19 May 2014

Godz and Monsters

I really wish I could think of a better metaphor for this film than the one I'm about to describe but I can't so bollocks to it. Apologies in advance... So, you know what's fun? Fucking. Ugh God, way too crude... Oh well. There's surely no denying that hiding your modesty inside somebody else’s modesty is good fun for all involved- oh and, for the record, I'm completely open to any offers right now. That last bit is irrelevant to the point that I'm building towards but you know... In my on-going efforts to get some, it can't hurt. I can't imagine that there's anything a girl loves more than a desperate geek! Ugh... Why do I even fucking bother. Anyway, so we live in a world in which every second of every day somebody is using some form of advertising to trick us into giving them some money. Considering everybody likes sex, it seems that the marketing goons have decided that the best way to do this is by bombarding us with sexual imagery and having us in a constant state of horniness. This is fine for adults but obviously kids are exposed to it all too, meaning that thanks to a barrage of provocative slogans and pictures of unobtainable titties, the concept of shagging is made to seem like the most important thing in the world... Until you actually do it. Now don't get me wrong, the first time I convinced somebody to take pity on me was great.. but that's all sex is. It's great. It's not magical or the be-all-and-end-all or even particularly life changing. It's just really good fun. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with Godzilla.
Obviously, for the record, I'm not saying that the marketing for Godzilla made me horny. Rather that the trailers built the film up so much that the only way that the final product could ever have lived up to it would have been if it was one of the best films ever, which- to put it bluntly, this absolutely fucking ain’t. Not by an absolute long shot. It's basically one of those movies that's really good and better than a lot of the other shit that's out there but that still leaves you slightly underwhelmed after all the months of waiting and getting excited about it. I mean, I can't just blame the trailers for the hype as in fairness I was going out of my way to watch them, so clearly I was excited to start with. But, you know, can you blame me? The story is basically about a few fucking random giant monsters walking about smashing the shit out of everything and then Godzilla turns up to sort them out. Sold. Don't even tell me any more because that's all I need to hear. What? Bryan Cranston is in it too? The guy from Breaking Bad? And it's from the director of Monsters which is one of my favourite films of the last few years? Fucking give me a minute whilst I puke up in the corner like an over-excited dog and then I'll be right back to throw some money at you! How could anybody not get into a jizzy-fit about all that?

We're being raped by the natural world!
The week the film was released, all of the reviews began to trickle in with some saying that Godzilla was a little disappointing and a few wrongly claiming it to be the best thing ever. A few also said it was kind of shit but fuck them because they're just wrong. It's not amazing.. but it's not shit, however one of the things that seemed to get mentioned over and over again was about just how influenced by Spielberg the film was. Well, to be fair it clearly is but not quite in the same way as something like Super 8 was. In case you didn't catch that one, Super 8 was J.J Abrams love letter to Spielberg in the sense that it really did feel like it could have been directed by the man himself. That's not the case here with this film definitely feeling like the next step in director Gareth Edwards career. Having said that, there's clearly a Jaws thing going on with the beasts generally being off screen, Godzilla's shark-like fin gliding through the water and even a main character called Brody. Also, as the film begins with helicopters flying over a tropical tree infested island, and towards an archaeological dig, I half expected to find a mental Richard Attenborough there muttering to himself about a park and sticking his preserved dead bug on a stick in people’s faces. There are plenty of other references to Spielberg's dino-masterpiece too including a Godzilla fighting move, a character called Dr Grant and a underlying sense of giddy joy for shitting all over science. Ken Watanabe explains the existence of Godzilla by stating that he's been hiding under the Earth's crust for millions of years because he likes to chow down on our radiation. However considering how little sense that really makes, he may as well have just angrily screamed “Godzilla is magic! He's both a wizard’s lizard and a crocodile from Heaven. Now, fuck off”.

Not that a lack of science is a criticism, obviously. I mean, it's a film about giant monsters so how factual can it really be? The closest I've ever been to seeing an abomination of nature like this was the time I saw a hedgehog eating another dead hedgehog on the road. Silliness is part of the fun of these types of movies and that perhaps is where the real problem is. Where Jurassic Park had humour, this film is completely straight faced and with all the best intentions occasionally wanders a little close to being boring. Only occasionally, mind. Like a workaholic that refuses to unwind, I think it was just a tad too serious when it should have been a little more joyous. Like I say, it's about monsters punching the shit out of each other for God’s sake. Although I do completely admire that it placed characters front and centre and focused on their dilemmas rather just shitting out a beasty smack-fest. In fact, the relationship of the human characters was my favourite thing about Monsters. It's just that where Jurassic Park had a demented Jeff Goldblum and Jaws had a wankered Robert Shaw, this film has an elderly cliché and a plank of wood.

