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The Godzilla Thread (Contains spoilers)

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http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3844

It's had the best opening of any film in 2014. But we will have to see how word to mouth affects it.

Godzilla has a lot in it's favor. Great looking film, attractive cast. well directed with some really clever touches, and it get's it's title character right.

There will be people who will complain that Cranston, touted as a major reason why this film might be great isnt the main character, and dies about 40 minuets in.

Interesting that his character doesnt even see Godzilla, has no idea he is out there etc etc.

Also, his death just...kinda happens. The bridge he is on collapses. We only see it from a distance, and he doesnt actually get a traditional death scene.

For those that were looking forward to seeing Cranston flex his considerable acting prowess and charisma, I can see why this is a bit of a let down. The character, ultimately has little impact. Either emotionally or on what happens in the film.

That's an other aspect of the film that is very unusual in any big Hollywood blockbuster. The characters and their actions are almost completely redundant when it comes to the plot mechanics of the film. They exert very little influence on events.

I'm convinced that this is a deliberate decision on the part of the film makers, who depicted Godzilla and the two MOTU as forces of nature, like earthquakes, tsunami's and volcano's. Their power far to awesome for man to have any effects on them.

This is, as far as I can determine the only effect the human characters have on the events in the movie:

-The scientist/military cover up the truth and do not attempt to destroy the two MOTU, leading to the destruction seen in the film in the first place.

-The military rig a nuke that can't be shut down by EMP, to destroy the monsters. the radioactive signature of the nuke draws the two MOTU to it, which in turn draws Godzilla.

-Ford Brody stumbles upon an egg chamber and burns it down. This is actually the biggest human action in the film. It's also one that barely gets any attention in the film.

For the rest, all the humans are basically bystanders, trying to make it out alive.

While this is interesting, and very much true to the spirit of Godzilla. Which is about how man is powerless against the forces of nature. It is something that doesn't work very well dramatically.

So the film follows a set of characters who can mostly do nothing and watch, like the audience in the cinema. Or how we watch the footage of a destruction on CNN.

But because that would make for a very boring film, they have a set of characters who are put in the epicentre of the chaos and destruction. The Brody family.

However film is very artificial in how it deals with this. In a film that tries not to be too Hollywood, here it goes the other way and becomes very very obvious.

Joe Brody has a deep personal stake in finding out what the "government" covered up 15 years ago. So he and his son break though the forbidden zone and witness the birth of the first MOTU. Why is it born then and there? Because the Brodies are there. Or did they just happen to appear there at exactly the right moment? Fate?

Ok It's a monstyer movie, it doesnt need to be realistic. I have no real problem with this.

But the film does this over and over again.

Ford Brody goes to Hawaii, the monster turns up there. (leading to a scene where he must save the life of a little boy he befriends, but who is no longer important to the film after he does so, and disappears)

After that the MUTO's and Godzilla slowly make their way to San Fransico. Why? Because that's were Brodies wife and son live. Who both nearly get killed by the monsters...

I guess they could have gone anywhere else in the world, but that's not when the lead characters wife and kid lives.

I wonder if this explains the name of the family. Brody. Obviously an homage to the characters of the Jaws film. In the sequels to Jaws, everywhere the Brody family goes, they come across a massive great white. The same happens in Godzilla.

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I guess they could have gone anywhere else in the world, but that's not when the lead characters wife and kid lives.

There is a funny moment in the film when they talk over the phone and he tells her: "I'll get you out of there". But... the city is not under siege, she could leave at any moment. There was plenty of time for that.

Karol

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I'm convinced that this is a deliberate decision on the part of the film makers, who depicted Godzilla and the two MOTU as forces of nature, like earthquakes, tsunami's and volcano's. Their power far to awesome for man to have any effects on them.

This is what makes Dr. Serizawa's (Watanabe) line "Let them fight" all the more powerful. The whole time he's convinced that human interaction will have no affect. The military does what you would expect them to, but in the end, this is what makes it a Godzilla movie. Only Godzilla can correct this.

To your other point about Ford Brody always being conveniently in the exact right place, this is a completely common plot device so the audience can follow the action while still having an anchor. I find no issue with this. I feel like you're over-analyzing it.

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Why? It's not as much a review as it is a discussion.


I guess they could have gone anywhere else in the world, but that's not when the lead characters wife and kid lives.

