Posted May 17, 2014 by in


Total Score

2/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: monster movie
Director: Gareth Edwards
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston
Length: 123 minutes
Release Date: 5/16/2014
Studio: Warner Bros. (presents), Legendary Pictures (presents), Disruption Entertainment, Toho Company
What We Thought

Pacific Rim with less fighting. What fun.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Godzilla is the kind of movie that would need to be seen in IMAX, if only its rampaging reptile had more than ten minutes of screen time.
  Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) however, believes that Godzilla is not out to ravage Tokyo, but is in fact on humanity’s side.  The towering T-Rex creature has resurfaced following the resurrection of two other giant monsters called M.U.T.O.s, Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms, one of which can fly.  None of the characters refers to the flying monster as Mothra, but you know and I know that it’s Mothra (if a kaiju groupie would like to correct me, be my guest).
  Clocking in at a 120 minute running time, Godzilla is much too long for what it is, and takes much too long to get off the ground.  In a completely unnecessary prologue, Bryan Cranston portrays Joe Brody, the clichéd scientist-who-warned-everybody-but-no-one-would-listen.  Unusual seismic activity forces Joe to shut down a nuclear reactor, trapping his coworker/wife (Juliette Binoche) behind the blast door.  Consumed by guilt, Joe spends 15 years trying to find out what caused the strange readings on his instruments.
     What thing—or things—could they have been?  Why, giant, radiation-eating monsters, of course.  It sounds silly, but Godzilla takes itself very, very seriously.  It is a Godzilla movie, after all.
     Flash-forward to 15 years later.  Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is no sooner back from a tour of duty in the navy as an explosive ordnance disposal technician (because the plot needs him to be) than he gets a call from the consulate that his father has been arrested in Japan.  Leaving his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and child Sam (Carson Bolde), Ford returns to Japan to help his estranged father, where signs point towards impending disaster, just as it did before.
  That’s when the M.U.T.O.s emerge from their cocoons, and Godzilla rises from the sea.  The U.S. military wants to nuke the creatures into oblivion, but Dr. Serizawa urges them to let Godzilla fight the M.U.T.O.s as mankind’s champion.
  So, this is a movie about giant monsters fighting each other, as Godzilla movies have often been, which is fine for a big dumb summer blockbuster.  However, Godzilla isn’t fun; it’s frustrating.  The brawls between the gargantuan beasts are clipped short up until the climax, cutting away from monster mayhem to reaction shots of people watching the fight on TV.  And instead of showing the M.U.T.O.’s devastation of the city in progress, scenes have a way of starting after one of the creatures have already demolished a city, a scene which would probably have been pretty exciting to watch, I guess.
  At one point, Godzilla sneaks up on one the M.U.T.O.s, which neither Ford nor the M.U.T.O. notice.  How do you not notice Godzilla?  I repeat:  how do you not notice GODZILLA?  The so-called King of the Monsters does not tippy-toe.
  Look, if what you want is giant things fighting each other, and you haven’t seen Pacific Rim, watch that.   Pacific Rim loves and embraces its giant robots and giant monsters, where Godzilla loves its hero, yet shies away from him.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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