Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Godzilla (*1/2)

Directed by Gareth Edwards


In 1995, during the Fourth of July Weekend, Roland Emmerich's Independence Day dazzled moviegoers with the grandiosity with which it chose to destroy the world. Los Angeles? Boom! The White House? Zap Bang! The Statue of Liberty? Toast. As seemingly juvenile as Independence Day may have seemed at the time, twenty years later it is clear how much of a landmark that film has become. And rightfully so; the film's screenplay is a masterpiece of character study balanced with buildings bursting into balls of flame. No movie before (or since, really) ever had such a dedication to major city destruction. But by 2014, I've become fatigued. We watched The Avengers beat Manhattan to a bloody pulp, we watched the Kaijus and Jaegers turn Tokyo into their own personal boxing canvas in Pacific Rim; even Emmerich himself has destroyed the world so often that he's directed himself into the self-parodying joke of Hollywood action movies. Emmerich was also the director of the 1998 Godzilla film which turned America off of the subject matter so badly that it took sixteen years for another one to pop up (an eternity in today's climate where franchises are rebooted just a few years later - even if the one previous was good). This new 2014 version of Godzilla - directed by new-ish filmmaker Gareth Edwards - is more mature  (more Chris Nolan-y) with a bevy of proven acting talent. It's definitely different from the '98 film in every conceivable way. And yet, it seems just as arbitrary.