Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Godzilla (2014) Review: Part 2

I wanted to revisit the film because I got a chance to see it again and rereading my first post about the film, I realized I had more to say about it. Again, spoilers incoming (minor spoilers, but spoilers nonetheless).  I should start by saying my opinion of the movie in general hasn't changed and I stand by what I've already said about the film, just wanted to share a few more thoughts on the film.

The sense of scale and immersion is very good in the film because we see most of the action from the perspective of the humans. We see Godzilla walk to the airport and the M.U.T.O. angrily notice from alongside all the humans behind the glass in the airport terminal. Or we peer out the window at the monsters from inside the bus as it flees, or from inside the train car as it approaches the winged M.UT.O.

There is a decent amount of animal related humor, in an attempt to recapture some of the camp from the previous films. For instance the first fight between Godzilla and the winged M.U.T.O. is only seen in bits and pieces on the TV (from news footage) while Elle tries to get Sam to shut off the TV and go to bed.

The acting is good at times but not so good at others.  The main character (at least the main human character), Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson is also sadly the main problem. He's pretty stiff and lifeless throughout the film and it's made more obvious when he plays in scenes opposite Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen because they are very good, and since one is his father and the other his wife he spend most of the film playing opposite people who are very intense (and very good) making his lifeless performance feel that much more lifeless.  Also, as I mentioned in my previous post, Ken Watanabe, who I think can be good, just had nothing to do. He stands around with his mouth hanging open waiting for someone to break his stare or wake him up out of his stupor in just about every scene he's in.  It's a wasted opportunity for the character and the actor.

There were a lot of nice touches, like seeing Bryan Cranston's face in the reflection of the window during one scene, or those scenes where you see one of the monsters advancing on Vegas, or the aforementioned fight between Godzilla and the M.U.T.O. seen through news coverage on TV.  But then there are also moments that don't really hit the way they may have wanted, like when they are trying to find the second M.U.T.O. in Nevada where the US dumps their radioactive waste.  They peer through the little window to see if the creature is inside, and we eventually see that it was there but broke out of the building.  Wouldn't they have noticed the massive hole in the building and the large creature walking away and the large amount of noise all that would have made?  Why didn't they just fly a helicopter around the building?

Some of these are small gripes, and some are impossible not to notice (like Aaron Taylor-Johnson's acting). Either way they didn't ruin the film for me.  It's still a new high point for the series and one of the best, most entertaining films I've seen so far this year.  If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out my other post about this film.

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