For a film about a giant rampaging prehistoric lizard, the new film Godzilla by director Gareth Edwards was surprisingly lacking in creatures of a reptile persuasion. The next generation of an American attempt on this classic monster movie did significantly out-do its predecessor, but honestly that bar was not set very high. The film was enjoyable overall but had some major issues.
The plot begins when a giant prehistoric insect that feeds on radiation awakens from deep hibernation underground and then proceeds to travel across the world to find his mate, who awakens in Nevada. Godzilla, in turn, rises from the ocean to hunt them. Sounds great so far; Giant monsters fighting each other! Except…they don’t, at least not on screen. What the film makers failed to realize is that teasing is for trailers, not for the actual film. There is a huge difference between building up suspense and dragging things out. In fact, there is only one full length fight in the whole movie. Yep. That’s right. One. The ‘final boss battle’ as it were. Most of the film is spent tricking the audience into thinking they are about to rumble, only to close a door in front of the camera or cut away. It was incredibly frustrating.
On top of that, the ‘human element’ the film tried to add in fell kind of flat. The characters were too familiar and generic. The lead character, Ford Brody, (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in particular, I found to be dull, ‘insert generic military good guy here.’ There was also significantly less Bryan Cranston than the media would have led you to believe. Ken Watanabe was great, playing a scientist who had spent a career studying Godzilla, but again, I would have liked to have seen more of him. His basic role was to be that guy in the background of the US Military base going, “No…don’t…stop..”
The visual effects of the movie were fantastic. Godzilla himself looked awesome, and when he did fight it was epic. They gave him some of his classic abilities, like his radiation breath, and it was done amazingly well. I also enjoyed the insects as an enemy. They did what they were supposed to do, cause a heck of a lot of collateral damage, and be a tough opponent for our hero Godzilla. The movie also kept the insect motivations and actions rooted in basic biology, which was nice (eat, nest, procreate, protect).
I absolutely loved the ending, and for all the movie’s flaws it had some really good points. The cinematography was good, the action was high, and the final fight really was epic. I just wish there was a little more of that during the main body of the movie. We saw the insects way more than the ‘King of The Monsters.’ All in all, more Godzilla, please! I would have to rate Godzilla at about 3.5 stars.