Marcey: Hello everyone and welcome to this conversational review of the latest Godzilla movie!
Bea: Gee golly gosh, it feels like an age, donnit?
Marcey: It feels like I have waited my entire life for Hollywood to finally get Godzilla right! And you know what in the hands of Gareth Edwards and his team, it has!
Bea: It’s like that song: “I can feel it, coming in the air tonight, oh lord, and I’ve been waiting for this moment, for all of my life.”
Marcey: Ha basically! And I will say it loud and proud I LOVED THIS FILM! It is a fantastic creature feature film and on such a grand scale. It felt very raw too.
Bea: The only preconception I had in my mind and heart was this: “This couldn’t be any worse than the Emmerich travesty.” and thank the maker it wasn’t. I really enjoyed how it kept the mythos and only altered a few details just to make the events what you were watching plausible… then again, this movie has giant monsters raising hell so just how plausible does it have to be?
Marcey: The way that the monsters emerge felt very mysterious and it wasn’t a rush job either. It aimed to tackle a lot of aspects and not just say “Oh there’s monsters, and go” it actually developed how these monsters came to be and why perhaps we haven’t seen Godzilla for a long time. I bought it.
Bea: Plus the film provided it’s share of pleasant surprises. I would be loathe to spoil them here even though that were perhaps some of the best elements in the movie.
Marcey: It really changed what Godzilla represents, what he stands for and his appearances in the film are epic and well earned.
Bea: Speaking of appearances- I love my irradiated primordial reptiles curvy, baby. Very nice revamp. It’s a fine balance between the old and the new and NOT the T-Rex variant from that OTHER movie.
Marcey: Godzilla himself looked amazing, they really nailed the look so well. I also enjoyed the look and the scale of the new monsters simply called the M.U.T.O.
Bea: A friend of mine told me their design reminded him of Clover from “Cloverfield” and I partly agree. There is some resemblance there, but that’s partly due to the fact Clover is part of monster culture now. But at the same time, the designers, artists and all involved in their creation did something that the legendary Ray Harryhausen did- they were given the ability to emote. In many cases, when a M.U.T.O or ‘Zilla was in pain, or felt triumphant or exhaustion, you could SEE it.
Marcey: They all felt like real creatures, they moved like real creatures, they even moved about in the cities as you would imagine giant creatures would. It never felt silly or unrealistic, it felt very natural and it is in thanks to how they were designed and the entire team behind it.
Bea: And while a vast majority of it IS undoubtedly digital, they used it responsibly rather than throwing it around like candy. In other words, it didn’t look like a Star Wars prequel or a videogame. As much as I love practical effects, puppets and animatronics, there are just some jobs they can’t do, which is where CGI comes in. Edwards I strongly feel is a film goer just like us, that is you, our readers and myself and he knows what an audience will and will not accept. He doesn’t insult the viewer’s intelligence when a monster film could have EASILY gone in that direction.
Marcey: Yeah, he knows his craft very well and he made some very smart choices with this. Godzilla is always hinted at and his appearance is epic when it happens. The film builds up its story and it does not overly saturate its monsters. It even saves some of the big epic things for the climax, which was amazing btw.
Bea: Though it really did help that most of the third act took place in an arena of rain, soot and smoke. I don’t think anybody who knew beforehand that it was a harken back to 9/11. Not only that, the prologue has very strong ties to the Fukushima disaster that we all heard about. Using a disaster is a touchy point in films, but it all depends on the execution and I feel it was necessary.
Marcey: Disasters happen and it is just a part of human nature, whether they are from mother nature or humans, and I think this film represented a lot of that, and how things can and do balance out. Godzilla for all purposes was that balance.
Bea: I wanted to cuddle that big booey.
Marcey: I felt there were interesting themes and metaphors in this film, at one point Godzilla is referred to as a saviour. He isn’t like any incarnation I have ever seen of the big boy, that’s for sure.
Bea: Which is one of the other reasons why the film succeeds. It knows we all have a common vision of Godzilla in our minds but at the same time, well, let’s face it, these days if you have a fellow in a suit, it doesn’t do the same job.
Marcey: It really changed things up, and I liked that. It is an incredible adventure.
Bea: It takes into account what matters to us (the world) and blends it with the legend. If a film, book, play, show, whatever can combine a different variety of elements and can keep it together, then there really isn’t any problem with changing it up.
