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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Godzilla movie review: sympathy for Gojira

Godzilla green light

Elegantly updates the King of All Monsters for the 21st century in ways that have moved with the global zeitgeist. But Hollywood’s tedious myopia means the movie as a whole isn’t quite so beautiful.
I’m “biast” (pro): I’ve been eager to see what Gareth Edwards would do with a budget

I’m “biast” (con): I’m increasingly leery of reboots

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s been 60 years since Ishirô Honda unleashed Godzilla, his cinematic metaphor for the dangers of nuclear weapons — and how they had already ravaged Japan — upon the world. As timescales for reboots go, two generations sounds about right. (We’re going to pretend that 1998 did not happen.) And 2014’s simply, elegantly titled Godzilla goes about updating the King of All Monsters for the 21st century in ways that work beautifully and have moved in tandem with the global zeitgeist. On the flip side, however, Hollywood’s tedious myopia means the movie as a whole isn’t quite so beautiful, and that’s a problem. But it only prevents this from approaching masterpiece status, and not from keeping it from B-movie fabulousness made more glorious by a blockbuster budget that delivers some of the most jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring science-fiction vistas lately. No guys in rubber suits here.

Instead of nukes, global warming is the bugaboo behind today’s monster. Oh, no one speaks the phrase “climate change,” but that’s what this Godzilla is all about: a natural world that is so utterly oblivious to us, even as we blunder about indiscriminately and mindlessly making a mess of it, that it doesn’t even notice us as it is destroying our coastal cities, our nuclear power plants, our beautiful infrastructure. We are as gnats to nature… and that should scare us more than any made-up monster ever could. There’s a slyness in how the script — by near-unknown Max Borenstein, with a story assist from Dave Callaham (The Expendables) — sneaks up on its metaphor: it sucks up to us, letting us feel superior to what looks like head-smackingly stupid stuff we’re seeing onscreen, and then it slaps us to remind us that we’re not as smart as we think we are and that, yeah, the brainiacs have thought of that thing you thought of, too.

See, Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe: Inception, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant) works with a secret research group that has been studying Godzilla since the 1950s, when all those nuke “tests” in the Pacific were actually attempts to kill a creature (after, presumably, waking it up) that long predates the evolutionary arrival of homo sapiens on the planet. And now, Serizawa is overseeing a project at a destroyed Japanese nuclear power plant — sort of like Japan’s Chernobyl, only worse, with echoes of 2011’s Fukushima disaster, only way worse — where they’ve got some sort of… cocoon, or egg, or, well, it’s nasty and enormous and clearly not something we should be poking with a stick. Plus it’s sucking up all the radiation that should make this otherwise abandoned city lethal, for one thing, and that cannot be good. “Why don’t they just kill it?” you find yourself wondering (in between the geeky desire to get closer, of course).

Turns out, Serizawa is way ahead of us. To no avail. And he’s the expert here.

The less you know about what happens next, the better. I found my jaw dropping more than once, in between nerdy giggles of delighted awe. Director Gareth Edwards — who wowed us with his indie wonder Monsters, which he made for about $3.50 — clearly loves him some Spielberg, and without being slavishly imitative, he invokes both Jurassic Park and Close Encounters of the Third Kind here. Not in any way that you can quite pin down: it’s not that he’s swiping plot points or visuals, but a sense of wonder and — perhaps more importantly — that sense of “I knew capital-T They were hiding something!” Edwards himself hides more than he reveals, with the major monster action happening at night or in the rain, or enshrouded in dust and smoke and fog: he knows there’s far more geeky titillation in letting our imaginations do as much work as the CGI is doing.

The only real disappointment in the film is the humans. There’s little fresh in them, and it’s only the charms of the cast that elevate them just a little bit above the cardboard. Any of the three major characters here, the ones who drive the plot — Bryan Cranston’s (Cold Comes the Night, Argo) nuclear engineer, who was at the power plant on the day it was destroyed, turned monster conspiracy theorist; Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2, Nowhere Boy) as his soldier son; and Watanabe as the monster scientist — could have easily switched places with the women who thanklessly support them: respectively, Juliette Binoche’s (A Thousand Times Good Night, Cosmopolis) nuclear scientist-slash-good wife, Elizabeth Olsen’s (Red Lights, Martha Marcy May Marlene) nurse-slash-good wife, and Sally Hawkins’ (The Double, Great Expectations) monster scientist (and not-wife, as far as we can see). There’s no guarantee, of course, that giving any of these significant monster-battling roles to a woman would have made the human drama any more intriguing, but perhaps the teensy bit of thinking out of the boys’ box that would have required might have jarred one of the two male screenwriters into coming up with human dynamics that we haven’t seen played out endlessly before.

Still. There’s good stuff here. Not just in the cool monster FX but in the attitude that underlies it. “I guess we’re monster hunters now,” a random anonymous soldier says as he’s being deployed into the film’s climactic battle. I like the idea that all the cool military hardware on display here is being repurposed for something that does not involve killing other human beings. Of course, it’s being repurposed in an attempt to restore a balance to nature to that we unbalanced in the first place… and it’s a rebalancing that might be beyond us. Godzilla doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for humanity on the whole, but what’s really scary is that even when it looks rather kindly on Godzilla, Godzilla still doesn’t even seem to see us at all.


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Godzilla (2014)
US/Can release: May 16 2014
UK/Ire release: May 15 2014

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated LFAW: life finds a way
MPAA: rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence
BBFC: rated 12A (moderate violence, threat)

viewed in 3D
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • History shows again and again
    How Nature wipes out
    the Folly of Man
    …GODZILLA

  • Wilchbla

    Did she just use Godzilla as a platform for equal rights?

  • Danielm80

    If I were fighting for equality, I’d like to have Godzilla on my side:

    EMPLOYER: While we believe in equality in principle, we can’t hire you folks because…

    GODZILLA: RAAAARRR!

    EMPLOYER: I’ll see what I can do.

  • Tonio Kruger

    So apparently Godzilla is a metaphor for white male privilege.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Yes.

  • Eeeeeeeee! I’m super pumped for this one. :D

  • GODZILLA: GRONK!

    EMPLOYER: Yes! Fine! With benefits!

  • Godzilla is a symbol of the recklessness of war… the chaos of nature… the uncontrollable desire to stomp Tokyo…

  • It’s rude and it’s vulgar but he was a huge fan of kaiju and supported all tropes http://www.neomonsterisland.com/indextkt.html

  • “Equal rights”? What are you talking about?

    Representation onscreen isn’t about “rights.” But if you think it is, what’s wrong with what I wrote?

  • No, it isn’t.

  • Who he?

  • LaSargenta

    GODZILLA: BLAAAAA-RRGG!!

    EMPLOYER: Eeek.! Yes, and a decent-sized cubicle for everyone!

  • Anne-Kari

    Oh no, there goes Tokyo.

  • He is a webcomic guy who did Twisted Kaiju Theater… I’d seen his stuff years ago and kept up with it. He takes these chibi (small) forms of the kaiju monsters and have them fight each other over reckless and drunken issues. As I said, rude and vulgar, but also biting sometimes Swiftianly funny. Like South Park but with more (expletive deleted)

  • Just take Hulk grabbing Loki and using him like a pinata bat, only change out Godzilla for Hulk and Tokyo for Loki…

  • GODZILLA: (does that celebratory dance he did in Monster Zero)

  • GO GO GODZILLA!
    Yeeeeah…

  • Tokyo escapes unscathed in this movie. Honolulu and San Francisco take major damage.

  • LaSargenta

    Why not Phoenix? Talk about a city that shouldn’t exist. Steals as much water per capita as LA and wouldn’t exist at all if there wasn’t air conditioning technology.

  • MisterAntrobus

    The photo accompanying this article definitely shows Mr. Edwards’ Spielbergian tendencies. That’s a classic Spielberg reaction shot.

    Also, I don’t suppose you’ve seen the tongue-in-cheek video interview about Godzilla preparedness with the guys from Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa? Pretty funny stuff, especially the extremely dry-witted Master Sgt.:

    http://www.airspacemag.com/articles/godzilla-vs-air-force-180951330/?utm_source=digg&no-ist#ooid=c3aTRzbTqIH0F8mUYVvFz1iA9DxHWCm0

  • Danielm80

    If the filmmakers were choosing cities that deserve to get destroyed, New Jersey would be demolished in every movie.

  • I_Alexios

    I think she hoping hoping it would have been a Lifetime Channel movie

  • Tonio Kruger

    Deserving ain’t got nothing to do with it.

  • Mike Thomas

    Problem is, once you start to develop the human story, how do you continue to keep it relevant to the movie when Godzilla is motoring around the Pacific like a speedboat. Problem is the story is developed around almost entirely one single family who they have to move around to keep them part of the story, so in the end it gets lost once Godzilla makes his entrance.
    It would have better been served in my opinion, to have the human element spread out over many different storylines in Honolulu and San Francisco that way the characters actually are connected to the scene and can stay relevant.

  • Danielm80

    I think you’re using a different definition of “equality” than the rest of us.

    But the Lifetime movie, with Jennifer Love Hewitt as a bedazzled version of Godzilla, was a watershed moment for feminism.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Gojira is too good for Phoenix.

  • Cory Thompson

    I haven’t even seen the movie yet and I think your idea that somehow the premise is tied to global warming is somewhat deluded considering from what I’ve seen of the trailers. Remember, no one blames scientists for global warming. They blame the normal every day person for global warming. And, from what I’ve gathered from the trailers, the premise is scientists screwing around with things they shouldn’t be screwing around with.

  • Bluejay

    You haven’t seen the movie, and all you know about it is from trailers (which are ALWAYS accurate, as everyone knows, I’m sure), but already you’re dissing the opinion of someone who HAS seen the movie? You might wanna rethink that.

    Also, she says the story is a metaphor for global warming, not literally about global warming itself.

  • …we’re quoting Blue Oyster Cult…

  • Problem is, once you start to develop the human story, how do you continue to keep it relevant

    That’s what screenwriters get paid big bucks for!

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    “Godzilla doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for humanity on the
    whole, but what’s really scary is that even when it looks rather kindly
    on Godzilla, Godzilla still doesn’t even seem to see us at all.”

    So if we continue with the original symbol of Godzilla as nukes, “Cube-d,” what we have is a man-made machine that has a “mind” of its own, but is originated by no one person.

    And that’s what is scary, the idea that what we started set off an inevitable chain of events and power plays that no one person or group is orchestrating, but which is determined by the pre-set traits of man and technology. The ball has been rolling for decades and no one can stop it. The “end” can only be one of a handful of scenarios.

    I hope this is coming to our local theatres in the original version!

  • Cory Thompson

    Don’t need to see the movie to tell the author of this story he/she is full of pure and simple BS and is only dreaming this stuff up in his/her head. And, the story is a metaphor for nature and where you’re coming up with this “global warming” crap is either a figment of your imagination or you’re a supporter of global warming and you are using it in an attempt to further your cause and scare folks. It’s more a metaphor for scientists screwing around with things they shouldn’t and nature showing them they’re not quite as damn bright as they think they are. And, want to bet, when I see the movie in two days, I’m still of the same opinion as I am now? All I have to see in the trailers is a room full of scientists standing around some creature they’ve got contained and appearing to be experimenting with in order to come up with the conclusion I’ve reached and it sounds more plausible than this global warming BS premise.

