There was a lifetime ago that my mother would search bargain bins for Godzilla movies.  For much of my life to college, owning the entire Godzilla series was a dream.  The silly dream young men have about radioactive dinosaurs.  I never would have done it without her.  Mom came through on a lot of stuff – she found UHF on DVD for me somehow – and this was one she never let me forget.  Owning the movies on VHS was cool, but then DVDs hit and they just didn’t look as good.

I sold the collection on eBay.

This topic came up often.

Mom would have been thrilled to have seen the new Godzilla movie with me.  Seeing movies was always a mom thing – eating buckets of popcorn and watching movies.

When I was young our local video store – B&B Video – rented most of the Showa series of Godzilla movies.  The mainstays for me were King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. Gigan, and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, with Mechagodzilla being my all time favorite movie.  B&B was strictly mom and pop with wooden shelving clearly built by the owners.  Neat cubicles for each genre.  Godzilla was found in the science fiction section.  (it may have been labeled science-fiction/fantasy, but my memory has a neat white sign saying “Science Fiction” inexplicably featuring a dragon breathing fire – they also had all the Star Trek episodes on VHS, which was a thrill as well)

Godzilla was my childhood.  It’s been a long time since I was able to see him on a big screen.  An IMAX experience would have been worth it, but I settled today for the normal screen.  Anticipation for this movie experience has been building.  Two Godzilla fans share my classroom with me.  Excitement was at a fever pitch.

Frankly, it could have used more Godzilla.

The latest Godzilla movie has terrific special effects (which is not much of a challenge these days) integrated well with the real world (which is a bit harder).  There is a well-scripted human plot with a classic father/son theme that resonated a bit with me but, unfortunately, took a bit away from the monster fighting I’ve come to expect from giant monster movies.  The pathos seemed a bit too focus group for my taste.  Trimmed a bit from the movie, there would have been plenty of time for more monster fight.

Brian Cranston is, of course, a gem.  So, too, is Ken Watanabe playing Dr. Serizawa which is a wonderful throwback to Gojira.  There’s a few easter eggs to be found, the fighting is good when it finally happens, and Godzilla’s radioactive heat breath is a crowning moment of awesome.  It’s placed very well in the movie and pulled off at the precise moment we all want him to use it.  The Godzilla in the movie is well-animated and well-emoted.

Mom would have liked it.

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