Saturday, July 19, 2014

Popcorn for One: GODZILLA (a review with some spoilers)

This was written shortly after I saw the film, but due to computer problems I haven't been able to post it until now.
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I know just about everyone else has seen the film, but things have been pretty hectic around Chateau Chaput for the past few weeks.  Weddings will do that!

I guess there wasn't much of interest this past Friday, or folks were going to later showings, but the Regal/Edwards Kaleidoscope theater was pretty much empty.  There was no line at all for the ticket booth and only one guy in front of me for the concession stand.  The 12:40pm showing of GODZILLA had only one other guy in the audience, besides me.  He was several rows back so it was pretty much a private screening with my choice of seats. I generally like seeing this type of film with a bigger audience, or least I used to.  Nowadays it seems theaters are full of a**holes who have to talk through the entire feature and explain to the idiots with him (yeah, sometime it's a female, but generally it's some guy in his early twenties) what everyone can see on screen. 

(SPOILERS)
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I love how the opening credits are over actual/doctored "documentary" footage of post-WWII atomic bomb testing in the Pacific.  I won't give anything away, but look close at a couple of quick shots, which will be explained later in the film.

The film opens in 1999 Japan, where Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife, Sandra (Juliette Binoche) are working at a nuclear plant.  Joe believes that there are problems with seismic actvity, but no body seems to be interested.  The date is Joe's birthday and after seeing their son, Ford off to school the go to the plant.  Naturally, this is the day when Joe's concerns prove justified.  Sandra and a crew are checking out the reactor when things go badly, locking the team in when the reactor has a meltdown.  We then shift to some fifteen years later when an older Ford (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), now grown and a Navy demolitions expert, is returning home from active duty.  We meet his wife, Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and his son Sam (Carson Bolde).  Unfortunately, that same evening Ford receives a phone call telling him that his father has been arrested.  It seems that Joe just can't let the past go, as his son has successfully done, and is still attempting to prove that the government(s) are hiding the actual cause of the accident, among other things.

We are also introduced to Dr. Ishioro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), a scientist also investigating unusual phenomenon.  However, unlike Brody, Dr. Ishioro may know the true cause of the problem and this disturbs him.

We learn that the Japanese and American governments discovered a lifeform that lives off of nuclear radiation and although thought dormant has actually come to life.  They also know of a large predator that may be able to destroy these creatures before they can reproduce.  That predator has been called a 'god' of nature, Ishioro dubs him Godzilla.

The trailers have already shown us that Big "G" does eventually appear, but the other creatures dubbed MUTOS (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms), a male and fertile female.  Laying waste to part of Japan, Hawaii and Las Vegas the two eventually meet in the city of San Franciso and things really get ugly. Fortunately, there is that other giant from the sea who may be the only hope that humanity has.

I wanted to be able to give the film a solid four stars and the trailers seemed to lead me in that direction.  However, I find that the best I can do is three and a half.  The film starts out fine, but the death of one character really changes the focus of the film.  For some folks it seems to have ruined it, but I think it was more the fault of the marketing department and the film's director and writers.

Not to give anything else away, but the ending does indicate that a sequel may be coming.  At least I hope so, there is a lot more that can be done with Godzilla as we all know.


(END OF SPOILERS)
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