Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus


   I'm not a huge fan of the Millennium series of Godzilla movies, I like the Heisei era films better, but Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is still a fun ride, and one made all the better by having copious amounts of popcorn and soda on hand. See, for me, Godzilla movies are still child-like escapism. Sure, I can appreciate the horror and allegory of the original, but this franchise will always boil down to me being five years old, laying on the living room floor- my chin propped up in my hands as I watch Godzilla and his buddies duke it out with giant robots, living gods, and whatever the hell Gigan was. It was silly, it was fun, it was a good damn time. This movie recalls that same kind of entertainment.

   The movie is a big early 00's effects flick, which is just a polite way of saying it's a big late 90's effects flick. A lot of its CGI has not aged well and looks direly dated. Worse than the clunky rubber suits of yore, the CG elements in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus lack texture and are visibly out of place with the world around it. But I feel like a bastard even pointing that out, because the ambition of the special effects are stunning. Tokyo ends up halfway underwater, providing some haunting and eye-popping visuals, and one of the main characters ends up ON Godzilla- which is an absolutely stunning scene.

   It's little bits like that which make Godzilla vs. Megaguirus worth watching. The human characters are fine, and a couple are even likable- but the plot is hot nonsense and the opening of the movie has the most awkward recap/backstory thing ever. Yet, does it matter? Roger Ebert himself was fond of making the point that sometimes a movie can be good fun without being a good movie. So many Godzilla movies fall into that specific category. Some lack the right elements to even be good fun, but Godzilla vs. Megaguirus doesn't have that issue. The creature designs are menacing and full of detail. Megaguirus himself is a pretty frightening adversary, and his fight with the big G himself is great.

   It's a big, creative, slap-fest with lots of grappling, biting, stabbing, throwing, crashing, explosions, and beam-blasting. I did lament the fact that Megaguirus and Godzilla didn't have any other encounters but the one at the end, but there's no shortage of Godzilla scenes in the movie proper. One fun scene in particular was when Godzilla gets swarmed by hundreds and hundreds of mutant dragonflies. It was unique and really exciting. I enjoyed the movie and all it's big-scale action set pieces, though it was ultimately just a Godzilla movie. I know that sounds like a weird summation, but hear me out on this...

   Of all the Godzilla movies I've ever seen, I only ever actually disliked one, and that's because it was painfully boring. A night out at Red Lobster is more action packed (guess which Godzilla movie it was), but by and large- the very presence of Godzilla and other giant monsters is the promise of a good time. This movie does nothing to dispel that notion. So, it is a good time, but not much more. It doesn't quite reach the nostalgic heights of the original Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, nor is it as memorable as my favorite- Godzilla vs. Biollante. But, I can't hate on it either way, it is still a Godzilla movie, ergo, there's still a lot of fun to be had here- even if it's not a franchise defining work.

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