Friday, May 16, 2014

Godzilla Movie Review

Ken Watanabe stars in Gareth EdwardsGodzilla

Now You See Him; Mostly You Don't

You've come a long way baby... Too bad, we have no idea how you got here. Japan's greatest export (with all due respect to the Sony Walkman) returns bigger and better (looking) than ever in Gareth Edwards' relatively disappointing Godzilla; but takes an hour to arrive, just in time to get overshadowed by an odd assortment of semi-famous actors... most of whom take turns looking shocked and surprised (evidently, they get to see Godzilla more than we do.)

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: In Summer 2014, the world's most revered monster is reborn as Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures unleash the epic action adventure "Godzilla." From visionary new director Gareth Edwards ("Monsters") comes a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless.

What’s Best: He takes forever to appear; but once he does, Godzilla steals the show. He's never looked meaner; and odds are, I'd pay $15 just to watch him crash into skyscrapers for an hour or two. Some of the fight scenes (with two definitively inferior looking monsters) are downright cool; but Edwards can't help but break away, in order to show some pointless human angle... It reminds me of the Family Guy episode where Peter floats in outer space, catching up on YouTube instead of "taking in the view." Seriously, who do you think the audience wants to look at more... Godzilla or Sally Hawkins?

What’s Not: Speaking of, Hawkins is absolutely awful as a hapless/helpless scientist who follows Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) around, stopping every now & then to provide an ugly look of despair. Too bad she couldn't provide subtitles for Watanabe, who may be the hardest actor to understand in all of Hollywood. They seem to know who Godzilla is; but never bother to tell anyone. Ditto for David Callaham who wrote this gosh-awful story. Who's David Callaham? Only the guy responsible for Doom and The Expendables... That's who. If you're gonna spend at least $160 million on a movie, can't you do better than Edwards and Callaham?

Edwards makes zero effort to explain who his main character is. Considering it's a reboot, that seems to be an awfully big oversight... don't you think? Instead of a far more interesting back story involving Godzilla himself, we're stuck with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen for huge chunks of screen time. D-U-L-L. Last but not least, can we safely eliminate the need for soldiers to shoot at giant monsters with machine guns and rifles? It hasn't worked once, and never will.

Best Line: Taylor-Johnson is a very good actor; but you have to laugh when he coughs up, 'The military has a plan to deal with these things.' No Aaron, they don't. What bothers me most however, is this dandy towards the end of the movie... 'Where's Godzilla?' As if they were asking after a pizza delivery guy. 'He'll be here in an hour.' Gee thanks.

Overall: I had high hopes for Godzilla, but Edwards struggles to barely surpass Roland Emmerich's anemic 1998 version. The special effects are pretty good (as is "the American maniac," Bryan Cranston) but the story is so pitiful, and the wait for Godzilla so long... it's almost impossible to recommend seeing it. Summer blockbusters used to be big, dazzling productions with interesting characters and stories. Nowadays, they're often just dumb and expensive. Me? I'm waiting for X-Men: Days of Future Past to save the day. Heaven knows, Godzilla wasn't up to the challenge.