Godzilla 2014 and my Visceral Hatred of its Choices

WARNING: *Spoilers*

As I mentioned before, I saw Godzilla (2014) in 3D with my son in the movie theater. At the time, I was disappointed with the story choices they made regarding killing the father off early on.

I saw the movie again on BluRay with the entire family, and I felt felt a strong, visceral hatred of the storyline- made worse by the fact that everyone was board. My girls fell asleep. My son was on the laptop Googling Minecraft stuff. My wife was into the movie at the start, but after the Hawaii sequence (the one right after he dies), she started shopping on her phone! I had to tell her to look up every once in a while so that she wouldn’t miss a nice shot, like when the son jumps out of the airplane or when Godzilla opens the mouth of the female monster and breathes fire into her. (“Why didn’t he just do that at the beginning instead of destroying the city,” she said.)

I just wasted my family’s entire evening! It was a gigantic waste of potential in exploring the divide between a father and son after the death of the wife/mother as well as the decisions military commanders and scientists make. After the father dies, I no longer care about the human story and keep looking at my watch waiting for the monsters to fight so we can get this movie over with.

I will propose ways the story could have kept me entertained, but first let me go beyond my visceral response and repeat and expound logically about the flaws in the story of Godzilla (2014):

…the Godzilla movie left me emotionally unsatisfied for 3 reasons:

  1. I thought the movie was about the father, but then they take a turn, and I guess we follow the son the rest of the movie even though the father had all the emotion in the first act.
  2. Everyone knows you don’t kill the mentor until the end of the second act.  If the father isn’t going to play the hero, then I guess he is the mentor.  They kill the father in the early second act.
  3. Fine, you kill the father early on, but you’re not going to let us see any catharsis with the father and son? Seriously, the closing image should have been the son at the father’s grave or something. Emotionally I want to see the son reconcile with his father.

Further, killing the father eliminated the only character I cared about. He’s the only character the story explored, and they don’t even reference him at all the rest of the film! His death meant nothing to anyone, not even his own son as far as we can tell.

The son is just a punk who barely says anything. He’s too quiet. Sure, he’s got a wife and kid and just came back from the Sand Box, but big deal. Why should I care about him when I just watched his father close the blast door on his mother.

Also, the filmmakers missed a great promotional opportunity with Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe. In every scene, he should have been carrying a bottle of Jack Daniels (or whatever brand of alcohol that would pay the most to be in the film). That’s the best way to explain his character’s broodiness.

optoblog movie short #001: The Air Puff

Title: The Air Puff

Author: David J. Langford

Contact: editor@optoblog.com

Fade in.

INT. – OPTOMETRIST PRE-TEST ROOM – DAY

DR. LANGFORD, an optometrist that smiles like a clown, tosses his clipboard on the adjustable table behind three items of ophthalmic instruments. He lowers the table as JANAE, pretty and wholesome, sits down on the stool on the other side of all the machines.

DR. LANGFORD

So...Jay-Nay? What brings you in for an eye exam today?

JANAE

Juh-Nae. Oh, just a check up.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, then. Let’s start with this machine.

JANAE

Oh, no. Is this that puff of air thing?

DR. LANGFORD

Yeah. This one is not too bad.

JANAE

Really?

DR. LANGFORD

It’s the most gentle non-contact tonometer on the market.

JANAE

‘Kay...

Janae puts her forehead on the rest. The doctor clicks the button. The machine whirs, and we hear a PUFF of air.

JANAE

(high, almost squeal)

Oh!

She sits back and rubs her eye.

DR. LANGFORD

Ready for the next one?

JANAE

I guess...

The machine whirs again then PUFFS. Janae recoils the same way.

JANAE

(rubbing second eye)

I’m glad that’s over with. What does that machine do, anyway?

Dr. Langford tries to repress his wierd smile.

DR. LANGFORD

It checks eye pressure, which is important to know because if it’s outside the normal range, you could have a serious eye condition.

Janae blinks a lot.

JANAE

My eyes feel dry now.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, let’s move on to this machine. It gives me a close idea of any glasses prescription you might need. Chin on the chin wrest.

She puts her head up to the autorefractor. It beeps and then-PUFF!!

JANAE

Ah! Hey! I thought we had already finished the puff of air thing!

DR. LANGFORD

Did that puff at you?

JANAE

Yes!

DR. LANGFORD

Huh, let’s try the other eye then.

She puts her head back to the machine, but the monitors shows that she’s squinting in anticipation.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, for the machine to take the measurement, you’re going to need to open your eye wider.

JANAE

But I don’t want it to puff at me.

DR. LANGFORD

Just a little wider...

Janae’s eye opens just barely more and...PUFF!

JANAE

Ow! It did it again.

DR. LANGFORD

(holding up the print-out)

Well...it printed out these glasses prescription numbers, so it can’t be broken.

JANAE

But it blew air at my eye!

DR. LANGFORD

I’ll have a look at it later. Let’s move on to the last machine in this room.

He holds out a clicker for her to take.

DR. LANGFORD

It’s going to test your peripheral vision. Every time you see a flicker in your side vision, just click on the button. It takes about a minute per eye.

JANAE

Okay, that doesn’t sound so bad...

