Monday, May 16, 2011

What I learned from American GODZILLA

Back in the 80's growing up a typical Saturday morning for me would consist of watching cartoons and eating bowls of that cereal that was in the shapes of little ice creams and little ice cream cones that they don't make anymore.  Once eleven o'clock hit the cartoons would be over and it would turn into shows for teenagers like KIDS INCORPORATED (which is awesome).  Around this time I would go outside and reenact by myself the battle of Hoth from EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.  I liked to play as the rebel soliders getting shot to pieces by the looming AT-ATs in the distance.  I don't know why.  However I discovered on Super Station TBS that Grandpa Munster was hosting a show that played old school horror movies which were my favorite because back then I was a big time wussy that was too afraid of the NIGHTMARE OF ELM STREETs or FRIDAY THE 13THs.  This is where I became aware of Hammer Films, nature-run-amok seventies horror films,  1950's B-Movie Sci-Fi and of course Godzilla.  Godzilla was the best in my mind for a long time.  TBS played Godzilla movies all the time back then.  Saturday nights I stayed up just to watch GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER or GODZILLA VS. THAT DRAGON THING THAT HAD THREE HEADS AND SHOT LIGHTNING FROM ITS MOUTH.  There were so many and  I loved them all.  GODZILLA 1985 blew my mind because at the time it was a modern day Godzilla movie with newer better(?) special effects.  Nothing could top it.  Years later I graduated high school and learned that there was going to be an American Godzilla movie.  This was going to be the greatest movie ever made!  No way is it going to suck.  You here that, reality?  NO WAY IS IT GOING TO SUCK!

The trailer for GODZILLA in the theater was everything you could hope that it would be.  It showed tons of carnage without giving away what the monster looked like.  I was going to see this sucker opening day.  I had to.  It was my destiny.  Nothing was going to stop me and I was going to love it.  There was alot of merchandise for it but I didn't want to see any of it.  I wanted to see what Godzilla looked like for the first time on the big screen.  But as chance would have it I accidentally saw some GODZILLA movie stickers in a store before the movie came out revealing to me in the smallest way what the monster looked like.  I felt the expectation of seeing this movie deflate just a little inside me.  I ignored the feeling and reassured myself that GODZILLA would rock my face off. 

Finally after what felt like hundreds of years of waiting I saw GODZILLA on opening day.  Wow!  What a terrific, awesome, stupendous, mind blowing, hilarious, fun roller-coaster ride that movie was.  I loved every single second of the two hour and something running time.  Godzilla's new look was amazing.  I liked that it could run fast and dodge missles and crap.  The car ramping off Godzilla's feet was too awesome for words.  They never did that in the old movies.  I couldn't wait to talk to my friends about it.

They all hated it.  In fact the whole damn movie bombed.  Nobody liked it.  They said it was just a rip-off of JURASSIC PARK and a boring one at that!  They didn't get it.  The general audience didn't understand GODZILLA.  It was way over their heads.  You have to love Godzilla movies to appreciate the new GODZILLA.  I was it's one and only defender.  Only I truly understood GODZILLA.  Everyone was stupid but me.  In time they too shall love it as much as I did.  They just need to see it again on DVD.

Christmas morning I received my very own DVD of GODZILLA.  Hoo-Hippin-Hurrah!  I put the DVD in and..........I immediately became bored.  WTF!  I could not get into it to save my life.  The characters were a bunch of made for t.v. nobodies that talked and talked and tal-Ooh, that one almost got stepped on but he didn't.  Of course he didn't.  That would be interesting.  Why do we need a love story between two bland people in a Godzilla movie?  Who freakin cares?  And what was up with the way Godzilla looked?  She looked like a giant green grandma hunched over skipping through the streets of New York with a wad of chewing tobacco in her mouth.  F--K my life!   The joke that Matthew Brodderick the smallest man alive versus an irradiated Iguana with methane breath was insulting.  What happened to her radiation breath?  Also how do you lose a lizard the size of Rhode Island in New York?  GODZILLA was stupid and boring.  How could I have two completely different reactions to the same film?

The answer was simple.  Hype.  I allowed myself to be swayed by all the toys posters and Taco Bell commercials.  My Hardcore-Fanboy-Nerd-o Rage would not allow me to see GODZILLA as the craptastic toilet water that it was.  This is when I discovered what being objective was in my opinions.  Never again would I allow outside forces (except for maybe the devil) to define my opinion on whether a movie was good or not.  I see people falling for the hype all the time.  TRANSFORMERS anyone?  There is no way to defend those movies yet so many people will fight to the death protecting them from scrutiny with maybe a small acknowledgement that the second one wasn't as good as the first.  People love the explosions, car chases and hot young popular people.  When I see TRANSFORMERS I see it as the movie itself, not the iconic nostalgia image that shaped a small part of my childhood.  Guess what?  It sucked.  I like the old school (generation 1) cartoons and toys but I didn't like the movie.  I love the old HULK t.v. show but I hated Ang Lee' THE HULK.  I don't let the hype get me anymore.  Don't let it get you.  Be honest with yourself.  If everyone was just honest with themselves then Michael Bay wouldn't have a job anymore.  Then maybe our summer blockbusters would be a little more cerebral.

You like the way I used the word "cerebral" right there?  Makes me look cerebral, don't ya think?


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