Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
With only a week and change having passed since the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we no doubt feel the question living fresh in our minds: can we ever judge a remake without considering its predecessors? The conversation about the stark contrast in critical favor between Marc Webb's release and Sam Raimi's trilogy (the second installment of his franchise in particular) buzzed loudly, and we imagine the volume will keep in regards to Gareth Edwards' Godzilla. But it'll be a different sound altogether.
The original Godzilla, a Japanese film released in 1954, reinvented the identity of the monster movie, launched a 30-film legacy, and spoke legions about the political climate of its era. The most recent of these films — Roland Emmerich's 1998 American production — is universally bemoaned as a bigger disaster than anything to befall Tokyo at the hands of the giant reptile. With these two entries likely standing out as the most prominent in the minds of contemporary audiences, Edwards' Godzilla has some long shadows cast before it. And in approaching the new movie, one might not be able to avoid comparisons to either. It's fair — by taking on an existing property, a filmmaker knowingly takes on the connotations of that property. But the 2014 installment's great success is that it isn't much like any Godzilla movie we've seen before. In a great, great way.
This isn't 1954's Godzilla, a dire and occasionally dreary allegory that uses the supernatural to tell an important story about nuclear holocaust. A complete reversal, in fact, first and foremost Edwards' Godzilla is about its monsters. Any grand themes strewn throughout — the perseverence of nature, the follies of mankind, fatherhood, madness, faith — are all in service to the very simple mission to give us some cool, weighty, articulate sci-fi disaster. Elements of gravity are plotted all over the film's surface, with scientists, military men (kudos to Edwards for not going the typical "scientists = good/smart, military = bad/dumb" route in this film — everybody here is at least open to suggestion), doctors, police officers, and a compassionate bus driver all wrestling with options in the face of behemoth danger. The humanity is everpresent, but never especially intrusive. To reiterate, this isn't a film about any of these people, or what they do.
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
The closest thing to a helping of thematic (or human) significance comes with Ken Watanabe's Dr. Serizawa, who spouts awe-stricken maxims about cryptozoology, the Earth, and the inevitable powerlessness of man. He might not be supplying anything more substantial than our central heroes (soft-hearted soldier Aaron Taylor-Johnson, dutiful medic and mom Elizabeth Olsen, right-all-along conspiracy theorist Bryan Cranston), but Watanabe's bonkers performance as the harried scientist is so bizarrely good that you might actually believe, for a scene or two, that it all does mean something.
Ultimately, the beauty of our latest taste of Godzilla lies not in the commitment to a message that made the original so important nor in the commitment to levity that made Emmerich's so pointless, but in its commitment to imagination. Edwards' creature design is dazzling, his deus ex machina are riveting, and the ultimate payoff to which he treats his audience is the sort of gangbusters crowd-pleaser that your average contemporary monster movie is too afraid to consider.
In fairness, this year's Godzilla might not be considered an adequate remake, not quite reciprocating the ideals, tone, or importance of the original. Sure, anyone looking for a 2014 answer to 1954's game-changing paragon will find sincere philosophy traded for pulsing adventure... but they'd have a hard time ignoring the emphatic charm of this new lens for the 60-year-old lizard, both a highly original composition and a tribute in its way to the very history of monster movies (a history that owes so much to the creature in question). So does Godzilla '14 successfully fill the shoes of Godzilla '54? No — it rips them apart and dons a totally new pair... though it still has a lot of nice things to say about the first kicks.
Oh, and the '98 Godzilla? Yeah, it's better than that.
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The future King of England pinned the badge onto the Sexy Beast star's dress at an official ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday (25Oct12).
Redman admits she was "a bit wobbly with the first curtsey" upon meeting the royal but insists, "the second one (was) better".
The star also reveals Charles was eager to know more about the Artists' Theatre School she set up in west London to train young performers.
She adds, "He was surprised about how long it's been since it was set up, and said what great talent we have produced."
The Sexy Beast star, 53, wed Damian Schnabel, 38, in front of 200 family and friends at Maunsel House in Somerset, England on Saturday (04Sep10).
Winstone gave a reading at the ceremony, while Redman's daughter Emily Glenister, from her first marriage to actor Robert Glenister, performed a song for the happy couple as they enjoyed their first dance.
Rosie O'Donnell emceed Nickelodeon's 14th annual Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles on Saturday.
The winners were:
Favorite Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas;
Favorite TV Show: Malcolm in the Middle;
Favorite Movie Actor: Jim Carrey;
Favorite Movie Actress: Drew Barrymore;
Favorite TV Actor: Carson Daly;
Favorite TV Actress: Amanda Bynes;
Favorite Cartoon: Rugrats;
Favorite Band: Blink 182;
Favorite Singing Group: Destiny's Child;
Favorite Song: "Who Let the Dogs Out?";
Favorite Female Singer: Britney Spears;
Favorite Male Singer: Lil' Bow Wow;
Favorite Sports Team: Los Angeles Lakers;
Favorite Male Athlete: Tony Hawk; and
Favorite Rising Star: Aaron Carter
Phil Collins welcomes son
Singer Phil Collins, 50, and his third wife Orianne Collins, 28, have welcomed the birth of their first child, a boy named Nicholas Grev Austin. According to People, the baby was born Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, where the Oscar-winning singer/composer's parents hold residence. Collins has three other children from his previous marriages: Simon, Joley and Lily.
Guild turns to porn?
As the work stoppage created by the actors and writers strikes looms, Hollywood's behind-the-scenes players are turning to the porn industry to keep food on the table. According to The Associated Press, Tinseltown's top editors, cinematographers, grips and others are sending resumes to adult-entertainment studios in an effort to keep working.
"It doesn't sound bad to me," said Hollywood business agent Norm Glasser. "If there's a strike, everybody's on their own, more or less."
The fifth annual Hip-Hop Awards will be held Thursday, May 3, in New York City. The awards, which honor the best in hip-hop culture, are chosen directly by fans on SOHH.com. Among those performing are Wyclef Jean, Missy Elliott and Redman, who will also co-host the show along with rapper and radio icon Angie Martinez. Voting began April and will conclude Friday in 17 categories.
Fergie's focus: TV reporting
Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is shifting careers, opting for a new job as a reporter for Britain's ITV network. Ferguson, 41, will kick off her new career with a 20-minute expose on Tonight with Trevor McDonald, a popular British current-affairs program. Her segment will focus on the prevalence of obesity in British society.
Ex-"Survivor" Jerri: soap star
The Survivor castaway America loved to hate will turn up on the tube during daytime, according to Reuters. Jerri Manthey will portray herself in an upcoming episode of CBS' The Young and the Restless to air Monday, May 28. CBS spokespeople have indicated that Manthey, 30, could receive an ongoing role on the show if network execs show interest in her talents.