  • Cory Thompson

    Who cares about the human story…it’s a Godzilla movie. You obviously have never watched a Godzilla movie.

  • Cory Thompson

    Well no, I see Godzilla, as well as the creatures he encounters throughout most of the franchise, as symbols of scientists’ recklessness in their desire to experiment and study. Even in the original, he was a symbol of the invention of the atomic bomb…hence, scientists. But, then again, in the original regardless of what Toho says, he could also just be a symbol of America. What was that one famous utterance by Isoroku Yamamoto? “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

  • The handling of Elizabeth Olsen’s character makes me feel this was heavily cut down. Why make her a paramedic when that never figures into the story? Final 30 minutes aside, this was a stunning film. Edwards is a hell of a director

  • Bluejay

    Don’t need to see the movie to tell the author of this story he/she is full of pure and simple BS

    So you’ve made up your mind before you see the evidence. I’m not surprised.

    Also not surprising: you’re a lazy reader. If you want to know the author’s name and gender, it’s right at the top of the page.

    It’s more a metaphor for scientists screwing around with things they shouldn’t and nature showing them they’re not quite as damn bright as they think they are.

    In other words, the Godzilla movies tell us that people are using technology in bad ways, and nature is showing us the consequences of our foolish actions. And why can’t global warming fit into that interpretation?

    All I have to see in the trailers is a room full of scientists standing around some creature they’ve got contained

    You’re describing the literal story. You need to look up “metaphor” because clearly you don’t understand it.

    you’re a supporter of global warming and you are using it in an attempt to further your cause and scare folks

    No, I don’t “support” global warming. I wish global warming would stop! But it’s real, and folks should be scared. Science is real whether you believe in it or not.

    And, want to bet, when I see the movie in two days, I’m still of the same opinion as I am now?

    Oh, I’m 100% sure you’ll be of the same opinion. You don’t seem to be the kind of person who’ll change his mind for anything.

  • Mike Thomas

    I grew up with Godzilla so love the movies. The orginal was all about the human story. Godzilla had less then 17 minutes screen time in”Gojira”

  • Bluejay

    Even in the original, he was a symbol of the invention of the atomic bomb…hence, scientists. But, then again, in the original regardless of what Toho says, he could also just be a symbol of America.

    What? You mean he could be a symbol for scientists OR a symbol for America? You mean there can be MORE THAN ONE WAY of interpreting a film? Impossible! In your other comment you brilliantly proved that, because Godzilla can be a metaphor for nuclear bombs, he can’t possibly be a metaphor for anything else…

  • No, *you* have obviously never watched a Godzilla movie. Try the original (not the American version of, the Japanese original).

  • Godzilla doesn’t have a lot of screen time in this one, either. Which is why the human story needs to be better than it is.

  • Wow. Not only have you not seen the movie you’re so sure about, you’re also unable to determine the gender of the writer of this review.

    So why should we heed you *at all*?

  • no no, still getting it wrong. It’s all about STOMPING TOKYO! ;-) Little things, hitting each other! (wondering if anyone will get THAT reference…)

  • LaSargenta

    If Gojira went to Elizabeth, NJ, she* wouldn’t survive. Too many chemical fires and leaks and general OSHA-citation-filled superfund sites.

    *There was an egg. Even if it was by parthenogenesis, Gojira would have been female. The actor in the suit in the original movie considered the character to be female. Yes, I know it has been translated in the subtitles as “he”. So what. Subtitles are not always accurate.

  • Bluejay

    But that’s ridiculous. How can Godzilla be female? Where are the eyelashes? Where’s the pink bow? ;-)

    I have to admit I tend to forget that Godzilla’s female (or at least of ambiguous or undetermined gender). It’s the whole “if it’s not clearly coded female, assume it’s male” cultural programming. Dammit.

  • AA

    So excited! Can’t wait to see this! Although I hope I can suspend my disbelief enough for the awe to set in.

    The thing I really liked about Jurassic Park and Serenity and Goonies and the Avengers and even Thor were not the male POV characters but how each of the teams worked together. That’s what makes the extraordinary events much more fun to watch. What can I learn about how *I* and my team should act, if faced with such craziness? What can I learn about who I might want on my team? In fact, it is such craziness as this, that points to a need for diversity of background and thought, because any team who cannot creatively think their way out of the box is going to get stomped. Literally.

  • Cory Thompson

    “So you’ve made up your mind before you see the evidence. I’m not surprised.

    Also not surprising: you’re a lazy reader. If you want to know the author’s name and gender, it’s right at the top of the page.”

    Oh, but I have seen the evidence. It’s plain as day in the trailers. And, what if I DON’T want the author’s name and gender? I had no desire to know the author’s name and gender so, instead, I just referred to the author’s gender as he/she and didn’t even worry about the author’s name.

    “In other words, the Godzilla movies tell us that people are using technology in bad ways, and nature is showing us the consequences of our
    foolish actions. And why can’t global warming fit into that interpretation?”

    No, Godzilla movies tell us that scientists are using technology in bad ways and nature is showing them the consequences. And, global warming can’t fit in to that interpretation because scientists don’t accept any responsibility whatsoever for global warming in the context gloBULL warming alarmists portray gloBULL warming in.

    “You’re describing the literal story. You need to look up “metaphor” because clearly you don’t understand it.”

    Sure I understand it. And, no, I’m not describing the “literal” story. Because, that’s the only part I covered which doesn’t include the consequences of their actions.

    “No, I don’t “support” global warming. I wish global warming would stop! But it’s real, and folks should be scared. Science is real whether you believe in it or not.”

    LOL! Yep…just as I thought. And, I’m not going to get in to a debate with you about gloBULL warming and how clueless you are with respect to that. This movie isn’t about global warming, neither in a literal sense nor, as a metaphor. But, you can see what you *want* to see…I guess. And…oh, P.S. Science and “scientists” are two different things. Bye.

  • Cory Thompson

    I have no desire to determine the gender of the writer of this review and I frankly don’t give a flying crap about whether or not you “heed” me *at all*. Duh! And, again, don’t need to see the movie. I’ve seen enough Godzilla movies in my lifetime to know the context of the franchise. It isn’t like this is the FIRST freakin’ Godzilla movie to have ever come out for Christ’s sakes. Gareth Edwards has made it clear the movie was made in the spirit of the original 1954 version and that’s all that really needs said. You can make up all the crap you want to fit an agenda and see what you want to see but, it won’t change anything. Just by the name alone…”Godzilla”, without seeing one single trailer, one single picture or, anything else, I can surmise many things due to the fact that this isn’t the first “Godzilla” movie to have ever been made. Duh! Have you ever even seen a Godzilla movie before, prior to this? Have you seen the original 1954 version or the Americanized 1956 version, with Ramond Burr? Do you even have one clue as to what you’re talking about when it comes to Godzilla movies?

  • Bluejay

    Yeah, you’re clearly a denialist. No point debating here.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You said “Duh!” twice.

  • Danielm80

    Here’s a film about global warming. You won’t agree with it, but it’s funny, and it’s only a few minutes longer than a movie trailer.

    http://youtu.be/cjuGCJJUGsg

  • Tonio Kruger

    You talk as if scientists have a lot more influence than they actually do. For example, it was not scientists who put off building the improved levees that might have saved New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. It was politicians. And yet everyone believes in the importance of flood control so there should have been no problem..

  • Tonio Kruger

    Then it’s a metaphor for white female privilege. :)

    But seriously, folks…

    There’s no law that says that Godzilla can mean only one thing . Otherwise, the series would have died out a long time ago.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Well, to be fair, the song in question never got that much radio play compared to other BOC songs. And MaryAnn tends to be a lot more familiar with 80s music.

  • Cory Thompson

    Yeah? So? I think it deserved a double “Duh!”. A triple…even.

  • Cory Thompson

    Yep, I’m a denialist of your pure and simple alarmist BS. And, you haven’t the capacity to debate me but, since this isn’t the appropriate forum to do so…no biggy.

  • Cory Thompson

    I’ve watched both. And, you want to elaborate a little further on that “human story” it is you surmise exists in the original? The only “human story” which existed, and it was a discombobulated story at that, was the relationship between Emiko, Dr. Serizawa and Ogata.

  • Cory Thompson

    Since at that time it was America which was the only nation to have invented the nuclear bomb and employed its use, Godzilla being the metaphor for the atomic bomb or America is essentially one in the same. Duh! (rolling eyes)

  • Cory Thompson

    No, this is a film about gloBULL warming.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cs56_GqTyIQ

  • Cory Thompson

    Scientists have plenty of influence. And, it wasn’t politicians who invented the nuclear bomb. It wasn’t politicians who invented the scores of nasty chemical and biological weapons. It wasn’t politicians who invented and improved the methods for which to drill for oil and refine it into gasoline. It wasn’t politicians who heavily experimented with weather control and modification for several decades and then turned around and blamed the every day man and woman and their cars when their experimentation went awry. And, it wasn’t politicians who turned an otherwise harmless bee into a killer. And oh, also, it wasn’t politicians who designed and built the inadequate levees to begin with. If they failed and needed improved, that means the scientists who designed and built the original were incompetent and were incapable of building an appropriate structure in the first place.

  • Cory Thompson

    And oh…by the way? One thing you should get through your thick skull is that “Godzilla” has and always will be a metaphor for the atomic bomb, no matter how much you try to delude yourself in to believing otherwise. Even the 1998 turd represented Godzilla as a metaphor for atomic weapons. It’s only those creatures of which he fights against which are metaphors for something else, usually scientists’ follies in trying to stop him and ultimately coming up with something which is much more dangerous to human kind than Godzilla himself is (see particularly Godzilla vs. Destroyah). So, Godzilla has to destroy it. The only Godzilla movie I’ve ever seen where the creature Godzilla fights might be construed exclusively as a metaphor for humankind’s pollution and “global warming” is Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster. And, thinking about it in a deeper context, it’s really kind of funny; a metaphor for atomic weapons fighting against a metaphor for pollution and global warming.

  • Cory Thompson

    No, Godzilla does only mean one thing. It is only those creatures of which he fights against which can vary in their meaning. Godzilla has and always will be a metaphor for atomic weapons. Even the 1998 turd represented him as such. With respect to the original Godzilla: “The theme of the film, from the beginning, was the terror of the bomb. Mankind had created the bomb, and now nature was going to take revenge on mankind.” — Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka. “If Godzilla had been a dinosaur or some other animal, he would have been killed by just one cannonball. But if he were equal to an atomic bomb, we wouldn’t know what to do. So, I took the characteristics of an atomic bomb and applied them to Godzilla.” — Director Ishirō Honda. Nuff said.

  • Bluejay

    It wasn’t politicians who heavily experimented with weather control and modification for several decades and then turned around and blamed the every day man and woman and their cars when their experimentation went awry.

    Ah, so you’re saying that it’s the SCIENTISTS who are to blame for climate change, because they were foolishly experimenting with “weather control and modification” and now nature is showing them the consequences of their mistakes. Where have I heard that before?

