"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MINI REVIEW: GARETH EDWARDS' "GODZILLA"
Run, Do Not Walk to See This King of Monsters!

ギャレス・エドワーズ監督の『ゴジラ』は大成功だ!


The very striking Imax 3D poster for Gareth Edward's kaiju spectacle!

NO SPOILER ZONE: This past Monday, I attended a press/advance 3D screening of the highly-anticipated return of the King: Edwards' GODZILLA (2014), produced by Legendary Pictures. Until the film is released this coming weekend, I will be holding off on my full-blown review, which will discuss the film in far more detail. So, there will be no spoilers this time around — I will just state that GODZILLA is a must-see spectacle, which is light-years beyond the Roland Emmerich film, from the opening titles to the end credits. The crowd gasped, cheered, and pumped their fists into the air numerous times, and enthusiastic applause and thunderous hoots exploded as the screen faded to black.

Without giving away anything, Edwards' interpretation of the monster is also largely atypical of similar, braindead blockbuster Hollywood productions, and doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator in its execution. Fiercely character driven, GODZILLA's narrative and drama unfold in the tradition of the best of director Shusuke Kaneko's benchmark kaiju eiga, GAMERA 3 (1999) and GMK (2001). The visual effects are gorgeous and dynamic, and sometimes truly frightening — but it never veers into Michael Bay territory. The source of much pre-release debate, the pair of enemy monsters, designated "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms" (MUTOs), are highly evocative of Japanese kaiju design, and are one of the film's many highlights.

With some minor — I repeat, minor — reservations, Gareth Edwards' GODZILLA is a certified champion of modern monster movies. In the words of the legendary "Creature Features" host, Bob Wilkins, "I think you're gonna like it."

9 comments:

Chuck Horne said...

Awesome. Thanks for your post. I'll be seeing it in less than 30 hours and am truly excited!!!

August Ragone said...

Chuck,
Thanks, I hope you enjoy it!

Cheers,
August

Jim Belfiore said...

But if somehow Ishiro-san and Eiji-san were seated in front of you during the premiere, what do you think you might you have heard them say, after the film was over?

Steve Rotterdam said...

Was always looking forward to this, but my enthusiasm was tempered by nagging doubts. But with the Ragone seal of approval, any trepidation has disappeared!

Stevezilla said...

Saw it last night. Incredible. Simply incredible. I agree with you: Everyone RUN to see this movie!

Scotty Irving said...

I enjoyed it, too! I was so afraid I would not!

Steady Phil said...

Ugh!!! Want to go with the wifey. Yes, I said that. Haven't seen it yet though. Good feedback. She and I both want to see it. What can I say, we are children of the 70s, product of the 80s...gotta go see it!!!

Phil @ cheap Godzilla toys

Michael Raught said...

I liked most of the Japanese films much better. But it was a good film. It felt like a Godzilla movie and looked like a Godzilla film.

Corporate Suit said...

I was greatly disappointed with the film. It should have been called "Saving Private Brody" starring Godzilla. Just too much human drama and not enough monster ass-kicking.