Sunday, September 28, 2014

Outlander / Godzilla

No, I'm not insane, merely distracted. (That's what I tell myself anyway.)  I've been meaning to write a review of the latest Godzilla film that's now out on video.  And after last night's season finale for Outlander, I want to at least comment on it.

So first to Outlander.  The Starz network has done a brilliant job translating the first book in this best selling series to television.  It's a quality production all the way and a pleasure to watch.  The season finale ended last night on a HUGE any good continuing series.

It's due to be back in early April and I for one will be waiting. 

Okay on to Godzilla (known to the Japanese as Gojira...)  Does anybody remember the line from the version starring Matthew Broderick? The plucky young would-be reporter gets the info on the monster currently attacking NYC and her smarmy anchorman boss steals it, going on the air calling the monster Godzilla.  For which the plucky young lady screams at the tv, "It's Gojira, you moron!!!"

Don't get me wrong, I loved this most recent incarnation of Godzilla, but at times felt like screaming "it's Gojira, you moron!!" to the television screen. Japanese actor, Ken Watanabe, actually does call him Gojira in this film. Of course everyone else calls him Godzilla.

Bryan Cranston opens the film as the harried engineer working at a Japanese nuclear facility where his wife, played by Juliette Binoche, works.  There is a terrible accident in which she is killed and he is crazed for the rest of his life determined to find out why.

Thus begins this saga of the King of Monsters.  Poor Gojira/Godzilla is always misunderstood by the puny humans around him.  Turns out, he's really the good guy, protecting humanity from the real monsters, these spider/rodan/batwing(at least the male) creatures who feed on radiation.  The original Godzilla film was produced in Japan as a cautionary tale against the use of radioactivity which caused Godzilla to mutate into the giant creature he is.  In the US we had a series of movie monsters created by "the bomb", too, most notably the giant ants (or aints if you're from the south) in "Them!" I wonder what happened to the little girl who screamed out the title, "THEEEEEEEMMMM!"  I bet she's even older than I am...geez, the mind shudders at the thought.

Back to the point, this Godzilla movie is the usual fare, lots of stomping over cities and people.  Only this time, the monsters attack Honolulu first causing a tsunami realistically portrayed.  There's a brave dog running from the wave but you don't see what happens to him.  I was upset by that.  I mean you expect people to get crushed, but not a dog.  Geez.

Then in an almost Biblical turn, the monsters head for Las Vegas and lay waste to the modern Gomorrah.  It seems all the US's radioactive waste is buried out in the desert near there.  So the spider beings are attracted to that.

Did I mention there's a male spider monster AND a female one? She is wingless but almost twice the size of the male.  Plus, she's carrying eggs....gross shots of those.

The special effects are spectacular.  I wish I'd seen it in a movie theater, but it's still impressive on my flat screen. There is a huge accident with a speeding train that gets grabbed by one of the bad monsters.  The train is flaming like an inferno and is stripped off a high bridge in a scene reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter.

Anyhow they keep moving until they end up in San Francisco where Godzilla fights both spider monsters.  The spider monsters are completely uncaring about the cityscape and decimate parts of San Francisco, including a huge chunk of Chinatown.  That is where the final battle is fought.  Great shot of Godzilla roaring with his head between Chinese lanterns that are strung between buildings.

Godzilla wins in the end and roars before he walks into the sea and disappears.  Of course he's a hero at the end and the stunned populace watches him walk out to sea, knowing he'll return when he's needed.  Very Japanese version in the end.  That's the way he was viewed in their films.  I mean sure he stomped towns and cities but always in a good cause when he fought other monsters like King Kong, Mothra (remember the little high voice twin women who would sing to Mothra to wake him?)

If such movies are your cup of tea, you'll like this Godzilla.  It's got enough action to satisfy anyone who likes action movies.  There are wonderful actors in small parts.

Rent it, have fun, eat some popcorn.  It will remind you of going to movies as a least it did me.

I've probably lost all credibility as an author with this review, but hey, I am what I am, a pop culture diva and Godzilla is nothing if not pop culture.

Relax, I'll review something serious several good books lined up for you.

Take care, and avoid all giant radioactive spiderbats.  They have no sense of humor.

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