Godzilla: Movie Review

Mike Johnston

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Godzilla stomped into theatres May 16th, then promptly tripped over a small building and fell flat on his reptilian face, crushing audiences’ expectations. At just over two hours, Godzilla spends the first hour attempting to establish a plot and anticipation for Godzilla’s grand entrance, but fails to do so.

The first hour of the movie revolves around Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Joe, Ford’s estranged father, (Bryan Cranston) trying to discover the real reason for a nuclear power plant accident that resulted in the death of Joe’s wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche).  Conspiracy thickens when Cranston and Johnson hatch the secret. A gigantic flying, insect-like, nuclear energy eating monster! Classified as M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object) by the military personnel.  With the monster villain introduced and second hour in full swing the race is on save humanity.

The hour-long build up left the audience impatient and bored, rather than intrigued. If director Gareth Edwards wants to pull a ‘Spielberg’ and not show me the shark for an hour, the dialogue better be interesting or ominous! The score should establish an eerie tone, not beat the audience over the head with bombastic horns.  Also, Godzilla should be scary! Not once did anyone scream during the screening.  It seemed like Edwards was trying to make two movies into one.

Once the monster eye candy is on screen and destroying buildings, Godzilla becomes entertaining. Where the movie succeeds is in its visual effects. But even the monster’s design is unoriginal. The M.U.T.O resembles a cross between Cloverfield and the arachnids from Star Troopers. It’s ironic that the original monster disaster movie lacks originality.

Godzilla Movie Poster Courtesy of; http://www.imdb.com
Godzilla Movie Poster
Courtesy of; http://www.imdb.com

Godzilla also has no real villain. Yes, the M.U.T.O. are threatening humanity; but there is no motivation or personality present. The filmmakers missed an opportunity to make Ken Watanabe, who plays Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, a scheming evil scientist.  A voice that delivers grandiose one-liners such as “Let them fight,” would have been more successful delivering villainous monologue.

Cranston is underused as well. His character is basically Walter White sans bad-assery!  Instead what is left is a meek character with no edge in Joe Brody.

Taylor-Johnson is a serviceable action hero and had good chemistry with his on-screen wife portrayed by Elizabeth Olson. The performances in Godzilla were by no means sub-par; rather the performances were not supported with strong substance.

So is the movie worth the $12.50 for admission? Kind of. I suggest go to the matinee and maybe show up late after lunch to watch the awesome action sequences.