Sunday, May 18, 2014
Last Wednesday, an older fellow - let's call him Carl - at my work used some advance tickets he got through a contest, or something ("I never pay for movie tickets," he boasted), saw Godzilla. "It's really boring for the first hour," he said.
"So you don't see Godzilla for the first hour?" I clarified.
"Correct. And it's non-stop action for the last hour."
"Is it awesome action?" I clarified again. He just shrugged.
"It's not... bad," he managed.
"But it's not awesome."
"I don't care!" I told him, defensively. "I still wanna' see it!"
Later, I told another work friend what Carl had to say about Godzilla, and they pointed out something terribly true about his character, via the immortal communication tool of sarcasm.
"Oh, wow, something Carl doesn't like."
That gave me hope - and today, Kayla and I saw Godzilla. Let me say this: it has some super-awesome parts.
Some articles since the movie's release decry the presence of its human characters, as Godzilla himself really is the most interesting, cool thing in the movie - and that's true. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (he was Kickass in Kick-Ass) is the thread that carries a human perspective on the events of Godzilla across the globe - he has a tortured father, a beautiful wife and handsome son replete with the classic Doomed Horror Movie Child haircut. I disagree with anyone who calls his performance wooden - he does a fine job with what he's given, but he's given next-to-nothing.
What kind of exacerbates the fact that Godzilla himself is so much more interesting than his human co-stars is the way the movie will set up that something totally frickin' amazing is about to happen with the beast, and then it cuts away to what's going on with the humans and not show us the amazing thing.
Seriously - it builds up a confrontation between Godzilla and a certain foe, and then right as the fight starts it cuts away to Beautiful Wife and Doomed Hair Boy, and Doomed Hair Boy is watching snippets of the awesome action the movie is denying us on some news coverage, and it's like "well I would have loved to have seen that."
To a degree, I feel like Godzilla pulled that so as not to blow its Load of Wonder prior to the big finale (which lasts about a half-hour), but even then, towards the end of the movie there was a point at which it was trying to give us some closure on the humans' storyline and I was literally thinking I don't give a fuck let me know what's going on with Godzilla.
Which may, perhaps, be the success the movie is looking for. By the time the credits rolled I was more than a bit dissatisfied with how much the humans took over the story (rather like how the worst parts of Pacific Rim involve people talking), but the movie effectively sets up a world in which the titular King of Monsters exists, and fills the same sort of hero-monster role he came to wear in the classic Japanese films. He does do some super, super-awesome stuff - there's just not enough of it - and I seriously want to see some more.
Perhaps the spectacular sequences of Pacific Rim are a good yardstick to measure Godzilla against. Well... Pacific Rim is better, I'll say it - but I'll also say that I'll probably Bluray this just for the last fight, so I can watch it, whenever I want, for the rest of my life.
I'll just skip the first hour.