Sunday, September 14, 2014

W.B. at the Movies: Godzilla

Well, now. THIS is how you tell the story of a creature massive enough to level cities who encounters and battles other massive creatures that are in the process of leveling cities.

Godzilla, which arrives for Blueray and DVD on Tuesday, is the most fun I’ve ever had watching the big lizard on the big screen, and I daresay it’s the second-best Godzilla movie ever created. The first one, of course, will always be the greatest.

I confess that is faint praise from me. I have been unimpressed by the vast majority of Godzilla movies, which too often treat the giant monster as some sort of campy superhero. After the dark awe with which he is treated in the original Gojira, it’s been like watching the 1960s Batman TV show after experiencing the Dark Knight in his greatest graphic novels.

No more. In this film, at least, Godzilla the terrifying force of nature is back.

And the moment of the big reveal is the best Godzilla moment ever, bar none. After building the suspense and introducing the “bad” monsters, the scene where director Gareth Edwards first introduces the title character is an incredible thrill. That’s quite a trick – we all know Godzilla is going to show up eventually, but Edwards manipulates his audience to the point where I found myself poking Red like the excited little kid I felt like and saying, “Here he comes!! It’s Godzilla! Godzilla’s here!!!”

I don’t totally buy Edwards’ shtick that Godzilla is some sort of godlike being passing judgment on us all, and I will always prefer the magnificent Ishiro Honda version best. But for what it is – a high-budget retelling of the monster versus monsters shtick – it’s incredibly good.

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