I worship and adore Godzilla — the REAL Godzilla, not any of the fake American rip-offs (including shitty cartoons from the 70s, terrible comic books from the 80s, or any shoot-me-in-the-face movies starring Matthew Broderick). The very first drawing I remember making was when I was 3 years-old on the bottom of my parents' living room coffee table. The subject? Godzilla. Gamera the giant flying turtle was cool and all, but as a child I LIVED for the MonsterFest weekends when my local UHF station would play 2 or 3 Godzilla movies in a row for my personal entertainment. I've watched every Godzilla movie ever made multiple times (the Broderick one is not a Godzilla movie, just a "Zilla" movie according to Toho, so I don't feel bad about my only one viewing of that POS), and I still get the shivers whenever I hear that goddamn gorgeous RooooAAAAAAAAooooooooorrr-uunk! Godzilla is the only god I need.
Yes, Toho got greedy for American cash and sold out the name of Gojira Tachimoto to the retards who made The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day. They proceeded to make a movie about a giant iguana running around New York City in the rain laying eggs, but they still called the piece of shit "Godzilla." It was a horrible time to be a fan because whenever you'd mention "Oh yeah, I love Godzilla!" 98% of the population would look at you and say "You LIKED that shitty Matthew Broderick movie? Jesus, what's wrong with you?!".
Soon Toho and Gojira Tachimoto got their shit together again and gave the world a few more memorable and fun OFFICIAL creature features which culminated in the most insane and awesome monster smackdown ever in Godzilla: Final Wars. (Which if you haven't seen it, you must. It is a work of insane art!) But then things stayed quiet for close to another decade. Gojira started to seriously think about retirement, and Toho said they wouldn't make another Godzilla movie for at least 10 years after Final Wars in 2004... And here we are in 2014, just in time for the Big "G"'s 60th birthday, and they decided to let Legendary Pictures (the guys behind the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, 300, Watchmen, and Pacific Rim) take their shot at a real American Godzilla movie. They put some provisions in the contract to Legendary though, so that the shitty mistakes of the '98 Zilla weren't repeated.
Provision 1: No giant, fast-moving, lame-looking iguana creature. It must truly be GODzilla. You MUST use Gojira-san in your movie. He no understand English, but he roar good. You do fine.
Provision 2: Seriously, gaijin, no fucking iguanas.
Provision 3: Some of it must take place in Japan. That where all good monsters come from.
Provision 4: You must put Walter White in this thing. Hory shit! That would be so fucking awesome! Throw in some "blue meth" if you can too!
Provision 5: Nuclear bombs must play a part of the bad shit going down. You no remember that bombs are bad? You fucking bomb us with nukes twice, assholes! You must remember!
Provision 6: Get the Olsen Twins in it! We ruv them!... They no available?.... They have a sister? Done!
Provision 7: You need army guy?.... Kick-Ass is super awesome fighter. Make him army guy.
Provision 8: You use Mothra too. What? He too gay? Okay, you can use Battra. Yes! That a real thing! Give him Cylon eyes too!
And thus Gareth Edwards GODZILLA came to pass. Yes! Legendary Pictures gave the reigns to their $160million production to a guy who only made one movie before: the extremely allegorical 2010 flick Monsters, which was all about the lame wall that the US was building at its boarder to Mexico at the time... Which was covered much, much better in the Netflix original season of Arrested Development, but that's neither here nor there.
So... Gareth Edwards' Godzilla....
What of it?
I liked it, but not unconditionally. It was BIG, it was fun, it was loud, it had sweet monster-on-monster action, it had amazing amounts of destruction, it took itself seriously without any lame *winks* to the audience, and it had Walter White being crazy and kind of bad ass at the same time... but it was sloooooooow to get started, there were too many teases of the Big G before he actually appeared, my favorite character didn't even make it 1/3rd of the way through the runtime, and the rest of the characters were either wooden, unfeeling soldiers or just there to run around and scream under the big guy's feet when he was stomping a city flat.
But, despite those caveats I still totally recommend this movie to anybody who likes visual and aural spectacles and the old Gojira movies (especially the Heisei Era flicks which were made between the mid 80s and ran through the mid 90s).
So this Godzilla movie starts off with Walter White being some genius nuclear power plant engineer in some made-up ward of Tokyo (called Janjira) back in 1999. The whole place gets destroyed and goes into meltdown status due to what feels like an earthquake. Plausible so far — it is Japan after all. But no! In fact the cause of the crumbling complex and nuclear fiasco was something even MORE Japanese: a giant monster! Oh no! But this is being kept a secret from everybody since I guess a reactor collapsing in on itself due to a medium-sized earthquake is less frightening than a giant monster cocoon suddenly appearing in the middle of the mess.
