Main cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Lt Ford Brody), Ken Watanabe (Dr Ichiró Serizawa), Bryan Cranston (Joe Brody), Elizabeth Olsen (Elle Brody), Sally Hawkins (Dr Vivienne Graham), and David Strathairn (Rear Admiral William Stenz)
Director: Gareth Edwards
Well, unlike the previous Hollywood adaptation of Godzilla, this Godzilla is more faithful to its Japanese origin. Everyone’s favorite monster is now a good guy of sorts, showing up to destroy other monsters that may threaten the balance of nature. Of course, millions of people may die when Godzilla takes on the bad monsters, but nobody cares about the boring humans in such movies.
This movie is more of an introduction to Godzilla. Our hero Ford Brody’s father Joe couldn’t get over an “accident” in a nuclear plant in Japan, in which Ford’s mother died. Ford eventually puts his past behind him, becoming an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer (very convenient for the plot, naturally) and having a family of his own. Joe, however, keeps trying to find out the exact cause of the accident. Eventually, he is arrested by the Japanese authorities, and Ford goes over there to bail him out. As it always happens, crap happens at that time, when a Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism or MUTO hatches due to all the radiation in Japan (in this movie, big bad monsters feed on radiation) and goes on a rampage. The MUTO makes its way to Hawaii and later San Francisco, where Ford’s family is. Oh no, will there be a repeat of the sad Brody family history? And wait, here comes Godzilla!
Godzilla feels disjointed from start to end. Like most movies of this kind, it makes the mistake of focusing on the human characters – a mistake because the script leaves these characters flat and underdeveloped, and also because Aaron Taylor-Johnson has the emotional range of a toilet brush. Seriously, that guy shows zero emotion, even when his character is supposedly concerned about his family. This fellow is certainly playing his part to shatter the stereotype that all British exports to Hollywood are at least decent actors with sexy accent. So much focus is on Ford, and yet, he may as well be a tree stump. Ford is a charisma void and he sucks all life from a scene with his constantly vacant stare and bored monotone.
The best part of this movie is when Godzilla gives everything the royal smackdown, but the fun happens very late in the movie. Getting to that point means wading through Ken Watanabe’s constant “deer, meet truck” expressions at the camera (his character is the worst scientist ever), clichéd scene after clichéd scene involving creepy children in distress, and the main actor’s determination to showcase his “I’m more stoned than Mt Rushmore” school of acting. Sure, the special effects can be awesome when they show up, but the best bits are all packed into the later parts of the movie. It also doesn’t help that this movie lacks the sense of humor to make the more dire parts watchable.
Godzilla is all about the CGI, almost to the exclusion of everything else about this movie, and even then, the best bits are toward the end. I’d recommend renting this film and skipping all the many, many, many boring bits, as this movie would be excruciating to watch without a skip scene option.