HAMBURG — It’s that time of year when we are inundated with super hero and monster blockbuster movies. Godzilla has arrived – once again. There just may be more Godzilla movies than any other movie remakes and sequels, combined. You’d think with all the attempts they’d finally get it right. I am sad to say this is not the case.
“Godzilla” (2014) has all the hardware, all the special effects, all the required action one should expect with today’s phenomenal movie technology. It’s even in 3-D! What it doesn’t have is a worthwhile story.
A movie like “Godzilla” must provide thrills. That’s why we go to films of this genre. We are not going for a message or a life lesson. We are going to scream, to have a few laughs, to ride the roller coaster, if you will. This latest “Godzilla” is a big bore. Our monster doesn’t make his entrance until an hour into the film and he is upstaged by two other monsters stalking Tokyo, Las Vegas and San Francisco. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief over this geographical plotting. Ah well, it isn’t Shakespeare. It’s Godzilla. OK, but must it be this stupid?
The other monsters wreaking havoc in “Godzilla” are termed “Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism” or MUTO, as they are referred to throughout the movie for economy. There are two MUTO. The MUTO eat energy, especially radiation, but they also eat nuclear waste. So, why are they the bad guys? According to the film’s logic, they are. So, Godzilla shows up to battle them and restore nature’s balance. He shows up to save mankind by wiping out the MUTO. And that’s the problem with this film. Godzilla is not scary enough because he’s just so darn good and politically correct. He’s also not very scary looking. He’s just big – very big and featureless.
As for the acting: Bryan Cranston turns in a surprisingly bad scenery chewing performance. Juliette Binoche, a great actress, is wasted. Ken Watanabe seems to possess one expression – pained. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as the lead character in “Godzilla,” is as weak as a wet noodle.
The plot deals with cliché elements such as government secrets, one lone man knowing the truth that no one will believe and the usual destruction of major cities. The outcome is predictable and I, for one, am left with the nagging question: how will they rebuild the destroyed cities?
The film is darkly lit, which adds to the confusion. Godzilla is one of those films where we find ourselves asking “What’s going on?”
What’s going on is a gray muddle of noise, a plodding and ponderous movement of dull visuals and a directorial failure to build suspense and interest. I kept thinking during the first hour of the movie, “Where’s Godzilla? I bet when he finally appears this movie will get better.” Believe me; I wanted it to get better. I wanted to like “Godzilla”.
I still do like Godzilla, the monster. I just don’t like “Godzilla”, the movie.
“Godzilla”(2014) is currently in theaters.