Cinematic Confabulation v2

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Re: Cinematic Confabulation v2

Postby Ideal » Fri May 16, 2014 9:50 pm

Beedo Sookcool wrote:too much time spent on the humans and not on the monsters. .


its been a very long time since i watched any of the original Godzilla movies, but hasnt this always been the case?
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Re: Cinematic Confabulation v2

Postby JamesLynch » Fri May 16, 2014 11:30 pm

Yes, yes it has. The best Godzilla movies incorporate the human action into the monster action. The movie is about these giant creatures attacking civiliazation and how people deal with the threat. The worst, like Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, seem to have two separate films going on, one about humans and one about monster battles, that only occasionally intersect. But there's always been a great focus on humans in the Godzilla films. It sometimes bugged me as a kid, because I just wanted to see big monsters fight for a couple hours, but as I grew up I realized that that's not enough to sustain a story. It didn't help that a lot of the Godzilla movies I was seeing were from the 60s and 70s, when things had gotten outright goofy. Godzilla himself is really not a character, but a force of nature (or a metaphor for man's destructive capabilities, but that's neither here not there), so he has no story arc. Someone else in the film has to.

I haven't seen the new movie yet, but I'm anxious to see how it goes. If nothing else, it seems to have a lot more reverence for the source material than some previous American adaptions.
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Re: Cinematic Confabulation v2

Postby Beedo Sookcool » Sat May 17, 2014 5:05 pm

Oh, yeah, there're great little blink-and-you-miss-'em homages and in-gags scattered throughout for people with sharp eyes. I'm sure I only caught a small fraction of them.

They probably could've cut up to ten minutes' of human footage out and still had a decent "human connection" story. Or they could've put an extra ten minutes' worth of monster footage in. Or both. As it is, it felt more like a "Hey, we can do Cloverfield, too, but with licensed monsters and a bigger budget!" effort, and it just didn't quite hit the mark.

It's not what I would call a bad film, just one that didn't quite live up to the hype and expectation in my eyes.
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Re: Cinematic Confabulation v2

Postby JamesLynch » Sat May 17, 2014 11:03 pm

Having now seen the film, I can say that, as a lifelong Godzilla fan, this didn't quite satisfy me. It wasn't the human story, that was to be expected. It wasn't even the lack of monster battles. The final fight almost made up for the lame cut-aways throughout the rest of the film (almost). But, look, I understand the slow build, but once the monster's revealed, that should be it. The gloves are off. Cutting away from the action like that just left me wondering if maybe they didn't have the budget for another minute or two of CG monster battles. The original Godzilla movie featured a slow burn, teased lead up to the reveal of the monster, but after he showed up, they had an 8 minute sequence where he went nuts on Tokyo. They didn't have him show up, then cut to a news report, and then it's the next day.

The two things that made the film somewhat unsatisfying for me:

1) Too little Godzilla. What was Godzilla's motivation in this? What did he represent? He was some sort of benevolent monster who existed in this narrative only to combat the more malevolent monsters. The filmmakers have said that the theme of the film was man vs nature, and man's arrogance at thinking they can control nature, but was that theme really presented well? Sure, there were some monsters representing nature that made things rough for humanity, but then this other monster comes in and takes them out. Is the theme then, "man's arrogance at thinking he can control nature, but don't worry, nature will balance everything out anyway?"

The real protagonists of the film were the humans, and the villains were the MUTOs, so Godzilla was just kind of there. He showed up after the MUTOs, and didn't get as much screen time, and didn't have as much purpose to the story.

2) The tone was just jarring. The filmmakers have said they were going for a film closer in spirit to the 1954 original, and while this film certainly did go for a more somber tone than many monster movies, it seemed to pull plot elements more from the 70s era films, when Godzilla was a noble protector monster who, while maybe not a friend to mankind, only seemed to show up to tear things up when there were even meaner monsters to fight. This Godzilla shrugs of the Army's attacks without any retaliation, and then allows the Navy to tail him across the ocean. It's like they wanted to make a darker, PG-13 Godzilla, but also wanted the monster himself to be nice and kid friendly.

For a project like this, I was really hoping for a more definitive interpretation of Godzilla, and really I felt like what we got was a big budget entry into the Millennium series; a weird alternate universe version of the Big G, who's sort of an homage to the original while representing whatever the filmmakers felt like that year, if anything, and mostly just being a big thing for the human characters to react to.
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