REVIEW — “Godzilla”
What starts out with a bang, quickly dissolves into a mess of flawed science, stupidity, and breathtaking visuals. The movie feels like it was structured off from a handful of amazing storyboards that were haphazardly forced together by the writers.
This version of the King of Monsters was directed by Gareth Edwards, who last directed “Monsters” back in 2010. While both of these films are about monsters, they couldn’t be more different. His last film was thoughtful and story driven. Apparently he threw that all away to direct this FX-traveganza that is devoid of character development. Even Heisenberg(Bryan Cranston) can’t help us as he wildly over-emotes his shallow lines. The cast also includes the normally awesome Ken Wantanabe, but unfortunately here he spends virtually the entire movie looking as if he’s contemplating seeking medical attention for his chronic constipation. In retrospect it seems the only reason he was cast is to have a Japanese actor say “GO-ZILLA!” Elizabeth Olsen is similarly wasted, although her on-screen husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is in nearly every scene, logic-be-damned. (Is it weird that they are husband and wife in this film, but play brother and sister in next year’s “Avengers 2”?) The movie also features a large, prehistoric creature that feeds on nuclear energy and destroys cities. Oh, and there’s Godzilla too. (Who gets less screentime.)
There are so many bizarre things with this movie. It starts in the first few minutes when we learn that the American atomic testing in the Pacific was actually to STOP Godzilla. A rather ironic twist considering the original Japanese “Gojira” blamed these exact bombings for creating the monster that destroyed their cities. (Leave it to the Americans to completely rewrite history to their benefit.) In a popcorn flick we are expected to have a certain suspension of disbelief. But after a point, it can become insulting to the audience. There is an incredible amount of bad science, massive plot holes, and decisions that make no sense. After a while it becomes clear that any plot developments exist solely to setup the next beautiful shot. This is actually where “Godzilla” shines. A number of sequences are truly breathtaking, especially if seen on a full sized IMAX screen. These random scenes alone nearly validate the cost of your ticket. The entire train segment is a perfect example. Every single decision and action made, both by humans and creature, defies logic, however the visual payoffs are awesome.
While it is without a doubt, the best American-made Godzilla movie, this film is visually stimulating but mentally numbing. Check your brain and expectations at the door for optimal viewing pleasure.