The Blockbuster Report
This weekend, Godzilla arrived at cinemas for the first time since the 1998 flop. Godzilla has been on my radar since they first announced it, and it did not disappoint. The special effects were surreal, the storytelling reminiscent of classics like Jaws and Cloverfield in that you certainly feel Godzilla’s presence before you see him. There’s a slow building drama in play here, where, try as they might, the human race can only stand and watch as titans from another age duke it out for Earth’s future.
If you’re going to take an iconic character as big as the King of the Monsters and bring him to the big screen, there’s a certain level of expectation you need to deal with. Moviegoers expect films that don’t rehash old plots, films that make sense in their universe, and films that respect the characters they know and love. This Godzilla story fits that bill. The story, while grounded in fantasy, is also grounded in reality. Why would Godzilla help humans? Why does he disappear? Where does he go? Where do these monsters come from? We don’t get some hokey explanation, we get a scientific one, with enough cover-ups to keep the viewers engaged, while not losing them in too much intrigue.
The monsters themselves are amazing, and they certainly take over the film in more ways than one. Bryan Cranston delivers an amazing first act as the desperate father looking for answers, but halfway though the film, the humans are not that interesting. That’s not to say the performances are poor. Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, David Strathairn, and the rest deliver solid performances, but this film is all about the monsters. With such a great cast, it is a little unfortunate that they don’t get to show off their acting chops, but the grand finale more than makes up for it. If you like monster movies, or action movies, or natural disaster movies, or simply just like having fun with a new incarnation of one of the most iconic movie characters of all time, you’ll have a great time at Godzilla, and likely get goosebumps when you finally hear him unleash his trembling roar.
Rating: 8/10 Stars
Million Dollar Arm was the other film in wide release. Its a decent enough flick, but it lacks the charisma that makes sports films like Moneyball, Friday Night Lights, and Rudy instant classics. In limited release you’ll find Chinese Puzzle, the final film of the Spanish Apartment trilogy by director Cédric Klapisc, The Immigrant, a film with a good premise, but severely bogged down by unneeded sexual content, Half of a Yellow Sun, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, which tells the story of the Biafran War in Nigeria, A Night in Old Mexico, a new Robert Duvall western that has him playing a classic Duvallian curmudgeon, and finally, Wolf Creek 2, a sequel that doesn’t live up to the first installment.
Must See: None
Worth Your Time: Godzilla, Half of a Yellow Sun
Meh: A Night in Old Mexico, Million Dollar Arm
Stay Away: Chinese Puzzle, The Immigrant
Where do They Come From?
- Godzilla: Adapted from the Godzilla mythos
- Million Dollar Arm: Original, written by Thomas McCarthy (Up, Win Win)
These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely.
International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. This weekend’s releases not included. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.
DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.
1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( – )
2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier ( – )
3) The Lego Movie ( – )
4) Blue Ruin ( – )
5) Locke ( – )
6) Chef (NEW)
7) Veronica Mars ( – )
8) Joe ( -2)
9) Gimme Shelter ( -1 )
10) Belle ( -1 )