I saw Godzilla 1 1/2 times this weekend. What? How did I pull that one off? Well, see, I went to see it on Friday night, so excited. I was really into the movie. Loving it, and an hour and half in. Boom, fire alarm. Building evacuation. So, while my brain was pumped full of adrenaline from watching a giant lizard monster ravage Honolulu, I’m being evacuated into the rain. I was not happy. And I was, frankly, terrified.
Turns out the mall was fine and I got to go back and watch the whole movie Sunday afternoon (or at any time of my choosing.) And I got to watch the whole movie.
The second time I watched the first half? All I could think was, “God, Legendary Pictures makes damn good flicks!” That’s what they are, by the way, these things that Legendary makes. Not movies. Not films. They make flicks. Old fashioned, sit on the edge of your seat, eat popcorn, and feel primal feelings and enjoy simple stories flicks.
Godzilla is right up there with some of their best. Oh it doesn’t challenge you like Inception, but it’ll redefine genre (hopefully) the way that The Dark Knight Knight did.
It probably won’t surprise you that I spend a lot of time thinking about The Bomb. Or maybe it will. I don’t know. But I think about it a lot. It’s a weird thing for Americans, the weighing of what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and like many of the things in our history that we’re not super sure about, we tend to bury it, forget about it and keep on moving.
That’s not what the Japanese did. The Bomb shaped their entire post war culture in a very big way. And nine years after The Bombs were dropped, we got Godzilla. A monster, a natural force so destructive, so impossible that there was no way to deal with it. Only get out of the way.
Sixty years later, we have this. Godzilla is one of those movies that gets me really excited, because it decided to simply be what it wants to be. A simple story about how people deal with an uncontrolable giant lizard monster that’s going to eat San Francisco. The movie gets it’s heart from two sources, the Brody family, (To name your protagonist in your monster film “Brody” is so insanely gutsy, the movie automatically gains points with me.) and Godzilla Scientist Dr. Ichiro Serizawa. (That this is a universe where a man’s resume can read “Godzilla Scientist” is a worthwhile detail.) The Brodys, represented by father Joe (Bryan Cranston, doing what he does best, delivering electrifying speeches and wearing a gas mask) and son Ford (the truly adorable, Aaron Taylor-Johnson) had their world rocked when a MUTA (Mothra, by any other name) cocooned in the nuclear power plant where Joe was cheif engineer. Ford’s mother (Named Sandra, and played by the ever flawless Juliette Binoche) died during the event and Joe spent the next fifteen years trying to prove that there was something going on that day. Ford, meanwhile moved forward. (America…) He joined the Navy, disarmed bombs, married a nurse named Elle and they had a son. Ford is drawn back into his father’s work and then crosses paths with Serizawa (Ken Wattanabe, who is, thankfully, the first person to utter the name, “Godzilla.”) on his quest to get back to his family in the wake of the disaster.
Following Ford is worthwhile enough, although I think I would have preferred Serizawa as the main protagonist. And not just because there’s pretty much no one who plays the kind of high camp that Godzilla needs to the level of Wattanabe. And frankly, the idea of this man, who spent his entire life hoping to catch a glimpse of the monster and then when he does it’s even more terrible and beautiful than he could have imagined? That’s a far more interesting story. But the one we get is still pretty great. Godzilla and The MUTAs are stunningly rendered bits of CGI glory and the actors and script service their battles in the best possible ways. (I’m trying really hard not to spoil because the element of surprise is key in this sort of thing.) It’s an affecting film, and does it’s job well. It also made more money than even I would have thought this weekend. So my guess, knowing Legendary, some time, carefully in the next few months, probably at Comic Con, there will be an announcement of Godzilla 2, and discussion of sequelizing Pacific Rim. (Also I’d bet my hat that Chris Hardwick gets to make the announcement…)
So, rankings? I don’t think that this’ll come as a surprise to anyone but here we go.
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2
How To Train Your Dragon 2: I really, badly can’t wait to see this movie. It looks so stinking adorable. I love Hiccup. I love Toothless, I love their world. I also love that they’ve aged Hiccup appropriately, rather than simply picking up where the last movie left off. I think it’ll be good. I enojyed both Despicable Me 2 and Shrek 2, so I don’t see why this outing will be different. Except it has Jay Baruchel who I have a big ol’ crush on.
Transformers: Age of Extinction: God, it looks really dumb, but in a super good way. I love that we’re supposed to buy that Wahlberg is from Texas. It’s adorable. And the line “I think we found a transformer!” God, it’s so dumb. But so good!
Jupiter Ascending: Holy shit y’all! The Wachowskis are nuts and it looks like for the first time since The Matrix, they’re putting that nuttiness to the kind of good work they should. Do I want to watch Mila Kunis as an interstellar Queen fighting for her birthright? This will probably be my new favorite movie. Or it will be a complete disaster and I’ll be really sad. Either way, I think I’m going to feel strongly about it.
Edge of Tomorrow: Everytime I see this trailer or any TV spots for this movie I think, “How badly did John Barrowman hope that Tom Cruise passed on this one?” It’s seriously about a guy who dies over and over again to save the world? I’m just saying…
Maleficent: OK, we get it, “Once Upon A Dream” can be creepy! But I do really want to see this. Like, really, really.
Insterstellar: Guys, I mean, guys, right? Totally. Right. This movie is going to be ten levels of awesome. Another great flick from Legendary.
Next week, X-Men: Days of Future Past. I figure I won’t even have to worry about salted popcorn, because I will be crying so much there will be more than enough salt for everyone.