MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Godzilla’

Written by J.T. Johnson

2-12-stars

DIRECTOR: Gareth Edwards
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Seamus McGarvey
WRITER: Max Borenstein
MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat

First, let me say that it is late at night as I’m writing this and that this is not going to be the most extensive review I’ve ever written. However, before I move on to other planned events this weekend, I wanted to go ahead and talk about the new “Godzilla”. I finally saw it after over a year’s worth of anticipation and at least I can say that it was better than the first American “Godzilla” from back in 1998.

The new movie from director Gareth Edwards has plenty of style, excellent special-effects, a top-notch cast and an inventive new monster for Godzilla to go toe-to-toe with along the way. I did ultimately like the movie, but unfortunately I liked it for all the wrong reasons instead of the reasons that I was expecting. At the core of the movie is a very human story, but it comes at a cost to those of us who were expecting more Godzilla than what we got.

The story begins 15 years prior when an engineer named Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) loses his wife (Juliette Binoche) to a terrible accident at a Japanese nuclear plant. Fast forward to the present and the audience meets an adult Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Joe’s son who has clearly moved on more with his life than Joe has as the father is now seeking the truth about what happened at the plant. While Ford thinks that his dad is nuts, this may not be the case as some of Joe’s theories quickly become fact, such as the government hiding a new breed of species where the plant used to be.

The monster being cocooned at the plant is identified as a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Creature, otherwise known as a MUTO. Inevitably, the giant monster escapes its restraints and suddenly, nature must be put back into balance.  Sure enough, the big, bad King of the Monsters known as Godzilla suddenly arrives and he is ready to wreck shop… We think.

When Godzilla first shows up, the setup for a beautiful fight is complete. Godzilla emerges from a fire and the camera slowly pans up to reveal the full-size monster. Then, out of nowhere we’re watching it on TV with some of the other characters.

If Edwards wanted to make a human story, then that’s fine. But this movie is called Godzilla and I want to see some epic fights, dammit! I do eventually get to see Godzilla go one-one with the monster, but by the time we get to that point, I’ve almost given up hope. Another problem is actually found with one of the stars of the movie.

Throughout the trailers, it appeared as though Cranston’s character was going to go and look for the truth behind the cover up at his former plant. Instead, Cranston is short-changed and the focus is quickly put on the far less interesting Ford. Cranston’s character could have been the Raymond Burr of this particular Godzilla movie, but those plans were mucked up from the start.

Again, the movie does have great effects and a great human story, but for god’s sake, this is a MONSTER MOVIE! That means I want you to show me at least one or two monsters and if it’s two monsters, they better damn well fight! While I won’t be giving this film a completely bad rating, I must admit that there are problems that make this film a little more disappointing than I would have liked.

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