    “It’s more a metaphor for scientists screwing around with things they shouldn’t and nature showing them they’re not quite as damn bright as they think they are… Godzilla movies tell us that scientists are using technology in bad ways and nature is showing them the consequences.”

    Oh, right, YOU said that! So I guess Godzilla CAN be a metaphor for global warming after all. Good to know! I’m glad we all agree.

  • Bluejay

    Also: it’s interesting to see that you’re plainly saying you think scientists screwed around with the weather and now “their experimentation went awry.” So, even if we disagree on the causes, you’re basically admitting that global warming is real.

    I guess I don’t really need to debate you. You’re doing a great job of it all by yourself.

  • You obviously do not understand how metaphor works. I suggest you stop digging the hole you’re in any deeper. You’re not going to win this one.

  • One thing you should get through your thick skull

    You don’t get to talk like this here. If you are not capable of carrying on a grownup conversation, you can go elsewhere.

  • And, I’m not going to get in to a debate with you about gloBULL warming

    You most certainly are not. This thread is NOT to be used to “debate” the reality of global warming.

  • This needs to stop NOW. I will not have this thread descend into this nonsense.

  • Please stop engaging this guy.

  • You are embarrassing yourself, and I suggest you stop now.

  • Bluejay

    Okay.

  • The BOC songs that get airplay top out at “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” followed by “Burning For You” and then “Godzilla”. They play it often enough around here in the Tampa Bay market.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s probably the only way to fix the roads. I was saying “nuke the site from orbit”, but Godzilla works, too.

  • LaSargenta

    I dunno…have you been in NY lately? Driving in NJ, I hit fewer potholes and have a smoother ride than NY, either in NYC or up the Thruway.

  • Cory Thompson

    Ah, so you’re saying that it’s the SCIENTISTS who are to blame for climate change, because they were foolishly experimenting with “weather
    control and modification” and now nature is showing them the consequences of their mistakes. Where have I heard that before?

    Sounds just as plausible as anything else.

    Oh, right, YOU said that! So I guess Godzilla CAN be a metaphor for
    global warming after all. Good to know! I’m glad we all agree.

    No, I said it’s a metaphor for scientists screwing around with things they shouldn’t be screwing around with and, since weather isn’t the only thing they’ve screwed around with which they shouldn’t have been screwing around with, it’s better to say it’s a metaphor for that than to say, somehow, it’s a metaphor for global warming. Further, like I believe you believe for one second scientists are in any way responsible for gloBULL warming? LOL! That’s a laugh. And, lastly, who says I actually necessarily believe scientists’ experimentation with weather control and modification have anything to do with gloBULL warming? I’ve never said I believe that. But, if we’re going to posit theories, I can just as easily say that as scientists can say it’s the normal every day citizen and his/her automobile which is responsible. You have no idea what I believe with respect to gloBULL warming from the limited exchanges we’ve had here on this particular medium.

  • Cory Thompson

    LOL! No, I never said I “think” scientists screwed around with the weather and now “their experimentation went awry”. I implied they could have. I never said that this is an absolute conclusion I’ve reached. I’ve implied it’s a possibility and just as plausible an explanation as scientists’ explanations. They don’t even want to entertain that possibility as…oh…no, we don’t want to lay any blame on scientists now…do we? As I said above, you have no idea what it is I believe with respect to gloBULL warming with our limited exchanges we’ve had here. And, I never said I think that scientists screwing around with the weather is what is causing gloBULL warming. I merely posited the notion that it’s just as plausible to blame them as it is for them to blame us. And, sure global warming is real. It’s been real since the dawn of time. So too is global cooling real and has been since the dawn of time. However, gloBULL warming in the context gloBULL warming alarmists like to portray gloBULL warming in? Nah, not so much.

  • Cory Thompson

    Sure I understand how metaphors work and I’ve already won on this one. Prove me wrong. Bet you can’t. Show me one person involved in the making of this movie or any other Godzilla movie who says Godzilla is in any way, shape or form, a metaphor for anything other than the atomic bomb. There’s your challenge.

  • Cory Thompson

    I’ll talk any way I so choose to talk and if you want to delete the posts then, by all means, do so. Otherwise, don’t think you can TELL me how to talk. I’m not your little robot and, you’re not my master. And, if you were capable of a grownup conversation, you wouldn’t be positing such absurd notions that Godzilla is somehow a metaphor for gloBULL warming. In fact, it’s funny you’d talk about “grownup conversation” on a thread concerning Godzilla…isn’t it? Hasn’t Godzilla always been geared toward the young or young at heart? We’re talking about fictional monsters here and, you’re talking about “grownup conversation”? LOL!

  • Cory Thompson

    I’m only going to say one more thing about the global warming angle and then perhaps one single response to anyone who might reply to this comment and, then, I’m done with arguing over your summation that this movie is a metaphor for global warming. Can you elaborate on how you reached this conclusion? Was it somehow the tsunami which led you go this conclusion? Because, if we all remember correctly, the tsunami was caused by an earthquake and didn’t have squat to do with global warming. So, I’d just be interested in reading the details of how it is this movie being a metaphor for global warming was reached. Also, this statement strikes me as kind of odd: “Instead of nukes, global warming is the bugaboo behind today’s monster.
    Oh, no one speaks the phrase “climate change,” but that’s what this Godzilla
    is all about: a natural world that is so utterly oblivious to us, even
    as we blunder about indiscriminately and mindlessly making a mess of it,
    that it doesn’t even notice us as it is destroying our coastal cities,
    our nuclear power plants, our beautiful infrastructure.” A “natural world”? You mean, human beings aren’t part of the “natural world” and, we’re just some anomaly of which wasn’t meant to be here? Unless you’ve got some kind of political agenda going on here, and I can’t quite figure out if it’s a pro-global warming agenda or anti-global warming agenda, I don’t even see why you brought the issue of global warming up. And, if you’re going to inject a political opinion in a story about a movie? Certainly, you expect people are going to take some issue with it…right? By injecting that opinion, you’re the one who turned what was supposed to be about Godzilla in to a political issue of global warming.

  • Cory Thompson

    I don’t get embarrassed on the Internet. The only way I’d get embarrassed is if my pants fell down in public. So, keep your suggestions.

  • Cory Thompson

    **

  • Tonio Kruger

    Heh, irony. The Big Hollywood site posted an article about director Gareth Edwards’ attempt to interpret this movie as a commentary on global warming. Please feel free to make of that what you will.

  • Tonio Kruger

    I must live in the wrong state then because they rarely play “Godzilla” here in Dallas. I have heard it played on the radio just once in the last fifteen years. I hear “Take Me Away” played more often than that.

  • Evan

    Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll hijacked the entire thread to argue his political views.

  • Cory Thompson

    You don’t know what a troll is and, the only one that wanted to argue political views is the author of this story, or else she wouldn’t have even brought it up.

  • Evan

    You haven’t seen the movie, you don’t think you need to see the movie. You didn’t know or care who the reviewer is, even though you came to her movie review site. You came here solely to argue with people about Climate Change. The very definition of Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll, Troll.

  • Cory Thompson

    Don’t need to see the movie and I know I don’t need to know about who the reviewer is. I linked to the site through IMDb and when I seen this absurd comment “Instead of nukes, global warming is the bugaboo behind today’s monster. Oh, no one speaks the phrase “climate change,” but that’s what this Godzilla
    is all about: a natural world that is so utterly oblivious to us, even as we blunder about indiscriminately and mindlessly making a mess of it, that it doesn’t even notice us as it is destroying our coastal cities, our nuclear power plants, our beautiful infrastructure.”, I had to correct the reviewer on her fallacy. And, it was those who chose to argue about my disagreement with the global warming fallacy who chose to carry it on. What, you didn’t think I was going to respond to those who responded to me? If the reviewer didn’t want argument about the global warming angle, perhaps the reviewer should have kept her virtual trap shut about the global warming angle…eh? And, again, you don’t even know what a troll is and you’ve demonstrated it twice now. Go get yourself educated before you look even more stupid. If, in your opinion, a troll is someone who gives up without having any resolve and defending their position on something then, you simply have no clue. Only if I believed the reviewer was right but said she was wrong just for the sake of argument then, I’d be a troll. But, since I don’t believe the reviewer was right? Take your “troll” meme and stick it in your pocket for later use against impressionable 12-year-olds who might be intimidated by it. I mean…really, using your yardstick, you’re a troll. You aren’t even here to discuss the points of the reviewer’s analysis. You’re just here to call me a troll…troll.

  • Cory Thompson

    Insofar as the characters on the screen? No, not really was it “all about the human story”. The only “human story” which necessarily existed in the 1954 Godzilla was the relationship between Emiko, Dr. Serizawa and Ogata. However, insofar as the human story when it relates to the atomic bomb and the horrors the Japanese faced from it? That’s irrelevant to the “human story” of the characters on the screen. And, your screen time sounds close to about right but, remember, the 1954 Japanese version of Godzilla was 96 minutes long.

  • Cory Thompson

    And I’m on my way over there right now to tell the author of that story how clueless he is.

  • Evan

    I wasn’t going to respond to you cause I’m disinterested in your damage and your need to come here to argue with people about Climate Change. But, I didn’t come here to call you a troll, either. I’m a regular visitor on this site. I come for the reviews, not an argument. I just noticed you hijacked the thread, and called you what you are, a troll. Don’t bother to respond. I won’t read it or respond.

  • well you’re nowhere near water where Godzilla would hang out. If there were more songs about Angiuirus you’d be hearing those tunes.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I try not to make anything of Big Hollywood. Except maybe a hat. Or a broach. Or a pterodactyl…

  • Tonio Kruger
  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Surely you can’t be serious?

  • We are serious. And stop calling us Shirley.

  • Went to see the movie this afternoon. Was a good movie, little underwhelming but with some nice touches. Just wanted to say that when I walked up the steps to an open seat my knee gave out (it happens, I’m not a cripple I just have a bum knee) and I collapsed, and I had about five people jump up from their seats to help me back up. Just wanted to say there’s still a lot of good people out there.

  • So far, this is my favorite 2014 movie.

  • Will S.

    I haven’t read the review, but is it better than the 1998 movie?

  • Imo, it’s the best of 2014, so definitely better than 1998 one. I just saw it last night in IMAX 3D format and it was awesome!

    Some reviews out there are bad. Most of then have no idea who or what Godzilla is. Someone complained about Godzilla because he had a ‘blue energy breath’ instead of fire breath. Actually that’s nuclear breath and it’s just like i saw it.

    If you are going to watch it, go for a big screen. You can’t miss this, it’s a must!

  • LaSargenta

    Thhhhhhhpuuuuuzzzzz.

    (That’s a Bronx cheer.)

  • Plan 9 was better than the 1998 movie.

  • How many 2014 movies have you seen?

  • Why would you not read the review? It might give you the answer you seek!

  • Will S.

    Lol sorry, I was afraid of spoilers! I just saw my mate DH Dog comment here, and so hoped he would give me an idea…

  • Matt Clayton

    I don’t think switching Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen’s roles in the film would’ve made the film better. Both were wasted with what they were given, script-wise. (Although it would’ve been a nice change for Olsen to play the soldier and Johnson as the stay-at-home dad.)

  • LaSargenta

    Plan 9 was better than Ishtar, too.

