With the Godzilla franchise starting 60 years ago in Japan, the monster-havoc franchise has taken many different turns from Godzilla travelling to the moon, to attacking New York in Roland Emmerich’s American adaptation in 1998. Although Emmerich set the bar for the reboot rather low, new director Gareth Edwards had his own twists and turns to the classic series to bestow upon the audiences.
The movie starts out with a normal seeming existence between Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) his wife and his young son in Japan. When a seismic accident kills his wife, Joe dives into insanity trying to find out the cause of the seismic activity. 15 years later, Brody’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has a family of his own and has become an American Military Stereotype with no absolutely no character. Ford then is forced to fly from his home in San Francisco to bail his crazed father out of a Japanese prison. It’s here where Joe and his son Ford go exploring only to find out that something has been hidden here. Something much bigger then them.
Here it is guys, the part where Godzilla happens. Oh wait, no it’s not. Here you find out that there have been experiments on an ancient monster known as MUTO. This is where the movie takes a deep slide. At this point, we are 45 minutes into Godzilla and yet there’s no Godzilla. Ford continues his pointless heroic acts that add nothing to the plot line as the MUTO attacks Hawaii, Las Vegas and eventually San Francisco.
After a short time, a second MUTO is hatched from a secret project in Nevada. From this point, you would assume the movie would be about the destruction these monsters are forcing upon the world (More specifically, America) but you would be wrong. From here on out, the movie is an American Military Operation. I audibly sighed at this point.
Have you noticed how little I have talked about Godzilla himself in this review? Well, the reason for that is that he isn’t actually in the movie very much. As a big fan of the original Godzilla movies, this was a huge disappointment for me. So after the MUTOs begin destruction, Godzilla shows up because he can sense when the world is out of balance. Although the MUTOs are shown very clearly over and over and over, Godzilla is only seen in short glimpses from time to time. I understand that the point of this was to build suspense and tension, but as a viewer it honestly just pissed me off.
So let’s get the real heart of the problem here; The biggest issue with this movie is that not only are heroic American stereotypes shoved down our throat, but the actor portraying the supposed protagonist Ford Brody made no real connection with the audience. It’s difficult to try and care about a single person in a disastrous chain of events like this and the character we were given was plain, boring and poorly written.
The script was also lack-luster. The screenwriter seemed to continueously get confused about which character he wanted to focus on, whether it be Ford, Monsters expert Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) or the MUTO. It seemed to me that the only character that the screenwriters didn’t really care for was Godzilla himself.
Although the movie had it’s fair share of disappointing moments, the final scene has GOT to be where things finally burst out the seams and wreak havoc. Of course, a visually interesting battle between the MUTO and The King of the Monsters is constantly interrupted with scenes of Ford Brody doing heroic military guy stuff that the audience just doesn’t care about anymore and shots of his terrified wife (portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen)
Although none of the performances were the worst I’d ever seen, the only actor who really brought it in this movie was Bryan Cranston, whose performance blew me out of the water. It’s unfortunate that he’s barely in the movie (Although he’s still in the movie more than Godzilla). Other notably good actors in the movie (Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, David Straithaim) struggled with their performances due to the writer’s lack of ability to write believable dialogue.
This romp of monster-less action and flat characters is however made up for at the end of the movie with an incredible fight scene. This 7 minute sequence was the entire reason I was in the seat at all. Although visually incredible, the fight scene is rather short and didn’t quite make up for the misfires of the rest of the movie. As usual, the focus is constantly trying to switch back to Ford Brody as he does his military duties. It’s like you’re trying to see a concert and some kid is standing right infront of you yelling “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!”. It’s just annoying and I honestly just want to watch the show.
Overall, the suspense for this movie built for far too long and none of the characters aside from Joe Brody were interesting enough to completely capture my attention for the amount of time this movie requires. Honestly, through all these problems, the biggest issue with the movie is that it’s just boring. I would never watch this movie again, despite the incredible fight scene at the end. The movie clocks in at just over 2 hours, but you really feel a lot of those minutes. The movie is definitely a step up from Emmerich’s 1998 rendition, but that’s a really low bar to step over.
OVERALL RATING : 6 / 10
Would never watch again.