The 2014 reboot of the Godzilla franchise directed by Gareth Edwards (of the movie Monsters) and staring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and to a lesser extent Bryan Cranston has been out for a little while now and opinions about it are severely divided. It opened to a solid $94 million opening in the states which could only be seen as a let down because it was (after its Friday total) projected to hit the $100 million mark. Box office aside however, critical and popular opinion of the film is solidly split. On the one hand, some fans and critics have heavily criticized the film for being too long, too boring, too filled with people drama, and not enough fricking Godzilla. Equally many people LOVE this new iteration of the king of monsters, siting the beauty in the film-making, the pastiche that this movie seems to be of Godzilla and monster movies gone by.
As you may have guessed from the title of this post however, most of the people that don’t like the movie, are people in the younger demographic of movie goers. The real question is why? Why would young people who live in a world full of video games and everything else that makes things like Godzilla cool, why wouldn’t they like it? Well the simple answer is simply because they ARE young. Less simply however, it’s because of the instant gratification generation that we live in. In a video game where you can play as Godzilla and stomp around a city and run the entire thing into the ground, when confronted with a movie that tries to use a little subtilty and delayed gratification, they are going to be conflicted. Now don’t get me wrong, I am also a young person, and maybe its because I have a deep seated passion for film, maybe its because I have some schooling in the matter, but I don’t share the views of the average young movie goer (mostly).
So lets get to the movie itself. This is where we are going to see the second problem with why the youths aren’t going to like Godzilla. EXPECTATIONS. Yes, yes indeed, expectations are the root of most movie evils. Now even though the trailers for this movie only really ever hint at Godzilla, giving you the trailer versions of the money shot just barely at the end, people see a movie called Godzilla and expect to see him (or her :/) in the frame for most of the movie. To use another porn analogy (not that I’m familiar with porn of course), this movie is like a softcore porn, with a hardcore porn ending. The meat of the film if more of an idea than a character, and that is the IDEA of Godzilla as opposed to the ACTUAL Godzilla . In the movie Godzilla is seen as, or fleshed out as basically nature itself. A big bad-ass fire breathing muto killing mother nature. With that being said, we honestly see Godzilla stomp around in this movie for about 20-25 minutes of actual on screen time. So that’s 20-25 out of 123 minutes of movie. I can already here the groans of someone who hasn’t seen the movie and is reading this. Sorry.
Now that we know two reasons, lets look at one more. Now this is a general statement, and I know there are and will be many people who don’t fall under this generalization but I’m going to say it anyway. Young people don’t understand or appreciate the more subtly aspects of film-making. Example? Cinematography is one major example. Ask an average movie goer what their favourite scene from this or any movie is, and they will 9 times out of 10 call out the most emotional, or the grandest, or flashiest scene in the movie. And that’s FINE. But, ask them either why they really like that scene, or ask them to describe it, and what you’re going to hear is something very simple like “because it was so cool”, or “It looked great”, or something of the like. Ask them to describe it and you will hear “well the main character did some moves and such and such and this thing blew up and”, blah blah blah. What you won’t hear is, “that framing was spectacular”, “that cinematography was mind blowing”. And that is the exactly where Godzilla losses even more young fans. The film itself is filmed gorgeously, the pacing may be a little off in my opinion, but I cant knock the look. Many young people however, don’t consciously notice a lot of these factors however, and it doesn’t play into their opinions of the movie at all. Now if you were looking at a movie like The Grand Budapest Hotel, where things like scale and the atmosphere of the film are made clearly apparent to even the most simplistic of movie viewers. It cant help but be in someone’s opinion. A movie like Godzilla then is not EXPECTED to have such finer details about itself. So the average movie goer is going to be oblivious to them, much to the detriment of their movie experience.
I know by now you probably think, I am totally in love with this movie, and you would be wrong. I simply don’t like to simply say if a movie “good” or not. Or simply to if I “like it” or not. I have my own problems with it (look out for the full review of it), but I came out of my screening knowing that the vast majority of younger people seeing it would have some MAJOR problems, and I thought the movie at least deserved someone to try and explain what many might have thought were shortcomings. So overall why are young people not going to like the new Godzilla? It’s because as discussed above, there is a lot more going on in this movie that meets the eye, and when things like that go over the viewers head, they cant help but be disappointed. So if you haven’t seen Godzilla yet, (and this didn’t either make you not want to see it, or it spoiled it for you) go out and see it and tell me if your opinion of it is any different than it would have been before.