Firstly, I fucking love Bryan Cranston. You know those people who piss everybody off by banging on about how amazing Breaking Bad is? Well, I'm basically one of them. Have you seen Breaking Bad by the way? God- it's amazing. Fuck you. Cranston's performance in that show is phenomenal, although let’s face it- so is pretty much everything he's ever done. I once saw an episode of Murder She Wrote in which he showed up, and then got blown up causing me to instantly stop watching, satisfied with the knowledge that the show would never get that good again. I loved him in Argo, Drive and Contagion although, like every film ever made, I think those suffered from not having him in enough. The same can absolutely be said of his appearance in this film too, and not only that but the character he plays is one we've all seen a million times – ‘The crazy old crackpot who everybody laughs at for spouting his mental conspiracy theories and who actually turn out to be right all along’. It's still a great performance though as he perfectly emotes the sense of loss, regret and anger for everything that's happened to him. Like Walter Whites iconic 'I am the one who knocks’ speech, or even that scene in which he justifies a plane crash to a hall of traumatised school students, Godzilla only adds further proof to the fact that as far as emotional monologues go, Cranston is clearly the king. He could read the phone book and I'd be so lost in the expertise of his delivery that I'd be oblivious to the world around me. “So you're telling me that the man came into the room, fucked a pig and then took a shit on the floor and you saw nothing?”, “That's correct officer, I was watching Bryan Cranston do a monologue”, “Fair play young man. Now on your way, you little rapscallion”.

With Cranston stupidly placed on the sidelines, the character who actually receives the bulk of the screen time is his soldier son played by Kick-Ass's Aaron Taylor-Johnson. With the films focus really being on him, I guess he's going to have to be pretty good.. which is a shame because.. he's kind of not. However- it's easy to blame him for being a bit shit with most people doing just that, however I kind of don't think it's his fault. I think a good test for deciding if it's the character or the actor that's rubbish is to think ‘who could you recast to make it better?’ For example there's surely no denying how crap Tarantino is in Pulp Fiction and how Orlando Bloom doesn't quite seem like he could lead a crusade in Kingdom of Heaven. However if in those two films you were to swap Tarantino for Steve Buscemi and Bloom for Christian Bale then I think the world would be a very slightly better place. In the case of Taylor-Johnson though, I don't think there's much you could do. I thought maybe Joseph Gordon-Levitt might have been good but then I don't think that would have changed anything really. It was just a slightly boring character which, when you're putting more emphasis on him than you are the 300 foot beast with glowing spikes up its spine and an arsehole the size of a small village.. is probably kind of a problem.

For the record, he really is big boned!
As for every other character- well, they're kind of neglected. It's one of those where it'd cut to Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins or Elizabeth Olsen and you'd think ‘Oh, fuck- they're in this. I love them!’ Then you'd realise that you already knew they were in this and it's just that it's been about an hour since you last saw them. The film is also full of those moments where you kind of think ‘err- what?’ Like there's a bit where after being arrested, Taylor-Johnson is taken into a room in which Government officials tell him all their top secret monster secrets before patting him on the back and sending him home? Err- what? I once took somebody to the hospital, told reception their phone number, asked for the number back to make sure I'd said it correctly and was told that I wasn't allowed that information due to the data protection act. I can't have somebody repeat a phone number that I'd just told them but in Godzilla, high ranking members of the military blab state secrets like a gossipy School girl who’s just found out about her mate being fingered by one of the older boys. Again, I guess these silly plot holes are part of the fun of these big blockbusters with Jurassic Park being fucking riddled with them. How did the T-Rex get into the museum unnoticed at the end before killing those raptors when we already know how loud his footsteps are? Did he suddenly remember to go all sneaky-sneaky on his tippy toes? Who cares, because when he throws the raptor against the wall it's fucking cool. With Godzilla, it tries so hard to ground itself in our world that these plot holes stand out a lot more as mistakes. Ah well.

It's still really good fun though and so I'd hate to sound like I'm being down on it. I was just hoping it'd be perfect and it wasn't. It was just pretty good. On the bright-side, the action is all enjoyable and there's some really great set pieces that intelligently refer back to such disasters as September the eleventh, Fukushima and any one of the recent tsunami's to have struck around the world. In fact, unlike most blockbusters, this even dares to have a message about it with the fuck-off monsters being symbolic of our impotence against the murderous desires of gorgeous, uber-bitch Mother Nature. If you want to see hideous monsters fighting that are essentially just huge bulks of muscle and with no obvious genitals then I'd suggest you either go back to Pacific Rim or even the steroid based world of pro-wrestling. However if you've got a few spare hours going and want to see what could have been the greatest film of all time but is in fact just pretty good then Godzilla is the film for you! Remember all that shit I was babbling on at the beginning about sex? I promise that it's exactly the same here… If I sound like I've slagged this film off then it's really not that bad. I like boning and I said basically the same about that too. It's all good fun so long as you don't expect anything life changing. And in both cases it seems that if I want to experience it again I'm basically going to have to put my hand in my wallet and pay for it. Did I mention I'm open for offers... God I hate my life.


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