Saturday, August 09, 2014
A Godzilla Sans Portfolio, or Matthew Broderick.
The Dread Dormomoo and I did the unthinkable: we went to see a movie on a weeknight. I have never seen a Godzilla movie on the big screen, so we went to our (almost) local Carmike theater, where it was showing for $1.50. So, we both saw the movie, had popcorn and drinks for less than the price of regular tickets. This pleased my Scots soul.
We endured the endless adverts and admonitions to mute our cellular phones, saw the mildly diverting previews (in all of the face shots of "Hercules", Dwayne Johnson looks JUST LIKE Kevin Sorbo).
Enter the 'Zilla. First off, I must say that I enjoyed the movie. The problem is, it did not have the feel of a Godzilla movie. The difference is almost tactile. Being an American production, it is too polished, really, too expansive, which may seem an odd complaint for a giant monster movie. I went to see Bryan Cranston, and was not disappointed. His role as a nuclear engineer whose wife dies in a meltdown of Unspecified Origin was well done, and the long shot showing the complete collapse of the reactor facility is as believable as it is horrifying. Cranston's movie son comes as close to a classic Godzilla suit-monster performance as we will see here, or perhaps a Gerry Anderson marionette series.
My biggest issue with the movie is the lack of on-screen destruction. We are treated instead to a series of faits accompli, the camera panning past a foreground building to see a trail of destruction. During the Big Finale, we DO get to see some "throw him through the building-fu", but the uncanny valley is uncanny. The FEEL of the effects is wrong. You get none of the dust and crunch of the rubber-suit monster crashing through a well-built scale model building. Heavy on the Fuller's Earth, please! Now, it's just pixels, and it translates that way.
To resurrect a personal meme, this was a good action movie. It was not a good Godzilla movie. I hear a new one is in the works with Mothra, Rodan, and Kaiser Ghidorah. I'll wait for the $1.50 theater.
Also, there was no apparent attempt to insert music cues from Akira Ifukube, who started the Godzilla music sixty years ago. This smacks of disrespect, although I am sure it was the film-makers' attempt to "make it their own".
America, stop trying to make Japanese monster movies.