  • don’t knock Ishtar, it had some moments.

  • LaSargenta

    We’ve all “had a moment”. I don’t make other people pay to see it.

  • Having thought it over, a day after seeing it, I think the problem with the movie is the feeling there were a good number of vital scenes cut from the theatrical release – stuff from Godzilla’s fight with the MUTO in Hawaii, stuff from the train sequence, stuff with Olsen’s character trying to survive at ground level the big fight – to get it under the 2 1/2 hr viewing time mark and that we’re gonna have to wait for the DVD/blu-ray to see a full movie…

  • LaSargenta

    They cut Mothra, too, I hear.

  • Bluejay

    I think that’s exactly MaryAnn’s point. Even if it didn’t make the story better, at least it could have contributed to progress in how women (and men! more stay-at-home dads, please!) are represented onscreen.

  • I had the same feeling. It needed another 30 minutes to flesh it all out.

  • AA

    Although I think that it was key point that Elle Brody is NOT a stay-at-home mom, but in fact an ER nurse, which is a very specialized position just like her husband. And even though her husband wasn’t there to pass off basic childcare of Sam throughout the day, there was clearly a network she had in place to help her (in fact most “stay-at-home” parents are tasked with community networking). We are the ants here, but ants survive because they raise their young as a group. And all those parallels between the MUTO parents and the Brody parents — the pros and cons fall out into a dual continuum on a species level of small versus mighty and single versus organized.

  • Bluejay

    Full disclosure: I haven’t seen the movie yet, though I plan to. And I never disputed the fact that stay-at-home parents have support networks in place.

    I still think it’s interesting that, even if the mom in the story isn’t technically stay-at-home, she’s still the primary caregiver as you describe her. The dynamic that seems to be playing out here — men of heroic action, women as supporters and nurturers — isn’t anything new. All that MaryAnn’s (mostly complimentary) review is saying is that it would have been nice to shake that up a little bit. Because why not?

    I’ll hold off on further comments until I’ve seen the film.

  • AA

    Loved it!

  • A very specialized position *that she does not get to use in any way that contributes to the story.*

    I mean, there isn’t even a single scene where she’s actually treating anyone injured in a monster disaster. She could have had *any* job — or none — and it would not have changed the movie one little bit. She doesn’t even stay behind and send her son off with a colleague in order to keep helping people (we may presume she does so, but that is not her primary motivation), but only to wait for her husband.

  • I ask you again: How many 2014 movies have you seen?

    It’s not a difficult question, but it has a huge impact on how we should take your opinion. Cuz this comment and your other activity on Disqus makes you sound like a paid shill.

  • Calm down! I saw many movie and i don’t have enough time to make a list.

    This movie just got me. I was standing on the cinema, eating massive amounts of popcorn, having my eyes wide open just like a kid when he sees a new toy. I really enjoyed it.

    I’m not a reviewer or some movie critic, i’m just a normal person who enjoyed this more then the other ones.

    Oh, and sorry for not answering, i really wanted to answer but i forgot about that…

  • Calm down! I saw many movie and i don’t have enough time to make a list.

    I am perfectly calm. And I’m not asking for a list, just a rough number. 5? 10? 20? 50?

  • ~20

  • Mike Thomas

    Legendary did not have the rights to Mothra, only Godzilla

  • Thank you.

  • You’re welcome!

  • Bluejay

    SPOILERS

    So, I just saw this, and I’m afraid it left me cold. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen many Godzilla movies, and I’m not familiar with what you’re supposed to expect from a Godzilla movie, but this film (ANY film) is supposed to work on its own terms, and it just didn’t for me.

    First problem: Is it giant monster fight action that we’re supposed to enjoy? Because there wasn’t much of it. I understand holding off on big reveals to heighten impact, but even after G’s big reveal the story keeps cutting away from the fights, in order to focus on the second problem: the film’s completely uninteresting humans. Juliette Binoche didn’t get to do anything besides run and die, and Bryan Cranston’s distracted and grief-stricken scientist was marginally interesting (before dying). But Vanilla Soldier Hero, and Wife Who’s A Paramedic But Might As Well Have Been A Waitress, and Cute Little Son, and Boy On Train, and Awestruck Theme-Explicating Japanese Scientist, and Bland Military Grunts didn’t hold my attention, at all; there’s nothing to them beyond the descriptions I’ve just given them. The Spielbergian touches, including “I knew they were hiding something!” (of course they were), felt predictable and tired, to me. I’ve seen too much People Gaping In Awe and Wonder to be made to feel wonder just by them doing it.

    In terms of giant monster action and interesting humans, I think Pacific Rim did both things way better.

    Another thing I don’t get: Godzilla’s motivations. The Mutos I get, and at least feel some sympathy for: they want to eat and mate and raise babies. And Godzilla wants to, what, kill them to save humanity? Why? If Godzilla were hunting the Mutos as prey, I’d understand; G’s described as an alpha predator, after all. But G just kills them and… goes away. Is Godzilla supposed to be a self-appointed guardian of humanity? Again, why? What’s in it for Godzilla? The film really, really wants you to root for G, to the point of pumping up the tragic orchestra strings when it looks like G’s being beaten. And out of nowhere, G even locks eyes with Vanilla Soldier and gives him a Noble, Suffering Hero Look in the middle of the battle! But I don’t think the film did sufficient work to have G earn my sympathy. (And this is why I disagree with MaryAnn’s claim that Godzilla doesn’t see us at all. ALL of Godzilla’s actions seem to have the aim of saving us; I just don’t understand why.)

    I guess I stand by my earlier defense of MaryAnn’s argument that the film can be a metaphor for global warming (just as it can be a metaphor for nuclear catastrophes or anything else), in the general sense that any film about Humans vs Nature will reflect whatever current anxieties we have in that regard. When you get down into the details, though, I think the film gets its messaging confused. If it’s about nature pushing back against us for misusing our technology, isn’t that what the Mutos are doing? By following their natural animal instincts, and in the process destroying our unnatural infrastructures and targeting our sources of nuclear power, aren’t they the ones who are basically “restoring balance” to the earth? And if Godzilla is fighting them — for no other apparent reason than to stop them from killing humans — then isn’t G really a force for the status quo, to allow humans to go on as we always have before? (“The Savior of Our City,” say the TV screens at the end! A survivor clasps her hands and gazes after Godzilla with gratitude!) Rather than warning us against our abuses of nature, the film’s message seems to be: if nature bites back, Godzilla will save us, time and time again. (And lo, there’s to be a sequel!)

    An aside: For something that’s hailed as the “Savior of Our City” and that seems determined to Stop Monsters From Hurting Humans, Godzilla sure smashes up a lot of buildings. I wonder if all the people criticizing Man of Steel for wanton carnage and destruction will show up to make the same complaints here. :-)

    Anyway. The film looks great, and I’m sure it’s reverent to the “look” of Godzilla and has lots of nods and tributes to past Godzilla films, but it just didn’t do much for me. Bummer.

  • Bluejay

    There’s no guarantee, of course, that giving any of these significant monster-battling roles to a woman would have made the human drama any more intriguing, but perhaps the teensy bit of thinking out of the boys’ box that would have required might have jarred one of the two male screenwriters into coming up with human dynamics that we haven’t seen played out endlessly before.

    With that in mind, I thought I’d share this link I found (in Scalzi’s comment section) by Janine Spendlove, a fantasy author and a Marine:

    http://janinekspendlove.tumblr.com/post/86028874004/i-really-wanted-to-like-godzilla

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I can echo a lot of this, bluejay. The movie lost me right around the Honolulu attack and never got me back. At that point, it was the tediously, ridiculously slow reveal of Godzilla that did it.

    After that it was a host of issues: the incompetency of the military; the cartoonish news reports; the inconsistent passage of time; the Yucca Mountain facility isn’t in the mountain, it’s several thousand feet beneath it.

    Early in the film, I was fine with the callbacks to the old Japanese monster flicks as homage. But as the film progressed, it becae clear that it just couldn’t keep a straight face. I mean, MUTOs? Fucking really? Of all of Las Vegas, a MUTO smashes the Strip, because of course it does. 1:45 into the movie, Godzilla’s fins(?) start to glow, from the tail up, as if to say “IMMA CHARGIN MAH LAZARZ!!” (shoop da woop) No one notices the giant monster sneaking up behind them? Ken Watanabe just looks drunk, or defeated, the whole movie, like he can’t believe Bryan is already home, enjoying the new boat, while he’s there, offering nothing useful to the story.

    I’m not getting any sense that global warming/climate change ever once crossed anyone’s mind making this. It’s pretty boilerplate “Nuke are bad, m’kay” stuff. The prehistoric monsters used to live off background radiation, now humans are concentrating radiation enough to reawaken the monsters. A deep water nuclear sub woke up Godzilla. Trying to nuke it to death just made him stronger, I guess, but more nukes now will totally work because reasons, I guess.

    You’re right, Godzilla is a creature that doesn’t appear to exist for any reason. They call it a predator, but predators prey in order to eat. Godzilla “eats” radiation, so why does it need to hunt? Does the existence of the MUTO’s just offend it’s sensibilities?

    I can’t say I’m disappointed because I went in with no expectations of it being any good. (Well, I’m a little disappointed that Bryan Cranston didn’t last longer, being how he was the only character with anything interesting to say.) But this is not good. It’s pretty. The HALO drop sequence in particular was a standout. But it’s technically inconsistent. Too much dark, too much dust, very odd sound design where buildings fall with a whisper.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Man, this version practically put me to sleep a half hour before the end. A longer version would just finish the job.

  • Yeah, I don’t get the “Savior of Our City” stuff. It seems to me that Godzilla doesn’t even notice the city, or the humans.

    Perhaps the marketing of Godzilla in this fictional world is already beginning…

  • I’m not getting any sense that global warming/climate change ever once crossed anyone’s mind making this.

    It may not have. Metaphor doesn’t have to be deliberately injected to end up there.

  • It’s not like there aren’t lots of women saying the same thing.

    But no one even begins to listen until a man with a high profile says the same thing.

  • Bluejay

    But, again, if Godzilla isn’t doing it for the humans, then its (I keep wanting to say “his,” but gender is debatable) actions make no sense. It just kills the Mutos, then goes away; it doesn’t eat them, as I imagine an alpha predator would. I’m left to conclude that Godzilla does it to save the city… but for no discernible reason.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Maybe it was just protecting its future food supply. Like a lion who takes down another predator which is trespassing on its turf.

  • I dunno. Maybe he just had a big burrito or something?

  • Bluejay

    That’ll do it. :-)

  • Overflight

    Saw this last week.

    I’m afraid I’m going to have to respectfully yet strongly disagree with you on this MaryAnn. I was left MASSIVELY disappointed and as time passed, I grew more and more angry at this film.

    I did enjoy several things, though: I loved Godzilla’s design. I liked those moments in which the monsters flat out ignore the humans, like that one scene where Godzilla rises from the ocean and the ships just slide off him. I liked how they emphasized how HUGE these things were. I liked how for the first time in cinema history they manage to make the “Military ignores the wise scientist” scene make the least amount of sense (let’s face it, if you were in that Admiral’s shoes, you’d probably come up with ANY plan other than “Let them fight”). And I liked the final fight scene.