There is a funny moment in the film when they talk over the phone and he tells her: "I'll get you out of there". But... the city is not under siege, she could leave at any moment. There was plenty of time for that.

Karol

Well indeed. The whole "I'm coming back and rescue you guys" motivation of Ford Brody is sketchy at best.

Why does his wife send away her son with a work friend? Because Ford promised he would come back! It's the typical "wife in waiting plot device" But why put yourself in danger, further separate the family by sending your son away?

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There's a quick line that the friend says, something about "your mom needs to stay and help". Since she's a doctor (or nurse) I took this to mean that she's staying more because she knows she'll be needed at the hospital than just to stick around to wait for her husband.

They could have fleshed that out a bit more so it was obvious she had other reasons to stay behind.

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If you're standard for this type of blockbuster is Transformers or Pacific Rim, then probably.

Please, give audiences some credit. This film has huge problems. The trailers made it look far more interesting if anything.

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I'm not taking credit away from the entire audience; this film is getting mostly good reviews with positive feedback. There are certainly areas for improvement in this movie. However, it does not hail from the short-attention-span school of film making. This is an atmospheric, artistically shot, old-fashioned monster movie that doesn't seem to be created these days.

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But you are suggesting that anyone who finds this boring has a short attention span. This is a 110 minute movie. It's not long. I watch many films well over that length and they keep me enthralled. Truth be told, I don't watch many modern blockbusters, especially at the cinema. I had hoped this would be a cut above, hence why I was looking forward to. I was mistaken. I found it to be as soulless and poorly-conceived as any summer blockbuster of recent times.

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The film isn't given enough credit for accomplishing the balance between classic kaiju films and modern blockbusters. You have to make a certain compromise in order to attract more audiences. Also, I don't give a damn about flat characters in a Godzilla film.

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So (I haven't seen it yet) this Godzilla is in the same league with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, for example? Immersive, thought through, true to its source, but with a modern angle (but still having plot holes which you notice on subsequent viewings)?

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While I don't think the characters were very well written, I thought it didn't really matter much in the context of the movie. And I don't mean because its a stupid kaiju destruction movie. Most of the characters are there as the ears and eyes for the audience. You see things unfolding from where they are, and in that sense their badly written characters don't really matter much. For the first 40 minutes we are stuck with Cranston as we the audience are also anxiously waiting to get to the bottom of the mystery. Once he dies the the lead is shifted to his son, whose main purpose is to be where the action is so that the audience is able to experience it too.

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When the characters in a movie are just an excuse for the filmmakers to put the audience into the scenery, there must be something missing. Let's call it the human factor.

Remember? Exactly the same thing was a huge problem with 'War of the Worlds' and even 'Children of Men'. You certainly feel all the action, but the people you're watching have no real story, no purpose and after an hour it goes nowhere.

When you compare all the toon characters in the original 'Jurassic Park' to the lifelike characters depicted in 'Jaws', it's clear that it takes more than a big animal to make a serious monster film.

I you don't want to make a serious monster film, but a fun one - different set of rules.

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That is basically the slight flaw the film has. It's epic scope and very dark tone makes it seem like it wants to be a great film. While in essence it just wants to be a great monster movie, and nothing more.

There is nothing essentially wrong with that. But I had the nagging feeling that the film could have been more then that.

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I can't fathom why many people who like the film are conceding that the human characters are flat, but suggesting that it doesn't matter. When the film spends as much time with them as it does, of course it matters. Cranston was showing everyone else up acting-wise, and once he died I didn't care about any of the other characters. And when I don't care about them, I can't care about the situations they find themselves in.

I've seen comparisons to Jaws in terms of not revealing the creature until fairly late. The difference with Jaws was that you had three superb actors occupying the central human roles and a great script, so you could quite easily get away with that.

And with regard to the above comment I thought Rise of the Planet of the Apes to be far superior to this, even if they are very different films.

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Oh I agree!

But Jaws is a GREAT film, not just a great monster movie.

Also...i'm gonna say it...

Cranston wasnt all that brilliant. I mean he was fine. But didnt bring anything to the film that a 100 other actors of the same age could have brought to it.

Sorry...

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Agreed on Cranston. He wasn't anything special. In fact he had a couple of overacting moments...

Also I'm not suggesting that the characters shouldn't have been better. Of course they SHOHLD be. But in the context of a Godzilla movie I daresay it has less of an impact.

