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Godzilla '14 Retrospect - Three Years Later

Godzilla '14 Retrospect - Three Years Later

G. H. (Gman)

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283

Posted Jul-04-2017 12:22 PM

After picking up the Power Rangers movie on Blu-ray, which is almost improving with every viewing, I had a desire to revisit Edwards' take on Godzilla. I suppose the reason was that I noticed both movies held back on the type of action we expect from these films and dive in to other story facets. The result was not inspiring. Much of this I aired on Twitter last night, but I thought it might be worthwhile to put it all together and post for discussion.

I hadn't seen Godzilla '14 for almost a year, so I was fairly disappointed to see the movie isn't aging very well. I can still enjoy it, but I'm reminded of what another fellow fan I'm usually at odds with said about it in 2014, "In the long run it'll be remembered as a boring movie." The comment isn't without merit, especially in the wake of Godzilla 2 being shot. I simply don't feel a lot of passion or emotion for the film.

It's a movie that's becoming less appealing with time. It's not bad by any means, but less notable in the wake of more Godzilla. Godzilla '14 was all we had after ten years so everyone grasped on to it like it was the Holy Grail. Now we have Shin Godzilla, three anime films on the way, two more sequels coming and likely more... There's simply a lot more to leech onto now. We had a ten year drought, so anything would have seemed like a godsend. But fans no longer have to hail it quite as highly since more is here/coming. As a result, Godzilla '14 has lost some of its standing.

I'm glad we have Godzilla '14, for sure, but the honeymoon period has long since ended. Godzilla's back, but the franchise can do a lot better--And it has done a lot better.

A lot of people, including myself beat a dead horse about the lack of Godzilla, but even IF the fandom agreed that cutting from the title character over and over was a good idea there's still nothing for the movie to fall back on for support. For example, watching Godzilla a few days after the new Power Rangers movie was a particularly polarizing and sobering experience because, while both have a lack of title character(s) action, Godzilla suffers from it a great deal more. My favorite moments in Power Rangers are quieter and somber--The campfire scene. The "I'd trade my life for you," moment. They resonate without action because the characters interact and work so well to create an emotional base the audience connects with. Whereas Ford in Godzilla doesn't interact with enough characters throughout to create a sense of emotion. He inspires no great love for himself or other characters from the audience.

But even if you don't agree with my Power Rangers comparison, as I understand that in of itself is a polarizing film, lets step back into the Godzilla franchise for a moment. Would all of these cutaways in Godzilla '14 have mattered if I had been in love with the characters? I usually cite my favorite Godzilla film as Monster Zero--A movie that has the least amount of Godzilla screen time in the entire series. But no one ever talks about that aspect of the film. No one notices it. It just doesn't matter because Godzilla was used liberally in the time he was on screen and, more importantly, I adore the characters. I watch Monster Zero FOR the characters. They drive the movie. They make the movie churn and bend. They ARE Monster Zero. So had Godzilla '14 made the same cuts, but with a cast I fell in love with and was invested in, this retrospective might be quite different.

I think the most that can be said for Godzilla '14 is it brought the franchise back. (And in terms of my recent viewing I finally found a picture setting for the North American Blu-ray that allows me to actually see what's going on in the film.) Otherwise I find it's stagnating after three years. It's a middling movie with decreasing value and I sincerely hope we get better in the future--But even if we do, it certainly won't help this film's reputation.

23 Responses to Godzilla '14 Retrospect - Three Years Later

EmptyH

Jul-04-2017 12:51 PM

I saw it once and have no desire to see it again. I believe, like Pacific Rim, the film chose the wrong character as the protagonist. 

Host of the podcast Giant Monster Messages where we watch EVERY giant monster film and look for the messages.

G. H. (Gman)

Jul-04-2017 12:53 PM

Man, sucks that the source coding messed that original attempt to post it so badly. All fixed now.

The Bootleg Rebellious

Jul-04-2017 12:54 PM

I like it, monster action could have been better tho.

Godzilla Generations was a beautiful game! I loved the fact that there's a laser cannon inside of Dr. Serizawa's eyepatch.

Lord Tyrannos

Jul-04-2017 12:55 PM

Liked it, still do

Facehuggers

Jul-04-2017 1:15 PM

I have very similar opinions on the film, G. H. (Gman).

However, my biggest complaint is that the climax at the end is way too dim! I hope they bring back the broad daylight kaiju fight scenes from the Godzilla Versus series back in the 1990s.

Nevertheless, well-written review! Upvoted!

G. H. (Gman)

Jul-04-2017 1:34 PM

^Even though six out of seven of the 80s/90s movies included climaxes that took place at night. ;)

Admittedly, I had an easier time watching the climax of the movie since I found a worthwhile video setting. Still, it otherwise wasn't a very exciting experience due to the reasons I specified above.

Lord Tyrannos

Jul-04-2017 1:35 PM

Facehuggers I liked the dim lighting. Makes scenes more dramatic.

The Bootleg Rebellious

Jul-04-2017 1:37 PM

I think they should have made the scene brighter.

Godzilla Generations was a beautiful game! I loved the fact that there's a laser cannon inside of Dr. Serizawa's eyepatch.

G. H. (Gman)

Jul-04-2017 1:44 PM

The lighting issue is largely just a problem with the Blu-ray. It didn't look that dark in theaters and the Toho Blu-ray is brighter as well.

Im Durp

Jul-04-2017 2:29 PM

I think a few watches ago the movie kind of leveled out for me. It's still ok but mostly due to the strong first act.

 

It will probably sit in the lower middle area for me in terms of g movies. 

Huge-Ben

Jul-04-2017 4:14 PM

I tried to watch this film last week and actually fell asleep on it. Watched it today and nothing has changed.

