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At first glance, this film seemed like the work of a person tossing random ideas into a blender. A talking tree-man? An anthropomorphic raccoon wielding giant guns? Someone had to be joking. At second glance, I realized that the genre-blending master James Gunn was directing, and I quickly reexamined the material. When I finally saw the film, I was completely blown away. The film takes an approach that I very much like: it displays a world with characters and settings that look straight out of comic books and ancient myths, but quickly demonstrates that underneath the bizarre exterior are elements of humanity. The film may look like a live-action Saturday morning cartoon, but even when the characters engage in activities that one might find appalling, there is nothing to stop us from learning to sympathize with them. Please do not judge this film by its cover. We do not come across films like these every day, and this one in particular should be experienced in theaters while its still here.
I pity the poor souls who were deprived of the opportunity to view this film on the IMAX 3D screen, because to see it any other way destroys the overall effect. Much like the original classic "Gojira", this is a story about the rampage of two giant monsters who cross paths with the king himself, displayed from the point of view of the human beings who just happen to be in the way. To me, the best aspect of the film was the exquisite use of the camera, which does a phenomenal job of capturing the size and scale of the events taking place that, especially in 3D, left me feeling as though I was trapped in the middle of the carnage with the rest of the terrified people. I was so convinced that Godzilla was right in front of me that I was clinging to the arm rests of my chair for dear life. Further heightening the experience was the humanity of it all. Not only are the people sympathetic in their own way, the monsters themselves are displayed as creatures who are merely trying to live and do what feels natural. Even though I was genuinely pleased with the outcome, I could not help but feel sorry for everyone, including the villains. "Godzilla" is not only an excellent apology for the American film from '98, it is an excellent giant monster movie all-around.
When "The Amazing Spider-Man" was released, many people refused to give the film its due because it was a "reboot that came out too soon". When "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was released, people continued to discriminate against the film not just because its part of a reboot series, but because they obviously do not fully understand what Spider-Man is all about. They also do not appear to understand the meaning of words like "surreal", "tongue-in-cheek", or "to be continued". It also amazes me that with all sorts of interviews with the cast and crew floating around the internet, only a select few critics bothered to look them up in order to get a sense of director Marc Webb's approach to the material. Beginning with the first film, Webb decided to play up the fantastical elements of the Spider-Man universe, while making the extra effort to ensure that everything feet like it was built upon rules. Webb is also very much aware that with the magic of camera angles, special effects, and musical motifs you have the potential to make the audience feel as if they are experiencing it as a particular character is experiencing it. Through this process, Webb was not only able to combine elements of many different genres into one film, but also deliver not one, but two solid Spidey experiences. Once again, we have a film that celebrates the potential of the source material, but comes down to earth when necessary in order to remind viewers that these human characters are driven by wants and needs that do not always lead to happy endings. Spider-Man is constantly at war with himself but remains cocky and upbeat, his girlfriend Gwen Stacy refuses to be held down and fights for success, Max Dillon (Electro) is a tragic soul who just wanted a little appreciation, and Spidey's old friend Harry Osborn is driven by the desperation to avoid death at the hands of a genetic disease that he will try anything. These themes of rising above limitations escalate the feelings of fun and excitement, with the added bonus of superpowers and gadgets that serve as an extended metaphor for each character's individual emotions. Admittedly, some scenes felt a little rushed and incomplete, but I think this is due to the fact that many scenes were removed to make for a quicker running time, but also because this is only the second chapter in a much larger story. I am sure the deleted scenes on the blu-ray release will fill in some of the gaps, while the rest of them will most likely be answered in the next film. If you are bored with Spider-Man or superheroes in general, please do not ruin it for those of us who are not. If you are among the many people confused by the so-called muddled narrative, uneven tone, unanswered questions, and frequently quirky humor, it might be in your best interest to do a little research and watch the film in the appropriate context.
"Gojira" was a landmark in Japanese cinema, it introduced the world to one of the most famous monsters in history, to this day its anti-nuclear warfare message resonates just as effectively as it did in 1954...and yet, in America there are still a number of people who can only talk about how cheap the special effects look. Shame on them. "Gojira" was made with the very best of time and money that Japan had to offer, particular in the wake of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it was just what the people needed to see. The effects used in the film may have seemed primitive to some people back then, and especially today, but the symbolism of the titular character and the tragic conclusion is what the film is really about. This was never meant to be a B-Movie, or just another giant monster flick. "Gojira" is a cautionary tale that used elements of the popular giant monster movies of the time to express a very important message that should not be ignored. To me, it is high time for certain people to lighten up and watch the film again with an open mind.
This Disney classic is the reason I began to pursue the idea of becoming an artist! Although it does not quite match the quality of "Mary Poppins", (the film from which many of the creative minds were reunited) "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" comes very close with excellent effects, songs, creativity, and the impeccable chemistry between David Tomlinson and Angela Lansbury. Need I say more? I can remember being four years old and being so uplifted by the final sequence when the suits of armor from a London Historical museum that I just had to try and capture it on paper. I have been drawing diligently ever since. All I can really say about the film is that I love watching it, and my gratitude for all it has done for me will never cease.