Monday, June 23, 2014

Double Feature: Godzilla (2014) & X-Men Days of Future Past Reviews

For as many movies as I watch I don't watch many in the theater.  It's just too expensive and Saturdays I usually spend writing so when I'm working on a story I don't really want to take time off to go watch a movie.

So I decided since I wasn't working on a story at the moment I should catch up with a good old-fashioned double feature.  I know people used to do that a lot like in the 30s-50s; I'd have to go ask the Chubby Chatterbox about that.  I've done it a few times in the last 10 years.  In 2004 I saw "Garden State" and "Spider-Man 2" and the next year "Revenge of the Sith" and "Batman Begins" and in 2007 it was "Transformers" and "The Simpsons Movie."  In 2008 I saw "The Dark Knight" twice the day it came out, which I suppose would count as a double feature, right?

Anyway, in the old days you'd just stay in the same theater and watch one and then another, but it's harder to manage that these days.  Especially since the movies I wanted to watch were older and didn't have as many time slots.

So anyway at 10:55am I went to the theater and watched "Godzilla."  Y'all on the Internet had given me high hopes--which this did not live up to.  When I pay $6 to watch a movie called "Godzilla" I want to see more than 10 minutes of Godzilla!  They needed to adhere more to Ken Watanabe's character's line:  Let them fight.

First off it took over an hour to even get to Godzilla showing up.  In that time they killed off Bryan Cranston's character, which seemed pretty lame since he was the only one worth giving a crap about.  All we had left then was his son, who was basically just a ripoff of Josh Duhamel's character in "Transformers."  Oh and hey since it's 2014 maybe we could have his wife be something other than a freaking nurse.  Why couldn't she be a doctor?  There are women doctors these days movie writers.

Anyway, so finally Godzilla shows up in Hawaii to take on Bat-Monster and does his famous roar.  Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuumble, right?  (I probably owe Michael Buffer a quarter now.)  Nope.  Instead we cut back to the lame humans and only see part of the fight on a TV screen.  Whaaaaat?  Then it probably takes another forty-five minutes for Godzilla to throw down with the monsters in San Francisco and even then they'd get going and we'd have to cut back to the annoying humans.

The thing is the humans were so freaking stupid.  Their grand plan is to set off a nuke out in the water to draw in the monsters and kill them.  Well since the Muto monsters emit EMPs we can't use a conventional bomb from an airplane or anything so we have to deliver by train and then put in some old-timey clockwork detonator that can't be called back.  So when the Bat-Monster takes the bomb and gives it to his sweetie in San Francisco the dumb humans have now put a timebomb in the heart of San Francisco.  So they send Bryan Cranston's son in via a HALO jump to stop it.  And the whole movie we hear all about how he's this hotshot bomb disposal expert...and he doesn't even defuse the fucking bomb!  He just pushes it out to sea so it can blow up.  WTF?  Why establish the guy as a bomb disposal expert and then have him "dispose" of it like Batman or Tony Stark?  Those guys at least have an excuse.  And really the gist of it was he was saving the city from himself!  WTF?

But when Godzilla does finally figure out how to use his nuclear breath or whatever that was pretty sweet.  In his limited screen time Godzilla was probably the best character, with Bryan Cranston a close second and then I didn't give a shit about anyone else.

People can bash "Pacific Rim" but at least it had some sweet monster vs. robot fights.  But the little Indian kid behind me in the theater liked it, so there.

Anyway, I know we have to waste all this time on lame humans because we need characters we care about blah blah blah (which incidentally I didn't care about them, as noted above) but really guys if I want to watch a movie with human characters I'd go watch "Grand Budapest Hotel" or something more dramatic.  When I watch a movie featuring monsters and/or robots I want to see monsters and/or robots!  (1/5)

After that I went and got lunch and hung out at the library.  Then I went to another theater that was showing "X-Men Days of Future Past" at 4pm, which was the earliest available in the area.

I liked it a lot better, though it wasn't exactly a perfect movie.  Basically as you know they're trying to mash together the first three X-Men movies of the 2000s with "X-Men First Class."  And they ignore the two Wolverine solo movies.  So having seen all of those it can get a little mushy.  Like wait Angel is dead?  Wasn't he in X-Men 3?  And how is it Beast came up with a sort of mutant cure back in 1973?  And why the hell would that allow Xavier to walk?  The Geek Twins linked to an article that had some of the more significant errors, such as:  why does Wolverine have metal claws in the future when he lost them in "The Wolverine?"  And didn't Xavier's body get vaporized by the Phoenix in "The Last Stand?"  (Though a cookie scene showed he'd transferred his mind to another body.)  The good thing is that after this movie any problems can be explained away as it's a different universe now because time travel, ie the Star Trek reboot.

