I am currently 44 years of age. I'm married, have a mortgage, and lots of pets. We have no children by choice. Essentially, I'm just pointing out that I am a grown man and have most of the responsibilities that usually entails. I've also found that many of my tastes have changed over the years, which I suppose is normal. I loved a number of sitcoms as a kid; now I can't stand the genre. I never had a taste for history while I was in school, and now it fascinates me. I used to have faith and trust our political and legal systems, and now - not so much. Hell, I've even largely lost my affinity for old Warner Brothers cartoons (mainly because of the way they marketed the DVD box sets, but never mind that).
But, some things remain the same.
I've always loved music. Ice cream is still a weakness. I continue to have a soft spot for animals. And, I apparently still get pumped up by Godzilla.
Like many kids, I loved most of those Japanese monster movies. As an adult, I can recognize how bad many of them really are. However, there are some that hold up. I was at the first possible showing for the American Godzilla film in 1998, and at the time, I liked it. Didn't love it. Today, I know it's damn near awful. I still watch it from time to time, along with a few of the older films, and three of the newer Gamera movies. It should therefore come as no surprise that I am really excited about the Godzilla film that will be out this week, and that I plan to attend a very early showing. This is not the norm; I usually wait a week or two and attend screenings I hope will be less busy. But, I ain't waiting this time.
I've managed to keep the film mostly out of mind, though I was highly interested when it was announced a couple of years ago. Now I've seen trailers and a few short clips via Hulu, and I feel that childlike enthusiasm building. I've stopped trying to contain it, and I really want the film to be AWESOME. I'm even slightly optimistic that it will be good. I'll find out either Thursday night or early Friday.
I suppose that's one reason we enjoy movies like this; we want to rediscover that sense of childhood wonder.
Y'all be good.
5 Ways To Improve The New Godzilla Movie
I thought of this stuff on my way home from seeing the new movie, and thought I might work up a pitch for Cracked.com. But, I came to realize the idea doesn’t really meet their guidelines. I decided to go ahead and type out a few thoughts.
For the record, the movie was ok, and I thought it could have been a lot better. Here are 5 ways I think it could have been improved.
1. More actual Godzilla.
Maybe I’m alone on this one, but when I go to a Godzilla movie, I expect to see the titular character a lot. Because he’s the reason I’m there. He occupies a warm and fuzzy spot in my childhood memory, and I can’t tell you how many Saturday afternoons I spent watching him (well, the man in suit equivalent) kick the shit out of his various enemies. Bear in mind that I grew up before the home video market exploded; VCRs and movie rentals didn’t really become a major thing until I was in high school. That meant that if a movie showed up on regular TV that I dug, my ass was watching it. In fact, I watched the Godzilla films from the 1970s so frequently that I could identify them based on scenery and dialogue, without the benefit of seeing a single monster.
Yeah…I watched too much TV as a kid.
Godzilla isn’t even the first monster to be fully revealed in the film. That honor goes to MUTO, which is an acronym for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. The first one we see has wings, can fly, and turns out to be male. Later in the film, we get a look at his female counterpart, which is wingless. It was kind of cool to lead the audience to believe that we’d be seeing Godzilla, only to reveal a different creature, but c’mon now. I don’t want to see more of those monsters than I do their King, especially when he looks and sounds so damn cool. And thankfully, he really does. He is not a giant fucking gila monster, and for that I am grateful. The first full shot of him, accompanied by his trademark yell, had me grinning like a happy little kid. But, it seemed like we waited too long for that moment, and I spent too much time watching human characters. Yes, I know, the movie can’t be all monsters, all the time.
Well…actually…no, I don’t know that. Fuck you, movie makers! Just give me all monsters, all the time. You don’t even need actors! Just CGI some fuckers getting squashed by giant monster feet, or flying planes that get trashed, or trains that get eaten, or tanks that get melted, or whatever. If you really must set up some story to go along with kaiju trashing each other and their surroundings, fine. I can accept that and a small amount of origin and/or background story, because you seem to think I need human drama in order to become emotionally invested. But, here’s a little secret you apparently don’t know.
I already care. That’s why I bought a ticket. I’m in; I’m hooked. Watching Bryan Cranston act his ass off over having to sacrifice his wife and obsessing over the cause of the meltdown was pretty good, but then his character is killed off before we get a good look at Godzilla. Maybe they were afraid Heisenberg would upstage him?
So, please. If you guys at Legendary end up making a sequel, or if Toho decides to do another series of films, just give me more of Godzilla. Or, at least have the film’s title be more accurate; something like “People You Don’t Give Two Shits About and Godzilla” would at least make for less disappointment.
2. Godzilla is not a hero.
The original film, Gojira, was dark and sinister, not campy at all, and the monster was very definitely the villain. It was an allegory for the atomic bombs that were used on Japan to end WWII, and perhaps for the war in general, and some have argued that it helped heal the nation deal with its collective grief. It also did not feature Raymond Burr. He was edited in for the American version.
It wasn’t until later films that we got hokey shit like this:
Don’t get me wrong; I loved said hokey shit as a kid. But now, I appreciate Gojira more, and love movies like Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, where Godzilla is just this unstoppable force of nature that just kicks the crap out of everything in his way, be it man, monster, or otherwise.
In the new movie, Godzilla is portrayed as an apex predator and nature’s form of checks and balances against the previously mentioned MUTO. This puts him on the good guy side, much like he was in any number of the 1970s campy movies that I now find hard to stomach, sentimental value aside. That’s not to say that this film is goofy; it is not. But, I find that I highly prefer Godzilla as an evil, merciless form of destruction.
3. The first fight scene in a Godzilla movie should NOT be viewed from the perspective of a child watching TV.
Seriously. The first time we see monsters fight, it’s on a TV being watched by a kid. Fucking horrible. Way to tease me and keep me from seeing the reason I bought a ticket, Hollywood. Once we get to some actual kaiju combat, it’s pretty damn good, and I particularly like the way he finishes off each opponent. But, similar to the way I don’t feel like I got enough Godzilla time, I didn’t get enough fighting monsters, partially because…
4. The fight scenes in a Godzilla movie should not serve as transition pieces to what the human characters are doing.
It happened at least three times. I’m watching big-ass monsters beat on each other, then the camera pans and follows the human characters so I can watch them instead.
Um. No. Do not like.
5. Godzilla does not need help from humans with vanquishing his enemies.
Yeah, this is almost unforgiveable to me. The two MUTOs are just about to put an end to Godzilla (pffft…yeah, right), and they are distracted from finishing the job by a human character blowing up/setting fire to their offspring. Godzilla, of course, then makes a comeback and takes them down one at a time.
This is fucking Godzilla we’re talking about, and the two assclowns he’s fighting against don’t have any kind of missile weapon. Atomic blue fire of doom from a distance FTW, all day long!