To start things off, I was thinking about my reviews last week and I decided to change my grading scale. I feel it will make my reviews more helpful, specific and accurate to you guys. I’ve also gone back through all my reviews, again, and adjusted my scores to the new scale, which is why I haven’t posting anything over the last week and a half. In short, new scale, better reviews, and Tim’s happy. I apologize for the switch but I really do think it will make a difference.
Moving on, Godzilla. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, shame on you. If you have, congratulations. You’re part of the general populace. You know what the general populace hasn’t seen in a very long time? A good Godzilla movie. It’s been a while. We all grew up with the Toho films and every American adaptation has nose-dived into the pavement. I didn’t hate the 1998 Godzilla film with Matthew Broderick, which was more of a corny comedy than an action film, but it wasn’t what people were looking for. People want to see chaotic destruction, monsters punching other monsters in the face and people running and screaming for their lives.
With all that said, not since The Avengers have I seen a film with so much pressure to succeed. We already knew this movie was going to make tons of money at the box office. That’s a given. Everyone wants to see a Godzilla movie. I’m talking about succeeding in terms of giving the U.S of A. the monster movie that we’ve been waiting for for quite a while now. All the critics have been waiting for this to come out and I’m sure they all brought their magnifying glasses to nitpick at every little thing this movie did wrong, just waiting for this movie to misstep or lose its balance, anything that would allow them to put this movie on the chopping block.
I didn’t go in with that approach but my expectations were high because I was just as anxious for this movie to come out as everyone else. I wanted to see Godzilla blow things up and make whole cities look like sandcastles.
The big question: Was the wait worth it? Cue Jeopardy music and drum roll please.
Yes, yes it was. Despite a relatively inexperienced cast and a rookie director in Gareth Edwards, Godzilla still manages to thrill audiences with its visual and special effects as well as some passable acting from newcomers Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. Taylor-Johnson and Olsen’s acting isn’t incredible, but they’re doing what we need them to do. They’re making us feel like we’re there, displaying some emotions, showing us what it feels like to be in that situation, living within a couple of miles, even a couple of feet from the king of all monsters.
Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe don’t get a lot of screen time in this film but they make their presence felt time and time again. As with most Godzilla movies, the plot involves a lot of actors in front of the camera for the majority of the screen time, which once again I don’t think is what people were looking for when they went to see this. Can someone just make a two-hour film where more than 50% of the film involves Godzilla in rage mode? Please? That would be really cool. With that said, I’m not displeased with this movie in the slightest because the story we’re given aside from the monster battles is compelling. When you watched Godzilla movies as a kid, you probably didn’t care about the characters we were presented with and the human story line. You just wanted to see Godzilla blow things up. I still want to see Godzilla blow things up here, but I actually care about the movie as a whole, not just the parts where I get to see Godzilla. It’s a full product where I get to enjoy every bit of it. I’m not saying the Toho films weren’t revolutionary or entertaining, but I don’t think it’s unfair to say the characters weren’t all that meaningful in those films. Here, the characters meant something. Instead of watching half a monster movie and half a borefest like Pacific Rim, I ended up getting half a monster movie with some coordinated, relevant subplots to keep me interested until Godzilla came out from behind the curtain again.
Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.
80-89 It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Divergent, Spider-Man 3, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Young Guns, The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
50-59 This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Alien Resurrection, Full Metal Jacket, Thor, You’re Next, The Starving Games)
40-49 This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Alien, Serendipity, Cowboys and Aliens, 300: Rise of an Empire, A Haunted House)
0-19 Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight Cowboy, Dark Fury, Alien 3, Open Grave)
My score for Godzilla: 93.
While the pressure for this film to succeed seemed infinite, a successful American Godzilla movie has finally been made. Godzilla may not be perfect, but it’s a huge improvement from the memories of the past and is definitely a must-see and must-buy on its way to becoming one of the biggest box office hits of the summer.