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The Force Is With Me: Star Wars Rogue One Plot & Characters Review (SPOILERS!)

rogueone_onesheeta_1000_309ed8f6Now that Rogue One has been out for a while, I felt it is finally time to write an analysis of the characters and plot of the latest Star Wars installment.  Few people can deny that this is the prequel that captures the spirit and feel of Star Wars (those who do are entitled to their opinions, but the rest of us seem to think it’s great).

As a note, I’m adding some filler here just to make certain anyone who wants to avoid spoilers won’t have anything spoiled.  *Spoiler Warning: The rest of this review will delve into some plot and character details*

While Rogue One is a fast, exciting, and tension-driven war movie set in the Star Wars universe, the beginning is something of a mess.  There’s no opening crawl, a decision made to thematically separate the movie from the space opera feel of the others.  It arrogantly states, “We don’t need to tell you what’s happening, pay attention and we’ll show you.”

Which is all well and good, except at the very beginning it jumps around from planet to planet and through time rather quickly.  If you aren’t paying attention (and possibly even if you are, you’ll have no clue what’s going on right up until Jyn Erso is sat down at the Rebel Base on Yavin 4 when they explain everything through exposition.

It’s sort of like they made the decision not to have an opening crawl and then decided, “Crap, we need to slip it in, we’ll just have some characters explain it all.”  Which is fine.  We get some time to meet some of the characters, to establish Captain Cassian, Jyn Erso, and to see that the Director Krennic is kind of an asshole.  Still, it feels like they could have done a bit more showing than telling, but it’s a style choice that works, despite being a bit silly in some regards.

Moving on, we’ve got the Imperial defector, Bodhi who gets captured by an apparently unhinged Saw Gerrara, the leader of a splinter faction of rebels on the planet of Jedha.  Bodhi is carrying a warning about the Death Star, sent by Jyn’s father, Galen Erso.  Now this is another area where I feel the film sort of loses it’s course.  Saw is an enigmatic character, who seems to have lost touch with reality, one moment being helpful and the next… well, the next he’s accusing Jyn of being there to kill him.  It doesn’t make a terrible lot of sense, and there’s so much odd stuff about Saw that we’re left wondering: what’s up with his legs, how was he injured, why exactly has he lost it, why did Jyn’s father trust him with his daughter’s life?

We can extrapolate a lot of this, but it’s all distracting from the overall plot for a character who gets killed so early in the movie.  There might have been some wider idea for the character in other outlines for the film, but what we’re left with is sort of a box of crazy that distracts overall.  His splinter group of rebels, on the other hand, fits in very well with the overall “dirty” theme of the movie.  Not all of the rebels are going to be idealistic, kind-hearted folk like Luke Skywalker and Leia.  Saw’s rebels are scary and violent, opening fire on the Empire in a crowded market place and using grenades indiscriminately.

The torture of Bodhi, the Imperial defector sort of serves that point too, but it feels like another rabbit hole at the same time.  The Bor Gullet seems like a random thing to throw in there, particularly when it’s stated power didn’t seem to convince Saw Gerrara of anything.  And the “madness” that it caused didn’t seem to last long enough to serve any plot point.  Mostly it leaves you with some confusion about what the thing is and how it does what it does… then it’s gone.

Rolling onwards, we see the rivalry between Moff Tarkin and Director Krennic, which culminates in Krennic utilizing the Death Star to obliterate the rebellious city and the old Jedi Temple in a display of the Death Star’s potential.  This is a fantastic scene for a number of reasons, many of them fairly subtle.  We see the casual disdain for life that the Empire’s senior officers hold, where Krennic feels nothing but relief that his weapon worked and then anger that Tarkin steals the credit.  We see Tarkin’s arrogance in how he only cares about how the Death Star will improve his standing with the Emperor.  All the other Imperials just seem to want to lick up scraps of power from the two officers, their shock at the destruction turning to support for Tarkin as Krennic is sent scurrying to plug security leaks that made him look bad.

The “beautiful” comment from Krennic is particularly good as it shows that he has an appreciation of beauty, yet lacks any morality to consider that he just killed thousands, possibly millions, of people.

In a not-so-subtle detail, the Death Star eclipses the sun for the city, circling in an orbit that blocks out the light to the planet just before it obliterates the city.  It’s an ominous omen, one that sets the viewer on edge as they realize what’s about to happen.