    As for the rest: I don’t think I have EVER disliked a character and performance as much as Aaron Johnson’s. I heard people literally screaming in hatred over Charlie Hunnam’s performance on Pacific Rim. Johnson makes Hunnam look like Daniel Day Lewis. There was NOTHING coming from him. No emotion, no expression, NOTHING. He is barely a character: he is a walking view point who only serves to wander around to watch the MUTOs and Godzilla (who BTW are responsible for BOTH his parents’ deaths yet just doesn’t care) do things and not react to them. If he doesn’t win a Razzie, I will be amazed.

    The rest of the characters were all paper thin. Cranston was the only person who remotely acted like a human being and had the least screen time. Watanabe is utterly wasted giving exposition and staring blankly at everything. And most insulting of all, the female characters are all walking plot devices.

    Now, of course you might say “Oh, but in these movies the humans are ALWAYS flat”. I also have not seen many Godzilla movies but at least even there the humans have EMOTIONS. And often they serve a PURPOSE. Say what you will about the cliché characters in Pacific RIm but they at least had a PURPOSE (piloting the robot, studying the kaiju, etc). Here, we have walking mannquins following a bunch of monsters around for two thirds of the movie. Monsters which, BTW destroy whole cities in the most bloodless fashion possible. The original 1954 Godzilla at least had the guts to force you to stare at people suffering in hospitals and wasting away from radiation poisoning. Here buildings crumble and citizens cheer at the end.

    Oddly enough, I am actually glad that this is getting a sequel because I think it can be done better (I have more hopes for this improving than Transformers). Just give me either more and better monster action or some characters that don’t make me yearn for Matthew Broderick or, God forbid, Shia Labeouf.

  • LJS

    Let’s start with a solid B+. Better than the last American Godzilla. Better than Final Wars. Heck better than many in the Godzilla canon.
    BUT…Godzilla should be a force of nature. He doesn’t pointed dive under the carrier — it is beneath his notice. As best I can tell not a single person dies from Godzilla’s direct actions (so not counting collateral damage from the tsunami, or buildings being knocked down) except when G’s being forced into the bridge by the attacking ships. To make Godzilla your ally, you ought to earn it. Perhaps if the Americans had intervened when G was down in an early struggle with the male MUTO, then it would make sense that G would see them as allies not gnats — there’s precedent for it in the 1990s series when the humans team up with G against other monsters.
    And there’s no set-piece military vs giant monster to prove the uselessness of conventional weapons. Traditionally, the Japanese self-defense forces go bravely off — jets, bombers, warships firing cannon and missiles, etc. — we get none of that. A giant monster attacks near Pearl Harbor — home of the Pacific Fleet — and they can only muster a few helicopters?? As I recall we have no active duty battleships, but surely some cruisers or destroyers have standard naval artillery? The female MUTO attacks Los Vegas — Nellis AFB couldn’t scramble some bombers to drop some ordinance from high altitude? That it doesn’t work shows how tough the monsters are and why nukes/Godzilla are the only answer.
    More GODZILLA. For a movie with G’s name on it, it doesn’t seem to be about the Big G, thematically or in terms of action. Sure, human characters important for audience identification and they are cardboard or cartoonish in many of the Japanese canon, but let’s see them reacting to G, not primarily to the MUTOS.
    Lack of some clear daylight shots of the fights. Come on, Toho could do this with models and rubber suits — Hollywood can’t manage one fight scene in clear weather?

  • Robert P

    Godzilla’s motivations. The Mutos I
    get, and at least feel some sympathy for: they want to eat and mate and
    raise babies. And Godzilla wants to, what, kill them to save humanity?
    Why? If Godzilla were hunting the Mutos as prey, I’d understand; G’s described as an alpha predator, after all. But G just kills them and… goes away.

    What he said.

    His motivation was to have an epic battle to form a movie around.

  • Robert P

    Monster-movie fun with lots of plot holes to go around.

    Bryan Cranston showed off some acting chops.

  • Robert P

    Godzilla vs Cloverfield monsters.

  • What about them?

  • Robert P

    The MUTO’s looked a lot like the Cloverfield monster.

  • Robert P

    A very specialized position *that she does not get to use in any way that contributes to the story.*

    It puts her in the midst of frenzied activity as a direct result of the disasters – provides emotional interplay with Ford Brody.

  • Robert P

    I’m not getting any sense that global warming/climate change ever once crossed anyone’s mind making this.

    Particularly given the big philosophical line – “The arrogance of man is thinking that nature is in our control and not the other way around.”

    After that it was a host of issues: the incompetency of the military; the cartoonish news reports; the inconsistent passage of time; the Yucca Mountain facility isn’t in the mountain, it’s several thousand feet beneath it.

    Yup, all the requisite components of a Godzilla movie.

    :)

    There’s no way for the movie to be particularly plausible given the impossibility of Godzilla to begin with. A living creature can’t be as large as Godzilla is portrayed – a body that size couldn’t survive under its own mass. There’s no valid science that will explain this away.

    Godzilla exists for the same reason the MUTO’s smash the strip and for the same reason Godzilla attacks them. To provide movie spectacle.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Particularly given the big philosophical line – “The arrogance of man is thinking that nature is in our control and not the other way around.”

    Meh. That kind of boilerplate “Man should not meddle blah blah blah” goes back at least as far as Shelly, and probably all the way back to Prometheus.

    A living creature can’t be as large as Godzilla is portrayed – a body that size couldn’t survive under its own mass. There’s no valid science that will explain this away.

    You may notice I didn’t bring that up. But my willing suspension of disbelief only goes so far. And just because one aspect of your fantasy story defies plausibility doesn’t mean all logic gets thrown out.

    To provide movie spectacle.

    I swear to the gods, if you tell me to shut off my brain…

  • Tonio Kruger

    Lions and tigers and bears. Green alligators and long-necked geese. Some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees. Cats and rats and elephants. ;)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Bullshit, she runs around I giant crowds of extras for a few seconds at a time. And despite being the in midst of collapsing skyscrapers, never once appears to be in any sort of danger. As for “emotional interplay”, they have what, one phone conversation, that should go down as the most emotionally stunted interaction between two characters supposedly in love ever to be committed to film.

    Ford just looks dead inside. Which makes the killing off of Bryan Cranston all the more asinine: he would have taken Ford’s death as a push to engage in ever more desperate measure to stop the monsters. Ford doesn’t seem to feel anything.

  • Robert P

    Bullshit, she runs around I giant crowds of extras for a few seconds at a time.

    I recall at least one scene inside a hospital. Maybe they could have had her doing a heroic resuscitation or something but I think it can be assumed she was doing whatever nurses do in emergencies.

    Her phone call with Ford was under rushed, emergency circumstances. Dunno didn’t seem particularly implausible.

    Ford just looks dead inside.

    I think they were trying to show that losing his mother the way he did had a profound effect on him. He was a somber kind of person. You’ve never met someone like that? He was clearly aggravated with his father’s activities, at least in part because it kept reopening an old wound.

  • I think it can be assumed she was doing whatever nurses do in emergencies.

    *facepalm*

    So, you’re agreeing that, as I said, she does contribute in any meaningful way to to the story being told.

  • Robert P

    as I said, she does[n’t] contribute in any meaningful way to to the story being told.

    Well, what did you have in mind? Her character’s function was to be someone Ford cared about and the mother of his child that he cared about, both of whom were impacted and put in danger by the disaster.

    Ultimately Ford doesn’t really have an impact on what goes down between the monsters. Largely because of what his father knew he has some impact on the strategy of the humans which ultimately turns out to be a big, pointless, Three Stooges Chinese fire-drill. At first they’re going to try to kill the monsters and it’s a big effort and scramble to get their bombs in place…and then a big effort and scramble to disable the surviving bomb that never does get used against the monsters….and may have only made things worse if it had been – i.e. all the military planning and activity was a complete waste of time and effort. They fire a few rounds at the monsters that accomplish nothing. Pretty much all the humans are there for is to unwittingly feed the MUTO’s, mildly annoy all the monsters with their weapons and run around being terrified and stomped on.

    If you were in charge of the storyline, what would you have done differently with her?

  • Robert P

    the strategy of the humans which ultimately turns out to be a big, pointless, Three Stooges Chinese fire-drill.
    In that she cares for the wounded, she actually has a more meaningful impact than Ford does. The most significant thing he does is save the little boy. His “expertise” in bombs never does become a factor since he can’t even disable the surviving bomb – which in itself was dumb because even if they supposedly couldn’t breach the access door (which was silly) they could have just put an armor-piercing round or two through the clockwork and stopped it.

  • Danielm80

    I recall at least one scene inside a hospital. Maybe they could have had her doing a heroic resuscitation or something but I think it can be assumed she was doing whatever nurses do in emergencies.

    You’re making her sound like Nurse Barbie: Put a hat on her and she’s a feminist.

  • I would have made Ford a woman.

    Her character’s function was to be someone Ford cared about.

    This is the shit I am sick of: women who exist in movies only to support male characters.

  • If “she actually has a more meaningful impact” then why isn’t the movie about her?!

  • I think it can be assumed she was doing whatever nurses do in emergencies.

    I don’t want to assume things about women characters are doing offscreen. I want to see their actions affecting and directing the story.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I would have made him human. Then I would have made Sally Hawkins the POV character. Just to shake things up a little.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Indeed, Ford does basically nothing useful but follow the action around, while his wife could be doing important, emotionally resonating stuff, but Edwards doesn’t think to show us any of it. Glad we agree on how bad this movie really is, giant monsters be damned.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    You’re welcome to assume anything you like. Me? I’d like to be shown (not just told, shown) how every character is important to at least the plot, if not the story.

    Her phone call with Ford was under rushed, emergency circumstances.

    Sounds like an opportunity for a frantic, emotionally powerful scene. The kind that disaster movies are tailor made for. Instead, they played it like, “Hey, babe. Something came up at work, so I’m gonna be home late. ‘K, bye.”

    I think Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who has demonstrated his acting chops in previous work) was directed to play the role “somber”, and told repeatedly to reel his emotions in, to the point where he just looks flat. He never looked “aggravated” at anything. Mildly annoyed at best. And even if I do know such people in real life, doesn’t mean I want to watch them in a movie. Especially a movie like this. This movie BIG monsters; I want BIG people on screen fighting them. Like, for a quick example, Bryan Cranston in this same movie.

  • Bluejay

    Robert P. is making the same argument he did in Jeune & Jolie. He’s assuming things about the characters, and letting his assumptions do the work that the story should be doing.

  • Danielm80

    There are a number of bad arguments that show up over and over in discussions on this site. Robert has somehow managed to use all of them in the same thread.

    There’s the “But the male character is a cliche, too!” argument.

    There’s “Let’s see you write a better movie!”

    There’s “These things happen in real life, so a movie about them is inherently both convincing and worth watching.”

    And there’s “You can’t expect logic from a movie about a giant lizard,” which is the one that really bugs me, because most of the time, a movie with an outrageous premise needs to be even more grounded in reality.

    But I’m kind of grateful to Robert, because I’ve been having a bad week, and having a chance to vent was really cathartic.

  • LaSargenta

    Did you get BINGO?

