You Have No Idea What’s Coming.
Though I have never been a fan of the character today’s movie is based on, I found myself getting very excited to see today’s movie. The only real interaction I had ever had with the character was watching movies that Mystery Science Theater 3000 made fun of, and of course who could forget the Matthew Broderick classic version of the movie that I previously reviewed. So I really had no reason to be excited to see this movie, but I fear the trailers had the desired effect on me. And so I finally got in to see Godzilla, written by Max Borenstein, directed by Gareth Edwards, and starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Richard T. Jones, and Juliette Binoche.
Project Monarch scientists Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) find a big ass skeleton in a collapsed mine. Inside they find two eggs, and one has opened. In Japan, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) are working at a nuclear power plant when strange seismic activity creates some problems in the plant. Sandra goes to investigate it when an explosion threatens to release radiation, so Joe is forced to seal her in. This leads to a 15 year investigation into the cause by Joe, and the 15 year alienation of his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). But Joe’s investigation eventually brings them together to go back and investigate the exclusion zone around the nuclear power plant, only to find that the government is using it to cover up a giant chrysalis that erupts into a massive winged creature that starts rampaging around the world, feeding off radiation.
You may wonder to yourself how I managed to write a synopsis of a Godzilla movie without mentioning Godzilla himself. That’s similar to my feelings about how they could make a Godzilla movie with so little Godzilla. Look, movie! …Can I call you movie? Anyway, I did not come to see you so I could watch Bryan Cranston’s family troubles. I came to see a big ass reptile fuck shit up. It took an hour for this movie to show us a giant monster and an hour and a half to see Godzilla. And that wasn’t the only thing in the movie that didn’t make any sense. For instance, if you catch people trespassing in your exclusion zone, why is your response to bring them further into the center of the exclusion zone? That’s like catching someone stalking Natalie Portman and punishing them by forcing them to have sex with her! And yes, I mean it’s EXACTLY the same! Also, if you know those MUTO Mothra things have EMP attacks, why are you sending in jets … that run on electricity? Why not send in some of those steam powered jets they’re working on in Area 51? The truth is out there. Speaking of which, I don’t remember Mulder and Scully ever having it so easy that they could just walk up to a military person and say, “I’m in the military!” and having them just tell all of their plans to people. And speaking of dumb military decisions, once you’ve realized that the MUTO feed on radiation, how do you reach the conclusion that you would like to fight them with a nuclear bomb? I can only assume they seemed so short staffed on Hawaii because half of their troops were off fighting a volcano with flamethrowers.
I would have to say that all the characters in the movie did a pretty solid job. Chief among them being Godzilla. Once they actually let him be in his own movie, he was pretty awesome. I felt like the role could’ve used a little bit more emotional gravitas, like having him show that he’s wondering why the humans keep feeding the MUTO’s with more nukes, or at some point having a moral dilemma over whether or not he should just tell the humans that keep shooting him while he’s trying to save them to fuck off. Though it took them a while to build up to it (almost as if Godzilla forgot he could do it), it was pretty awesome when Godzilla first blasted the fire breath … and even better the second time. The worst performance in the movie by far was the lady MUTO. Is she really gonna sit there pooping out eggs while the dude MUTO gets stomped by Godzilla? Typical… The humans all did good jobs in the movie, but none were super notable or exceptional.
I wanted this movie to be spectacular, but I found that good special effects, a pretty strong final battle, and some good performances could not make up for the fact that they seemed to forget they were making a Godzilla movie. I didn’t buy my ticket to see the family troubles of the Brody family, or a MUTO Rom Com. I wanted to see a giant lizard do work! And I cannot in good faith recommend buying a ticket when the only part I really found satisfying was in the last half hour. Wait to get it on RedBox. Godzilla gets “You’re not fooling anybody when you say that what happened was a ‘natural disaster’” out of “The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around.”
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