Posts Tagged ‘godzilla’

The Godzilla Theory of Cinematic Quality

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

One day I found myself sitting in a movie theater watching something abysmal.

I can’t remember what it was, exactly, but a moment of inspiration came to me as I found myself almost about to fall asleep for the thirteenth time.

“You know what this movie could use?” I asked no one in particular. “Godzilla.”

I realized that if Godzilla had been in it, it would have been a much better movie.

It was then that the seed of the Godzilla Theory occurred to me. It goes something like this:

Sometimes I have trouble deciding on whether I think a movie is bad or good – and to be clear, I’m talking about the subjective definitions of “bad” and “good” that refer to my emotional reaction to a film, not the technical definitions used in art appreciation classes. So, when I want to be certain about how I feel, I just imagine what the movie would be like if Godzilla were in it.

If the inclusion of Godzilla would actually make it BETTER, then it’s a bad movie.

I can call it a theory because I tested it out multiple times back when it was but a lowly hypothesis. And it seems to work. Now, granted, it largely only provides a decent barometer of MY opinion of a movie, but I’m sure there are some folks out there like-minded enough for it to work for them as well.

The only kinds of movies this test doesn’t seem to work so well with are… well, giant monster movies. Because, honestly, what giant monster movie WOULDN’T be better with an extra dose of Godzilla in it? But all other movies are fair game.

For example, think about the two Schumacher Batman films. You know, those two movies that I keep trying to forget ever existed and which seem to occupy a category of suck all to themselves (and which are the subject of an entirely different theory of mine that I might talk about some other time). Wouldn’t they be INFINITELY better if Godzilla were in them? Because, heck, if they’ve decided to throw causality out the window anyway they may as WELL get a giant monster with atomic breath involved.

Star Wars, however, would NOT work so well with the addition of Godzilla to the cast. True, they had a similar character in Return of the Jedi, but the Rancor’s method acting manages to sate my desire for giant monster mayhem in that regard. I mean, when you can eat an entire Gammorrean raw in every take and still manage to hit your cues on time, that’s quality. (And on a side note, from what I understand, the Rancor and Godzilla briefly studied together at Juilliard.)

images courtesy of Wikipedia

But what about the edge cases? Say… Jurassic Park?

Well, it seems to me that in the first and third Jurassic Park movies Godzilla would probably be redundant, so in my opinion they qualify as “not too bad.” The middle one, though? Yeah, it’s true they made a Godzilla joke in it, but it only reminded me of how badly I wanted to see the real Godzilla turn up and show the T-Rex who was boss. Plus I sometimes find it difficult to stare at Jeff Goldblum for more than a few seconds at a time without wishing for a giant monster to come along and eat him. (Sorry Jeff, but if you’re out there reading this, they tended to leave the camera on you for a tad too long whenever you were doing the “intense staring” thing in that movie.) So, I’ve got to put it in the “bad” category.

Similarly, some Jane Austen films pass the test and some don’t.  Of course, I’m slightly biased in that I’ve always wanted to see Godzilla turn up in a Jane Austen movie. (“Is that rather crude gentleman known to you, Mr. Darcy?” “Which one?” “That tall, green one out there on the croquet lawn.” “The one engaged in fisticuffs with the giant moth?” “Indeed, sir.” “Certainly not, madam! The unruly cad has disintegrated your potting shed with his atomic breath and, what’s worse, he’s trampled your flower garden. I would never associate with such an uncouth misanthrope!”) I can only hope that one day the film adaptation of Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters will be half as riveting as the image I’ve built up in my head.

So, if you’re not sure how you feel about a movie, try adding a dash of Godzilla and see how it looks then. If it doesn’t work for you, then no harm, no foul. But if it does, you may find that there’s nothing more valuable than the sense of perspective you get from a giant lizard.

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Music by Kevin MacLeod