Another subtle detail is that, unlike Alderaan, we actually see the place they destroy.  The audience sees Jyn Erso rescue a young girl in a firefight on the streets, delivering the child to her mother.  That girl, her mother, and everyone else in the city is annihilated.  We don’t see their last moments, but we see the city vanish in a cataclysmic explosion that also kills off Saw Gerrera and his rebels.

The main characters barely escape, witnesses to the terrifying might of the Empire.  They also come to the decision to go to rescue (well, Captain Cassian is there to kill) Galen Erso, after Bodhi gives them the location to find him.

Their travel to Galen’s research facility is an excellent use of characterization.  We see the different characters play off one another.  Chirrut and Baze were earlier introduced well and their few words in this scene establishes them further.  Chirrut is obviously a force sensitive, not a Jedi, but in tune with the Force.  Baze is cynical, but his bond with his friend is strong, showing that there’s some depth to his character.  The way they address the destruction of their home is subtle but strong.

The interaction and chemistry between Cassian and Jyn also works well.  Cassian, dark a character as he is (lets face it, he shot a former friend in the back at the start of the movie), wants to believe in Jyn, but at the same time he’s determined to follow orders.

The battle at the research facility is fantastic.  Confusion between Cassian’s superior and the team sets up a series of mistakes that results in the rebels bombing the facility, killing Galen in the process.  Cassian is given a moment to kill Galen, but decides to trust Jyn instead, only to see a rebel Y-Wing blow up the platform anyway.  We get to see Bodhi, Chirrut, and Baze all do what they do, all in interesting ways.

The rest of the movie moves along with an inevitable feel.  The rebel council reject an attack to seize the Death Star plans.  The main characters decide to go anyway and Captain Cassian comes forward with a grizzled host of warriors who volunteer for the mission.  Without going into detail, he establishes them as desperate, hardened fighters and they look and act the part.

The final fight is a chaotic mess and in that they do a fantastic job of capturing the feel of combat.  The rebel plan goes well enough as Cassian, K2, and Erso infiltrate the facility.  I had a moment of eye-rolling as the unshaven Cassian walks around in an officer uniform, but other than that, the scenes play out well.  The firefight kicks off, many of the rebels knowing that they’re going to die just to create a distraction and buy time for Cassian and Jyn.

The firefight kicks off, quickly becoming a mad scramble as more and more Imperials flood the area, an entire garrison against a handful.  We get a moment of excitement as the rebel fleet goes to help… but that’s dampered by the fact that the rebel arrival results in the closure of the shield gate, trapping Rogue team on the planet.

At this point, every character seems to realize there’s no escape and the movie does a fantastic job of showing that realization.  Every one of them reacts in a different way.  Bodhi is shaken, almost panicked.  Chirrut seems to accept it.  Baze scowls.  Jyn and Cassian are all about how to accomplish the mission.  It’s a fantastic bit of storytelling that sells the characters even more.

As an observer, I’ve got to say that it’s the second time that the rebels seized defeat from the jaws of victory (the first being where they kill Galen Erso with a bomb when he would have known best how to destroy the Death Star).  Granted, there’s no guarantee that Jyn and Cassian could have got the plans out of the facility, to the shuttle, and then escaped, but they aren’t left with that option as the fleet arrives and the Imperials close the shield.

At this point, characters begin to die.  K2 goes first, the quirky and humorous droid going out in a poignant fashion, saving Cassian’s life and doing his duty to the last.  With the realization that they need to transmit the plans, Bodhi has to get a message out, setting up a sequence of events where a transmission switch needs to be activated in the middle of a firefight.

rogue-one-star-wars-baze-malbus-chirrut-imwe-death-scenes-218390-640x320Chirrut by far has the standout scene here, chanting “I am one with the Force.  The Force is with me.” As he walks through blaster fire to activate that switch, in a scene where every other rebel who tried was cut down.  This scene is fantastic and as he blindly flips the switch, only to be blasted the next instant, we’re given both a heroic moment of self sacrifice and a gut-wrenching blow as a character we’ve grown to enjoy dies in his moment of triumph.

Bodhi transmits to the rebel fleet to prepare for the data transfer, but then he dies a moment later as a stormtrooper grenades him.  It’s a quick, abrupt death, Bodhi not even having time to say anything before his shuttle explodes.  Yet he’s done his job, he got the message through.

Then we come to  Baze.  Here he has an excellent moment, where his faith in the Force is restored as his longtime friend, Chirrut, dies.  This crowning moment results in Baze taking up his friend’s chant… only to kill a few enemies and die to a random grenade.  In my mind, it’s the one flaw to he end sequence.  Baze should have either died with his friend or had some suitably essential role.  His death as it is is just sloppy.

