Lucien’s Review: Godzilla (2014)

GodzillaI don’t like this movie.  A lot of my people talked about how this was a Godzilla film that they had always wanted, and I’m here to tell you that that is not the case.  Not the case at all.  It isn’t nearly as bad as the Godzilla film by Roland Emmerich, but that doesn’t make it a good movie.  I don’t believe that this is a bad movie.  I genuinely don’t.  However, given what this franchise has going for it, some of the elements of this movie are just baffling to me.  Still, I suppose I should get into this film before I list my problems.  Let’s get started.

The plot of the film gets remarkably confusing.  At first, you see a old-timey video of a nuclear test.  However, it hints that the test was more than that.  In the future, a Japanese scientist, played by Ken Watanabe, is investigating some unknown creatures that were massive in size.  Then the film goes to Bryan Cranston’s character, who runs a nuclear power plant in Japan.  An event happens where some kind of seismic event destroys the plant, killing his wife, who is oddly played by Juliette Binoche.  Sixteen years later, his son is now a bomb disposal expert in the military, who gets caught up in his dad’s scheme to figure out the truth behind what happened to his wife.  Little do they know, a needlessly complicated plot involving a secretive organization has gotten everyone mixed up in a battle that was millions of years in the making.  Yeah, this movie goes all over the place.  We’ll get there.

Before I go off on the elements I don’t like about this movie, I should talk about what the film did right.  For starters, a lot of the casting choices.  Bryan Cranston has yet to suck in anything I’ve seen him in.  Juliette Binoche is good, for what little screen time she gets.  Ken Watanabe has a reserved but still good performance.  He’s another good actor.  The guy they have playing the Admiral who has been tasked with dealing with the problem once it gets too big for the secretive organization to handle is also nice.  He’s believable, being faced with a problem that is WAY bigger than he could handle.  However, the person who plays grown-up Cranston’s son is AWFUL!  For real, this guy is so utterly dull that he might as well not be in this movie.  Same with his wife and kid.  Why were they in this movie?  It makes no sense!

Next up is the effect.  Godzilla looks awesome!  Unlike that OTHER movie, this time they got the creature to form, and it looks awesome.  The other creatures in the film also look pretty cool.  The fight sequences between Godzilla and the monsters is so cool.  But we’ll get back to that.

Now, we get to the complaining.  For one – why was Bryan Cranston only in this movie for less than an hour?  For real, he is in this movie and then leaves in such an anti-climactic way.  Same with his wife.  When you have two A-list actors like Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche, making such little use of their talents is baffling, to me.  Cranston was the most believable and sympathetic character in this entire movie, and how they just excised him makes no freakin’ sense to me.  Especially since the person who played his son was boring as fuck.  The ENTIRE plot with his son and his son’s wife could have been excised and this move literally would have not changed because of it.  For real, nothing would be different.

Then there is the fact that this film’s plot goes all over the place.  It couldn’t decide what it wanted to be.  Does it want to be a monster movie?  Well, we’ll get to why that didn’t work out.  Does it want to be a story about man vs nature?  That would be fine, if man showed any sign of being able to do shit to stop nature.  Man is getting their ass kicked the entire time in this movie.  You see so little of the battle against the monsters, since they have a REALLY convenient plot element that makes mankind the monster’s bitch.  Does it want to be a story about a family surviving?  Well, that doesn’t work because of how little time we get with the family characters.  The fact that the only family in the film by the end of the film and how boring they are doesn’t help.  This film tries to juggle too many elements, and it doesn’t work.

However, the worst insult, to me is this – Godzilla was only in this movie for 8 minutes!  Someone kept trick, and that just blows my mind.  This is God-fucking-zilla!  Why is he only in a movie that has his name on it for 8 minutes?!  Each time that you see the fights starting, it cuts away.  Only at the end do you see it genuinely ramp up.  There is even the use of one of Godzilla’s signature weapons that just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It was a totally epic moment, but it didn’t make up for how little of the titular character we got to see.  People paid to watch a movie with Godzilla beating the fuck out of another monster.  We didn’t get that.  This is not cool.  I love this monster, and some of those old movies where he is fighting it out with other monsters are sick.  The old Japanese films knew where to keep their focus, with cutesy little stories about the humans going on on the side.  That makes sense.  This movie tries to focus on that WAY too much on the people.  Since this film had a sequel-bait ending, I hope the next iteration learns from its Japanese counterparts.

This isn’t a bad movie.  The elements that the film gets right, it actually does shine.  However, I simply can’t ignore how bad some of the mistakes are, so that’s going to make the verdict on this movie suffer quite a bit.  Sad, but true.  I do hope any future sequels get it right, because there is potential here, with the right talent behind it.

Final Verdict
6 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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2 thoughts on “Lucien’s Review: Godzilla (2014)

  1. Good review Lucien. For me, I liked the fact that it didn’t show us Godzila every second here. Made it all the more worth it once he did show up and do his thing.

    • It’s not that I wanted the entire movie to be nothing but him, but at least another twenty minutes would have been nice. They kept cutting away right as fighting started.

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