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Godzilla 2014: Should You Watch It?
Scenario 1: If you are going to see this film because you really enjoy classic Godzilla movies and you hope the music and campy theme of those films are represented in this one, you absolutely should go see it. Godzilla here looks much more like the beloved behemoth than it did in the '98 movie, the music hearkens to the classic Japanese overtures of the old Gojira film era, and the camera work has the comically silly nature of Sam Rami's Spiderman series.
Scenario 2: If you are really excited to see a deep, human film with camera angles and writing that really tell a story that is thematically transcendent such as "District 9" and the Korean film "The Host," this is not your film. The script is filled with overtly simplistic rhetoric and one dimensional characters (intentionally,) the scenes somehow manage to have very little tension (even for me, the pilot episodes for most sitcoms seem more tense than Gozilla,) and as stated above, the camera-work is intentionally hammy. It should also be noted that to add a human element, the director overuses children to the point that it ends up feeling very obvious, as though he did it to be intentionally campy.
Scenario 3: If you are one of those people who really just want a fun popcorn flick such as Pacific Rim, with some solidly choreographed action like in the over-the-top bulletfest Battle:LA, I would say proceed with caution. The fight scenes are less intense and more majestic, like any classic monster movie, and as such the human aspect of the combat is relatively insignificant, less so than any other monster movie I've ever seen. There are no little monsters for anyone to shoot at, if that's your thing.
Scenario 4: If you are interested in this film because you love the talented work of Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, and/or Aaron Taylor- Johnson (three of my favorite actors) and are excited to see what they bring to the table, you should probably sit this one out. Bryan Cranston's role in this film garners far less screen time than advertised, Ken Watanabe spends literally every second walking through the scenes with the pained expression of someone who just walked in on their parents, and all three of the actors give off the vibe that they are very much aware of how cheesy their lines are. Everyone else's performance was similarly forgettable.
Honestly, I'm a stickler for deep, human storytelling, but I've also had a softspot for the classic, silly fun of many Godzilla movies, including my favorite, Godzilla vs. Destroyah. All told, depending on which camp you fall under, this will be an entirely different movie for you. As Godzilla movies go, I'd give it a B. As darker, more serious monster movies go, I'd give it a D+.
War of the Worlds (2005)
A heart pounding thrill-ride of the highest caliber
I'm not sure how this movie could garner such terrible ratings. I'm no idiot- I know how to be selective, but this movie truly is a gem. I was thrilled in every capacity, this movie left nothing out, a heart-rending solidarity overwhelming it in fullness. This movie did what not many movies do, it left me with a feeling of completeness at the end, it stayed solid with all the right dramatic touches all the way through, and fulfilled better than most movies what it means to truly be a movie. I couldn't be more satisfied having seen it in theaters. I would go so far as to say that this film is worth putting into your collection. It's the kind of movie that stays addictive and moving with time.