We’re then back to Jyn and Cassian, the latter who has a brush with death.  Jyn sets up the dish to transmit, nearly dying in the process.  She gets to confront Krennic, Cassian saves her, and she transmits the data to the fleet, not even knowing if they received it. Then she and Cassian stumble out of the facility just as Moff Tarkin fires the Death Star.

Krennic’s death is appropriately ironic, dying from his own creation, given just enough time to realize it and then vanishing.  Jyn and Cassian have a heartbreaking moment, long enough for them to say that they did the right thing, that they gave the rebellion a chance, a bit of hope, before they perish.

Then Vader arrives.  His star destroyer smashes several rebel ships as they try to escape, and he boards the rebel command ship to regain the plans.  His scene where he appears in the corridors is again, excellent.  The tension and terror is raw.  This isn’t a scene where the death of these nameless rebels doesn’t matter.  They’re dying as one of their number tries to get the plans to safety.  It’s a brilliant scene because, like their compatriots on the planet, they know they’re going to die.

The last bit of the movie, as the plans are passed off was done perhaps a little too smoothly.  I see some logic issues with the command ship having the Tantive IV docked inside it for the entire battle.  Couldn’t they have used that firepower in the battle?  For that matter, why not have a last desperate transmission… and why didn’t Vader’s star destroyer block it’s escape?  We know it’s got to have the plans in A New Hope, but couldn’t they have showed that in a less orchestrated fashion?  It’s a small thing, but it disrupts what is an otherwise fantastic ending, giving us a “feel good” for all that the characters all died before the movie really ended.

Thematically, the film is an odd mix of darkness filled with hope.  The rebels really are fighting a desperate battle against tremendously long odds.  They’re always outgunned, always on the run, they are never safe… yet they fight on.

The movie gives fantastic depth to the older movies.  Rewatching them afterwards, there’s far more impact as rebels die, knowing that each of them has their own story and seeing the terrible cost to the rebel alliance for each victory.

Rogue One is a fantastic story.   It’s a fitting prequel, the prequel that many fans wanted from the beginning.  This is a tragic story, one about normal people caught in a terrible time.  Yet at the same time, the characters exhibit some of the best traits of soldiers and humans in general, exhibiting faith, self-sacrifice, and loyalty unto the end.

There’s some flaws overall, but those are small things, minor imperfections in an overall fantastic movie that had excellent characterization and a powerful message of hope.






Writer’s Toolbag: Opportunity Cost

75468d8a02375f27e89c5bf824422f4eToday I’m writing about the most difficult decision you’ll ever make as a writer.  No.  Not that decision, the other one.  No, the other one.

Okay, really, I’m writing about the tough decisions and how to make those.  These decisions are out there constantly for us as authors, but I’m talking about the big ones when it comes to writing your book.  When you have this great idea that you really love… but you realize it might not work.  Or when you’re halfway through writing a scene for a character and you realize that maybe it will work better if they don’t survive.

Recently for me, writing in my Renegades series, I ran into a tough call as far as the plot and story.  On the one hand, I wanted to set up a situation where a main character ended up in a dangerous situation.  I wanted to increase tension… and I wanted the reader to feel uncertainty about what would happen.

On the other hand, I worried that writing the scene the way that I had would confuse the reader.  It became a decision of what worked better for the story between tension and readability.  I chose to go with the more interesting route and we’ll see how that plays out (squints at the Amazon webpage… still no reviews posted).

So how do you make those decisions?  You weigh the pros and the cons… and then you make the decision and move on.  In economics it is called the opportunity cost.  Whichever way you chose, you give up following the other route.  As writers, we have a bit of flexibility intrinsic to the craft.  We can rewrite, edit, and tweak things.  In the end, though, once you hit publish, the decision has been made and there’s no going back.

To me, making these kinds of decisions (and recognizing when one has come up) is something that grows easier as I write more.  Deciding whether to kill a beloved (or hated) character is, well, not taken lightly, but it becomes a simpler decision to make.  Often times this can be something as simple as which perspective to use when you write a scene or just when to cut that scene.  It might be that you have a line that you love… but it just doesn’t fit the flow of your story.

At its most basic level, the question you should ask yourself is: will this make the story better?  If the answer is yes, then you know what you have to do.  Sometimes it means you can give a character a happy ending.  Sometimes it means you have a character who ends up dying alone.  All of it, all that weight is on your shoulders as a writer.

