GODZILLA: The Return Of The King, And The Good, Old-Fashioned Monster Movie
Written By: Ken Hulsey
As I left the Cinemark 16 Theater at the Victor Valley Mall this evening I knew that I had just about everything I needed to write this review of Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" swirling around in my head just waiting to explode. I honestly hadn't had that much fun at the movies in years. After seeing films that were nothing more than action with no substance, that fell way short of their potential, it was so refreshing to see a film that was both a rocking good time and a great movie. As I walked across the parking lot to my car I was almost in a state of euphoria, not because I had just seen my favorite monster portrayed in all the glory of a real, living, breathing creature who kicked ass in every way "Godzilla" is supposed to, well not entirely anyway, but because I had just seen the rebirth of the good, old-fashioned monster movie.
As many of you have already read numerous reviews of this movie by now, I want to give credit to many of my fellow colleagues in the press who, for one compared "Godzilla" to "Jaws", and two compared director Gareth Edwards' style of film making to Steven Spielberg, because truer comparisons couldn't have been made. If Edwards wasn't channeling Spielberg during the filming of this amazing monster movie I don't know what to tell you? This is a summer blockbuster movie like "Star Wars" was, like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was, and like "Jaws" was. "Godzilla", like the monster himself, is a throwback to the kind of movie the members of my generation grew up on, and that is a very good thing!
One could only assume that if you are a regular reader of my blog posts and movie profiles that you, the reader, is more than likely a fan of classic sci fi and monster movies like, "Them", "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "Forbidden Planet." That being said, if you are one of those kind of people you will undoubtedly walk out of "Godzilla" with a feeling of satisfaction because the movie you just witnessed had more in common with those classics than say "Transformers" or "Fast and the Furious", which again is a very good thing.
What Edwards has achieved here is truly amazing at it's core. The M.U.T.O. monsters are great, the human characters are very good, the story is compelling and Godzilla has never been more glorious. True, this movie actually takes the time to develop characters, which many people didn't like, for some reason, but when it gets to the heart of the monster on monster action it delivers, and how. Edwards' style really works well for this movie. At first you are caught in the emotion of human loss and suffering and then before you know it you thrown into the raw terror of a world that has turned upside down where giant creatures are throwing down on mankind in a truly believable fashion. The monster action isn't some guy in a rubber suit smashing a miniature city (I say that with all the respect to the Japanese film makers who made wonderful sci fi films on limited schedules and next to no budget.) this Godzilla lives, I mean lives, he and the two M.U.T.O. seem as real as you or I and the perspective in which you see them very quickly convinces the viewer that they are not only part of the film but actually caught in the middle of their epic battle. I credit this to both Edwards directing and the amazing CGI effects that don't beat the viewer over the head, but instead convinces them that what the are witnessing is indeed real.
Like the aforementioned films of Steven Spielberg, "Godzilla" is somewhat of a tease, well at least through the first half of the film. There are hints, there are flashbacks, you see spines here, holes in the ground over there, like a certain shark who only pops up from time to time to eat a tourist. You may think that is a real disappointment, that is until the monsters quit playing peek-a-boo, and then the action kicks you square in the Jimmy. Trust me here, the build up is well worth it. When "Godzilla" gets rolling it rolls right over you. No monster battle has been like this when all three monsters converge on San Francisco ... in one word ... epic!
As a fan who grew up on "Godzilla" and numerous other monster movies, I really couldn't have asked for anything more.