The destruction at the nuke plant costs Walter White his wife, and over the years his determination that the fuck up was not the result of a simple earthquake causes him to lose touch with his only son, Kick-Ass (who joined the military after cleaning up his town). Walter is dedicated to sneaking back into Janjira (which has been quarantined for 15 years due to the radiation in the air) and finding out the truth, but he gets caught and jailed which leads to Kick-Ass traveling to Tokyo to bail his dad out of the clink. The two then kinda sorta bond, break into the abandoned town together, and bear witness to the thing that caused the meltdown all those years ago as it hatches from its cocoon.
It turns out this chrysalized (is that a word?) creature is not Godzilla (trust me, there were a few moron audience members who were confused to "who dat be?"), but some giant insectoid monster who's looking for his mate. This Bug-ra then starts traversing the Pacific, snatching up whatever radioactive materials it can find along the way, in order to meet up with its lov-ah, have some hot insect sex, and make tons more giant, radiation-feasting, mankind-ending insect babies. Well, it turns out Godzilla is just a monster cock-blocker who'll have NONE of that shit, as he appears on the scene absolutely determined to stop Mr. Bug-ra from getting any from Mrs. Bug-ra. Giant monster show-down in the Big Gay Tangerine (aka San Francisco) then commences. Big American Dance Party!
I left out some of the big shocking plot twists... Well, maybe not twists per se, but plot points I guess would be closer to the truth. Not that there's any real surprise in the script to this thing (other than HOW FUCKING LONG IT TAKES TO SEE GODZILLA) — being a typical Godzilla movie and all, which pretty much all follow the same synopsis of "strange shit happens, humans are confused, monster shows up, Godzilla shows up, fighting occurs whilst humans you care little for run around screaming or shooting ineffective tanks at the monsters, Godzilla wins, roll credits."
I'm already sick and tired of critics crapping out heaps and heaps of praise on this flick for "looking and feeling like an early Spielberg movie." That's laughable. The only thing that makes it feel like an early Spielberg film is the fact that they hold off showing the full monster until WELL into the 2 hour runtime of this thing (think Jaws, Jurassic Park, or Close Encounters where we only see hints of the creatures or aliens until at least halfway through, or not till the very end).
There's giant pacing issues with this Godzilla movie; the first hour of which is borderline boring. YES! A fucking Godzilla movie should not be boring, especially when it features Breaking Bad's Walter White (one of the greatest actors on Godzilla's green Earth!)! Oh, and the rest of the human characters (like Kick-Ass' Kick-Ass, and Mary Kate and Ashley's younger [much hotter] sister Elizabeth) just walk around stone-faced or cowering in fear of all the death, destruction, and dismay that is happening all around them. WHY focus on them so damn much at the detriment to actual giant monsters killing each other and blowing shit up on screen! People don't go to see a movie called Godzilla to watch HUMANS. You can see any other movie ever made to see people! I want to see a giant, radioactive, pissed-off lizard in a movie called Godzilla... But enough rambling — let me finish this thing up.
*Oh my god. So like I'm almost 10 years into my well-earned retirement when my old friend Akira Takarada calls me up from out of the blue and tells me, "Hey, Gojira-san, did you know they're trying to make another American Godzilla movie?"
I'm all like [eyes rolling], "Oh no! Did they not learn from that awful Matthew Broderick movie in 1998? I mean, he was alright in Ferris Bueller, but really now..." But Takarada-san assured me that the Americans wanted to do a REAL Godzilla movie, and that they actually wanted ME to star in it!
My mind was totally blown! "Finally!" I thought! "Finally the whole world will be Gojira's!" That's when I came up with how I would do my thing slightly different for this American Godzilla. I was looking pretty trim by the time my agent confirmed that they wanted me for this thing, and that's when I started hitting the cheeseburgers and Coca-Colas and the pizzas hard. I packed on so much weight that when I came in to meet the Toho people before meeting the Americans, all the Toho men were like, "Holy shit! Gojira! You turned into an American! Holy shit!" We all laughed.
