18 May 2014

Godzilla (2014) - no spoilers

A friend of mine (hi Jennies!) used to be full of stories about disasters that would happen to people around her. She would always be unscathed, and yet incidents would happen in her vicinity. The lead character in the 2014 version of Godzilla, an American bomb disposal guy called Brodie, appears to be the kind of person who should clearly announce his intention to visit any city, so that the citizens can start to evacuate in time.

The set-up of Brodie's back story is the weakest part of this movie - it simply takes too long and is completely pointless, adding almost nothing to the pay off.

However, once we start with the giant monsters, this is definitely a stand-out movie. I'd place it well above Pacific Rim in the awe and majesty department, with some truly beautiful visuals and a real tangible sense of humans as tiny specks. It is both gripping and in some moments nerve-wracking.

Of course, that's not to say that the story isn't full of ludicrous developments of the "why would any sane (or insane) organisation think that was a good idea" level. A great many things happen in this story purely to set up a cool scene. The number of people who just stand around when there's a giant monster attacking is astonishing. [Particularly hilarious are the people in a skyscraper who were apparently so engrossed in a business meeting that they failed to notice a city-wide evacuation and a skyscraper collapsing. Also, people remain remarkably clean around skyscraper collapses - clouds of dust happen and they walk out of it all shiny-faced.]

Sadly, the movie falls down in both gender and racial aspects. For a story that spends a good portion of time in Japan, there seems to be a lot of American guys in charge, and only one Japanese main character, who spends his time primarily being shell-shocked, with occasional scientific observation. Just as bad are the female roles, that are the usual "die for men to grieve over", "be in danger for men to try and reach" and "be an assistant".

Still, this is a definite one to watch for the enormous monsters fighting.


  1. Well, this is the second good review I've read, and since I'm in this one, I'll have to go. I do start to get frustrated at the lack of developed female characters in adventure movies. I don't need all strong stereotypes, just well rounded. Lets move away from ankle twisting and Girl Friday. Is it so hard to write female characters apart from these?

    I hadn't thought about the old eye of the cyclone effect for ages, although weirdly just yesterday I was thinking "so many people seem to have unfortunate things happen in their lives and mine has been remarkably missing crises" I should have remembered. I think it's just getting more subtle as the people I'm around tend to be older and less likely to do risky things.

    1. It's definitely worth it for the visuals. Don't go for characterisation or plot or anything like that. ;)


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