My dual experience of Godzilla
The new Swedish royal princess Leonore was baptised last week and they screened it on the public television as a reminder of that we still live in a fairy tale land, ruled by a king. There’s nothing special about the king and queen and prince and princesses nowadays, in case you don’t live in a kingdom and are curious about what it’s like. They just look like ordinary people in expensive clothes. But there was one thing that made the ceremony remarkable. The baby girl slept through the whole thing. They sang, they talked, they prayed and traded her from lap to lap. They even threw water in her face. She didn’t take notice. And I thought to myself: either she’s on drugs or they’ve shown her Godzilla.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I get sleepy very easily when I watch movies in theatre to the extent that it is a problem. Slow, subtle and quiet films are worst, of course. While watching them I often have to pinch and slap myself in order not to fall asleep. But I’m fine with it; it’s something I expect and I can always prepare myself with coffee to prevent me from zoning out.
However I must say that I didn’t expect this from Godzilla. It was supposed to be the biggest and loudest movie of the year, if not of the decade. Houses crumbling into dust. People fleeing in terror. Monster creatures stomping with their feet so hard that you’d think it was an earthquake going on. It sounds like a perfect antidote to drowsiness. No one could possibly fall asleep under those circumstances, right?
But I could. If I hadn’t pinched myself properly, I would have ended up like the royal princess, with my eyes firmly closed. Not during the action scenes, of course. You don’t sleep when a dino-something-giant is trying to kill you through from the screen. Whenever Godzilla and friends were present, I woke up with a pang. And I enjoyed every second of those scenes, because I’m such a sucker for this kind of big and loud power demonstrations by the special effects department. It was everything that was in between the action scenes that made me disengage. The only person I found interesting, Bryan Cranston, was taken out of action at an early stage. And when he disappeared, my engagement went the same way. I couldn’t care less for the protagonist. I didn’t even hate him, which would have been better than the current nothingness that he radiates.
I know that this sounds very harsh, but remember, it was a mixed bag of of two modes that altered. One moment I was giggling with delight at the raging, roaring, kickass monsters that made my chair vibrate. The next moment we were back at the “story” (if there was one, since I drifted away I never quite figured it out) and my eyelids immediately wanted to close down.
I’ve never experienced anything like it to be honest. So how do you wrap this up? I guess I’ll end up somewhere in the middle. It’s a 1 star rating for the drama and a 5 star rating for the monsters, which puts us at a 3/5. I think I might have rated it a little higher given the opportunity to watch it in an IMAX theatre (there is none in Sweden). Big is not only beautiful in this case, it’s absolutely essential.
Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014) My rating: 3/5