And I'll happily admit I'm one of those who see the deficiency in characters and writing in Jurassic Park and still consider it one of the best movie going experiences ever due to its unparalleled sense of awe.

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It was bizarre. When he was in the helicopter and they said "we're losing him" I thought 'Oh they're doing all this dramatic shit, he'll be fine no doubt". Then the next scene we see them zipping up the body bag. I couldn't believe it. It was just so casually done. The film kind of lost me from there.

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Yeah. Up until that point it looked like Cranston was gonna be the lead, and they really just disposed of his character.

It's like moving from Marion Crane to Norman Bates without the awesome shower scene.

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When the characters in a movie are just an excuse for the filmmakers to put the audience into the scenery, there must be something missing. Let's call it the human factor.

Have you ever seen a Godzilla film, other than the Emmerich crap? If you talk about "own set of rules", then please consider the Godzilla rule book.

Characters don't matter. Godzilla matters. Other monsters matter. Cool scenes matter. Why would anyone criticise flat characters for example in Terror Of Mechagodzilla? Why would anyone in this film?

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Maybe that is the films biggest problem, if you can indeed call it a problem.

It wants to be a great Godzilla movie, It's not very interested in being a great movie.

I can agree with Gyver that Godzilla is a great monster movie, where a lot of the criticism raised isn't particularly relevant. Like criticizing a Bond film for not being realistic isnt very relevant.

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But you are suggesting that anyone who finds this boring has a short attention span.

I'm not meaning to imply this at all. The reaction has been overall very positive both during the film and afterwards. There are moviegoers that just won't enjoy this, you can say that about any film, including ones that are almost objectively deemed "great". I'm harping on the idea that the film industry may feel compelled to make hyper-edited manic action films under the belief that they're overcompensating for something in their audience that isn't there. It's just amazing to me how noticeably different this movie was compared to other recent blockbusters.

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It was bizarre. When he was in the helicopter and they said "we're losing him" I thought 'Oh they're doing all this dramatic shit, he'll be fine no doubt". Then the next scene we see them zipping up the body bag. I couldn't believe it. It was just so casually done. The film kind of lost me from there.

This. Very much this.

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I just got back from the movie. I thought the soundtrack had quite a few missed opportunities. I think Desplat's lack of compositional traiining is becoming evident on huge budget films. Most audiences won't notice but it is like a chef who covers their recipes with butter, sugar, and garlic. 95% of people will find it delicious but other chefs will recognize the lack of skillfull deployment of the various elements and techniques and the artists disposal. I do believe Desplat's more advanced and smarter than most film composers working today, but I prefer the days of Goldsmith/Williams/Rozsa, etc. You won't find it here. You will find substantially better "monster" music than we've heard in a long time. Just imagine how great this score could have been with Goldenthal, Davis, or Horner. The two big issues I have are the lack of memoral melodic material and the lack of vortiosity in the composition. Yes, yes, a cluster can be effective for monster stomping but it doesn't show skillful use of the elements of music. Some will say, who cares, but that goes back to my analogy of chefs cooking with butter, sugar etc. This could easilly have been written by Giacchinao in his Star Trek score or Ramin Djawadi in Pacific Rim. Ultimately forgettable and full of missed opportunities with an unnecessarilly large orchestra since it is closely mic'ed. Characters were pretty lame. Special effects were very solid. Story was as expected...basic monster mashup. Think "Indepednence Day" meets "Pacific Rim". A fun mindless flick but no sense of structure nor ingenuity. I had hoped for more but shouldn't have expected it.

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It may not be the smartest monster movie out there -heck I don't think monster movies are even supposed to be all that smart, especially if we consider the Harryhausen-pictures influence on definining the genre, and I'm a gigantic fan of these type of movies, in particular The Beast of 20,000 Fathoms and 1 Million Years B.C.- but I do feel this one is a little smarter than the rest. It has more than one moment of intelligence, and personally I didn't like Pacific Rim at all, but this, man... This I enjoyed from beggining to end.

I do agree that it's got some problems, mainly in the script because the direction is fantastic. Seriously, is almost Spielberg good on that area. It also falls a little flat on the acting, and killing Cranston was a bad decision, at least killing him so early on. If there was a character we could follow as an audience and end up adoring by the end of the film it was him. But like Pacific Rim, it kills some important characters almost instantly. For example, killing Cranston's wife so quickly was also a bad decision. How can we relate to Brody's loss if we don't get almost no screentime with her? You got the generic happy scenes at the beggining and boom, she's gone. That was unfortunate scripwriting.

