For as long as I can remember, was the most popular types of movie have been the creature feature. This statement is not restricted to a particular generation or decade; it was true when I was a kid and remains true today, with no indication at all that the population will wane single iota. They are something about all the creatures unstoppable in their rampage set to destroy mankind. The homegrown American monster movies such as the one that Universal Studios started back in the 30s; Frankenstein, Dracula in the Wolf Man have persisted throughout the long decades albeit with the major image makeover in recent years. There is another type of film that features monsters that has been imported from Japan most famous example initiated in 1954, Godzilla. Tôhô productions have been making these films the last 60 years. The devotees of the genre quick to note that there have been three major eras or significant incarnation of the most famous giant amphibian in history. Collectively, the type of film is referred to as Kaiju, a Japanese term that literally means strange creature. By extension, it has been applied to any gigantic monster typically depicted as an unstoppable force. Like many I grew up with these movies always enjoying the latest antics of the undisputed King of the monsters, Godzilla. In fact, while my age were still in single digits, the first film. My parents allowed me to see for on my own was ‘King Kong Versus Godzilla’ for the big fella has always had a certain soft spot for me. In 1998, there was an attempt to revise the franchise. The new Godzilla movie directed by Roland Emmerich, that barely recoup its budget and was considered a dismal failure by critics in a Godzilla film in name only by the legion of ardent fans. As such, was understandable that there is a considerable of amount trepidation when another reboot was announced for 2014.
There are several earnest attempts made to establish a connection between this film and the original, if not entirely through specific plot points, but at least by doing everything feasible to capture the essence of Godzilla. Utilizing a plot device that is quite common in science fiction and horror movies, there was a prologue of sorts that takes place in 1954 with the United States military testing a particularly powerful new hydrogen bomb. The detonation occurs just as a giant creature emerges from the ocean. Years later in 1999 a pair of scientists working on an incentive ‘the Project Monarch’, Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), are in the Philippines examining a collapsed mine. There is some sort of huge skeleton has been discovered. Nearby, a fine what appears to be a pair of chrysalis, one intact and one broken open. Leading away from the open one is a trail leading to the sea. Meanwhile, in the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant located in Japan, unusual seismic activity is experienced. The plan supervisor on shift is Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) with his wife, Sandra (Juliette Binoche), who is leading a team of technicians. It is critical that shutdown procedures be initiated to prevent the earthquake from exposing the core. Time is critical in Brody has to close the radiation doors in a matter of minutes. Sandra is certain. She could close things down before the doors have to close, but she was wrong; the doors close Joe helplessly watching his wife died from the radiation.
Now move forward in time, some 15 years. Joseph young son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is an explosive ordinance disposal expert in the Navy. He lives in San Francisco, along with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olson) and their son Sam (Carson Bolde). When Ford’s father is arrested in Japan trying to sneak back to the old new be a power plant, Ford is convinced that his father has been correct. All these years, convinced that there is a government cover-up at work. As it turns out Joe was correct and there is now a giant creature on the loose. The term given to the creature officially is Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, or the military’s perchance for acronyms, MUTO. Hatching from the undisturbed chrysalis is another MUTO, this one huge membranous wings. It is disclosed that in the 50s, a gigantic alpha predator, Godzilla, had been released. What the public was told was weapons testing were actually attempts to destroy the enormous creature. This finally deduced that with Joe was monitoring it was finally be reduced. It was finally deduced. Eventually it was deduced that with Joe was monitoring years ago with signals from the creature calling out to something else. What Joe was monitoring from the creature to another of its kind. The MUTOs feed off of sources of radiation and now there are two, one with wings, feeding off of a nuclear waste dump in Nevada in a larger wingless variety that is destroying Las Vegas. Together they constitute a mating pair. The only hope is to leave them both San Francisco where Godzilla can fulfill this ancient biological imperative and destroy them both.
They are subplots that devotees of the genre have come to expect, including the ever popular band hero trying to balance using his expertise to save the day and making his way to his family to save them. Of course, the actress playing his wife is the younger sister of the famous Olson twins, Elizabeth. In the last few years she has been steadily building own career in honing her considerable talents. Gaining experience in several critically acclaimed independent movies. Ms. Olson is now breaking into big-budget studio features. And her choice of projects introducing into the world of action movies could not have been better considered. Not only did it readily generate a healthy profit over its estimated hundred and $160 million budge, but it was well received by critics and fans alike. This installment of the franchise is worthy of the name and will bring the Kaiju genre into the 21st century in grand style.
There are several that differentiated from the rest of the franchise, most notably the directorial style as implemented by Gareth Edwards. His previous creature feature, ‘Monsters’, which demonstrated the unique personalized point of view quite unusual for the genre. Mr. Edwards exhibits exceptional talent in the way he expanded upon this technique. Some of the background and methods of implementation used to create the unique vantage points that dominate this film using this film. I highly recommend listing to the commentary tracks and watching some of the commentaries and feature records offered on the disc. They elaborate greatly on the stylistic philosophy employed in the film. In most monster movies where the creature is of gigantic size, there are camera angles that could only have been obtained by a camera operators floating in midair. What was done in this film was to remain true to a realistic point of view. Most shots from the vantage point of human beings looking up, at a creature whose head is some 350 feet above street level. Aerial views are either obtained by means of a helicopter with someone looking out from an extremely tall building. In all cases it represents a realistic vantage point of a human being on the scene. There is also great care taken to always make sure that there is something of known size adjacent to the creature in order to give it scale. Although some have complained that a creature of this extreme size would be physiologically impossible. Please, keep in mind this is a piece of entertainment and not intended to be a biologically accurate depiction of any creature.
The 3-D effects Incorporated in this movie are among the best I have ever seen, not only in the monumental battle scenes where Godzilla takes on two opponents, but more importantly in the regular scenes with the illusion of depth is artistically employed to enhance the realism. Morphologically this is a different Godzilla than you have ever seen before. He has a much thicker neck and is generally sturdier than his predecessors. There is also a complete lack of reaction when he is attacked by the human beings. As my brother pointed out so succinctly, the barrage of missiles had so little effect on the creature that it might as well have been a spot treatment exfoliating the scales. In previous films of this sort the creature always seems angered by the humans attacking it, but here, Godzilla such a force of nature that we were just the less to it than it than an ant on a sidewalk. A human being is less than 2%. The height of Godzilla with a relative mass less than a sugar packet carried in your pocket. This Godzilla couldn’t care less about anything done by the human beings. Its only concern is what is biologically ingrained in it; killing the other creatures. This film in its own way is far more realistic than any other offering of the category. Admittedly, the biology is wrong. But if the creature could attain these dimensions we would be to insignificant to even register.
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