Books don’t get director’s editions with deleted scenes and outtakes.  No one will ever see that bit that you cut and few people will understand the hours that you spend thinking about it.  Then again, that’s where the skill in writing comes from, knowing how to craft your story better and making those hard decisions.  If writing were easy, everyone would do it, right?

Godzilla 2014 Movie analysis: Characterization & Plot (spoilers)

Okay, so as promised, here’s my more indepth analysis of Godzilla (2014). Spoiler alert: I’m going to discuss in detail some of the scenes and events of the movie, so if you don’t want some of the twists and turns spoiled, watch the movie then read this. Why analyze Godzilla when there are plenty of other movies, presumably with better plots and characterization? Because I can, and because it contains a lot of excellent examples.

Because elements of the plot and characters are intertwined, I’ll jump around a bit. The movie begins with Monarch exploring an open pit mine in the Phillipines. They discover the bones of some ancient, long deceased primordial beast, along with two spores, one of which has opened and ripped its way out of the mountain, leaving a trail of destruction to the sea. The movie then jumps to Japan, where engineer Joe Brody is a distracted man worried about seismic anomalies. The movie does a good job here showing him as a workaholic who is both very concerned about the safety of the power plant and doing his job well, even if that may inadvertently cause issues with his family.

The scene establishes him as a somewhat-absent-minded type who is nevertheless well loved by his wife and son and also sets the ground for friction with his son later on in the movie. It is well done, particularly for the set-up later in the movie, as early on his son has made him a happy birthday banner, which his mother promises to show to Joe later on.

The action then comes quickly, as the seismic anomally cracks the nuclear containment and floods the lower levels of the facility with radioactive coolant in vapor form, forcing Joe to choose between waiting in the hopes that his wife can get clear or saving the entire population of the city to include his son. It’s a well-done scene where he gets a last moment with his wife, though I think it would have had more emotional impact if it hadn’t been given away in most of the trailers.

Up to this point, we still haven’t seen the titular Godzilla. One might expect the seismic anomally to reveal itself as the beast… but you’d be wrong. The power plant collapses, and the young son to Joe watches from school… but there’s still no monster(s) to be seen.

Revert to fifteen years later. Joe’s son, Ford, is now a US Navy EOD officer, just returned from a long (really long, 14 months, holy cow) tour. This is a moment, plot wise, which gave me a bit of a headache, but only from dealing with EOD types, who most often had six or nine month tours, even during the Iraq Surge. Anyway, I digress. He disembarks the plane, links up with wife and his own son, and has a bit of a party with them. Then, before there’s any solid characterization between wife, son, and Ford, there’s a phone call that his father (Joe) was arrested in Japan.

The characterization here was very bland. It basically makes Ford into generic military man, his wife into generic spouse (we find out later she’s a nurse), and his son into generic military son. They are entirely bland, with nothing of note beyond the fact that fourteen months made them both miss Ford. There was no development of the relationships, nothing beyond the fact that they are obviously very close, because it shows them being close and saying how close they are.

The movie then goes to Japan, where Ford is now reunited with his father, takes him back to his father’s apartment, and we see that Joe has developed an unhealthy fascination with the ‘accident’ that claimed his wife’s life. At this point, we get some great characterization on the part of Joe. He’s furious and frustrated, and we see that the absent-minded engineer has descended into obsession.

What we don’t get here is any more development with Ford, who feels like a secondary character. We see that he doesn’t agree/approve of what his father is doing, yet he is easily swayed to sneak into the restricted area after an impassioned plea. I felt like this scene had a lot of potential, perhaps to have Ford accuse his father of killing his mother (which he did) or lay out some angst about how he has made something of his life. Instead, he just sort of makes some filler dialogue and we move on to the restricted area.

In the restricted area, we get some more opportunities for anticipatory scene destruction (beautiful overgrown city falling slowly into ruin) followed by plot revelations that despite the collapse of the power plant, the evacuation, and the restricted area… there’s no radiation. The father and son duo rush to their old house, where Joe recovers his data and then sees the Happy Birthday banner his son made for him and his wife hung up in their office for his return, fifteen years ago. It’s a good scene which shows some emotional catharsis for Joe, and establishes that he is tormented by his past and must find some resolution.

Ford, on the other hand, goes back to his room and picks up a toy soldier. Not so much of an impact. The best part was the little terrarium with a cocoon and a label “Mothra” as a nice little implication of what is coming.