  • I could get onboard with that. :->

  • Bluejay

    I’m sorry you’re having a bad week. I hope it gets better.

  • Robert P

    If “she actually has a more meaningful impact” then why isn’t the movie about her?!

    ‘Cause it’s about the big lizard?

    I would have made Ford a woman.

    Would you be happier about a female soldier who doesn’t actually accomplish anything?

  • Robert P

    And there’s “You can’t expect logic from a movie about a giant lizard,”
    which is the one that really bugs me, because most of the time, a movie
    with an outrageous premise needs to be even more grounded in reality.

    Say what? Why?

    Can you cite three examples of good movies that meet your criteria?

  • Robert P

    She’s a nurse, it’s a disaster, what do you figure she’s doing? Are you really quizzically scratching your head because you don’t see her bandaging wounds and hooking up an IV?

    In Jeune & Jolie – we saw what the girl was doing, we heard her say why she was doing what she was doing, what further explanation do you feel you need?

  • LaSargenta

    District 9
    Capt. America-Winter Soldier
    Ratatouille

  • Bluejay

    She’s a nurse, it’s a disaster, what do you figure she’s doing?

    We all agree on what we’re seeing. She’s a nurse, she’s doing nurse things offscreen. She’s the Hero’s Wife, she’s supporting him while he’s doing Hero Things onscreen. (That he’s ineffective is a fault of the story, but he’s still the human focus, not her, not even both of them equally.)

    Here’s where we’re butting heads: For YOU, that’s enough. For some of US, it’s lazy writing that falls back on VERY old male/female roles without filling them in with anything interesting.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Is it about the big lizard? Or is is about who we as humans cope with not being the top species on the planet? Cause if it’s the former, then there are too many named human characters being given too much screentime. Godzilla doesn’t even appear on screen until nearly the halfway mark.
    If it’s the latter, then we’re only really being given one human to stand in for all of use, plus several more to act as sources of either motivation or exposition, not to be people. And that one human, that stand-in for all of humanity? A 20-something white male married orphan. Y’know, a default human protagonist.

    Would you be happier about a female soldier who doesn’t actually accomplish anything?

    No. Next question?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Edge of Tomorrow
    The Dark Knight
    Inception

  • You don’t seem to understand how storytelling works.

  • Some one

    Jeez, get off the feminist high horse and just review the damn movie. Reading your reviews is like asking advice from someone you know doesn’t even like you. Your review on “Under the Skin” made me want to puke with all the feminist crap you spewed forth. That wasn’t just a fluke apparently and this will be the last review of yours I will read.

  • Robert P

    With the context that it’s a really pointless movie to worry about something like gender roles, it makes sense for Ford to be male because the majority of boots on ground combat troops are male.

    Once you’ve established what Ford’s gender is, he’s going to be a more important character than his wife because of his direct connection to the power plant incident – both his parents worked there and his mother was killed there. As such, his wife is going to be more of a background character, however she provides a reason to keep going back to see civilian activity and aftermath.

  • Danielm80

    Yes, if you wanted to make a clichéd, uninteresting movie that reinforces gender stereotypes, that’s exactly what you’d do.

    Some of us would rather see a movie that surprises us and gives us new and complex characters, with well-thought-out backstories, whether they’re male or female.

    What we really don’t want are filmmakers who say, “It’s a movie about a giant lizard. No one’s going to give it any serious thought.” That pretty much guarantees a badly-written, poorly-thought-out story.

    And some of us think that gender issues are always important, even when we’re watching a movie about a giant lizard. If we decide that it’s pointless to worry about them, we end up with, for example, a culture where 70% of the movies are stories about men, and hardly any of them are made by women.

  • The problem is, far too many movies decide — just, you know, *naturally* — that what men do is more important and more interesting than what women do. And even if you want to keep characters in fairly stereotypical roles — dudes are soldiers, chicks are nurses — this *still* isn’t automatically true. Nurses are awesome! And in a situation like the one in this movie, a nurse could be smack in the middle of tons of danger as she does her very important job, and it could make for a very exciting sequence — if not an entire movie — to focus on her.

    the majority of boots on ground combat troops are male.

    And giant reptiles *do not exist at all,* and yet you seem to have no problem with that. It wouldn’t even require suspension of disbelief for a movie to give us female soldiers and male nurses, because those things actually exist in not insignificant numbers!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Bobby, you’re starting to become boring. And you’re losing the plot fast.

    With the context that it’s a really pointless movie to worry about something like gender roles,

    Why? ‘Cause it’s a monster movie, not a “chick flick”? Because ladies don’t go see movies like “Godzilla” (even though they were more than 40% of the opening weekend audience)? What’s the criteria for making a movie worthy of worrying about gender roles?

    it makes sense for Ford to be male because the majority of boots on ground combat troops are male.

    “Majority” =/= “all”. But more on point, Ford’s military expertise never made any sort of difference in the plot, outside “built-in excuse for him to follow the action around in the third act, even though the military doesn’t work that way.” Between that and Taylor-Johnson’s horrendous performance, Ford was a shit choice for a protagonist.

    Once you’ve established what Ford’s gender is, he’s going to be a more important character than his wife because of his direct connection to the power plant incident

    That has nothing to do with his gender. There’s no reason you can’t swap the two characters. Either could have been Cranston’s adult child. You could even keep the gender essentialism of “soldier = man, nurse = woman” and swap the roles. But there’s no reason to do that either.

    (Not that we should be surprised about all this gender essentialism. The set-up of Monsters, Gareth Edwards’s claim to fame prior to this film, is a man sent to go escort (read: babysit) is boss’s daughter. Edwards even has the nerve to have his main character complain on how stupid that is, and then went ahead and made the film like that anyway.)

  • Robert P

    Bobby, you’re starting to become boring.

    You beat me to it sport.

  • Robert P

    Further, as I recall this isn’t the first time you’ve started going down the road of hurling insults. You lose.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I lose? But I trained so hard for the big game, coach!

    Besides, I haven’t even tried to insult you. Patronize, maybe. Condescend to, perhaps. But not insult. I save that for the truly vile and dangerously stupid. You’re just not as clever as you imagine.

  • Robert P

    And furthermore, speaking of unrealistic – why do we never see Godzilla road apples?

  • Danielm80

    It would make critics’ job too easy?

  • Robert P

    It wouldn’t even require suspension of disbelief for a movie to give us
    female soldiers and male nurses, because those things actually exist in
    not insignificant numbers!

    As an FYI – “soldier” isn’t synonymous with combat soldier. There are few females in the US military specifically in direct combat positions, though as I understand it the military has recently been experimenting with it. I’ve been trying to find specific numbers, so far haven’t come up with any.

    There are some that can do it but if all females were required to meet the same physical standards as males in basic training you’d have a fraction of the women that are serving in the military at all.

  • LaSargenta

    Combat these days — in our (US’s) conflicts — is rather fuzzy. Due to the ‘new’ ways of war, there are not clear battle lines, and anyone in the military or private security firms can become a combatant.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh yes, do walk straight into that minefield, won’t you? It’s ever so relevant and there’s no way you could end up saying something cluelessly sexist.

  • Robert P

    there’s no way you could end up saying something cluelessly sexist.

    Which part is clueless sport – that only recently has the military considered allowing females in combat-specific positions or that the physical standards for males and females are different?

  • Bluejay

    There are some that can do it

    And therefore a female combat soldier as a main character would not require a suspension of disbelief, just as MaryAnn says.

  • Robert P

    US Army Infantry – MOS 11B – it’s exactly the same as when I was in and long before I was in.

    “Capture, destroy and repel enemy ground forces during combat”

    Nothing fuzzy or ambiguous about that. Your job is to engage the enemy and kill them.

    The Army website specifies that it’s not open to women – ergo the total number of females currently designated as intantry is -0-.

  • Robert P

    There are some that can do it

    What I was talking about are the physical standards. While I’m sure there are any number of female athletes who could do it, there are few female enlistees who could pass the male physical standards. It doesn’t require one to be an elite-level athlete but it’s not a cakewalk either. I would guess most hardcore jock females are likely doing other things than enlisting in the military.

    And therefore a female combat soldier as a main character would not require a suspension of disbelief, just as MaryAnn says.

    My further research has revealed the reality is combat MOS’s aren’t currently open to females so it would be fiction. Apparently it’s still in the “under consideration” stage. There are no females in combat infantry positions or in Special Forces.

  • It’s clueless because it’s all completely beside the point. The Aaron Johnson characters bullshits his way into a military scenario where he has no business being: he’s just wandering around and decides to attach himself to the military stuff that’s going on. And what he does is nothing that falls under “Capture, destroy and repel enemy ground forces during combat.”

    And whatever you want to argue about women in the military or not in the military at equal levels, a female soldier who is capable of kicking whatever ass is required to be kicked — or capable of doing a technical job like defusing a bomb! — is still *much* closer to reality than a giant freakin’ lizard.

  • Bluejay

    I’m reposting this link, which I posted earlier in this discussion. It’s to an article by Janine K. Spendlove, an author and Marine who argues that every lead character in Godzilla, including Ford, could have been played by a woman. In the movie Ford is an Explosives Ordinal Disposal technician, which Spendlove points out is a role that can be filled by women in real life, including this one. And Spendlove ends her article with a photo of herself in uniform and saying: “Just for funsies, hey Hollywood, this is me 14 years ago… guess what? I’m pretty sure you could have gotten away with putting some women in uniform and handed them rifles in Godzilla. Just sayin.”

  • Bluejay

    Correction: That should be “Ordnance” Disposal.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Dude, I’m trying to wave you off the minefield. I’m trying to help. But it’s not my job to point out the individual mines. I’m sure you’ll find them just fine on your own.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Ford wasn’t infantry. He was an EOD specialist, a job which is open to women. Of course, his specialty didn’t actually matter beyond trying to put him in with the action, and frankly he should have been CBRN specialist. But, in terms of the credibility of gender-swapping the role, it took me literally 2 minutes to find that link above.

  • Bluejay

    a female soldier who is … capable of doing a technical job like defusing a bomb … is still *much* closer to reality than a giant freakin’ lizard.

    Not only is it much closer to reality, it IS reality.

  • Robert P

    I just find this particular film to be a really poor choice to get worked up over an issue like gender assignment. There’s no way to prove this but I’ll bet if they’d made Ford a female your gripe would be “yeah, but they only deign to show a female in a totally ineffective role”. As it turns out, Ford isn’t even particularly competent since it never occurred to him to stop the bomb timer mechanism using an alternate method.

    As a priority, what would have made it a better film far more so than having a female in the Ford role would have been a complete re-engineering showing the character – and the military – being *effective*.

    I partially take that back, Ford did put 2 & 2 together and destroy the MUTO nest.

    Btw, since there *are* females in this MOS apparently the word has gotten out.

    I think there are better targets at which to aim any Girlpower ire. Are you really all for encouraging females to be in the military given how the US military has been utilized recently?

    Given the pointlessness of the military operations in the film I half wonder if it was a statement on the wars in the middle east.

  • Bluejay

    I just find this particular film to be a really poor choice to get worked up over an issue like gender assignment.

    As a reminder, MaryAnn’s original post was a very positive review of the film, with just one paragraph out of seven pointing out the gender issue, while also acknowledging that addressing it doesn’t necessarily fix the other problems with the writing.

