The Horror Honeys: GODZILLA: It’s Like 1998 Never Happened.

GODZILLA: It’s Like 1998 Never Happened.

A Sci-Fi Honey Opening Weekend Review by Jen

Godzilla (2014)

This week as a warm up before watching the new Godzilla, Sci-Fi Honey 2.0 Katie and I live-tweeted the 1998 Godzilla, reminding me why I haven’t watched that movie since the Republicans tried to impeach Bill Clinton. Terrible. Just terrible. Bad script, bad acting, bad science, and a Giant Swimming Iguana. No. Just…no.

So, I went into the new Godzilla with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Would this Godzilla look and act more like the Godzilla we’ve come to know and love through countless destructions of Tokyo over the decades? Would it bake it’s enemies with it’s fiery breath? Or would it be a chicken-footed bad-science fish-breathed loser like it’s predecessor from the 90’s?

Well I’m here to tell ya the 90’s are OVER, BABY!

Basic synopsis: In the Phillipines in 1999 two scientists arrive at a quarry, where a massive skeleton has been discovered along with two odd-shaped pods, one of which appears to have recently cracked open. Shortly thereafter, the Janjira Nuclear Plant near Tokyo, Japan experiences an explosion. Bryan Cranston plays Joe Brody, the Plant supervisor at Janjira who attempts to get his wife Sandra (played by Juliette Binoche) and the rest of the employees out of the Nuclear Plant before it is destroyed. Their young son Ford sees the levelling of the plant from his school. The total annihilation of the Janjira plant is attributed to an earthquake, and the Janjira area is quarantined permanently, the citizens told it is too radioactive to be inhabited.

Fast forward fifteen years, and the now grown-up Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is in the US military, married with a son of his own. His father is still in Japan, acting slightly unhinged and obsessing over what happened at Janjira, not believing that an earthquake was the real cause. Similar rumblings have been occurring recently that echo what happened in 1999, and Joe is determined to find out if they are linked. What is happening at Janjira? And what was the cause of the accident fifteen years ago? 

That’s about all I can tell you about the plot without getting spoiler-y, and no one likes a spoiler.  Suffice to say there are giant monster battles, wholesale destruction, a bunch of military attempts to save said cities, a ton of explosions, and general mayhem.

So, what did I think of Godzilla

This movie was the most entertainment I’ve had at a theatre in a VERY long time. I LOVED it! Of course, I went in looking forward to some great effects, insane monster combat, Atomic Breath, and destruction on a massive scale. If you’re looking for Shakespeare, you are going to be woefully disappointed. Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche and Ken Watanabe (who plays a scientist at Janjira Round 2) are vastly underutilized, given they are the thespian heavyweights in the film. Instead the acting mostly falls to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who reminds me of Channing Tatum a bit, but slightly smarter. He’s an ok actor, so is Elizabeth Olsen who plays his wife, but to be honest they were pretty unremarkable in this film. I don’t even remember anyone else in this movie. Of course, it would be hard to top their gigantic co-star. Let’s face it, we know who we’re there to see.
Hi there, we're here to advance the
plot to the next monster fight

The REAL stars were Godzilla and his giant monster adversaries. Holy hell, the fights are insane. The action in the cities is some of the most intense I’ve seen - several times I leaned WAYYYYY back abruptly in my chair with my hand over my mouth, swearing a lot. There was actually clapping in the theatre several times. Granted, a bunch of the VFX crew who worked on it here in Vancouver were in attendance at the same screening I watched, if the cheering during the credits every time the VFX sections rolled by was any indication. And they should be applauding themselves, the effects were spectacular, even better than Pacific Rim in my opinion.

Easy, Big Guy, it's ok. That's not Matthew Broderick
in a beret, it's a French guy in line for popcorn.
Forget 1998 ever happened.
The screenplay was actually pretty good for a giant monster movie, especially since it had a bunch of screenwriters at various times in 2011-2012. Then Frank Darabont (of Walking Dead) was brought on in early 2013 to polish up the character development. Another plus was that this movie had the involvement of Toho Co., the Tokyo company responsible for creating Godzilla and the 29 Godzilla films. The Godzilla in this film is way closer to the original Godzilla creature than the lizard in the 1998 travesty, despite the current one being criticized for having too much junk in the trunk. Even the roar is based on the original. This Godzilla also comes equipped with Atomic Breath like the original does, the lack of which in 1998 movie made me dislike it even more. And when the Atomic Breath shows up in this film, hold onto your hat, that’s all I can say.

Sci-Fi Honey Lowdown: I enjoyed this movie more than any film I’ve seen in quite some time. The acting and plot are ok, but the origin story is interesting, the effects are first rate, there is a ton of suspense and anxiety, and the monster battles are spec-fucking-tacular. If you want a meaningful look at the human condition, look elsewhere. If you want to get your socks blown off and see some kick-ass action and destruction, and get reacquainted with one of the all-time classic monsters with a modern twist, this is the movie for you!  It was a great Shut Off the Brain good time, with enough nostalgia to keep the long time fans happy and enough modernity to engage the new ones. 

Sci-Fi Honey Rating: I give Godzilla 4.5 Radiation Guzzling Monsters out of 5! I have now forgotten 1998 ever happened.