gets grown-ups' attention more than a child in peril. They showed the faces of at least three children in close-up as they reacted to the human misery and danger around them, and it was affecting, even to this old, childless cynic.

There was a real 9/11 vibe throughout, as well. An early scene showed a nuclear plant tower collapsing, and it rang my 9/11 bell immediately, so all the later falling buildings echoed that initial reaction. And several times the destruction was shown on TV, which is exactly how most people experienced 9/11. Gotta be some flashbacks there, too.

Also, for a while they never showed Godzilla clearly, or in total. You saw his back ridge, or his tail, or a shadow underwater, etc. That really heightened the mystery, plus it made him seem much bigger than anything I'd ever seen on screen before. I think they made a mistake when they showed him in total in later scenes too much; it made him seem smaller. (And, scale-wise, I think he actually was smaller.)

The monster battle scenes were very reminiscent of the kaiju movies. And Godzilla was definitely the good guy. As I said, the spirit was there. But the F/X for those battles were not just tons better than the old movies, they were just excellent period. Oh, and Godzilla defeats the winged monster with a wrestling move -- he suckers the guy into his trademark "kingfisher" attack, dodges, and swings his tail into the monster's backside, slamming him into a building with the combined momentum. I laughed and I cheered.

OK, it's a bit implausible that the Navy lieutenant is everywhere he needs to be and almost single-handedly saves San Francisco from a nuclear bomb, destroys the MUTO's eggs before they overrun the earth, finds his wife and kid in the destruction of San Fran, is allowed to accompany Army troopers and Rangers in their uniform, and so forth. But, hey, we need a human POV.

I can also excuse the excess of Americans in Japan in the '50s as a story necessity. Historically, that might even be accurate. But even if it's not, the original Godzilla had Raymond Burr, and subsequent kaiju movies had American leading men for U.S. distribution, like Nick Adams.

Incidentally, I referenced MUTO above, which is what the military named the monsters: Massive Unknown Terrestrial Objects. I guess kaiju is under copyright.

I did think the scene with the DUM DUM DUM reference to Hiroshima was not only silly -- in this movie, Hiroshima had nothing to do with the arrival of the monsters -- not only over-the-top dramatic, but the character who said his father died at Hiroshima was waaaaaaay too young for that. Hiroshima was 69 years ago! Even if the Japanese scientist was en utero at the time, he'd be pushing 70, and this guy was in his 40s. Maybe his grandfather was at Hiroshima, but his father? Not bloody likely.

Look at the photo immediately above. The Big G's face is kinda bear-like, don't you think?

Also, my wife asked if the flying MUTO was this movie's version of Mothra. I hadn't heard that, and I thought Mothra was a good guy, too, and it didn't look like a moth to me. But maybe. Anyone know?

Amazingly, my wife really enjoyed this movie. It was just really well done. I hope it spawns some sequels, as it should, but I haven't heard much word of mouth about it, and it fell out of the top spot rather quickly. That doesn't bode well.

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I really enjoyed it too. Hated the last one they made. I'm not the world's biggest Godzilla fan but even I recognized the tip-of-the-hat to the hero Godzilla movies. I thought they did a pretty good job with the human stories and the acting was up to the task.

Interesting that the actors who portray the husband-and-wife leads (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen) will be the brother-and-sister characters Wanda and Pietro in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Somewhat ppoiler-y thoughts on this picture are contained in this thread here.

As you are our resident Godzilla expert, Baron, I take your critique pretty seriously. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

the character who said his father died at Hiroshima was waaaaaaay too young for that. Hiroshima was 69 years ago

 

Did he actually say that his father was killed by the Hiroshima bomb, or did he just say that his dad was in Hiroshima when the bomb went off?

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IMDB quotes the scene as below: 

 

Admiral William Stenz: It's stopped.

Dr. Ichiro Serizawa: At 8:15 AM on August 6 1945.

Admiral William Stenz: Hiroshima.

Dr. Ichiro Serizawa: It was my father's.

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The above seems accurate to me. If it's correct, that could mean that Serizawa père was in Hiroshima when the bomb went off but wasn't killed, and kept his broken watch as a reminder, eventually passing it on to Serizawa fils, who could have been born many years after the war. (Ken Watanabe, the actor who plays Serizawa in this picture, was born in 1959.)

 

Thinking of Hiroshima always puts me in mind of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived the Hiroshima bomb and was sent home the next day - to Nagasaki. He actually went to work the next day (!) and was describing the Hiroshima bomb to his boss when the Nagasaki bomb went off.  He ended up living to be 93!  If you made that up, people would tell you to come up with something more believable!

The Baron said:

Thinking of Hiroshima always puts me in mind of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived the Hiroshima bomb and was sent home the next day - to Nagasaki. He actually went to work the next day (!) and was describing the Hiroshima bomb to his boss when the Nagasaki bomb went off. He ended up living to be 93! If you made that up, people would tell you to come up with something more believable!

Thank you for the link to the Wikipedia page for Tsutomu Yamaguchi. I had never before heard of anyone who survived both bombs. The article says there were as many as 165 people who were there for both bombs!

This is only the second Godzilla movie I’ve seen on the big screen (unless you count the 1998 version, which I do not). I don’t remember what kept me from seeing Godzilla: 1985 when it was out; I only remember that I wanted to see it, but didn’t. I probably would have liked it more than I did had I seen it upon its original release. Maybe not, though. Wow, one paragraph in and I’m already off track.

I didn’t dislike the new movie, but I probably would have liked it more if it had been “Muto” and not “Godzilla.” I thought it got off to an excruciatingly slow start, and by the time the first monster appeared, it wasn’t even Godzilla! I kept anticipating the appearance of the Big-G, something I didn’t have to wait long for in Godzilla 2000. If I hadn’t known this was a Godzilla movie, I might have allowed myself to become caught up in the plot, then when Godzilla appeared it would have been a complete surprise and I would have cheered!

I kind of liked the new age-y “to restore balance” explanation of Godzilla, and I also like the way it reconciled the “heroic” nature of Godzilla with the vast amount of destruction he caused. I liked the way the three monsters converged on San Francisco. I think the soundtrack was bold and brassy where it needed to be, but I swear the music during the HALO drop was from Kubrick’s Space Odyssey. When Godzilla grabbed the female Muto by the jaws, both Tracy and I thought he was going to go old school King Kong on her, but we were both surprised (and thrilled and a little sickened) when he gave her a shot of radioactive breath down the gullet. Finally, more than any other Godzilla movie, this one shows what it like to experience an attack from the bystander level.

I can’t rate where this falls overall since it’s been so long since I’ve seen most of the films, but I will say I liked it better than the 1998 version, but not as much as Godzilla 2000.

I liked this film well enough -- I think I got my (matinee) ticket price out of it -- but I also think that Pacific Rim set a new bar for kaiju movies that this one couldn't reach.  And it had a sense of fun this movie lacks.

I re-watched part of Godzilla 2000 yesterday. Godzilla appears three minutes in!

 

 

If I went to a movie where the biggest and most important thing in it was the leading man, I'd kinda sorta want him to show up sometime before I needed a potty break.

The fact is, Godzilla may be the (literal) biggest, but he isn't the most important, thing in GodzillaGodzilla isn't a movie about Godzilla.  It isn't even a movie about people dealing with Godzilla.  It's a movie about people dealing with the MUTOs. 

Godzilla is a supporting player in his own movie.  He's the deus ex kaiju.

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