Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review: Godzilla (2014)

Ah, yes, Godzilla. There's a name that is most-definitely a household one. Everyone and their mother's father's cousin's uncle best friend's sister knows who Godzilla is. Or do they? I mean, sure, people get an automatic basic image in their heads of what Godzilla looks like. He's got a pretty iconic look. He's a giant monstrous lizard that breathes atomic flames, so even with the occasional copycat you always know the real deal. What I am really getting at is do people really get what Godzilla is? Getting the general idea is great and all, but do you understand the core concept of the character? I'll be getting to that later, then you'll hopefully see where I am coming from.

Get on with it!

Anywho, our story picks up in the past and focuses on Bryan Cranston's character, Joe Brody, lead engineer at the Janjira nuclear plant in Japan. But, of course, that's not before they give us a nice quick reference to the original Godzilla film by showing a hydrogen bomb being used to attack a giant creature in the ocean in 1954. But yeah, we've got Joe and he's got a loving wife and son and tons of responsibilty. It's also his birthday, but he's a bit too busy to remember that at first. Meanwhile, we also have Ishiro Serizawa, a scientist who finds a massive skeleton in an collapsed mine in the Philippines. But, that's not all he finds. No, he also finds some eggs and, wouldn't you know it? One seems to have hatched and left a slimy trail straight to the ocean. What was in it? Well, I had a few theories...

No one ever listens to my theories until it's too late.
Back in Japan, it seems the nuclear plant has a whole lot of shaking going on, and not in the fun way. The unusual seismic activity prompts Joe to send his wife and her team into the reactor to check things out and make sure there aren't any singing sea monsters crawling around anywhere. Okay, I made up the last part, but yeah. Into the reactor she goes, where surely nothing terrible will happen to her at all. Except something really terrible actually does happen, as the reactor is breached and the whole team gets sealed in as the whole plant goes to hell faster than a drunk sorority girl who catches her boyfriend with another woman.

Tell it to Terry Crews, you heartbreaker!
We then jump ahead fifteen years to Joe's son, Ford (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), who is an EOD man in the Navy and is just getting home to his own wife and son after a tour. But do you know what every weary soldier really wants? To bail their parent out of jail! Yeah, he gets a call that informs his dad is locked up in Japan, so being the stand-up guy he is, Ford hops a jet and goes to help out his dad. He learns his dad was tresspassing in the quarantine zone set up after the nuclear reactor was breached 15 years ago and that his dad thinks there is a huge governmental cover-up as to the true cause.

This isn't what it looks like! We're totally just setting up for a Dethklok show!
 So, he goes out with his dad to the zone where they find out that it's surprisingly not exactly Chernobyl II: Secret of the Ooze. Actually, it's remarkably non-radioactive for a place that have a massive nuclear accident. But yeah, after getting what they came for, they inevitably get caught and taken to the reactor site where tons of soldiers and scientists are set-up. They question Joe about what he was doing there, but it all ends up going south as the thing that's been sucking on the reactor for 15 years decides to wake up and stretch its legs.

The moment I wake up I reach for my smiley face cup and get a little pour from you!
It turns out that involves destroying the whole place and killing lots of people there, because why not? Joe and Ford, still separated, both witness this event taking place but sadly Joe ends up getting a bit too close to the action and catches a bad case of death by giant monster. It's fairly common in Japan. The U.S. Navy sets up a task force to go after the big bad because, well, it's big and bad and Ford, Serizawa, and Vivienne Graham (who has been seen previously in the film working with Ishiro) are brought on to assist. They give the creature a name, MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), and Ford gets a history lesson about the Big G and how we woke him up like big idiots and then tried to kill him with nuclear "tests" back in 1954. Turns out he's not easy to kill and thus they decided to just study him instead. They also mention the eggs 15 years ago prior to the plant collapsing and Ford's life going into a pretty dark place. He then tells then in turn that his dad been monitoring some signals that indicated the big bad was talking to something else while it was resting.

That thing must have a great long distance plan. Probably not Vonage.