I appreciate the film for bringing Godzilla back but, the film is so boring. Max Borenstein can not write characters worth anything. Aaron Taylor Johnson's character is one that I can not feel anything for. He tries to incorporate a character that has no emotion but "hide my inner emotions."

I know the main criticism of the film is "there's not enough Godzilla screen time" but, it's not really the screen time that counts. It's what you do with it. 

The story is more bland than anything. Two of the greatest actors were killed off way too early and brought down the film. The build up was seemingly great in the first viewing but, it becomes less dramatic. 

2014 is surely a middle of the road film at best. The characters had nothing to really connect with other than Bryan Cranston. 

While the monster fighting was decent, the climax was nothing too spectacular. Sure, it's a nice monster finish but, Godzilla vs Biollante and Godzilla 2000 incorporated that finish long before 2014 with the "kiss of death" that's highly overpraised.

All in all, 2014 is a bit better than some films, but compared to what Ishiro Honda has done along with Shusuke Kaneko and Hideaki Anno, the film falls short. 

I'm glad we have it but, it's not my go to film. Hopefully Mike Dougherty makes a film a lot more promising. 

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morgoth9899

Jul-04-2017 5:13 PM

I like it, but I do admit that the character development was mediocre, Cranston dying 40 minutes into the film was ridiculous seeing as how he was marketed as being the lead, and those cutaways were frustrating; I have NO CLUE what Edwards was thinking there. I have a feeling that this movie will level off over time as far as people who like it and dislike it. As for me I liked it May 16, 2014 and I still like it now even though there are things in it that could've been done better.

The King of the Monsters

Jul-04-2017 6:24 PM

There's nothing I can say about the movie that hasn't already been said. I was very stoked on it after it came out, and I still hold some deal of admiration for it for being the end of the 10-year drought and helping to reinvigorate the franchise. I like the film, and I doubt that will ever change, but my enthusiasm for it has waned upon repeated viewings. There are a few great standout moments in the film, and even its weaker aspects are handled better than what some of Hollywood has to offer, but with Shin Godzilla and the promise of many more upcoming films, Godzilla '14 is becoming more and more of an afterthought in my mind.

I do like the film, and I do appreciate its place as the first successful American Godzilla film, but I'm much more interested in the upcoming sequel, which I hope is a noticeable improvement in many aspects, and in Toho's upcoming offerings, namely the anime trilogy. Not to mention I still find a great deal of enjoyment in the rest of Toho's Godzilla library, and am more likely to go back and rewatch any of those films than G14.

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The Legend of Brian

Jul-04-2017 8:21 PM

I agree, I think the biggest claim to fame Godzilla 2014 will have is that it brought the franchise back, not necessarily being a great entry in the franchise though. It's like that line from Prometheus, "Big things have small beginnings." Godzilla 2014 is the start of an era of Godzilla films, one where both America and Japan are able to reach the farthest reaches of the fan base as well as attract new fans to the franchise and possibly make this time the largest growth in popularity for Godzilla yet. Godzilla 2014 did what it had to do, plant the seed and bring the franchise into its next evolution, even if there were some growing pains. 

JurassicPark93

Jul-04-2017 10:18 PM

Even though my thoughts on this film decreased slightly, I still love it. Though I do agree it has some big flaws (Not a lot of Godzilla, ATJ is mediocre at best, slow 2nd act, killing off Bryan Cranston), but the good far outweighs the bad (Awesome music, visuals, cinematography, Cranston's performance, final battle, creature designs, 1st act). I still hold a lot of respect for it for revitalizing Godzilla after a decade of nothing, and I think it's a good start to the Monsterverse. 

JurassicNight

Jul-04-2017 10:45 PM

Heavily agreed, if Cranston was the main character then the whole thing would of panned out a lot better. It says something when I find GMK more exciting and entertaining then a movie that came out 3 years ago.

G. H. (Gman)

Jul-04-2017 10:49 PM

^I don't think it says that much--GMK is head and shoulders a better movie and widely agreed as such. I think it says more that I find movies from 40-50 years ago to be more engaging and worth my time.

Emperor GorillaGodzilla

Jul-05-2017 6:21 AM

In terms of a retrospective, coming from me who was a massive G 14 supporter in 2014 when it came out--I do have to admit it doesn't hold up well. The actors cast beside Bryan Cranston aren't given good roles, or positions for the film. And the 2 hours of dialogue diminish the final battle's effectiveness to draw your attention. G 14 just doesn't hold up well to me anymore.

 "An Empire of power for many, an Empire of hope for most."-MSE

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Jul-05-2017 9:38 AM

I still like the 2014 movie, though that there's the characters to think about that some did an ok job and some didn't. The monster sequences were good. I liked the tone, but overall though, it was still good for me.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Jul-05-2017 9:42 AM

To add also, I just wish they never cut away from the monster scenes when the buildup to them was good to where it led back to some characters.

Lord Tyrannos

Jul-05-2017 7:25 PM

Well I don't like it as much as I used to. It doesn't hold up as well as something like the original '54 film.

JurassicNight

Jul-05-2017 9:25 PM

Gman- Yeah I kinda realized that early today, I posted that late last night, I was tired. But I do agree with how the old Godzilla's, which are from the 50's, 60's, and 70's, are more exciting and interesting then one made a few years ago. 

TrapZilla

Jul-20-2017 10:12 AM

     Cranston should have been the main character of that movie, and should still be the main human character of the Monsterverse. He's freakin Heisenberg. It failed on Godzilla action, Godzilla fainted like a big ole wussy, and it was so damn boring. I blame Gareth Edwards.

Power Rangers, Pacific Rim, and Kong were all better movies. I expect KOTM to top them all though.

All right all right all right

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