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So How Was Godzilla?

Although Godzilla crosses paths with nuclear energy twice during his current rampage, the use of it is fairly innocuous. In the first instance, a giant insect called a MUTO causes a nuclear plant to shake apart, but it expels no radiation because the creature absorbs it all while mutating in its cocoon. In the second, and cleverest, use, the mate of the first MUTO has been captured and stowed in Yucca Mountain. Although it’s said that the Nevada repository holds used fuel, it of course doesn’t – yet.

I’d prefer to believe that, in the movie’s terms, Yucca Mountain was created specifically and exclusively to contain the big bug. It would fit the secretive nature of the authorities in the film – which have already explained away nuclear test bombing in the 50s as a means of sealing giant creatures in their underwater world – so why not?

As for the movie itself, well, maybe it’s that I don’t see many summer blockbusters, but the screenplay is flat out awful – which wouldn’t matter much if the story didn’t spend its first hour with barely characterized human beings who spout reams of exposition. A lot of good actors racked up  nice paydays for not doing very much besides try out their concerned faces and unreel big blocks of text. I wonder why the production would spend the money when hungrier performers could have done as well and not effected the film’s promotion.

When the bugs and Godzilla – who is the good guy here, though he still causes a lot of property damage – show up, we realize that the beige, dusty look of many of the earlier scenes is a way to make the special effects look less cartoony when they take over the movie. It works well enough, though it gives the movie a polluted aura that doesn’t really fit it. This is one brown monster movie.

But really, it’s all about roaring and squashing people underfoot and monster tangles. If I was 13, I would have loved it – though I would have gotten plenty bored with the first hour and decamped for popcorn.

What did you think?

Comments

jimwg said…
Today on Retro-TV I caught an early Gene Roddenberry (who ought know better) pilot called "Genesis II" where actor Alex Cord somehow "rearranges the fuel elements" of a nuclear power plant to explode like a A-bomb to keep it away from baddies in the future. Ditto for a film earlier called the "The Savage Bees" with Richard Wildmark where a bee-attacked nuclear plant control room makes it explode. I think there's a "Nuclear Tornado" flick out there too. How many other similar inaccurate but seemingly credible portrayals of nuclear energy gone wild out there forms the base of the public's fears toward nuclear power I wonder!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

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