Godzilla first appeared on the big screen all the way back in 1954, in one of the original big time monster movies. It took Hollywood all the way until 1998 to crank out a remake and unfortunately it was truly bad. However, Marc Webster and crew have finally cranked out another remake, and this one had the look of a much more serious, and potentially better film. Let’s find out….
After a suspicious disaster in 1999 ruins the life of a scientist (Bryan Cranston), he finds himself on a hunt for answers that lasts over 15 years. Years later, his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a bomb specialist in the military finds himself drawn into his fathers investigation, as an ancient monster is awakened again and threatens our entire civilization.
After the 1998 disaster, I was really excited when I saw the trailer for this version. It looked much more serious, like it might have a decent plot, and might actually be exciting. Today I was in just the mood for a popcorn movie, with big spectacle. The kind that brings the kid back out of you. With Godzilla I felt like I got most of those things, although it was also lacking in some areas.
The cast of the film looked pretty interesting and attracted me to the film. Some credible names like Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche and Elizabeth Olsen, made me feel like I was going to see a credible and believable take on this movie legend. All in all this was kind of true, and the acting was strong, but due to some interesting plot decisions and a lack of much dialogue and character development we never really get to know the characters. Cranston shines, but the rest basically just make scared faces and speak a few lines here and there. It makes it difficult to really care for the characters until quite late into the film once we’ve gotten behind them a little.
That being said, the story is fun. It is pretty far fetched, but delivered in a way that is more credible and scientific, rather than just silly. There’s also this weird dynamic, where we start out seeing things from Cranston’s perspective, but as the film goes on it seems like the film takes a more wide spread perspective. We feel like the hero of the film genuinely is civilization itself, even though we follow certain characters around. I’m not sure why the film gave me this feeling, and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. At times I enjoyed it, but at times it made me feel like more of a spectator, and not deep into the action where I felt invested. It was a mixed bag.
As the film went on though, and in the last half hour in particular, the film ups the ante a little bit, and this is when I actually started to feel some genuine thrills and excitement, and less of a news cast vibe. The characters who I didn’t feel connected to at first began to grow on me, and I thought the action scenes were effective. The only issue with them was that it seemed sometimes like every time we began to feel some suspense and thrills, they’d cut to a quiet scene. But right when it seemed like they needed to keep it coming. It wasn’t always like this but sometimes I felt the cuts weren’t right.
So with all that being said, this is a monster movie. So let’s talk about the monster(s). The first group of monsters, the flying bug like creatures didn’t really do it for me. They were alright, but I didn’t love them. However, their unique design made for some really creative action scenes. However, the big fella himself, who we all came to see, Godzilla, was a different matter. I thought he was awesome. He was well created and I thought the special effects on him were fantastic. He didn’t look like a 3D cartoon in the slightest (the other creatures teetered on the edge with this at times), and he was downright mean looking. He was also a little bit on the chunky side, which I thought was funny. Apparently all those buildings he eats caught up to him in his (or maybe her?) old age. But all in all, he really made a great monster, and was actually easy to root for, with a strange personality that came out some times.
So, when you go to see Godzilla you have to know what you’re going to see. It’s a monster movie. A popcorn movie. A pre-summer blockbuster. It had all the negatives of these kinds of films, like average character development, a far fetched plot and some dodgy plot decisions. But fortunately, it also had all of the positives that come with this kind of film as well, which was great effects, good actors and a hell of a lot of fun. It wasn’t brilliant, but I enjoyed watching it, particularly in IMAX 3D. If you’re looking for a fun movie to excite some teenagers, this might be a good bet.