MULTIFACETED MEDIA GROUP
A place for off-topic thoughts: Comic books, movies, television and whatever
Friday, May 31, 2019
Godzilla 2014: A Godzilla Fan's ReviewAnyone who follows me on Twitter -- i.e., 95 percent of everyone reading this -- knows I am a fan of Godzilla, all 28 Japanese movies and the Zone Fighter TV show too. So naturally, I have a few things to say about the latest American attempt to bring the King of the Monsters to life.
First things first, I basically liked it. It moved along briskly, the story was pretty good, and the effects were occasionally amazing. Nevertheless, this is a movie with problems. Some stem from my purist's attachment to Godzilla, some are Storytelling 101 issues, and some fall in between.
The first and most basic problem is the slow tease. The movie takes a while to show you monsters, it takes even longer to show you Godzilla, and it takes still longer to show you a full-on monster mayhem battle. My complaint here is similar to one I voiced regarding the first season of Hannibal (and by the way, I will soon write about the amazing season two): We all know who Hannibal Lecter is, and we damn sure all know what Godzilla is. This isn't The Usual Suspects. There is absolutely no reason to try to build suspense.
We came for the monsters and the smashing of cities. Yet Godzilla 2014 is incredibly parsimonious about delivering what is arguably its only attraction. Over and over again, it teases viewers with monster battles that take place primarily off-screen. We get to see Las Vegas destroyed, but we don't get to see Las Vegas being destroyed. We see a monster arrive, and then we see the smoldering ruins. When you go to a Chuck Norris movie, you aren't paying to see Chuck walk into a room and then smash cut to a bunch of thugs lying on the floor. You want to see everything between point A and point B.
This dynamic gets old fast, and the movie twists the knife more than once by showing characters watching the actual monster battles on TV. That's right, I just paid $16 for IMAX 3D so I could watch someone watching monsters destroy Las Vegas in a grainy picture on a flat screen.
There are compensations for this. We do get to see the monsters in full 3D glory, and repeatedly. And the final battle, much of which takes place on screen, has a lot to recommend it.
THE BOOKJihad Joe is the first comprehensive history of the American jihadist movement, tracking the phenomenon from the 1970s to the present. The book has been praised in reviews by the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, the Washington Times, Redstate.com, Library Journal and more. It is available in hardcover eveywhere books are sold, as well as Kindle, Nook and Google ebook editions.
ISIS: THE STATE
Stern and J.M. Berger co-author the new book, "ISIS:
The State of Terror," from Ecco, an imprint of
HarperCollins. The book, on sale now, examines the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, its
potential fall, how it is transforming the nature of extremist
movements, and how we should evaluate the threat it presents.
Jessica Stern is a
Harvard lecturer on terrorism and the author of the seminal text
Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. J.M.
Berger is author of the definitive book on American jihadists,
Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, a
frequent contributor to Foreign Policy and a non-resident fellow
with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S.
Relations with the Islamic World.