Godzilla Is Great, Even Though The Dark Knight Ruined Blockbusters

Remember when you could go to a movie about a rampaging dinosaur and not have to justify liking it? Simpler times.
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Remember when you could go to a movie about a rampaging dinosaur and not have to justify liking it? Simpler times.

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Fuck The Dark Knight and fuck Christopher Nolan, he has ruined how people talk about blockbuster movies and what people expect from them. Hans Zimmer’s brooding scores, dialogue laced with cod-philosophy, A FUCKING OSCAR, and now a big summer movie has to somehow do more, or if it doesn’t have the good grace to do that, it must take the piss out of itself.

So you get your polar ends of the spectrum – Man Of Steel, Henry Cavill staring wistfully into a cornfield wondering “hey, like, what if I don’t wanna be Superman huh?”, and you get Pacific Rim, Idris Elba shouting something about The Apocalypse and Rock-Em-Sock-Em robots going at it in the bloody sea. I know which I’d prefer, but anything that tries to do both gets shafted.

Which brings me to Godzilla, the latest big summer blockbuster that’s taking a bit of a hammering from some prominent critics. People don’t like it, it seems. Or that is to say, critics don’t like it. Peter Bradshaw didn’t anyway. Thought the emotion wasn’t there. The emotion! This isn’t fucking Sophie’s Choice!

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Godzilla is, essentially, a bloody massive wrestling match between primordial moth monsters – Mutos – who’ve emerged from their earth core cocoon to fuck each other and lay waste to civilization, and Godzilla himself, who we are told is an ancient primordial alpha predator designed to restore order. Fine, I don’t care. You could have told me he’d come from fucking space with action sequences this good. The characters play second fiddle to the monsters and rightly bloody so. Imagine coming out of Godzilla and thinking “God Elizabeth Olsen, why isn’t she getting Jennifer Lawrence’s parts? Such nuance”. No! You come out of Godzilla thinking “That was like watching The Hardy Boys fight Big Show”. Without giving too much away, Godzilla’s finishing move is, by far and away, the greatest finishing move of all time.

That’s not to say the acting isn’t good. It’s as good as it needs to be. For a couple of scenes Bryan Cranston makes you think that it’s ok that Philip Seymour Hoffman’s dead, because at least Cranston will get more work now. Ken Watanabe strides around saying mystical things in a Japanese accent, which I’m well into. Sally Hawkins rocks, because she’s Sally Hawkins. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is fine, just fine. But actually, really genuinely, who cares?

Let’s clear this up: Godzilla is brilliant. If you don’t like a gigantic primordial dinosaur rampaging through San Francisco to fight two other gigantic primordial beasts to the death, then I don’t know what you want out of LIFE, let alone movies! Movies were BUILT on this kind of wonder, this pure spectacle. Huge sets, incredible monsters, staggering feats of human ingenuity, limitless possibilities! Whether it’s handcrafted cities in Metropolis or Gareth Edwards’ great, hulking, beautiful interpretation of the classic beast, these are stories that can only be told on screen. If you want something more, something worthy that’ll make you feel intelligent but that’s actually about as deep as a puddle, then Interstellar is out soon I think. McConaughey’s in that, you like him now that he’s stopped doing rom-coms eh?! It won’t be as good as Godzilla.

Follow Harry on Twitter, @CmonHarris