Oh, No! There Goes San Francisco!Posted on 2014.05.16 at 08:29
I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to spoil things for anybody. What I will say is this: This is the movie I've been waiting for since 1997, which I then thought I'd be getting in 1998. I was crushingly disappointed then, although Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich's ill-named Godzilla was a pretty decent remake of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.
Last night, Gareth Edwards made up for it in spades.
GODZILLA is everything you could ever want in a Godzilla movie. The new monsters, MUTOs -- that's pronounced "Moo-toes," and stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms" -- are really wonderful monsters, huge and frightening, a great design... But they fade to insignificance when Godzilla is on the scene. Again and again and again, Edwards finds ways to simply stun and amaze you with the sheer scale of him.
Remember the very first time you saw Star Wars? The text scrolls by, we see an impressive spacescape, and then the rebel blockade-runner flies into the scene, and it's very big and impressive... And then the Imperial Star Destroyer begins rumbling into view...and keeps coming...and keeps coming...and coming...and as more and more of the ship fills the screen and recedes into the distance, it hits you harder and harder how frigging HUGE it is?
George Lucas managed that trick once. Edwards pulls it off immaculately, again and again and again. That gigantic MUTO attacking Honolulu Airport? Is suddendly dwarfed just by the FOOT of Godzilla coming down. Soldiers on a rooftop, ten or more stories up, fire flares high into the air... and they barely rise high enough to illuminate his waist-line. The jagged spines down his back are mountain ranges unto themselves, and he just overwhelms the eye.
Getting ramped up for this movie, I've watched quite a few of the classic Toho Godzilla movies, and the word I kept coming up with, again and again and again, for what really works about Godzilla when Godzilla works: Majesty.
Edwards' Godzilla is a majestic creature, awesome in the truest, original sense of the word, and you can't help but be overwhelmed by him. If you have any capacity at all to just sit back in your seat and surrender to the spectacle of a giant monster movie, GODZILLA will reward you immensely.
Be warned: Edwards likes to tease you. The first few times Godzilla comes on the scene, we cut away just when things are getting good, and see the action on TV sets in the background as the human characters play out their roles in the foreground. It's a little maddening, but, I think, in just the right way: Edwards teases long and ruthlessly, so that when he pays that teasing off -- and he does, I promise you, he does! -- it's as close to a transcendent experience as a giant monster movie can deliver.
See it on the biggest screen available, and if you can possible handle 3D, see it that way at least once. I promise you, if giant monsters are your thing at all, this will be a feast you'll giggle with delight over for days afterwards.