I kept thinking about Jurassic Park when watching this film, the homages were quite clear and so enjoyable, I just couldn't help but smile like a fool when the blue helicopter appeared against the green jungle. And the decision to barely show the monsters in full shots was brilliant, absolutely fantastic. In an age where filmmakers abuse of showing absolutely everything, this film knew what to show you and what to keep in the shadows. The Jaws influence is extremely clear, but Jaws has one of the greatest trio of characters ever put on film, and in Jaws case it's not so much a story about the shark, it's about them. That's where the film succeeds. In Jurassic Park is like Spielberg didn't care too much about the characters because he felt the dinosaurs were the stars. But still, I enjoy the characters of Grant, Malcolm and Hammond a great deal in the film. They're not exactly the most three-dimensional group out there, but they're quite likeable and they have story arcs, albeit basic, but they have them.

In Godzilla we lose our Grant very early on, and we don't have any other strong personality to compensate that. Brody's son is just an average hero and the actor doesn't really emote much, although one has to wonder if that's a problem that comes from the script or the direction of the actors. And then, there aren't really any other main characters. Maybe Ken Watabe could have taken the reins, being the closest to what Cranston was looking for, but he doesn't emote much either... And he isn't that interesting as a character either. I do agree that Cranston overacted a little at times, especially during the screaming scenes he had before being killed.... And there's another thing, he could have died directly at the hands of Muto (I loved his design by the way, and the little moment where the male and the female bonded was brilliant, giving the notion that these monsters aren't good or bad, they're just animals) and at least there we had a stronger motivation for his son. Not a revenge plot, mind you, but at least as we liked Cranston, we would have wanted to follow his son a little more. But we end forgetting about Cranston a couple of minutes after he's gone. Sadly, a waste of a great actor.

Apart from that I enjoyed this movie inmensly, both Muto's were awesome, Godzilla was absolutely kick-ass, the cinematography was delicious, and the music worked surpisingly well on screen. There were a few moments where I wish they would have gone more silence-based for an entire scene, like the T-Rex escape on the first Jurassic Park movie. But still, it was great fun. And thank god Godzilla didn't die! For a moment I was thinking "No! They can't end it like this!" and thankfully they didn't -although I suspected he wouldn't die from the last track on the soundtrack. When Godzilla went back into the ocean, credits rolled with full-on Desplat music roaring through the speakers, I can sincerely say I left the theater feeling enourmosly satisfied. I can't recall the last time I had such a good time on the movies.

8/10

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"My training in music has been very eclectic," Desplat says, "as first a flute player from classical chamber music to jazz, Greek, Brazilian and African music to contemporary concert music." But amongst his influences, perhaps the most surprising is one of the high priests of European modernism, composer .

"Being Greek," Desplat explains, "my mother had recordings of Xenakis' Persepolis — and at the time, his music seemed to be coming from another planet." But Xenakis took a strange hold on the young Desplat. "Years later, while I was studying with Claude Ballif at the Paris Conservatoire, I took a summer initiation into Xenakis' sound machine, the UPIC."

A bit of background here: Xenakis, an architect and engineer as well as composer, built a computer system called UPIC — the Unité Polyagogique Informatique du CEMAMu; CEMAMu is in turn an acronym for Paris' Centre d'Etudes de Mathématique et Automatique Musicales, where he built the tool. UPIC translates images and graphs into sound.

Desplat says that such far-flung musical interests have shaped his work for the big screen. "Music for films allow a great deal of diversity," he explains, "and the more you widen your skills, the better you become."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2011/07/18/138466449/alexandre-desplat-creating-color-for-harry-potter

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Desplat's lack of compositional traiining

Hmm... that's news to me.

Desplat's lack of compositional traiining

Hmm... that's news to me.

Same here.

My bad...I must have gotten that wrong. I thought I recalled him saying he didn't read music somewhere but I can't seem to find that to be true.

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Pretty sure it's Zimmer who can't read music or at least isn't classically trained in music.

He's not classically trained. At this point, it's hard to imagine that he doesn't have some facility with score reading at least, but no, it's not a part of how he works.

Using what language of notation, squiggles?

Using computers. If you can come up with ideas and play them, that's all you need to be able to do now. The ability to translate ideas into standard notation is made redundant by technology.

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