Godzilla (2014) - Review
Godzilla – May 16, 2014 (4/10)
This review contains major spoilers:
Godzilla was such a disappointment that I’m actually offended by it. Even as I’m writing this now, my blood is starting to boil. There are so many things wrong with this movie that it’s hard for me to give a general review without spoiling anything. So if you’ve already seen the movie or want to know why you should save $15, then stick around.
The movie mostly suffers from a lack of focus. The monsters and heroes in this story change so often that their importance becomes meaningless. The majority of Act 1 is about the father-son relationship between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. After Cranston’s wife dies during an accident at the nuclear power plant, he becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. This investigation brings Cranston and Taylor-Johnson closer together as they avenge her death.
Once they return to the nuclear power plant, they discover that the scientists working there are harboring a monster. Then that monster wakes up, breaks free and kills Bryan Cranston along with a handful of other people. Now the movie has nothing to do with the death of Cranston’s wife, even though we just spent the past half-hour developing that storyline. This made Cranston’s emotional journey absolutely worthless because there was no pay off for him. The focus then shifts to the relationship between Aaron Taylor-Johnson and his wife, Elizabeth Olsen. This was a huge mistake because the father-son relationship was much more engaging than the husband-wife relationship.
The story also couldn’t define its monster. This is supposed to be about Godzilla wreaking havoc. But he doesn’t even do anything until the end of the movie! The majority of the film is focused on trying to kill the two other monsters that have surfaced after being preserved underground. But apparently that same cave could still completely decompose their massive monster mother. And I have absolutely no idea what those creatures were. They are supposed to be based on other animals. Godzilla is a lizard, Mothra is a moth and Gamera is a turtle. But this new monster doesn’t look like anything except for a rip-off of the Cloverfield monster. It even has the same EMP pulse powers as the monster in Pacific Rim. So much time is spent on those creatures that you start to wonder why this movie is even called Godzilla in the first place.
The most frustrating, annoying and inexcusable part of this production comes from the lack of action. There isn’t a full action sequence until the end of the movie. But everything else leading up to that will give you the worst case of action blue-balls. Every time a major battle would about to happen, the movie abruptly cuts away to something else or shows characters watching the fight on TV. We were right there at the scene! Don’t take us out of it! There were at least four different times that the movie would build up an action scene only to rip it away from you. You’re going to have to wait an hour and a half to see anything worthwhile because the ending is incredibly breathtaking and amazing.
The other irritating part of this movie is how the army kept making the same mistakes. Their plan to kill the monsters was to bomb them. But every time they tried to, the monsters overpowered them and ended up eating the bombs to grow off the radiation. But instead of trying something new, they just made bigger bombs and the monsters would just keep eating them. Stop it! The finale also uses one of the most cliché endings. The army plans on nuking San Francisco to destroy all the monsters. But they change their minds at the last minute and then have to get the nuke away from the city before it blows up. Between The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and countless other movies, that’s the most played-out way to end a movie.
Overall, Godzilla had such great potential if it just narrowed its focus to one human family and one monster. They tried to make Godzilla the hero of the movie by defeating the creatures. But if you’re going to do that, then you have to introduce him in the beginning. If Godzilla is the good guy, then why bother so much with the human characters? It’s supposed to be a throwback to the old Godzilla movies but it doesn’t make sense in this modern version of the story. As much as people like to make fun of the 1998 Godzilla movie, at least it had an actual structure to the story.