May 22, 2014

Ya know what was a good kaiju movie? Pacific Rim!



The fan culture that the original slew of Japan’s Godzilla movies spawned is now the gold standard by which all giant monster films are measured by. Just like Black Sabbath is to metal music (especially doom and sludge), in comparison to the God-Lizard, everything’s already a rip-off.

Which is why this reboot by director Garreth Edwards, despite its flaws in pacing and sometimes downright failures with weird attempts at political gravitas, as well as wire-crossed fugues of a vague disconnect to recent current events (hello, Fukushima meltdown), is a hell of a re-brand for the hoary, spiky-backed old beast.

While 1950s movie magic and tech could never have visualized the level of detail and animalistic movement in the new creatures, there’s a good reason why the 1950s Godzilla and its sequels are beloved by cult fans–they delivered heart and narrative gusto in spades despite the often comedic SFX.

In this new movie, we open at some mining operation in the Philippine hinterlands (curiously, all the Pinoys are tall and resemble South Americans) in 1999, where the bottom of a shaft has collapsed and revealed the gigantic bones of an prehistoric creature.

Fast forward a few years later and a series of tremors rock the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant near the Tokyo district. Expat couple Sandra and Joe Brody (played by Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranston), with their little boy Ford, work at the plant as scientists.

Joe Brody insists that the tremors resemble the ones that shook the Philippine site back in 1999. He raises the alarm even though others have tried to pass off the anomalous sound patterns as mere earthquakes.

After the tragic loss of lives and the destruction of the plant, 15 years later the young boy Ford is now Lieutenant Ford Brody, USN (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, yep Kick-Ass is here) who works as an explosive ordnance disposal technician.

Lt Brody links up again with his father, Joe, and they go back to the meltdown site to reveal just what the scientists there, led by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), have been hiding. Soon the world finds out exactly what the scientists term an “Alpha Predator” is.

“A god, for all intents and purposes,” exclaims the oft-astonished and confused Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins), in what might just be one of the most ill-conceived or legendary lines in the annals of monster movie history.

Here’s a few ways to prep and whet your beak, drink and popcorn in hand, before going in to watch one of the most visually-magnificent Godzilla movies in the saga of kaijus. Here there be giants.



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