Archives for posts with tag: Ken Watanabe

Grade B+


Manny’s Movie Musings: “Letters From Iwo Jima” is one half of a two movie set about the World War II battle on the island of Iwo Jima. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie focuses on the Japanese soldiers’ perspective; and is based on the letters the commanding officer of Iwo Jima wrote to his family.  “Letters…” shows the hopes, fears, and struggle of the island’s defenders in a way that humanizes them.  Strip away the combat and uniforms, and what you have are mostly young men who love their families and just want to go home and live ordinary lives.  Sounds like most people, right?  My most memorable, movie moment of “Letters From Iwo Jima” is the scene when an officer commands his men to commit suicide, and one by one, each grabs a grenade, pulls the safety pin out, and holds the small bomb close to their chest until it explodes.  This is the rare scene in this movie that shows a drastic difference between American and Japanese soldiers in WW II.

— M

When 2 giant creatures (called MUTO: Massive, Unidentified, Terrestrial Organism) lying dormant for years finally awaken to multiply and wreak some serious havoc on Earth, Godzilla emerges to fight his natural enemy and restore balance to the planet.

Sounds like a creature fest, right?  Not really.  “Godzilla” is kind of a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s Godzilla flicks, meaning the human element takes precedence over the monsters.  Don’t worry, there’s enough Godzilla and MUTOs to gawk over when you see these titans fight.

“Godzilla” stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a Navy officer who gets in the middle of the monster fight because he had to travel to Japan to deal with his father (played by Bryan Cranston) who is obsessed with the destruction of a nuclear reactor many years ago that killed his wife.  Cranston always believed that there were other forces at play, and the government was hiding what really happened, and he wants answers!

Well, Cranston gets his answers, and then some.   The reactor destruction was caused by a MUTO, creatures who feed on nuclear radiation, and emit powerful EMPs (electro-magnetic pulses) that destroy any electronic device that isn’t shielded from EMPs.   Bad news for the humans, as most of their heavy weapons use electronics, and the ones that don’t use electronics do little damage, if any, to the MUTOs.   Enter Godzilla, possibly the best ally the humans have; but the military sees Godzilla as a threat also, and plan to kill all three at once.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Godzilla” is the sequence when Johnson and his team do a HALO jump (High Altitude, Low Opening), above and into the middle of a fight between Godzilla and a MUTO.  The type of music used during this sequence made the jump horrifying and extremely intense.  This moment could have been a page out of Dante’s Inferno, or remnants of a fantastic nightmare.  It’s a great example of genius filmmaking.

The rest of the movie falls quite short of genius, but that’s okay, because “Godzilla” delivers on the entertainment level.  Yes, Maximus, I was entertained.

Oh, one last thing about some people complaining that there wasn’t enough Godzilla in “Godzilla.”  There is such a thing as overexposure.  Show the creature too much and the audience will lose its sense of shock, awe, and wonder.  Give them just enough, and leave them wanting more.



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