Gareth Edward’s rebirth of GODZILLA is a good movie. But that’s the problem, it’s merely “good”, not “great” and that distinction disappointed me.
As I’m sure you’ve heard from countless reviews already that the scaly, green lizard doesn’t appear until late in the film and even though he is quite impressive, “less is more” simply doesn’t cut it this time.
The movie opens with a montage that sets the backstory of what’s to come and we soon discover that all those nuclear tests the Japanese were conducting in the 1950’s were actually a means to kill or at least drive a massive alpha predator back into the deep ocean depths.
The film then moves us to the late 1980’s where Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) work at a nuclear plant in Japan and are caught up in a disaster that appears to be anything but natural. The destruction of the facility is witnessed by their young son, Ford whose relationship with his father crumbles after the death of his mother.
The movie then begins in earnest in present day when Dr. Ishiro Sweriwaza (Ken Wtanabe) is brought in to investigate a mine collapse in the Philippines that uncovers fossilized remains of a large creature. But one of its young isn’t quite dead and slithers off into the ocean toward Japan.
Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), now a husband and father, is a Lieutenant in the military and when his father is arrested in Japan goes to get him but finds himself being swept into an adventure of gigantic proportions.
There is a lot of plot for a summer blockbuster and that is a plus. I happen to like movies that take themselves seriously and don’t dumb themselves down. But, there’s so much extra baggage in GODZILLA, that it slows down the pace to a crawl.
Unfortunately, that’s not the worst of it. If you take a step back and really think about it, almost nothing that the people do in this movie affects the outcome of the plot in any way. It honestly seemed superfluous to the entire story. Look, I may be wrong about that and will gladly admit that I might have missed something, but I feel I could make a case that Godzilla would still have fought the MUTO (the other creature wreaking havoc) in exactly the same way if the people sat the entire thing out.
Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoyed the movie and was truly impressed by the top-notch Visual FX (They are beyond a doubt at their best here). I just wanted more. The quality actors seemed wasted doing nothing of actual purpose and Godzilla himself was relegated to a supporting role.
I do hope GODZILLA does well and spawns a sequel, because my guess is that they will solve all these missteps if given another go. Godzilla hasn’t had his big day in the sun yet and this movie at least proves the big guy deserves it.