She takes the clicker from Dr. Langford and puts her forehead up to the machine. She SEES THE FLICKERING SQUARES on the screen.

JANAE

So when I see those dealies I just click?

DR. LANGFORD

Yup, but don’t move your eyes around just look straight ahead. Okay...begin.

She presses the clicker and- PUFF! She sits back.

JANAE

What the...

DR. LANGFORD

Keep clicking!

She gets in the the machine again. She clicks, and...

.MONTAGE OF GETTING PUFFED

PUFF! Janae clicks, puffs, and yelps over and over. Dr. Langford looks on with a sly grin.

INT. – OPTOMETRIST PRE-TEST ROOM – DAY

JANAE

Doctor, every time I clicked on the button, it gave me a puff of air in the eyes!

Dr. Langford looks at his display.

DR. LANGFORD

Oh, you know what? I had it set to the serial tonometry setting. Sometimes it’s helpful to take multiple readings to see what your eye pressure is over time. Oh well, no harm done. Let’s go into the exam room.

INT. OPTOMETRIST EXAM LANE – DAY

Janae enters rubbing her eyes and sets her things down. As the doctor enters, she looks in the mirror on the wall to see that her eyes are bright red.

JANAE

My eyes are really red!

DR. LANGFORD

Don’t worry, that will go away in a minute. Have a seat on that dentist-looking chair.

JANAE

I hope you’re right.

DR. LANGFORD

Of course I’m right.

He scoots a big Phoropher up to her head.

DR. LANGFORD

Now, which is better? One or two?

We see an eye chart, and switching between one or two, WE DON’T NOTICE ANY DIFFERENCE.

JANAE

Um..

Black Screen

SUPER: 20 MINUTES LATER...

INT. OPTOMETRIST EXAM LANE – DAY

DR. LANGFORD

And now which is better, one or two? One or two?

JANAE

I don’t...uh..

Dr. Langford pulls the machine away.

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, it looks like you don’t need glasses still.

JANAE

All that just to find out-

DR. LANGFORD

Okay, one last thing, I’m going to look inside your eyes with my microscope.

He swivels a slit lamp over. It looks kinda’ like those other machines in the pretest room.

JANAE

Doctor, look...I’d rather not do this one.

DR. LANGFORD

Well, I need to look inside your eyes to complete the exam.

JANAE

But couldn’t you do it with something...else?

He pulls out an ophthalmoscope, an innocent-looking flashlight.

DR. LANGFORD

I guess I could use this.

JANAE

Let me see that.

He hands it over. She twists it apart, looks, and reassembles it.

JANAE

Yah, I guess that’s okay.

He takes it back and gets...uncomfortably close to her face.

JANAE

(pushing back)

Whoa, whoa!

DR. LANGFORD

With the ophthalmoscope, I have to get in close. You chose this one. Don’t worry. Nothing touches you.

Janae still has a defiant look of doubt.

DR. LANGFORD

Just a quick thing, and then we’re done.

JANAE

(a look that says don’t cross me)

Real quick.

DR. LANGFORD

Yes.

JANAE

It won’t hurt.

DR. LANGFORD

No.

JANAE

Fine. Get it over with.

He brings the “flashlight” in again, still uncomfortably close.

We SEE ALL THE BRIGHT LIGHTS that she sees.

And then... PUFF! She recoils.

JANAE

That’s it! I’ve had it!

She stands up from the exam chair.

JANAE

I’m not paying for this!

She starts to walk out.

A BLACK SPOT BLINDS her central vision and full view of the doorway.

Janae hits the wall. She holds her forhead.

JANAE

You are sick!

As she exits she has fire in her red, red eyes.

EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY

Dr. Langford strolls to his car. As he gets out his keys.. WHACK! A force of nature- a flash, which vaguely looks like Janae, body checks him onto the car. His limp body then slides to the ground.

Janae brings around the car a big air compressor on wheels. She holds open his eyes while pressing the trigger. Air whooshes his hair and then her aim corrects to his eyes.

JANAE

(as she alternates the aim between his eyes)

Which is better now, doctor? One! or Two!

Dr. Langford whimpers, eyes red. Now Janae has the weird smile.

FADE TO BLACK and ROLL CREDITS

INT. OPTOMETRIST EXAM LANE – DAY

Dr. Langford gets really close to Janae with an ophthalmoscope...and steals a kiss.

FADE TO BLACK

The Problem with Godzilla (2014)

I took my son to see Godzilla in 3D on opening night. It was great that we shared the experience, but the Godzilla movie left me emotionally unsatisfied for 3 reasons:

(Spoilers ahead)

 

  1. I thought the movie was about the father, but then they take a turn, and I guess we follow the son the rest of the movie even though the father had all the emotion in the first act.
  2. Everyone knows you don’t kill the mentor until the end of the second act.  If the father isn’t going to play the hero, then I guess he is the mentor.  They kill the father in the early second act.
  3. Fine, you kill the father early on, but you’re not going to let us see any catharsis with the father and son? Seriously, the closing image should have been the son at the father’s grave or something. Emotionally I want to see the son reconcile with his father.

Anyway, other than not being emotionally satisfying, Godzilla 2014 was…fine.