Then the Americans saw me and they were quite open that I had perhaps put on too much weight. *Sigh.* I've seen pictures of Americans at the beach, trust me, I was not that large. They overreacted. But still, I had to take off a bit of weight for them, but not nearly all of it that I put on. *Laughs!* Silly fat Americans. I only put on 15 pounds too much! They said to "get thin," and I only lost 15 out of the extra 250 pounds that I put on for the role! Amazing, no?
So anyway, I had a great time making this movie. They only needed me on set for like 25 days of shooting, and Mr. and Mrs. Muuto were just absolute pros! Their first movie and they nailed it! Oh, and Bryan Cranston! He's like my idol! We're only up to season 4 of Breaking Bad in Japan, so don't ruin it for me, but it was an honor to work with a pro like him.
I found it odd that the director kept trying to sell me on the plight of Mexicans trying to sneak into America during the whole time I was there, but whatever. Nice guy... Nice guy.
What? My time is up? Oh well. On to the next interview!
(*Translated from Japanese)
Let me start by saying that I am not some die hard terror-lizard lover. I found the "classic" Godzilla movies entertaining for their hokeyness. After the apparently awful Godzilla-that-shall-not-be-named (which I never bothered to watch), I approached this hoping for the best but expecting to only enjoy my popcorn, in lieu of a Viennetta Ice Cream Cake (my preferred theater snack).
But when Godzilla finally shows up (the first half was all "blah blah blah, oh look, isn't science f*cking cooler with my stereotypical Japanese accent? 'Japanese onry get to say Gojiirrrra!'"), there's action aplenty, smashing that the Hulk would be proud of, and generally well-placed "sucks to be this seaman" scenes that make it very nail-biting at times. Godzilla has a secret (GO NAVY!) sub-plot, because you DON'T want to be in the Army in this damn movie ("We'll shoot at it again... Maybe this time it'll do more than tickle! AAAGggHHHhhhhh!" squish).
Godzilla movies highlight that we [humans] are complacently trashing the Earth and haven't got a clue that we're even doing it. Radiation causes us to get up to our eyeballs in giant bug egg-sacs and rampage fall-out, but the winning solution to rid the world of the radioactive threat at the end of this movie is "We'll nuke 'em to death! I swear it will work this time, or were f*cked anyway." C'est la vi I guess... Ass hats.
I was left with questions after everything was done though... Just a few. Like why is there only one giant lizard guy when those bugs seem to be able to reproduce like fruit flies on crack-laced-radioactive-steroids? If at one time there were tons of these bug-a-sauruses does that mean that Godzilla is just a little rusty at his job? Because two on one seems like good odds when your "nature's way" to balance the whole planet, and nature is confident enough to send you out sans a wingman. But Godzilla sure was having a tough time of it there at the end.
Oh, and why would giant insects have developed EMP bursts as a weapon? That didn't do SHIT to Godzilla, their natural enemy so... purpose? I'm not saying they were psychic but apparently they were psychic when it came to foreseeing future technology that might possibly do two of them harm millions of years after their race first roamed the Earth.
Also, why does Godzilla have elephant feet when he clearly spends a lot of time in the water, making me think webs would be more...egh...useful? He's not very hydro-dynamic, yet he swims like a champ and holds his breath for like years despite not having gills...
Why did Godzilla not eat? That's kind of a big one, no? He just swam across the f*cking ocean and fought and killed two evil beasties, but he didn't even take one bite out of them. Or of anything.
New thought! Jurassic Park 3, oh wait 4? Really? They're up to 4 now? Shit... Ok, well, you JP guys have a lot to live up to now, you "terrible, man-eating, thunder lizard people," you, because Godzilla and the human race were pretty cool with each other after all was said and done in this movie (well, except for poor Bryan Cranston). But I think it's time to cross genres here; I'm pretty sure that's the only way Jurassic Park can ever hope to be to Godzilla what TNG was to Star trek. They put Kirk in the first TNG movie, and they need to put Godzilla in the LAST (we hope) Jurassic Park, 'cause otherwise it's just dinosaurs no larger than a bus chasing after humans in the JP. You think one of them can topple a sky-scraper with its tail? After Godzilla, everything else is just a glorified iguana.
Lastly, I just want to say that the graphic artists (et al.) that made Godzilla work really brought their A game. I mean, I thought "Eep!" then like two seconds later I was all "Aww poor Godzilla. I wish I could cuddle him or somehow help the big lizard who just freaked me the f*ck out like a minute before this." He just had those big ol' puppy-dog eyes... That is, if a lizard and a puppy had a magical radioactive prehistoric lizard baby that lived apparently forever.