The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.
It starts off pretty good. There is proper story build-up and character lay-out. Where we are – what's happening... It's all there. In fact, the story revolving around the main characters is pretty dramatic from the get-go. Death in the family, trauma leading to obsession over finding the truth surrounding the circumstances. Bryan Cranston is impressive as the family father and science guy. He just knows something is up concerning some big beastie and he won't let up until he figures it out. That is – if he gets the chance. Something happens around one third into the movie that is a pivotal turning point in the story. I knew this immediately when it happened and in the end I realised that I had been correct.
From this point on, it's out with the story and in with the action. An almost mind-numbing, pummelling assault of non-stop action. I'm not saying it's bad, I'm just saying it's a lot less interesting than it could have been.
Here's the deal: instead of just one Big Monster, they bring in three. One Godzilla, and two huge insect-like creatures that are only designated as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Object). Seriously, they couldn't come up with a proper name? And instead of Godzilla being the big threat to mankind, the MUTO are. In fact, Godzilla turns out to be the good guy because he's the only one that can defeat these insect creeps. This story line is factor one in the reason that this movie isn't what it could have been. Factor two is the plot point that these creatures all feed on nuclear energy instead of "manburgers". Consequentially, the only real threat they pose is the massive destruction they cause in big cities (and obviously, the human lives that become casualties by default). It's because of this that there is never any real sense of threat or danger. They don't hunt us, they don't care about us. All they want is nuclear energy and a place to breed. What's worse is, these MUTO take screen time and attention away from the monster who's supposed to be the main antagonist and namesake of the movie! It might as well have been called "Big Creepy Insects" instead of "Godzilla"...
In the end, what we're left with is billions of dollars worth of collateral damage and a big-ass monster who's really kind of a nice guy. Weird.
Still, it's certainly not bad. Aaron Taylor- Johnson does his best at looking very serious and all grown up since his Kick-Ass days, although I am certain that this is definitely one of his less compelling roles. The problem is that from the 1/3 turning point that I mentioned, his character becomes very formulaic and cliché. Our hero even shares an intimate moment of eye contact with Godzilla in the end... Aww.
Ken Watanabe spends every moment of his screen time looking shocked and awed... and pretty much nothing else. Juliette Binoche is shamefully underused. I would have loved to have seen more of her. The biggest asset is definitely Bryan Cranston. He's the only one who managed to make his character 3-dimensional and a real human being. He, too, would have definitely deserved a bigger role. In fact, the film probably would have been much better for it.
Visually, everything is very awesome and impressive. The special effects (visual and sound) are top-notch. Every time Godzilla opened his mouth to let out a massive roar, I thought my eardrums were going to pop. It's bone-chilling and very cool. The design of the MUTO is a real treat, they look like giant praying mantises, totally intimidating. The films' SFX really make it worthwhile.
All in all, the story is quite weak and riddled with clichés, though I must say one thing: thank God for the complete lack of obligatory footprints. I was seriously dreading the moment these giant "claw prints in the mud" would appear on screen, but thankfully it never happened. The overall feel and setting of this film is quite dark and threatening, and adding such a cliché would have been really dumb and unnecessary.
I had really hoped that this was going to be the definitive Godzilla movie. Alas, it is not. But I still enjoyed it for what it was and I definitely recommend seeing it for the special effects alone. In any case, 'Gojira' looks awesome.
I rate it 7.5/10.
- May 28, 2014