Monday, February 1, 2010

Movie Review: Godzilla - Final Wars

Keeping with last week's tradition, I'm going to do a movie review. This time, it's 'Godzilla - Final Wars', which is to date, the final Godzilla movie in the series that has lasted since 1954 and has rebooted and restarted more times than there are actors in Hollywood.

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Now, there are two ways to make a Godzilla movie.

The first, lesser known way, is to take the original concept; whereby Godzilla is a dark, disturbing metaphor for the ravages of nuclear war and the incalculable destruction and death it causes. The very first film in the series 'Gojira' (1954) is the best example of this and it was this approach that made it one of the best films ever made. It took thirty years before a true sequel to this approach was made, in 'The Return of Godzilla' where the Big G returns to ravage Japan just in time to escalate the Nuclear Arms Race.

The second, widely known method of Godzilla movie-making is to make it a grand-scale, turbo-charged epic that's all about Godzilla fighting other monsters and destroying the place while doing it. Following the original 1954 film, the sequel 'Godzilla Raids Again' in 1956 created this formula, which became well-worn for twenty years afterward. The substance was more or less lost and the films became entirely about the increasingly maniacal battles. But seriously...

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If that image doesn't evoke awesomegasms inside of you, there's no point in us being friends.

Needless to say, Godzilla: Final Wars embraces this approach and injects it with eight kinds of liquid awesome. The film is afraid of slowing down. Every time there is a scene involving humans and not monsters, it usually leads into a Matrix-style fight between armoured superheroes and black-leather wearing aliens. Plus it has one of the most hilariously stereotyped American soldiers (played by a former UFC fighter, naturally) and still manages to make him completely awesome (for some reason, he speaks English, while the rest of the characters all speak to him in Japanese).

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A failed M. Bison audition for the Street Fighter movie reboot.

It is arguably the most high-octane action film I've ever seen. There is constantly something completely insane happening. The plot ('plot' seems the wrong word for a film like this) involves aliens, mutants and what have you...but the bottom line is that Godzilla has to take down every monster on Earth. Asses are kicked, names are taken and the whole goddamn world is stomped to pieces.

If I was to had any serious criticism with this film (it's chock full of massive flaws, but it's impossible to care) it would be that Godzilla's screen time is just a teensy bit too little, in comparison with the human and the other monsters. There's nothing new here though, in comparison with the other films.

It's impossible to give this film a serious ranking as it's a complete head-trip spectacle rather than an actual narrative. But if giant radioactive beasts beating each other up is your thing (and by God, it should be your thing), I beg of you to watch this film.

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