The More Things Change
Also: China box office, Disney+ cancels something, a disappointing sequel.
Awards: We’re still three weeks away from the Academy Awards. Does anyone care about the SAG Awards? I am glad that Yuh-Jung Youn won for Best Supporting for her performance as the cranky grandmother in Minari. [The Wrap]
Box Office: I suppose everybody in China has already seen Godzilla vs. Kong? It opened there a week earlier than North America, so that must be why it’s already dropped to #2 in the box office totals. [Variety]
Streaming: The first Disney+ cancellation! I watched The Right Stuff earlier this year; it was a deliberately-paced (i.e. slow) consideration of Tom Wolfe’s book that focused on minor beats, far off the Philip Kaufman film in tone and pace. The first season expired rather than ended, so the news that it has not been renewed is not surprising. Reportedly, it’s being “shopped” around to other services; I suppose it could do alright on a basic cable channel that needed dramatic content. [Deadline]
Monster Sequel Disappointment: Yearning to educate myself about kaiju movies, I watched the original Gojira (1954) again, which was was even better and more poignant than I remembered. It sets a mournful tone that completely envelops the idea of a giant monster around images that, I imagine, would be completely upsetting to an audience that actually witnessed the terrors in person just a few years before. (Compare and contrast with Hollywood’s various attempts to dramatize 9/11.)
Fueled by that and also in the mood for a change of pace, I streamed the immediate followup, Godzilla Raids Again (1955), a sequel that is notable only for how unremarkable it is, save for the model/destruction effects. It points to the problems that have plagued sequels every since, namely, that the filmmakers don’t realize what makes the original work so well (atmosphere, tone) and just duplicate the elements that are easier to do (model/destruction effects). We’ve seen that countless times in recent sequels and threequels and pre-quels; it all depends on a filmmaker being allowed the freedom to impose his own creative vision, which is why I think Adam Wingard’s fourth installment works so well. But maybe that’s just me. [The Criterion Channel]