Cinematic Releases: Godzilla

Will Godzilla dominate the box office this weekend?


Pacific Rim is a better film than this.

Godzilla is one of the worst edited, atrociously paced, emotionally vacant, cliche-ridden, big budgeted misfires I've ever seen. I swear if I ever get to meet a producer of this film, it will take all of my willpower to prevent my fingertips from slowly coiling around your throat and shaking you while the confused tears flow down my face.

I've seen worse films, without question, but I've seen fewer films that were so infuriatingly insulting. It's one thing to pace a film with an engaging slow burn, methodically probing you with an ever-increasing level of eerie intrigue until monsters start suplexing each other. It's another thing to cram excessive amounts of useless drivel between potshots of mere seconds worth of barely exciting action. I truly... deeply... completely understand what they were trying to do. It's a smart idea--in spirit--to slowly ramp up the excitement level, build a mysterious story of an unknown menace, while a moving human drama pumps through the film's veins. Only that didn't happen. I think Gareth Edwards' heart was in the correct place, but the film was doomed from the get go. The script is bone dry, and no less than appallingly paced.

What we got is a roller coaster ride, but this roller coaster ride sucks. It's a roller 
coaster ride that goes 

"Maybe this smile will make this
movie not suck. Oh, nevermind.
I'll just sit here and be the hot Olsen."
straight for five miles through Delaware, makes a really hard right, then makes another sharp right every five miles, ad nauseum, driving in a circle until inexplicably you end up in the middle of Detroit somehow, go through two loops, then fly off the end of the tracks and everyone dies.

The insultingly brief few seconds we get of monster action--which I imagine the film makers would describe as "peppered throughout"--would be better described as someone throwing candy bars at your head on a really hot day. You know, I appreciate the thought and everything, but by the time I pick up this Snickers, it's stuck to the asphalt, and melting all over my fingers. What in the hell do you expect me to do with this crap?!

Once anything remotely cool starts happening, it's over right before anything remotely cool starts happening. Why? Why didn't you just save all the good stuff for later, and cut out 30 minutes worth of this tacked on, empty hole of a plot you call a human drama? The rug is pulled out from you so many times in this film that it's legitimately anger inducing.

The only good parts of the film were the first 20 minutes of human story sprinkled with halfway interesting conspiracy theories, and the last 20 minutes of Godzilla stuff where giant radioactive mutants are punching each other into buildings. These parts were awesome. Holy craptastically awesome, but it's so little, so very late into a film that is exasperating to endure.

Seriously, why did they even cast Bryan Cranston? I can tell you why, because literally zero people in this film are interesting in the slightest. Cranston is the only human being worth caring about in this film, and they waste his talents, just like they wasted everything else potentially good about this film. 

"Kick Ass 2 then this?
Bags are packed.
I'm outta here."
I can't call this a full review unless I mention some good aspects. The monster story, though very thin, mind you, surprised me a bit. I enjoyed how they made the other cast of creatures intrinsic to Godzilla's purpose and vice versa, while making radiation not just a quality or effect of the monsters, but a crucial asset to their biology and their existence. Again, however, it was a wasted story, which should have been explored more through Bryan Cranston's character instead of the embarrassingly melodramatic performance of Ken Watanabe, who is an otherwise great actor. What did they do to him?

To add insult to injury, there was this entirely useless equally awful performance from an actress who had virtually no reason for her existence except to explain things as sadly and intensely as possible even though the tone of the scene called for none of the above. She was like the overzealous sidekick who tried to outdo Watanabe's melodrama by reiterating his cheese infused lack of subtlety with her own sad re-imaging of it.

The action we did finally get at the climax would have been missed by someone dipping out for a soda refill, but it was incredibly strong. Its awesomeness works against the remainder of this skeletal bore of a film in the bitterest of sweet ways. Yeah, Godzilla totally decimates. Godzilla beats the non-existent shoes clean off of the other monsters for what seemed like... at least... a couple of minutes.

This film pokes feebly at the dying coals and we watch the embers sadly flicker away from scene after scene
"I just came here looking for Matthew Broderick
and everyone starts losing their minds......"
of wasted potential. Michael Bay's Transformers was a more satisfying rekindling of a nostalgic franchise, and I can still remember when I thought that was a great movie.

Do I really have Ninja Turtles to look forward to? Seriously, guys. Ninja Turtles, directed by another guy who crapped on all expectations with Battle L.A..

Oh, I could go on longer about this film, and I'll tell you what, the score I'm going to give it will probably be considered generous by some, and yet too low for others. I 
know where they were trying to take this film. This is why Godzilla fails: it was both pathetically campy and infrequently epic. It was both mildy visceral and mostly cheesy. It was both kind of awesome and extraordinarily shallow. With Godzilla, you have two choices. You either go for the throat and tear it out, and suck the blood off the spine, making a deeply unsettling epic monster movie, or you go full bore cheese fest with ridiculously wild action and stupid amounts of fun. Pacific Rim succeeded at the latter. Godzilla succeeds at neither. This production tried to do a little bit of everything and not enough of one thing. Not one person is to blame here. Gareth Edwards tried his best with an awful script, clearly with producers' fingers poking holes everywhere. 

They had so much ammunition in the chamber, and what weren't duds missed their mark or didn't even hit the board. Save your money. Wait on this one. Rent it, or stream it, and keep your expectations locked as low as possible and there is a small chance you won't bore yourself into a corner of sad misery.

-JG Barnes