?? Viewing • Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is genuinely one of the greatest blockbusters of the 2010s — top 10 worthy at least.
This movie loves and reinvigorates the classic Spielberg feel a lot more than you may have thought. Edwards understands scale so well, often subjecting the scenes with the monsters to human perspective; a tasteful amount of the camerawork here feels taped straight from the ground, and in this sense, like what makes blockbusters such as Jurassic Park so imposing, we find ourselves a part of this astronomically sized disaster. Edwards does miracles too in making the secondary point of view seem of a symbolic nature, attempting to make human life seem smaller and smaller like meager little bugs as the film goes along, and for us furthermore to slowly stop caring about this family storyline that’s set up so provocatively only later to be purposely fatigued, emphasizing how inconsequential even our own dramatic lives are when we review them in retrospect over and over again; passing the torch on from a passionate father to a vanilla son while keeping their ambitions in parallel was such a cheeky move to convey this, allowing us to question why we ever gave a care in the first place. By the same token, the decision to tease us literally three times before Godzilla and a MUTO battle by closing it off and flashing us directly into the seats of the human characters once again makes us even MORE inclined to care for what’s going on between the monster characters rather than the humans — aka, our own people: the species we’ve been conditioned to relate with. They didn’t make the two MUTOs adorably kiss for nothing… or make the mamma one cry for her babies *sniffle*.
Wow, what a f**king cynical movie Godzilla is looking back on it so many years later, lol.
Writer Max Borenstein does a great job as well in this American remake of overviewing the familiar motif of nature versus humankind. The issue at hand in the film originates from our planetary destruction — a real Aronofsky mother! moment — and its counteracting of nature’s punishment through the MUTOs. Visually throughout Godzilla, there’s a (slightly manipulative) but good-minded intention to make the animals in the movie seem carelessly separated from the humans, and for the humans to seem devastated when separated from each other — Brody and his wife, Ford and Brody (his dad), and a couple civilian examples. Yet, despite our intentions to prioritize humans, we can sometimes shock ourselves when being faced with a superior creature to us such as Godzilla. Edward’s big reveal, that I used to be polarized by initially in which Godzilla turns out to be a considerate individual and the one to actually resolve the conflict rather than the humans who just end up progressively making the situation worse and worse as it goes along, is the cherry on top to its statement that we are likely not the most moral, powerful, and intelligent batch of life out there, and to insinuate we are the only ones would just be a pushing testament to the idea that we are as egotistical as the cliché may say.
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is a riff on common disaster blockbusters, as it nearly mocks our glorifications of human conflict and embraces the construct of how nature as a whole never seems to be reminisced in the long run. The overall scheme of existence MUST be bigger than us, right? Yet we’re too self-obsessed to consider that; we’ll abandon our ambitions for discovery so long as it’s in the way of us, even if discovery is what helps us avoid such catastrophes to begin with. As a blockbuster too, it just looks a trillion times better than most thanks to not only Edwards’ overlooked talent in POV mastery, but however many damn years they put into the flawless VFX; the use of red, orange, and grey in the finale of this film is just UGHHH; not to mention, the skydiving shot and Godzilla atomic-breath-decapitating a MUTO are like two of the gnarliest things I’ve ever seen before, as well. AND HOLY F**K CAN WE TALK ABOUT ALEXANDRE DESPLAT’S SCORE? ONE OF THE BEST SCORES FOR AN ACTION/THRILLER I HAVE HEARD THIS ENTIRE CENTURY. Godzilla’s theme is *chef’s kiss*.
I can understand people’s dislike for this movie, especially if they just can’t FATHOM Edwards, Callaham, and Borenstein’s SINFUL intentions to downgrade the human experience through cynicism — or the more likely answer, because they didn’t get enough Godzilla screen-time — but, I don’t know, I think it’s great. Maybe it’s the nostalgic feeling that an action/thriller blockbuster actually finally made me feel in years the timid and submissive state I had felt when I was frightened (in a fascinated sort of manner) of the Jaws or Jurassic Park movies I watched as a child; isn’t that like… exactly what a thriller should make you feel: insignificant and helpless?
The MacGuffins (and there are a batch of ‘em) in this movie are infuriating as hell though; it’s probably what’s straining it from becoming a Spielberg-leveled classic for me, not to mention it’s plagued by its constant expositional dialogue; the already unusually effective tension and build-up here could’ve been GODLY if I were convinced of how the plot escalated a tad more. Hey, it’s better than watching Michael Dougherty’s King of Monsters though, which factually has Z-E-R-O tension in it!
“Godzilla” is now available to stream on HBO Max.