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 Killers are split over their decision to take a hiatus as guitarist Dave Keuning wants to spend time with his family, while drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. is desperate to make more music before he becomes "fat and ugly". Keuning is eyeing an extended break from the group to be with his eight-year-old son Kyle, according to his bandmate Vannucci, Jr.
The drummer tells Britain's Daily Star, "Dave's becoming more of a father and wants more time off. We all totally respect that, because making and touring an album takes two-and-a-half-years of solid work around the world - more if it goes really well.
"Making the songs is the easy part. It's all the promotion that goes with it that takes you away from your family that's tough."
However, Vannucci, Jr., who doesn't have any kids with his photographer wife Lisa, feels the time is right to continue recording.
He insists, "Not having kids makes it hard for me to put my feet up. I just want to make music, because it's a gift and you don't get to do it for ever - you get fat and ugly soon enough."
Frontman Brandon Flowers, who released his solo debut Flamingo in 2010, recently admitted he would love to head into the studio by himself again.
He said, "I'm definitely gonna do another solo record at some point... I'm always writing songs, and I think - or I hope - that I'm always gonna have that. So what else am I supposed to do with myself?"
Scottish rockers The View were thrilled to land a tribute from celebrated author Irvine Welsh on their new album after befriending the writer on tour. The Trainspotting novelist, who is a big fan of the band, has written a foreword for the sleeve of their new record Seven Year Setlist, which hit shelves this month (Jun13).
Frontman Kyle Falconer met the author through his actor roommate Martin Compston, who appears in a new movie adaptation of Welsh's book Filth, and they all became friends after hanging out together at a gig in Chicago, Illinois.
Falconer tells the Daily Record newspaper, "We first met Irvine in Chicago. He wrote some stuff for us. He was Martin Compston's pal and we heard he was a big fan of The View. It is really cool."
Drummer Steven Morrison adds, "When we were in America on tour it was absolutely insane when Irvine showed up in Chicago and we ended up going for a few beers with him. He's pretty much the most interesting guy I've met in my life and he was still there until the very end at 4am and was asking if we wanted another beer."
Compston, adds, "Irvine already loved The View when I moved in with Kyle. Knowing them both independently, I knew they'd get on so well. I sorted Irvine out to go and see them play in Chicago and just knew a lively evening would ensue. Suffice to say, they had a ball."
In the album foreword, Welsh writes of the band, "Despite having been around for what seems like a long time, they still remain young precocious talents, playing their unique brand of catchy, quirky, dirty, sleazy, banging, honest and uplifting rock and roll. So above all else, The View are a big fun band, a party that everyone else is invited to. I'm in. What about you?"
The Baywatch blonde wed Lee in 1995, just three days after meeting the drummer. The pair ended their on/off romance after three years, but they keep in touch over their two sons Brandon, 13, and Dylan, 11.
Anderson insists the couple's history has caused friction in all her subsequent relationships - and she even argues with her latest beau, electrician Jamie Padgett, about Lee.
In a candid interview with British TV host Jeremy Kyle, she says, "I'm still fighting with my boyfriend over him, he wont go away.
"(I say) 'Don't you realise that after 15 years this is the relationship that Tommy and I have. If we wanted to be together, we'd be together!' (It's a black cloud) over any relationship. It's horrible.
"When Tommy and I are together it's still apparent that there's that chemistry and love for each other that transcends all the bad stuff. It's a unique relationship."
But Anderson is adamant Padgett is the one who will finally banish Lee to her past: "I've got a real tough boyfriend that's put his foot down for both of us."