Not long later, they get arrested, and then dragged into a military style base built on the site of the power plant. Inside we finally get our first look at the monster… but it’s not Godzilla. It’s a chrysalis, inside of which something has absorbed the radiation of the reactors. (Yes, the science gives me headaches, but it’s a Big Stupid Monster movie, so leave your knowledge of science and physics at the door)

The plot thickens as Joe shows that his knowledge of the attack implies that another attack is immenant. No sooner is this revealed than the chrysalis begins to become much more active and the order is given to terminate it.

Me, personally, I’d probably try something more… final than electricity, particularly when the creature is shown to have an as yet unknown effect on electromagnetic fields. Nevertheless, they try. The creature then explodes out of it’s chrysalis… and it is definitely not Godzilla. The movie has done a great job to this point of amping up the anticipation. We know that we’re going to see him sooner or later, but for now, we get plenty of carnage as the monster smashes the entire facility, sprouts wings, and flies away. Oh, and it has a nifty EMP attack that disables vehicles and the electrical cage they held it in.

We’re back to the Monarch guys, scientist A and B who really don’t have much character at all. They’re essentially cardboard cutouts, with A being the one to announce events and explain things and B being the one who warns everyone that they can’t possibly do what they’re about to do. Scientist B is all the more annoying because she never says why we shouldn’t do things, just that we shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, Joe was wounded in the monster’s escape. Not long after this, on a helicopter ride to an aircraft carrier, he warns his son Ford to take care of his family. Shortly after that, he dies. Now, in my opinion, this was either an attempt to evoke sadness or a desire to save money and have Brian Cranston appear less in the movie. Having him die at this point basically transferred all the burdens of being an interesting character onto Ford… who we’ve already seen very little interesting about. I’m not saying they couldn’t have made him interesting, but they expended that effort on Joe, who is now dead.

Ford doesn’t take up a vow of revenge against the monster that has killed both his parents. He doesn’t seem to care, just wants to move on. So he catches a helicopter to Hawaii, tries to call his wife, and that’s pretty much all the emotional response we get.

Cut to Scientists A & B, who now reveal that Godzilla is back. There was some mention in the reveals earlier that they thought they killed him, but nothing about where he might have been. We see big scary fins as the monster swims along. Scientist A says that Godzilla is a Primordial Alpha, a predator which will hunt down the flying monster and put things back in balance. The US Navy seems unable to take action, unable to track the flying monster, and clueless as to where it is going. Right up until a Russian nuclear sub disappears and then reappears somewhere on Oahu.

Teams sent to investigate locate the monster. Godzilla then rages into the city to attack. We get our first look as Godzilla attacks. There’s a rather cool fight sequence wherein a whole lot of folks in Oahu get drowned by a tidal wave generated by Godzilla, trampled by said monster, or smashed by the flying monster. Right away, however, we see that Godzilla is at a disadvantage by the other monster’s speed and ability to fly. Unbelievably, they manage to make Godzilla both strong and powerful (witness his destruction) and incredibly weak.

My complaints in this sequence is first that the military is painted as both ineffective and unable to take even the most simple precautions. They already know that the flying monster has an EMP attack. What do they do? Send in helicopters to attack it up close and then attack with jets… also up close. Beyond that, Ford has a nice little series of scenes where he saves a kid… but then there’s no resolution, he reunites the boy with his parents, but there’s no feeling of accomplishment, the boy goes on his way and Ford continues trying to get back home.

At this point, Scientist A and B realize what Joe figured out on his own, that the monster was using echolocation to call to another of its kind. They can’t possibly think of who it might be talking to, certainly not Godzilla… until Scientist A says that it is absolutely not possible that it was talking to the other spore, because they dissected it and put it in… you guessed it, the radioactive waste storage facility. Because, since it feeds off radiation, that’s the safest place to put it. *sigh* This is where the plot begins to give me a headache.

Flip to a team which races down an open highway. Visually, a very cool scene, with helicopters and humvees and all kinds of military awesomeness. They pull up, begin to check the site, and then… wow, there happens to be a gigantic, three hundred foot hole in the mountain that absolutely no one noticed. That’s right, it ripped the side of the mountain away and was already halfway to Vegas. Which it quite impressively demolishes, the devastation being shown in a sequence of cool scenes.