Marcey: Absolutely. I thought the film really gave time to a lot of different things, set up, introducing characters, situations, the real scale of it all. It wasn’t a rush job at all. I felt the characters had enough build up to work and I felt our main character Ford Brody was just fine. I have heard complaints he was bland and boring, no I didn’t think so. He’s a man in a shocking situation, plus you know quite easy on the eyes.
Bea: Hehe, ” Brody”. It doesn’t take a boffin to figure out this film, despite some of it’s more serious moments has a sense of humor about itself without coming across as a total wink-wink-nudge-nudge fest. If I may be frank though, while I didn’t HATE any of the characters (frankly, I thought Cranston and Watanabe were great in their roles) the humans felt slightly more secondary to the film. It’s not that I didn’t care, but considering the pedigree of actors in this film, I was a little, teeny, tiny, itty, bitty let down that I didn’t get to see more from them. It’s not like we question their talent, but if you get a variety of reliable, great and watchable actors, you’d think they’d be given a little more character work. I don’t ask for a character study, but my investment with them wasn’t as big as I wanted. Elizabeth Olsen I felt was perhaps given the short end of the stick, same with Sally Hawkins. Again, we KNOW they are great actors, but they are mostly stuck in largely reactionary roles rather than proactive ones.
Marcey: With a film of this size though it isn’t easy to have a bunch of fully rounded characters, the more time you invest with them, the more you sacrifice to the story and to the monsters. The right amount of time was given to each element, in my opinion. Ken Watanabe I felt off the bat was the most interesting character and through a few words his character was easily established I felt.
Bea: We’ll have to agree to disagree on that aspect. As I said, I wasn’t expecting a resonating look into the human psyche in the event of a disaster, but with the calibre of talent we have here, I felt they weren’t given the full opportunity to do their thing. Although, there is no reason why anybody SHOULDN’T go out and watching their other films to see that. But ah well. But in terms of the best character, I felt Cranston was the soul element of the human characters. He was so haunted by so many things and he was like a bulldog- he was NOT gonna let go of trying to find out what is going on in a world that he knows ain’t right.
Marcey: Cranston always sells it, he’s such a talented actor and he felt like a natural choice as well in terms of casting that character.
Bea: He could sell encyclopedias and get that money no problem. He could be a telemarketer trying to sell you insurance and you would snap it up like a shark in a feeding frenzy.
Marcey: That is a good way of putting it!
Bea: But for all of those things I had an issue with, this is how you do a monster movie for the millenial crowd without alienating the veterans.
Marcey: I think its the perfect blend of a film, it is great for old fans of Godzilla and great to bring in new fans.
Bea: I love it when a film does that. I think it’s all about knowing what people want, potential new fans and old ones. Of course there may be Godzilla fans who probably won’t LIKE this movie, but speaking of the majority, this film has it’s own identity. When I heard that ridiculous criticism that Godzilla wasn’t given enough screen time (horse puckey!), I think they were expecting “Pacific Rim” which was all about monsters being up in your face. But the reason why THAT worked was because it was a giant robot vs. giant beast movie. You couldn’t cut corners in showing parts of either combatants. “Godzilla” isn’t like that, it’s all about a build up and a multi-layered payoff.
Marcey: Yeah and I thought the pay off was incredible. I thought the monsters at the right amount of screen time, and it did take that Jaws approach so to speak.
Bea: Which is why it worked here. One simply doesn’t hear the name “Brody” and NOT think it’s a “Jaws” reference.
Marcey: That IS exactly what I thought
Bea: Ultimately, what would you give the film? Granted, you and I have only just recently saw it, but since we at SM.com celebrate educated opinion and judgement, honesty is always the best policy.
Marcey: That we do, for me it is easily a 5/5 film, I loved that that much baby!
Bea: 4.5/5 for me, quite simply put. I am so glad I saw this in Imax, it’s that type of film… won’t stop me from getting that bluray though.
Marcey: I will be getting it on blu-ray and I think I would have gotten motion sickness if I saw it in IMAX lol
Bea: But it would have been worth it!… :p
Marcey: Me vomiting wouldn’t have been hahaha
Bea: Me vomiting wouldn’t have been hahaha
Marcey: Ha! Well thank you Bea for reviewing the film with me
Bea: And thank YOU for putting up with my tomfoolery! 😀