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This movie is pretty similar to most of the Japanese Gojira movies in the sense that it's providing some good quality entertainment but it's not necessarily a great movie as well. Having said that, this movie still is very different in style and tone from any of the Japanese movies though and it's therefor also really hard to say how the hardcore Gojira lovers are going to feel about this movie.

Personally, I have seen every single Godzilla movie but I wouldn't consider myself to be a hardcore-fan or purist, while I really enjoyed the vast majority of them. For what it's worth, I wouldn't rank this latest 2014 version among the top 5 of best- or most enjoyable Godzilla movies. What's wrong with it? Not an awful lot but it's however only as good as a modern monster movie can get in my opinion.

Modern- and old fashioned monster movie flicks are of course two totally different things. It's the simple truth that the old Gojira movies were always able to get away with all of its silliness and bad film-making was because it embraced its concept and simply decided to have some fun with it. The movies never attempted to be hyper-realistic ones (maybe only with the exception of the very first 1954 "Gojira" movie), set in the real world, featuring real life characters in it. Modern movies often are different though. They often try to create a sense of realism and take a more scientific approach to things, in an attempt to let things make sense and allow the movie to explain everything into detail. This of course often takes away from the entertainment and it's also absolutely the foremost reason why all of the older and Japanese Gojira movies work out as more entertaining ones, when being compared to this modern 2014 update.

Another thing about basically all monster movies of course is that they in essence are all the same. There is a big monster(s) and it needs to be stopped! That's basically, in one way or the other, the concept of every monster movie, including this one. Sure, there of course are always plenty of side-plots and lots of characters in these type of movies but when there is a giant monster roaming about, destroying buildings and causing havoc and mayhem, all of your other plot lines and characters are going to seem insignificant in comparison, no matter what.

So do modern monster movies by definition never work out? Sure, they can still work out, as long as you do what genre movies from the old days did as well; embrace the silliness and campiness of the concept and simply go and have some fun with it and provide the viewers with some quality entertainment, such as for instance "Pacific Rim" did. Or, another way for your monster movie to work out as a truly great and fresh one is if your able to successfully find a new angle and approach to the genre, such as for instance "Cloverfield" did. While this movie is entertaining, it's also constantly taking a more grounded and formulaic approach, with scientific explanations, human drama and a more sensible approach to things. All things I can personally do without, when I go watch a big budget monster flick.

And now it's time for me to complain about the Godzilla character himself. Don't worry, I'm not complaining about the amount of screen time that he gets in this movie but I do complain about the fact that he truly feels like a secondary character for the movie. Instead of being the one main, big, constant threat of the movie, that everybody's constantly talking about an afraid of, he's just one of the threats. Also, he doesn't really have much of a personality in this movie. In all of the Japanese Gojira movies, it was always easy to get behind him and understand his motivations, even when he was the evil main villain. In this movie, I just never really know what's going on in his mind and what drives him. The movie tries but no, if you want to know more about the character and understand why he's so loved and respected around the globe as a movie character, you are definitely better off watching any of the Japanese Gojira movies.

But OK, in all fairness, this movie is mostly definitely doing its own thing and it isn't ever really trying to be just like the classic Gojira- or other kaiju movies. It's trying to create its own world, with its own look and feel to it. It therefor also makes sense for the movie to try to redevelop the Godzilla character and do things differently. Because of that, it maybe also isn't entirely fair to keep comparing it to all of the classic Japanese movies but it's of course hard not to do so, since it such an iconic Japanese movie character, with such a long and extended legacy.

Anyway, it's still true that I definitely enjoyed this movie though. Like I said before, this movie is as good as a modern monster can get. It's entertaining, good looking (though I wish that more of the movie would have been set during the day-time) and it stars some big ass monsters in it. It's a perfectly fine movie to watch, of course especially in theaters, since it's both big and spectacular.

Godzilla is still king, however I have definitely seen him in better movies and as a better- more awe inspiring character.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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