The U.S. Army finds MUTO chowing down on a old Russian submarine outside of Honolulu, as Ford decides maybe he should go home and leave the monster hunting to the monster hunters. But life is a bitch and MUTO shows up to shit on everyone's parade. As the military fights him, who should show up but the big lizard bad-ass himself, Godzilla. Go ahead, tell me you don't hear his roar when you read his name. You know you do. He tears into MUTO, but bug boy doesn't really like being beaten up by a bigger monster so he spouts wings and flies off. Then things get worse, as it turns out the other egg was tracked down to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository where it hatched. Now it turns out there's an even bigger MUTO walking towards Las Vegas and it's got something the other one doesn't have: a vagina. So, Vegas gets ruined...well, as much as Vegas can be ruined...and the science folks conclude that the two MUTOs have been talking and a booty call is their ultimate goal.


Yeah, I know, lady. No one really wants to see that. Just imagine the clean-up? Eughghg.
Everybody starts following Godzilla, figuring that he's going to where the unholy monster bump-n-grind is going to take place. And, bad news for Ford, because it's San Francisco! Yep, where his wife and kid are. The military comes up with a place to nuke all the monsters at once and Ford sweet talks his way onto the team that's bringing the nukes. The train ride there gets interrupted though as someone seemed to have forgotten that nuclear things are the MUTOs' favourite snack. Ford manages to survive though, along with one single warhead which they take to San Francisco where it is armed and...snatched up by the male MUTO who takes it to center of the city where his "bae" builds a nest around it. How sweet.

Aw, it's just what I always wanted! Now get over here and fertilize my egg sack.

Then, because the military never seem to learn anything in this movie, they attack Godzilla and draw his attention to the crowded Golden Gate bridge. You know, because fuck civilians. He basically tells them to bugger off so he can get to the business at hand and, finally, they get a clue because they do. And let me tell you, seeing Godzilla tear into the MUTOs? It's glourious. After all the build-up it's just great to see him do what he does best, which is ruining monsters who think they can mess up the Earth. Didn't they get the memo? This is Godzilla's house. You don't come into his house and start breaking things without there being consequences. While he's getting his kaiju on, Ford joins a team of HALO jumpers on a mission to disarm the warhead. It runs out that it can't be disarmed though, so they fall to their back-up plan, which is to take it out onto a boat so it can be disposed of safely at sea. Ford decides to go pyro on the nest, which prompts the momma MUTO to come after him. Luckily for him he's got a big green partner watching his back, as Godzilla finsihes off the male MUTO and turns his attention to the one of the fairer sex. She kills the team at the boat, but she gets her courtesy of an atomic french kiss straight down her toothy maw.

This is for looking like a rip-off of the Cloverfield monster, you bitch!
Ford takes the boat out to sea as he starts to black out while the G-man also collapses after a really long day of monster killing. The military shows up in time to save Ford from blowing up and the next morning he gets to see his family again as everyone watches Gozilla wake up and walk off into the sea, with the media questioning if the king of the mosnters is also the saviour of the city. And that's the movie, which I will say that I enjoyed immensely as both a fan of Godzilla and of good movies. Now, remember earlier when I said I get to the whole bit about what Godzilla really is to me? Alright, that's going to happen now. See, the way I have always seen it, he's Earth's rage and protective instinct personified. He's here to protect the Earth from whatever is endangering it, whether it be a bunch of stupid humans or some gnarly looking monsters. That's what Godzilla seems to be, for all intents and purposes.
He's also here to sell really nice toys too.

Is he a hero? Well, I guess you could say he is, because he's doing what we should be trying to do. He comes to blows with humanity because we often try to control him or destroy him because we can't control him. When you look at it objectively, we're honestly the dicks in that scenario. It's not a preachy message like Fern Gully or Avatar, which I honestly think is better. But maybe I'm just reading too much into it and it's just cool good monster killing some bad ones. Either way, I'm alright with it. I look forward to seeing this again when it hits Blu-Ray and I hope others will do the same, as it is a great addition to the Godzilla franchise that most assuredly lives up to the roots of the character. Until next time, I'll be here destroying tiny cities with my massive feet as I pretend I too am the king of the monsters.

It seems to say something about a large winged marsupial man having a nosebleed. Fascinating.

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