I have this slight condition with certain approaches where I am unable to see faults or have them have any impact on my enjoyment despite being fully aware of them.
On a discussion some time ago whether or not movies should be enjoyed as they are. A point that one of the participants said of themselves is that they are not able to ignore the intent the director wanted out of respect for the director and take as meant. This is a valid argument and applies to the person who made the argument alone, just as one could argue that he enjoys movies as they are as entertainment rather than trying to find meaning that doesn’t exist in them.
However, more often than not it seems people are willing to take in the authorial intent as is with flicks they enjoy, opting to berate those that they don’t enjoy or see something wrong in them. This isn’t really doubethinking or anything like that, it’s as usual. Everybody does this, it’s a standard of human living to let things slide, unless you dislike something.
As mentioned, I tend to have an infliction that I’m able to enjoy things as long as they entertain me. I see the stupidity, I see the faults and yet I give them a pass because… I don’t really know, to be honest. Perhaps it is because I allow myself to be swayed by that authorial intent too much, and be taken by the movie. Well, most of the time. There are products that just make me want to grab a bottle, like Space Thunder Kids. Korean animations are the reason I drink alcohol so much nowadays.
To use an example, the Tristar Godzilla from 1998 is a movie that I can’t help but enjoy. Is it a good movie? No, not really. Is it an entertaining one? Most definitely. The same applies to the team Devlin/Emmerich’s previous two moves, Stargåte and Independence Day as well. They’re not really all that cleaver in the end, they’re a bit annoying but dammit they’re just nice popcorn flicks to watch now and then. The hype for all three movies was insane at the time, and marketing was very well realised in order to grab attention. For Stargåte you saw the gate and people stepping into it, but never saw the other side. For Independence Day you saw White House being blown up and some action, but outside that nothing else much. For Godzilla they went one of the most late 90’s ad campaigns around with the whole SIZE DOES MATTER take, which was both stupid and absurdly difficult to maintain as you couldn’t show the monster itself. I remember seeing the teaser for Godzilla before The Lost World, and it grabbed me. The teaser is famous for featuring no footage from the flick itself, but that never bothered me. While it’s not a good form, it tried to sold the theme of the movie rather than the movie itself. Then again, we’re the audience, not the execs. Sell us the movie, not the idea of a movie.
When I went to watch the movie itself, I remember coming out of it feeling the same as I did with the Nolan’s Batman movies; Well, at least I’ve seen it now. Enjoyed it, but know in my heart that it was a stupid movie. There are scenes that make no sense, like in the early on in the hospital where Philippe takes out a lighter to talk with one of the survivors. The scene overall is stupid, but I still see what’s being done here; the light is to take the survivor’s attention in a hypnotic way to make him concentrate. Of course, this may be me giving Emmerich more credit than he deserves and it could’ve been just to build tension, which I took in hook, line and sinker when sitting there. Just like with the hole in MetLife building. It’s awesome idea, but absolutely stupid one.
The same was repeated with the latest Godzilla movie. I came out, but this time I took some friends with me so I could discuss the movie with. True enough they mentioned all the spots that bothered me.
The difference between the two Godzilla movies is that the Tristar one had an immensely troublesome production having its initial start in 1994, ten years after Henry Saperstein had pressurised for an American take of the monster. When thing fell apart with DePont’s Godzilla, Emmerich took over. While Emmerich gets a lot of hate from changing Godzilla for his movie, all the changes were approved by Toho themselves, so blaming just Emmerich is stupid. To argue Toho knew Godzilla better than the Americans, they didn’t even know how many rows of spikes Godzilla has on its back. Toho and fans went to full damage control after the Tristar Godzilla, and a lot of misconceptions about the name still persists.
The movie was so troublesome and threatened to gobble up all special effects houses of the time, that it could never have been a hit. If you want to read the whole history of Tristar Godzilla, both the original version and the later Emmerich version, Sci-Fi Japan has a large, in-depth four part series of articles dedicated to it. It’s a good read even if you’re not fan of Godzilla, as it shows how the industries were strangely struggling with artists struggling with businessmen, and craftsmen were in the middle.
Emmerich’s Godzilla wasn’t supposed to be the same Godzilla we know. If you hate this idea then you’d hate the rest of the movie. Sure, has only traces of original Godzilla in it, but then again Godzilla has always been changed with the time, even by Toho. Hell, one could argue that making him a hero character is absolutely retarded take on what essentially was a walking nuclear bomb. The 2014 Godzilla was truer than Tristar one, but it was by no means any better. The same applies to Godzilla 2000, and applies to a whole lot of different franchises out there.
Going through franchises from their inception to modern day, you notice that there to be a lot of repetition. It’s bound to happen. That shouldn’t be the norm thou. All that we have now used to be new. King Ghidorah, the fan-favourite enemy of Godzilla was new in 1964. After that we’ve got less high quality monsters for Godzilla to fight. What does it say about the fans and the producers when one of the fan favourite monsters next King Ghidorah is essentially a robotic copy? I applaud the 2014 Godzilla for adding a new monster Godzilla to fight. It would’ve been the best for them to continue with new creations, but it’s already confirmed that the old monsters would return. This is on both fans and the producers, as they are afraid to deviate from the established formula. Don’t break what works is a good idea to uphold, but even then there are always better options. This is one reason why it’s so ironic to call these people as artists, as they barely create anything artistic. They just recycle things with a new lick of paint and call it day.
My doublethink here is that despite Emmerich’s Godzilla is a bad movie on its own rights, at least it tried to be something different and in surprising ways was far more rooted to the original Godzilla than any of its sequels were.
I’m pretty sure I lost some credit with this post among movie enthusiasts and Godzilla fans, but take solace in that this doesn’t only apply to Tristar Godzilla. I like a lot of stuff I know is shit and not all that good, and I am able to admit to that. I would just love to see people do the same and get off their high horse from time to time.