Godzilla: Review

Doesn’t Move the Needle
Gareth Edwards | May 16, 2014

After laying dormant for 17 years, thanks to a poor showing and Mathew Broderick, Godzilla returns to the big screen and is the largest we have ever seen him. Fortunately, this installment has no correlation to previous Godzilla movies and is willing to create new wrinkles into the story of the giant, Tokyo smashing monster.

No origin or complicated logic is used to describe Godzilla’s appearance. He shows up, smashes things and moves on to whatever suits him next. There are plenty of motivations and explanations as to what the humans are up to. The film focuses Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a soldier who through a series of crazy circumstances, manages to find himself staring into the face of a monster over and over again.

What’s a Critical Hit!

Godzilla looks great. He is a towering beast that can easily topple buildings, destroy cities and lay waste to anyone in his path. He is a powerful force of nature that is clearly the King of the Monsters (sorry giant ape and wolf…this lizard is far past you). Viewers are able to see Godzilla from all angles and get a feel for how large he is. The scream is a remix version of the Tyrannosaurus Rex from Jurassic Park, but still effective here. The best parts of the movie are wide angled shots of Godzilla in motion.

There are a few point of view shots from the soldier’s perspective that are visually impressive. Especially in an iMax setting. these large scale scenes drive home how large the setting for this movie is. Though they aren’t always effective, there are some interesting shots of soldiers scurrying around the giant monster to try and take it down.

What is Not Very Effective…

For as good as Godzilla looks, and having the movie named after him, he isn’t on screen that often. I am sure this is due to the high production values associated with his animation, but his absence is noticed. Edwards does he best to hide this fact by using footage on televisions and monitors, to have people reacting and still have Godzilla on screen. Another tactic used, often, is for the hulking beat to be covered in a dust cloud and only a silhouette appear. These are neat effects the first time they are used, but are over done throughout the film.

The dialogue within this movie means nothing. Characters talk, but this is pretty much just pointing out what Godzilla just did or speculation about who Godzilla is. There are small arcs for the cast but these people feel like nameless civilians the entire time. If one, or all, of them were to perish I don’t think the audience would care.

Status Summary

Godzilla is a summer blockbuster, filled with the large scale spectacle and action scenes fans can expect from the genre. Unfortunately, this is framed around mediocre performances and passable dialogue. Its not that the people are terrible, its just that they are there and offer nothing to the majority of the movie.

If you like giant monsters, then you’ll enjoy 15% of this movie, but if you prefer your films to contain more than just spectacle than this is one showing you must go,go from.

Score: 5.0 /10

+ Godzilla is Impressive
+ Summer Spectacle
– Mostly Human Scenes
– The Monster Moves Slow
– Laughably Bad Logic

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