    And there is no film in which it is inappropriate to ask for fair representation. If Ford’s gender was switched, feminists would have an extra reason to praise the film, while people who aren’t invested in the gender issue won’t like the film any less (since, as Gravity/Hunger Games/etc prove, people will see a well-made, entertaining film regardless of the gender of the protagonist). So fixing gender issues in any film means a problem is addressed, the film remains enjoyable (if it was enjoyable to begin with), and everybody wins. Unless you’re sexist, of course.

    As a priority, what would have made it a better film far more so than having a female in the Ford role would have been a complete re-engineering showing the character … being *effective.*

    The gender issue and the effectiveness issue are two separate writing problems, whose solutions don’t negate each other. Addressing one or the other, or both, would have been great.

    Are you really all for encouraging females to be in the military given how the US military has been utilized recently?

    1. Females already ARE in the military; as has been pointed out, Ford’s job is open to and performed by women in real life.

    2. Might as well ask: Are we really all for encouraging women to run for Congress given how corrupt and ineffective Congress is? Are we really all for encouraging women to run for President given that presidents go back on their promises and sometimes steer the country in the wrong direction? Are we really all for encouraging more women to become CEOs given all the shitty things that corporations have done?

    The answer is YES. Women aren’t fragile flowers who have to be protected from “the dirty work that men do.” Giving women an equal seat at the table is a SEPARATE issue from getting institutions to act the way they should.

  • I just find this particular film to be a really poor choice to get worked up over an issue like gender assignment.

    Tough shit. You don’t get to make that call.

    Girlpower ire

    Way to minimize and dismiss an important social and cultural issue.

    Are you really all for encouraging females to be in the military given how the US military has been utilized recently?

    As long as the military is offering options to men — travel, education, adventure, excitement, job opportunities, and paths to better things — then hell yes, women should have those opportunities, too.

    But “encouraging”? I’m not “encouraging” anyone to do anything. WTF?

  • Robert P

    Tough shit. You don’t get to make that call.

    To find it a poor choice? Sure I do, just as it’s your choice to get worked up over it. There’s a long list of things “wrong” with this movie that merely swapping genders wouldn’t fix.

    But “encouraging”?

    Not that you’re recruiting for the Army but how else would one interpret your insistence that they could and should have made Ford a female – which is what you’ve said you would have done? What are you saying if not “ladies, you should view this as a viable path for you too dammit.”

    The “adventure” the Army has been offering in recent history is being a pawn in harm’s way for a government with dubious motivation and competency.

  • LaSargenta

    Bobby, you’re starting to become boring.

    Yes.

  • Robert P

    1. Females already ARE in the military

    Nothing new, my basic training company was co-ed. My co-drill sergeant was female.

    Women aren’t fragile flowers who have to be protected from “the dirty work that men do.”

    This is a highly individual thing. Many women have no interest in doing “man work”. I could probably count on one hand the number of females I’ve met who were in the least bit interested in working under the hood of a car.

    I think my ex-wife never quite forgave me because I pestered her into changing the oil in her car once just to demonstrate it wasn’t as hard as she seemed to think it was, that there was no fundamental reason she couldn’t do it. The fundamental reason was she hated doing it, though I was hoping she’d say – “hey this is kinda cool”. To me working on a car is fun – my experience is females generally find it to be greasy, nasty and unpleasant. You’ll run across a few who enjoy it.

    So fixing gender issues in any film
    means a problem is addressed

    “Fixing”? Showing a man in a role that men occupy in larger numbers than women – over 84% according to the Army website – doesn’t make it any more fundamentally “broken” than it would be to show a woman in the role.

    I think you’re assuming Hollywood has more of an impact on this than it actually does. Military recruiters have a presence on high school and college campuses all over and their job is to encourage anyone they can to consider the military.

  • LaSargenta

    I just find this particular film to be a really poor choice to get worked up over an issue like gender assignment. There’s no way to prove this but I’ll bet if they’d made Ford a female your gripe would be “yeah, but they only deign to show a female in a totally ineffective role”.

    Any movie is worth examining for gender issues — except perhaps ones that require specific anatomy, like the retelling of Dangerous Liasons by Michael Lukas http://www.movli.com/movie/dangerous-liaisons-179752dangerous-liaisons-179752 . I suggest you watch that movie, I find it cheers *me* up…you seem to be rather sulky, what with your grumbling assumptions about other people. We are here (in a general sense) to discuss the movie, you prefer to make enormous assumptions about stories and our host so that you don’t have to actually discuss what’s on screen.

    “Girlpower”, eh? O_o

    Your last paragraph, though, is an appropriate sort of musing for this site. Good for you.

  • Bluejay

    Nothing new, my basic training company was co-ed. My co-drill sergeant was female.

    Exactly. So don’t female soldiers, who you very well know exist in reality, deserve to see representations of themselves onscreen?

    Many women have no interest in doing “man work”.

    And many women DO. If we encourage women to consider work in traditionally male-dominated fields, and some women say “no thanks” while other women sign up of their own interest and free will, what business is it of yours?

    Showing a man in a role that men occupy in larger numbers than women … doesn’t make it any more “broken” than it would be to show a woman in the role.

    What’s wrong with showing a woman in the role? It’s not a distortion of reality. Such women exist, and deserve to have their stories told no less than the men. It’s not wrong to point out that this movie, while it may be good (depending on the critic), also predictably employs a male perspective we’ve seen a million times before, and that switching up the gender would be new and interesting and possibly lead to new perspectives and fresh story possibilities.

    I think you’re assuming Hollywood has more of an impact on this than it actually does.

    I don’t know whether films (or critics) have any impact on anyone joining the military. But the people who are ALREADY THERE deserve representation. It’s safe to say that the men are already extremely well-represented. But as you admit, you’ve worked with several female soldiers; so why are they completely absent from this film?

  • Bluejay

    What are you saying if not “ladies, you should view this as a viable path for you too dammit.”

    How about: “Since the military employs women as well as men, military movies should show male and female soldiers”?

    How about: “Since the main character’s job is done by men and women in real life, and therefore the main character’s gender doesn’t matter in this story, why not make her a woman”?

    How about: “We’ve had countless movies about male soldiers, but very few (if any) about female soldiers, and so it would be interesting to see one”?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Let the record show that this is the post where you officially cross over to “arguing just to argue”. To wit:

    I just find this particular film to be a really poor choice to get worked up over an issue like gender assignment.

    You’ve already said as much. Not that this kind of intellectual incuriosity is particularly compelling, mind.

    As it turns out, Ford isn’t even particularly competent…

    …what would have made it a better… would have been a complete re-engineering showing the character – and the military – being *effective*.

    These are points made by others, in some cases to you.

    I think there are better targets at which to aim any Girlpower ire.

    And there goes one of those landmine I was talking about. Told you you’d find them.

  • Bluejay

    There’s a long list of things “wrong” with this movie that merely swapping genders wouldn’t fix.

    So what? The gender issue is still worth pointing out. No one is claiming that it’s the ONLY thing wrong with the movie.

    Transformers 2 (from what I’ve read; I haven’t seen it) had a lot of things wrong with it besides racist stereotypes. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to get upset about the racist stereotypes just because there was OTHER fucked-up stuff in it.

  • Robert P

    Okay.

  • Robert P

    How about: “We’ve had countless movies about male soldiers, but very few
    (if any) about female soldiers, and so it would be interesting to see
    one”?

    Ever
    seen G.I. Jane? There’s a pivotal, early scene where there’s an
    operation going on and she interjects her opinion recommending against
    how the ranking officer is going approach establishing communications
    with a SEAL team after a problem arises. She adeptly reads the
    situation, basing her recommendations on solid technical knowledge of
    communications and a thorough understanding of how the SEAL team
    operates, showing a more precise grasp of the situation and
    contradicting those in the room who disagree with and outrank her.
    Ultimately it turns out she’s right and communications are established.

    *That’s*
    the way to show a military female who has her shit together – i.e.
    exactly the same way you’d show a male with their shit together. In
    comparison, the Ford character in Godzilla is a cartoonish joke who
    doesn’t give anyone much reason to offer praise.

  • Robert P

    Girlpower ire

    Way to minimize and dismiss an important social and cultural issue.

    Actually, that wasn’t my intention – just a turn of phrase to label it.

  • Danielm80

    And if Olsen’s character had been written as a “female who had her shit together”–whether as a nurse or as a soldier–we wouldn’t be having this argument.

    Eight days ago, MaryAnn wrote:

    I don’t want to assume things about women characters are doing offscreen. I want to see their actions affecting and directing the story.

    She was responding to your comment, in which you implied that the character of the nurse was fine as written.

    Congratulations, you have now successfully proved MaryAnn’s point.

  • Bluejay

    Ever seen G.I. Jane?

    As soon as I wrote “movies about female soldiers,” I knew, I just KNEW, that you would mention G.I. Jane. It’s the “But what about Alien?” of military movies.

    Anyway, yes, a movie about a female soldier who has her shit together would be great. But again, you are confusing two issues: (1) the fact that the central character is male when he doesn’t have to be, and (2) the fact that the central character is written as ineffective. We are talking about (1), not (2).

    It would be great if ALL characters were well-written, whether male or female. But whether or not that’s the case, having more women as lead characters is a good thing in and of itself, because women still need more visibility as active, central characters in our popular stories, not just as supporting characters to motivate the male heroes.

    To put it another way: I agree with you, but I’d take it further. Rewriting Ford’s character to be effective would be a definite improvement. Rewriting Ford’s character to be effective AND A WOMAN would be even better, for the reasons I’ve mentioned.

  • Bluejay

    So, since we’ve been discussing the gender issues in Godzilla downthread, I found this in the Telegraph:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/10825700/Godzilla-why-the-monster-movie-has-no-heroine.html

    It could all have been different, according to director Gareth Edwards, who conceded that women play secondary roles in the film. “We had a version of the screenplay that had a heroine in the film … But you’ve got to pick a hero and we ended up with a male, and then everything supports the hero in some way. But I totally understand what you’re saying. My favourite film like this is Alien, or Aliens … If we get lucky and there’s a sequel or anything like that, then I very much take [the criticism] on board.”

    Is he fucking kidding? He says the original screenplay had a central heroine, then “ended up with a male” BECAUSE REASONS. Then vaguely promises “to take the criticism on board” if he gets a sequel. Then SAYS “BUT ALIEN WAS GREAT!”

    Bullshit. And hilarious!

    And another review I skimmed mentions an interesting bit:

    Had this film reversed [Taylor-Johnson’s and Olsen’s] roles, it would have been a much more interesting film–and joined the fine tradition of Godzilla films with badass female soldiers as their leads.

    As I’ve said before, I’m not familiar with other Godzilla films. But if those films had no problem having badass female soldiers as lead characters, then that makes THIS film’s absence of strong females suck even more.

  • Many women have no interest in doing “man work”.

    And many men have no interest in doing “man work”. And many women have no interest in doing “woman work”.

    Please stop totally derailing this thread.

  • No, you’re not getting it, Bluejay. Women’s concerns are basically never worth talking about, because reasons.

  • *buzzz* Referring to a nearly 20-year-old movie to suggest that there are plenty female soldiers onscreen? You lose.

