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Why the new "Godzilla" will be fantastic...


Here's where you'll find things that annoy me and things that I feel like ranting about.

Why the new "Godzilla" will be fantastic...

JJ Mortimer

May 16's "Godzilla" will be great.  And there are quite a few factors that will make this inevitable.  First, I would like to get the potential negatives out of the way.

NEGATIVES going for the film:

1) Director Gareth Edwards is completely unproven in Hollywood, having only the low-budget indie horror film "Monsters" to his credit.  Handling a big budget summer tent-pole like "Godzilla" may be too big a horse for him to rein in.

2)  Many audiences still have a bad taste with the "Godzilla" name, and not just because of the Dean Devlin/Roland Emmerich 1998 slaughtering they put on the screen.  The original TOHO-produced "Godzilla" films have been a butt-end-of-the-joke for many American audiences, especially those who never quite got that (aside from the very first, black-and-white 1954 film) the films were never meant to be taken seriously and were intentionally campy.

And now, the POSITIVES going for the film:

1)  The trailers have been fantastic, focusing on the less-campy, more destructive nature of that original 1954 classic.

2) The Godzilla creature design is more in line with the original, and far away from the "Jurassic Park"-inspired, midget version from the 1998 film.  The scale of the creature is also enormous, as it should be.

3) The fact that relative newcomer Gareth Edwards is directing the film may just be the injection of life the suffering franchise needs.  Look at how well Marvel has chosen directors and writers for their "Avengers" universe films.  They picked relative unknowns in most cases, and the results have been astounding.  I feel the same may be the case here with Edwards and Warner Bros. taking a risk with him.  He needs to prove himself.

4)  Japanese production company TOHO, the ones responsible for the original "Godzilla" films we watched as children, signed off on this American production - USUALLY a good sign when the original creators give their blessing (and also quite uncommon with all the remakes and reboots being produced since the early 2000s).

5)  The cast, including "Breaking Bad" star Bryan Cranston and Oscar-nominated "The Last Samurai" star Ken Watanabe, looks fantastic.

6) Oscar-nominated cinematographer Seamus McGarvey shot the film.  He is also known as the cinematographer for Marvel's "The Avengers", which is great because he knows how to shoot action that the audience can actually see, and doesn't normally rely on an overabundance of shaky cam.  His use of color and lens techniques is also quite refreshing in such a digital-heavy age of film making.

7) Six-time Oscar nominated musical composer Alexandre Desplat is scoring the film.

8) Overall, the quality behind the camera - the men and women supporting director Gareth Edwards - are top notch hard working people.

9)  The film is being released on the 60th anniversary of the original film.

10) Most importantly, I'm excited to see it, which means there is an 87% chance it will be great.

I have no doubt the film makers and producers over at Warner Bros. got the film right this time.  But, as with any film with a good trailer, let's just see the film and check on the quality for ourselves.  A good trailer does not a good film make.  But damn, if that trailer isn't fantastic!

Lastly, here's a piece of movie review gold written by the legendary late Roger Ebert, in response to his viewing of the 1998 "Godzilla":

"One must carefully repress intelligent thought while watching such a film. The movie makes no sense at all except as a careless pastiche of its betters (and, yes, the Japanese Godzilla movies are, in their way, better--if only because they embrace dreck instead of condescending to it). You have to absorb such a film, not consider it. But my brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome."