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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Movietime in Manhattan: It's Been 60 Years So Catch Up with the Monster of them All: Godzilla by Warner Brothers Pictures and Legendary Pictures Opens May 16, 2014 Highly Recommended by Whom You Know Brilliant Cinematography and Special Effects. It Doesn't Get Any Bigger Than Godzilla! Our Coverage Sponsored by Stribling and Associates

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 Meet Godzilla.
Hear him roar.
You ought to know him, and you probably do from the original sixty years ago.
He's back, and he's got friends to boot.
"Look Mommy, a dinosaur!" was a key line that made us laugh.
Warner Brothers Pictures along with Legendary Pictures have assembled a talented cast and most importantly, brilliant people behind every special effect that could be imagined to create the reemergence of the Monster of all Monsters.  
It's high time to catch up with your gargantuan pal whom you have not seen in six decades!  And seeing this in 3D IMAX is a total must.  We're putting more pictures than usual in this review because it is one of the most visually dramatic cinematographic achievements we've seen, and not since Gravity have we been so thoroughly impressed in this discipline.
The behind-the-scenes work was as ambitiously sized as the monster itself.  The sound is absolutely phenomenal, culminating in the roar of Godzilla.  The engineers of today broke up the original sound into three parts: a metallic shriek, followed by an earth-shattering wail and a bellowing finish-and the sound engineers achieved the perfect combination through mixing and balancing these elements.  Think of how a wine maker or perfume maker would make their product-you just don't have something tangible with sound, and wait until you hear this Godzilla trumpet.
   Knowing just how hard they worked to entertain your ears is essential.  
The commitment to getting the sound just right went to extremes of setting up a 12-foot high, boulevard-wide sound system on a street on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.  They blasted the roar through 100,000-watt speakers lined in an array and recorded the reverberations from a number of angels including inside cars, behind store windows, and in alleyways.  It could be heard three miles away.  And for the soundtrack, you'll hear more than a hundred musicians including double brass and double horns echoing the significance of scale you see on the screen.
It's important to note that all effects were believable and none bordered on the ridiculous, as you could see in lesser films.  Water scenes were reminiscent of Godzilla's kissing cousin, the equally legendary Loch Ness Monster...
 All actors were spot-on effective, and each knew they were playing a piece of the puzzle in the supporting cast of the movie namesake.  Ken Watanabe, above left, played Dr. Ishiro Serizawa and it's interesting to learn that he was also in Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima.  Sally Hawkins, who previously wowed us in Happy Go Lucky and Blue Jasmine, brings a genuine humanity to her doctor role.  The evocative intensity of emotions was particularly remarkable from these scientists above to the more personal story of the Brody family.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Ford Brody, below, and is matched up with the real-life little sister of the Olsen twins who were first known for playing Michelle on Full House, Elizabeth Olsen who plays Ford's wife, Elle Brody.  Of all of the actors, we were most impressed with the performance of Bryan Cranston who plays Joe Brody, Ford's father, whom many incorrectly assume is crazy.  The integrity whistleblower Cranston gives his character is laudable, and we also commend his performance in Argo, previously reviewed.  (Currently he plays Lyndon Johnson on Broadway.)

 Though all movie magic was most dominant, the characters and the plot were quite strong which is bound to keep the audience on the edge of their seat.
We applaud Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures for showing the American military in such a positive light.  Three scenes were onboard the USS Missouri with the historic "floating memorial" standing in for the massive USS Saratoga battleship that tracks Godzilla across the Pacific.  The film even had a military technical advisor, James D. Dever.  He worked with HALO Jump stunt coordinator JT Holmes to bring the highest degree of authenticity to the dramatic free fall.  A retired Sergeant Major in the U. S. Marine Corps, Dever says: "In this movie, you'll see the Air Force moving ICBM missiles, the Navy running an aircraft carrier, and a lot of moving parts from Huey helicopters, destroyers and flying F-35s.  My job was to make sure it was all accurately represented."
Of course, the military can be counted on to have a plan to defend us from such monsters...

 The choices Gareth Edwards, the British director of Godzilla makes throughout the comeback of the legend monster are to be applauded: he stays true to the classic while giving it a fresh appeal for today's audience that thinks they've seen it all.   They might have, of course, but nothing like this Godzilla yet! From perspective to shot angles to casting and especially in sound, Edwards shows how he's setting the standard worldwide for directing.  Our favorite part?  The killer blue smoke emanating from the throat of Godzilla.  We wish we could do that.
Real destruction was center stage in Godzilla, and since you know it's only a movie, it can't be traumatic.  Peachy herself was on the same block as the second plane went in on 9/11 and she heard it, and she saw both towers fall as she walked north up Broadway.  Seeing that firsthand gave us a unique perspective on judging the disaster accuracy achieved in Godzilla-the depths and layers of destruction were achieved perfectly of course with zero terrorism, so it's a complete joy to view through your 3D IMAX glasses in the theater, eating your popcorn.  All movie choices were totally sensitive to the age of terrorism we live in today.
 The geographic location of destruction is not static of course-it's wherever the monster goes.  The most populous of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu, was not all palm trees and paradise once Mr. Colassal made his marked debut.  From Japan to California, Godzilla stomped.  We're glad to report that New York and the Northeast was untouched, for now anyway.
 "The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around."
-Dr. Serizawa
Godzilla by Warner Brothers Pictures and Legendary Pictures is Highly Recommended by Whom You Know.  
It's a modern classic that we've been waiting sixty years for!
In our humble opinion, we'd say a sequel is in order.

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