  • It doesn’t need a dismissive label.

  • Robert P

    No, referring to it as a far superior example of how to showcase a female soldier than Godzilla could have possibly done responding to Bluejay’s assertion that it would be interesting to see a film featuring a female soldier. Not in this film it wouldn’t be. What would be interesting about it? Stick a female in the role and instead of an all but useless male soldier you’ve got an all but useless female soldier.

    Even if they do make a sequel and put a female soldier in it, if the story isn’t crafted any better then so what?

  • Bluejay

    I answered this already. You keep not hearing it.

    I think I’ll exit this circular discussion, but here’s one last suggestion: Since you feel pretty strongly that the gender concerns about Godzilla are misplaced, how about you go express your opinion over at Janine Spendlove’s website? You know, soldier to soldier. I would be extremely interested to see what she has to say about your argument.

  • An “all but useless female soldier” would still be a step in the right direction.

    Why do you object so strongly to a female protagonist? I mean, if it’s all the same anyway (according to you)?

  • Robert P

    As soon as I wrote “movies about female soldiers,” I knew, I just KNEW, that you would mention G.I. Jane. It’s the “But what about Alien?” of military movies.

    Completely unrelated – “What about Alien?” is regarding complaints about a lack of female central characters. I’m using G.I. Jane as an example of a movie where it’s well done.

    Rewriting Ford’s character to be effective AND A WOMAN would be even better

    And even better if they’re a minority…..and gay….and….

    It would only make it “better” to someone who carries a particular agenda flag.

    Btw, on the issue of female combat soldiers, found this interesting editorial written by a female Marine.

    http://www.westernjournalism.com/the-problems-of-women-in-combat-from-a-female-combat-vet/

  • Danielm80

    I’m not sure why you think that citing a sexist, poorly-thought-out article helps your argument. But then, I’m not sure why you think promoting tolerance and equality is a radical agenda.

    Our other agenda–if you want to call it that–is promoting movies with original, well-written characters, people who aren’t stereotypes. You seem to agree that that’s a worthwhile goal, since you praised G.I. Jane for doing that.

    Olsen’s character doesn’t have to be a soldier to be an intriguing person who contributes to the story. But a woman who voluntarily faces the sorts of obstacles mentioned in the article might be a really interesting character to see onscreen.

    Also:

    http://youtu.be/3jWOamlD9_8

  • It would only make it “better” to someone who carries a particular agenda flag.

    Sorry, but straight white maleness is NOT neutral. Advocating that it’s not necessary to see more women in central roles in mainstream movies is an agenda, too.

  • Robert P

    I’m not sure why you think that citing a sexist, poorly-thought-out article

    It was written by a female Marine with firsthand military experience. What branch did you serve in?

  • Danielm80

    Her military experience may be impressive, but her logic isn’t. It’s possible to be knowledgeable about a subject and still draw obviously erroneous conclusions. Her articles are a combination of victim-blaming, bizarre generalizations, and unsupported arguments.

    As Bluejay has pointed out, repeatedly, Janine Spendlove has served in the military, she was disappointed by the portrayal of women in this movie, and her logic actually tracks.

    Also, Spendlove’s comments are relevant to the discussion, which–until you tried to derail it–was about the portrayal of women in a particular Godzilla movie. Since women are already serving in the military, the link you cited has no impact on this conversation and–I suspect–very little impact on military policy.

  • Danielm80

    And by the way, your arguments are starting to remind me of this quote from Toni Morrison:

    https://twitter.com/ethiopiennesays/status/485824729870110723/photo/1

    The function, the very serious function of racism, is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language, so you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly, so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Someone says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.

    When we say that we’d like to see a well-written female character in a movie, you say, “But women shouldn’t be serving in the military,” or, “But the male soldier is also badly written,” or, “But Godzilla isn’t as good as G.I. Jane.

    You keep trying to distract us from the actual argument. Maybe it’s because you have no argument.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Because female Marines are incapable of writing sexist or poorly thought out articles? Because only servicemembers can critique other servicemembers’ writing? C’mon, you’re not remotely this stupid, are you?

  • Robert P

    Why do you object so strongly to a female protagonist?

    Have no objection at all to female protagonists. Not sure what I said that indicates that.

    An “all but useless female soldier” would still be a step in the right direction.

    I should point out something that strikes me as curious. You lambasted Final Fantasy – which while it has issues imo is a better film than Godzilla – and was groundbreaking technically. Whatever else you might say about the film, the female protagonist in FF is competent, courageous, has the courage of her convictions. You sure didn’t see that as a step in the right direction – you seem to be applying a different set of standards here.

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2001/07/final-fantasy-the-spirits-within-review.html

  • Danielm80

    A “competent, courageous” female protagonist may be a step in the right direction, but that doesn’t automatically make her an interesting character, and it doesn’t guarantee that a movie about her will be worth watching. If the character is treated as a sex object, or if she has no personality other than bland competence, she’ll probably come across as a cliche, and she’ll probably be incredibly boring.

    She may still, however, be more interesting than Olsen’s character in Godzilla.

    There have been times, in the history of movies, when a brave, skillful woman was extremely rare. In some ways, we’re still living in those times. When there’s marginal improvement–as in Final Fantasy–that’s worth applauding, but it doesn’t mean the work is complete.

    I’ve quoted Toby Ziegler before on this site: “Half full, half empty? Can we at least agree it’s not full yet?”

  • Robert P

    Okay

  • Robert P

    Her military experience may be impressive, but her logic isn’t.

    So the branch you served in is the Armchair Army.

  • Robert P

    This bit of scripted propaganda from The Left Wing, er, I mean The West Wing is has nothing to do with anything I’ve brought up.

    But since you bring it up, there was a guy in our unit who was always going on about rights for gays in the military – it was pretty clear he was gay. His impact on the unit? He hit on a few guys, ended up having a public canoodling session in a hot tub with someone in the presence of some of the others in the unit who had no idea they were about to do this. This display cleared the others out of the hot tub. I believe he got booted out eventually.

    This clown who made a lot of noise about gays in the military demonstrated exactly why they can be a problem.

  • Bluejay

    Uncalled for and irrelevant. By your logic, you aren’t qualified to criticize MaryAnn’s reviews, because you’re not a professional film critic yourself.

  • All right, that’s enough of this. Everyone has made their points. Let’s let this drop.

  • Danielm80

    He wasn’t a problem because he was gay. He was a problem because he sexually harassed people. Heterosexual men have also sexually harassed people–many, many times. This might indicate that they’re unfit to be soldiers, but not because they’re heterosexual.

    The men he harassed–whether they’re straight or gay–shouldn’t be removed from the military. They did nothing wrong. And removing women from service because someone might harass them or be attracted to them makes equally little sense.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Aw and I had this lovely response that Disqus ate after my internet went down. Ah, well.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    FFS, that was 13 years ago. Would you claim that everything you say right now, today, is perfectly logically consistent with everything you said 13 years ago? Of course not. Different set of standards, indeed. As if the standard of film criticism was anything more than, “Does this film work for me?” Seriously, dude, GTFO of here with that.

    To make no mention that a critical review is a description of what about a particular film struck that critic at the time that she wrote the review. Any film critic will tell you – and I know this from several critics writing about the subject – that they may well revise their opinion of any film, were they to go back and review it again, but who the hell has time for that shit?

    That’s at least 3 logical fallacies out of you in just the last couple of days. You should just quit while you’re so far behind.

  • Robert P

    Really?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, not really. I’d be happy for you to continue to troll the thread. Helps me pass the time as we get into the dog days of summer. And if you continue to do so as inanely as you have, I won’t have to work to find the bad arguments. Hell, if you keep up this passive-aggressive schtick you’ve started on, I won’t even have to come up with follow ups.

  • Guest

    Dr. Rocketscience is truly a legend in his own mind.
    And despite the assertion of the critic, I think you are entirely able to understand how storytelling works, you only mortal sin is to disagree with her and her coterie of regulars! :)

  • Dr. Rocketscience
  • LaSargenta

    Or even how regulars who aren’t Dr. R. never disagree…http://www.flickfilosopher.com/2011/04/thor-review.html#comment-204836783

  • I do not appreciate my regular readers and commenters being insulted by anonymous cowards. Quit it. And don’t do it again.

  • Danielm80

    The funniest part is that, right here in the Godzilla thread, Bluejay and Dr. Rocketscience both disagreed with MaryAnn’s review. MaryAnn responded to one of Bluejay’s points by saying, in essence, “You’re right. Fair enough,” and making a good-natured joke about it.

  • Bluejay

    Yep. It’s possible to disagree with a reviewer’s judgment of a film WITHOUT insinuating that there’s something wrong with the reviewer’s taste, mindset, philosophy, critical skills, personality, etc.

    It’s also possible to criticize the assholish tone and/or flawed reasoning in a commenter’s argument against a reviewer’s opinion, WITHOUT necessarily defending the reviewer’s opinion itself. And it’s possible to defend a reviewer’s position on SOME aspects of a film without necessarily agreeing about the ENTIRETY of the film.

    Nuance! It’s lost on some.

  • Wilchbla

    You shoot for demographics. The majority of Godzilla fans are white males 18-45 who only want to see giant lizard carnage. They don’t care about “equal rights” or empowered women.

  • Wilchbla

    Well, you can wait to watch your Godzilla on LMN (Lesbian Manhaters Network)

  • Bluejay

    OK, let’s talk demographics. Women were 42% of Godzilla’s audience. Not a majority, but almost half. Considering that movies with strong female roles tend to make more money (see above link), that women make up 51% of the population, and that 52% of moviegoers are women, blowing off the interests and concerns of roughly half your potential audience looks like a pretty dumb move.

    I would also venture that claiming white male Godzilla viewers don’t care about seeing empowered women onscreen would be pretty insulting to a lot of those men.

  • Wilchbla

    blah blah blah…you can quote all the stats you want. I’m in the real world. Try attending a G-Fest and see how many women you find. Notta. It’s all white guys. The 42% women at a Godzilla movie are there because their husbands or boyfriends drug them along. The “strong woman” shtick has become a formulaic bore in Hollywood.

  • Bluejay

    Right now, the “strong woman shtick” is making Hollywood more money than the “ignore women shtick.” By not featuring strong women, Godzilla probably left some money on the table. Like I said: dumb move.

    Try attending a G-Fest and see how many women you find. Notta. It’s all white guys.

    You’re proving my point: they’re leaving money on the table. Why wouldn’t these films and festivals want to draw white men AND women AND people of other races? These G-Fests aren’t secret Klan meetings, are they? If a Godzilla film had stronger female characters, would all these white guys go, “No way!” and stop attending G-Fests?

    Having “strong women” in movies doesn’t mean you lose, bro. You still get the films you like, except now more women might like them too. Win-win. Unless, of course, you just don’t want women to like the same things you like. But that would just be sad and crazy, and I’m sure you’re not that kind of guy.

  • Wilchbla

    You know what my sister complained about when see saw the last Godzilla movie? No strong woman lead? Nope. Not enough Godzilla. As did every other woman I know that saw it who weren’t feminists. The strong woman lead has been done before in Godzilla movies. And you know what? Nobody cares.

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