Review: ‘Godzilla’

godzilla

Dear Godzilla,

I went to see your movie the other night. I’ve loved you since I was a kid and I was super excited to see you on the big screen again but I have to ask… where were you?

The movie is called Godzilla… but you were barely in the film. Sure you popped up a few times and you finally showed up towards the end but come on, I wanted to see you!

Maybe in the sequel you can hang around a bit more.

Sincerely,

Sad Lance

With the release of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim last summer, the bar was set unbelievably high in regards to monster movies. You’d think everyone involved in the reboot of Godzilla would have taken notice, right?

Nope.

We barely even see the big, green lug. What we get are quick cuts of the monster, shots of his tale moving back and forth and a big, ugly paw (is that what you call his foot?) every now and then. We don’t fully see him until the last 20 minutes or so and by that time, it was too late.

The film starts off really promising – Bryan Cranston, his truly awful wig, and his wife work at a nuclear facility in Japan. When a disaster strikes and his wife dies, Cranston wants answers. He spends the next dozen or so years trying to find out what happened.

His son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), is now a marine who hasn’t seen ole’ pops in years. When he gets a call that he’s in jail, he kisses his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) goodbye and heads to Japan to bail him out.

Cranston’s Brody (Hello Jaws reference) convinces Ford to go back to their old house – which has been condemned – so he can get one last set files he left behind. They sneak back, get caught and are quickly brought back to the scene of the crime… where wouldn’t you know, disaster strikes again.

A monster-who-is-never-called-Mothra-but-is-clearly-Mothra emerges from the depths of the power plant and causes some serious mass destruction.

The story, and not-Mothra, then moves from Japan to Vegas and finally to San Francisco, and we’re wondering, where is our hero? No, not Taylor-Johnson, who director Gareth Edwards has forced upon us as the hero, but Godzilla.

Godzilla… where are you?

Imagine if you went to see Captain America and he didn’t show up till the last 20 minutes of the film. There’d be a damn riot in the aisles of every movie theater.

What is worse, at one point, Godzilla starts to throw down with not-Mothra and we’re thinking, finally! Ha! Silly audience member. The camera follows Olsen into a building and she quickly shuts the doors as the fight is starting. Seriously?! We don’t get to see the actual battle? We don’t get to see what we paid for?

And when we finally do get to see the final fight, it’s dark and Edwards focuses way too much on the human characters. Honestly, there is not one person who will care about Johnson’s Ford.

Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins are relegated to exposition mostly, while David Strathairn’s Admiral constantly tells them they’re wrong for not wanting to nuke the monsters back to where they came from.

If you really want to see a good monster movie, go back and watch Pacific Rim.

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