The second monster and the first are now expounded to be male and female, and that they’re trying to breed. The military now announces their best plan to date: lure all three monsters (Godzilla too) twenty miles out in the ocean away from San Francisco, the apparent target with nukes, detonate them upon arrival. And, because they know that the monsters use EMP, they install mechanical triggers. But wait, there’s more… lets move the nuke(s) on a slow-moving train (subject to the EMP attack) with the final plan being to put it on a barge (also subject to the EMP attack) and oh, yeah, start the count-down before the nuke even manages to get out of the harbor. Oh, that fancy new trigger can’t be remotely stopped either… so no way is that going to end badly, right?

Possibly the worst, most fallible plan given the situation. Inevitably the land-bound monster number two eats all but one of the nukes. Not long after that, the flying monster snatches the remaining one (after the mechanical timer is engaged) and the two establish a nest in the middle of San Francisco, with eggs, armed nuke, and incoming Godzilla Alpha Predator.

This then comes to some of the best scenes in the movie. Someone apparently does the math and realizes that if you fly high enough you can avoid the EMP (would have been useful to move said nukes, maybe even in a B-2 or B-52 or something designed for that rather than a train). So there’s a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump into San Francisco just as Godzilla makes landfall and starts a fight. Not much sense in it, but it does look very cool. The fight sequence here is both visually impressive and evokes emotion. At this point, they’ve basically established that the military can’t stop these monsters, humanity’s only hope appears to be that Godzilla will destroy them and then go back to doing whatever a three hundred foot tall lizard does in his spare time.

But it’s quickly obvious that Godzilla is over-matched. The flying creature is faster and more nimble and works in concert with monster number two, which is almost as big and tough as the titular monster. The fight sequence here manages to establish Godzilla as an underdog, which automatically is a positive. The intrepid special forces (I think, they don’t make it clear, but why would they carry M4’s against giant monsters? You would think they’d swap out for some bigger weapons, maybe a few more AT4’s, some grenade launchers like M320’s or M203s, or hey even ) team manages to get to the nuke, but there’s a problem, the lid is stuck shut. Apparently they’re in an alternate universe where no one has invented crow-bars, hack-saws, or other useful tools, so the decision is, with thirty minutes left, to carry the warhead across town to the waterfont, put it on a boat, and drive it away to a safe distance. Again, I’m left scratching my head, because it really doesn’t make much sense. And our main character is an EOD guy, right? He should know all about cracking the thing open and getting it to work. But nope, he’s onboard with the plan. We do have a moment of brilliance, then, when, seeing the eggs, he uses a handy fuel truck to blow the nest sky-high.

This then triggers big monster number two to leave the apparently defeated Godzilla, come back, find the nest destroyed, and identify Ford as the culprit. Before it can take action, you see a brilliant light, and from my experience, the crowd goes wild as Godzilla unleashes his radioactive breath attack. It was a visually impressive scene and was brilliantly done to make Godzilla seem the protector. Unfortunately, the flying monster intervenes, and big monster number two runs after the folks with the nuke. It kills off most of them without apparent effort. Thankfully, Godzilla has a reprieve of only fighting one opponent smash the flying monster, but then he’s buried by rubble. Again, a good scene, you see the underdog (underlizard?) finally get in a solid blow, but it amps up the tension of the fight sequence.

Ford tries to do what the others did, starts the boat, which is handily hooked up to some kind of Iphone touch pad, and the collapses, only to have the boat putter out as big monster number two unleashes its EMP attack, and then prepares to kill him. Godzilla saves the day (again) ripping back the monster’s head, breathing radioactive fire down the creature’s throat, and then ripping the head off in a finishing move. The boat starts up again, Ford is rescued, and Godzilla collapses, later to rise again to the cheers of the humans he saved. (Despite being named a predator, he did not actually eat the two monsters he killed, which also bugged me)

I will note that I enjoyed the movie, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that the character I most related to was a three hundred foot tall radioactive lizard. It definitely could have been a better movie, with stronger characterization of the people in it. The science and physics were so far beyond real that you basically needed to ignore reality. Those at least remained consistent throughout. The plot was unnecessarily convoluted, with apparently a great deal of effort spent to ensure that Ford’s wife was downtown giving him reason to try to stop the nuke (as if saving everyone else wasn’t good enough) and also in making sure that said nuke was there to be stopped. I feel like they could have accomplished this in a less… well, stupid fashion, rather than having generals and admirals craft a plan that a five year old could poke holes in. But it worked despite those flaws, because the overall building tension throughout the movie until Godzilla himself is finally revealed, followed by continuing to pay out for what the audience wanted to see: a giant radioactive lizard causing havoc and smashing monsters in the middle of a major city.