Godzilla (2014)
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen
Running Time: 2 hrs, 3 mins
Rated: PG-13

Review by Brother Reed

SPOILER WARNING: This review references the movie’s ending and other plot developments throughout. Read at your own risk.

The moment the screen went black, I threw up my hands in exasperation. It was an emotion that had been building slowly over the past hour. This was the first time that I, a lifelong Godzilla fan, had ever seen the King of the Monsters on the big screen. I should be ecstatic. The last time he came to an American cinema was a universally recognized travesty, disowned and dismissed by most fans as an affront to the character’s legacy; and this new movie is by all accounts a superior entry into the well-loved saga. So why was I so disappointed? In fact, disappointment is really the wrong word for it. I was angry. I felt cheated. Bamboozled. Snookered. Ne’er-done-well. I won’t reproduce here the exact comments I made in the theater but here’s a visual aid:

Prometheus (2012)
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron
Running Time: 2 hrs. 4 min
Rated: R

Review by Brother Reed

Thrilling. Beautiful. Ambitious. Messy. Frustrating. Captivating. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, an original science fiction epic set in the Alien universe and tangentially related to that seminal film, is all of these things and more. Scott himself helped shape the genre 30+ years ago when he helmed Blade Runner and Alien – both now considered sci-fi classics – and his return to form is exciting to behold. It’s a spectacle of both practical and computer effects as well as a gallimaufry of the unsearchable ideas with which sci-fi must eternally contend. And it’s the best film of its kind in a decade. READ FULL REVIEW

King Kong (1933)
Director: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Starring: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot
Running Time: 1 hr, 44 min
Rated: NR

Review by Brother Reed

Here’s a blast from the past: King Kong is 77 years old this year. For the current generation, that’s older than a lot of grandparents. My own grandfather, who passed away just a few years ago, would have been only a boy when it was released. And what a spectacle it must have been! Seeing Kong on the big screen with an excited crowd for the first time in 1933 should have been captivating (and much safer than for the eerily similar audience sitting in front of Carl Denham’s hubris exhibit in the final act of the movie). Unfortunately, it’s an experience that cannot be recreated in the modern world. With decades of movies and billions of dollars worth of special effects under our belts, today’s audience is more difficult to impress. In a very real way, King Kong is itself the grandfather of the modern monster movie, and while we may respect our grandparents, our ideas of fun are generally a little different. I freely admit, as a self-professed monster aficionado, Kong has suffered some generation decay for me as well. While that means I wasn’t blown away by Kong in the same way as its contemporaries, I still view the movie as an entertaining mile marker in film history. READ FULL REVIEW