Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: Godzilla

Hello and welcome to another review at The Real World According To Sam! Today's book is a movie novelizaton. It was based upon the screenplay for a movie. I really enjoy reading movie novelization and watching the movies to see how well a job was done in transferring action on the big screen to words on a page.

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Godzilla
Based on Screenplay written by: Dean Devlin & Roland Emmerich
Novelization by: Stephen Molstad
Rating: 4/5

Godzilla Novelization
I really don't know where to start with this review. Godzilla = huge lizard terrorizing large cities. Although, I find that, in order to keep accuracy, I must adapt a habit from the book and state that it isn't Godzilla, it's Gojira. Some reporter in the story butchered a japanese mythological dragon's name (the original Japanese film from 1954 was actually titled Gojira, and it was later dubbed Godzilla----probably when brought to American audiences, but I don't know for sure). But for originality's sake, let's just call it Gojira. 

The beginning....a submarine sinks after being attacked and having some of the outer sheeting ripped through. The markings, upon further examination, appear to be claw marks. Isn't that impossible though? There's nothing that could cause reptilian claw marks THAT big. Yes, it is reptilian.

Enter Nick Tatopoulos, the 'worm-guy.' A biologist, enviromentalist hired by a nuclear inspection company and taken away from studying earthworms at Chernobyl by the US government.  What could be more important than studying the effects of nuclear radiation on earthworms? Oh nothing, except perhaps the effects of nuclear radiation on a lizard that has now grown to ginormous proportions that is on its way to the United States.  Nick was a very good character in my opinion. He is the one who relays the whole account of the Gojira incident to the reader. He actually communicates with the reader through the pages, saying all he's left out and how much self control he excersized to remove all of his rants on protecting the environment. These comments from him just show more of the kind of character he is. He is a bit outspoken, but makes himself heard when he needs to. He doesn't have a very glamorous life, but he loves what he does.

A great cast of characters await readers. Audrey, the girl-next-door type who decides to grow a backbone and take matters into her own hands. Animal, the cameraman who just never quits or leaves his tape behind. Caiman, the guy you just gotta hate for his compensation, lack of stature leads to a big head to make up for it. Lucy, Audrey's friend and Animal's wife, just as tenacious and fiery as a stereotypical New Yorker. Hick, the military guy in charge of most of the operation. O'Neal, a soldier and Hick's scapegoat for everything that could go wrong as the bearer of bad news.

What's not to like about this? There's a huge lizard wreaking havoc on New York City, there is potential for a nest full of cute little ravenous lizards, there's a dash of romance blooming from a place where it had gone out years before, and lots of explosions....and a crazy French secret service agent who helps save the day even though nobody is supposed to know it.

Action and explosions and huge asexual lizards, oh my!!! I had a blast reading this book. It isn't super long so its a nice quick bit of fun. I really like creatures that can cause massive damage and destruction (dinosaurs, oversized radioactive lizards, giant worms underground, killer sharks...) and Gojira gave me everything I wanted, except people eating. There's really no nom-noming done by Gojira in regards to people. The food of choice is fish, but its ok considering that I really like fish. Its delicious and I appreciate Gojira's good taste. Give it a shot if you like the movie or are just interested in the story of Gojira. Its awesome to read about big lizards.

I also liked the love story bit they had going in there. It allowed the book to go full-circle and cover everything I require from a story. It wasn't in your face, but it was there enough to make a statement. Props to whoever wrote that into the screenplay. I loved it. Good for saps like me who enjoy those classic movie monsters but want something more than just that in regards to relationships. It didn't feel fake or forced. It felt natural and meant to be. My hat is off to you, romance including person.

Also, I don't know if its just me, but I think that in one of the final paragraphs I sensed a correlation between Mendel Craven and Michael Crichton....I've looked online for something and found absolutely nothing on the matter. I think that towards the end they make a funny and treat Mendel as a sort of, loosely caricatured Michael Crichton. Even the names seem a bit similar in my opinion. Mendel---Michael...Craven-Crichton....Cretaceous-period park...maybe its just me, but that seems like a big heads up hello to Crichton fans, like me. It made me laugh.

MOVIE:
Ok, I just recently watched the movie. I don't want to go on and on about that in a separate review so I'll just add a few things in here real quick. The movie is a blast. I really enjoyed it. It isn't very bloody at all, but is still thrilling and lots of fun. I had very few problems with this movie. The score is absolutely beautiful!! Which leads me to the first thing I found a bit awkward. Godzilla finally makes his debut on the screen in his entirety and what do I hear? The prettiest score ever. I loved how it sounded but I'm not sure how well it matched up with what was happening. Big, terrifying lizard finally shows his face and we end up with some sort of wondrous music that would've been better later on, when we get a more sentimental aspect towards the monster...not when we're about to see him attacked and wreaking havoc. But the score is nice, so I can't hate on it too much. The main problem with the movie is the overall lack of character development. The character's come across as less important in comparison to Godzilla. However, in the book, you get a lot more character development going on. There is some in the movie, but not enough to score it high in that category. Having read the book AND watched the movie, I can say I fully enjoyed both since I knew about the characters more before watching it. My only other gripe with this film (and its not a large one anyhow, more like a minor personal qualm) is Godzilla's eye throughout most of the film. Sometimes its just...too hazy to be very fearsome. I like fearsome lizard eyes and the one on the movie cover looked way better than the one in the movie itself. That's on design, not the plot. But still, a better lizard eye would've made me happy. There also wasn't enough of that romance between Tatopoulos and Audrey. I wanted more and I didn't get it which stank because I enjoy a side of romance to go with my destructive creatures and explosions. Makes for an overall good movie, in my opinion.

Overall, Godzilla is a fun movie. It's geared to those who are mostly about the action and movie monsters, but maybe those who are more squeamish and can't take a lot of gore. I enjoyed it and even was sad at the end....I can't help it, I love these creatures in movies (Jaws, Jurassic Park, Tremors, Godzilla). Love them and can't have enough of those movie monsters.

For a good time, watch the movie. Don't go in looking for an in-depth movie full of great characters and character development. Come for the action. Read the book if you want a better grasp of everything overall. If you need the character development, read it and then watch it. It'll work out better for you in the end.

This concludes my review, I hope you enjoyed it.
This is Sam, signing out! 

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