I didn’t expect the reboot of Godzilla to be Pacific Rim. I WANTED it to be Pacific Rim, an all-out Battle Royale between MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) and The King of All Monsters; but I really didn’t expect that. I just expected to be entertained for 90 minutes as my favorite movie monster battled a couple of random Kaiju. Let’s just say that director Gareth Edward‘s first foray into big budget filmdom didn’t quite meet my expectations.
The opinions on this film are so widely across the board. Heck, I went with three other people and the reactions were right down the middle. I thought the film was boring and focused too much on the humans, one other person agreed. The other two were content with the movie and were just happy it wasn’t the 90s Matthew Broderick version. Don’t get me wrong, I was too. But I don’t for one second think it’s fair that the only reason this movie gets a free pass is because it wasn’t THAT movie. That, to me, does not a great movie make.
I’m not going to delve too much into the plot of this film, because it can be summed up in one sentence. Monsters awaken who seek radioactivity and Godzilla awakens to beat them up. There’s not much more than that, but it’s a Godzilla movie, and that’s really all that needs to happen. It’s all the human stuff that happens around that one sentence that brings me down. I’ve seen pretty much
every Godzilla movie and I know that humans are throughout the film more than the Big Green Guy. I have no illusions that the films focus more on them. I just wanted more than silly plot holes and horrible character choices to get me through the film.
You can say that the build up to Godzilla was an homage to the first time you see the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Yeah, okay…maybe? But you also saw a TON of dinosaurs before that. Have no illusions that you A) Care about everyone in Jurassic Park except the lawyer who gets eaten B) It’s a fantastic film that has dinosaurs throughout the whole thing and when you DO see the T-Rex for the first time, not only do you get chills, but he then continues to be in the movie for more than a silly fight on a television set, or before
a door closes as he screams after some random extras.
I wanted to care for the actors in the movie, but I never could bring myself to it. Maybe it was them killing off Bryan Cranston early on. Maybe it was how Aaron Johnson HAD to stop the MUTO instead of getting to his wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and kid. Maybe it was Ken Wantanabe‘s inability to do anything more than stare all slack-jawed. Whatever it was, it didn’t do it for me.
Some reviewers blame the look of the MUTO. Calling it ‘too Cloverfield.’ Whatever. That doesn’t concern me. For what they were, I was fine with them. They were on the screen far more than Godzilla, that concerned me. Godzilla, when he actually showed up, was badass. He looked like the Toho creature we have all come to know and love. He even had sweet expressions to show off his emotion. He used his atomic breath to lay waste to the creatures. That was all well and good, it’s just the lame choices of writers,
Max Borenstein and director Edwards, that made me wish for a better movie.
You don’t care about anyone in this film. The destruction of the buildings mean nothing to you. The military personnel, the main actors, even Godzilla, these are all just small pieces in a simple and unmotivated puzzle. The movie is shot very beautifully at times and as I mentioned before, Edwards does let Godzilla BE Godzilla. He just doesn’t use him enough. Instead, we have the military focus on getting a radioactive missile out in the middle of San Francisco Bay to attract the monsters. Why would that do anything if the MUTO can simply fly in and pick up the missile and take it wherever they want, I don’t know. I also don’t know why they were even going to San Francisco when there didn’t seem to be anything radioactive there.
It’s those kind of plot holes that didn’t let me get behind this movie fully. The music was great by Alexandre Desplat, though he hardly used Godzilla’s ‘theme’ music. He did set the tone for the film, giving it a 60’s big horns vibe that I appreciated. The look of the camera work was solid, as was the CGI. If you have to see this film, read the bad reviews and be pleasantly surprised. Just don’t expect to see Godzilla for more than ten minutes though. Do expect to see a lot of character staring and looking semi-scared.