Something funny to note is that since the original 2 comics came from the early 80s we're probably right now at or past the bleak future it predicted.  So there.  Anyway, I'm sure you know that in "the future" mutant killing "Sentinels" have run amok so the last mutants band together to send Wolverine back into the past, only in this case it's by beaming his mind back to his younger body in 1973, which originally was supposed to be done by Kitty Pryde but no one really gives a shit about Kitty Pryde whereas Wolverine is the most popular character.

Just like in the comics they were supposed to stop the assassination of the senator guy whom Magneto killed in the very first X-Men movie, so instead it's Mystique is going to kill Tyrion Lannister, the inventor of the Sentinels.  (Wouldn't that be an awesome crossover?)  Anyway, Wolverine has to get the band back together to find her and stop her.  Though why they really needed Magneto I don't know.  Basically they just needed Xavier to stop being such a wuss and man up about his psychic powers.  Come on, you wouldn't see Patrick Stewart being such a whiny bitch about it!

One dumb thing I remember some people bitching about is Quicksilver is supposed to be Magneto's son and some people were like, "But they don't mention that anywhere!"  Um, yeah they do.  In the elevator Quicksilver's like, "My mom knew a guy who could move metal around."  Hmmmm, I wonder who that could be?  But I guess 1973 was too early to go on Maury Povich to see if Magneto is the baby daddy.  Though I don't know why they really needed Quicksilver either; Wolverine couldn't just punch the glass with his bone claws?

In the end Magneto lifts up a whole stadium to surround the White House, which seemed kind of dumb.  I mean sure it kept out cars, but we have these new things called helicopters.  And airplanes.  Yeah, even in 1973 we had those!  Sure there were still the Sentinels, which really I seriously doubt we had the technology in 1973 to make giant sophisticated robot killing machines.

In that finale it's surprising how little Wolverine actually does.  Basically he gets wrapped in metal and drowned in the Potomac, though obviously he can't die.  You'd think since he's the most popular character he'd get more involved.

Like "Watchmen" the Nixon impersonator was pretty lame.  Is it really that hard to depict Nixon on the big screen?  I guess there's a tendency to make him too cartoonish with the nose putty and stuff.  In which case maybe they should have set it in 1974 and Ford could have been the president.  Similarly there seems no way to make Beast not look ridiculous in his blue beast mode.  It might help if they did like the Hulk and used CGI and maybe lost the clothes so he could be more beast-like.

This was the type of movie where as long as you didn't think too hard about anything it was fine.  Obviously the whole point was so they could launch a broader X-Men universe, because it's not enough to have a franchise; now you need a whole cinematic universe thanks to Marvel.  I think at this point they're running second behind Marvel in that department.  We have yet to see how DC's result is going to look and Sony's just sounds awful.

Of course the next X-Men movie is due out in 2016, providing Bryan Singer isn't in jail--or probably even if he is.  I mean Brett Ratner is probably available.

The only thing going forward is I assume we'd be seeing the McAvoy and Fassbender Professor X and Magneto, not Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, which kind of sucks.  The younger actors don't have the same gravitas for obvious reasons.  Overall I'd give this a 3/5.

So there are the results of this year's double feature.  I suppose I could do another one at some point, but it's hard finding two movies I want to watch at the same time.  If you're a single guy with a lot of free time you could always try that for yourself.


  1. Just so you know, each time you said it, in my mind I thought "Mag-net-o," not "Mag-NEET-O."

    Godzilla sure bombed, didn't it? That guy did a really great job with "Monsters" and no budget but give him a good actor and a bajillion dollars and he kills the actor and ignores special effects. I'm with you: the monster should've fought more. I bet it was budget, though. I read recently that the reason Andy didn't have a dad in "Toy Story" was because Pixar didn't have the budget to animate any more humans in the movie, given how complicated and expensive it was. So I bet this guy's CGI budget ran out and that's why the fight appeared on the TV.

    As for Xmen? Pleh. I've never cared much about them and the fact that Wolverine is a big deal is superannoying.

    I did, though, write a short story called "The Secret Origin Of Wolverine's Leather Jacket," so if you're keeping track, that means you're catching up to Rusty in ideas I've stolen from things people say.

  2. I've accomplished the even more rare triple-feature. A couple of times!

    Futurama does Nixon best.

  3. You make some good points Pat. He's not much of a bomb expert and the younger guys just don't have the same gravitas. Maybe they'll grow into it. But I enjoyed both movies myself. Thanks for a fun set of reviews, and hope you have a fun Monday Dude.

  4. I did like X-Men more than Godzilla. But I definitely liked Godzilla more than you did.

  5. I am a self proclaimed Godzilla Geek, and I liked the nod to the spirit of the kaiju. If you went in looking for Pacific Rim type constant battles, I can see why you were disappointed.
    I liked X-Men, but was kinda upset Wolverine was thrown in the water. I see the point in letting Raven/Mystique make her own choice without it being forced.



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