Opening 15 May 2014
Godzilla is an incredibly enjoyable monster disaster film with excellent CGI. However, when thinking back on it, the plot was so flimsy that it doesn’t even make sense. The film follows a young American Navy lieutenant named Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor Johnson) who, as a child, lost his mother to a freak accident at a nuclear power plant. His father (Bryan Cranston), who worked at the same plant, survived, but focused his life on discovering the truth behind the accident. Brody and his father soon find out it was actually a large monster, which international scientists have decided to analyze for years instead of killing… until it escapes to wreak havoc on the world. The film then follows the monster going from place to place (conveniently the same places the protagonist goes) with lots of monster vs. military and monster vs. monster action. Really there isn’t much more to it.
Despite having good pacing (which is vital for a 123-minute-long film), it fails to really make Brody important. Alright, it’s true that everyone is watching for the monster battles, but so much of the film is focusing on the plight of the puny humans that it is important that we care about them. Due to this lack of development, the filmmakers decided to add in random children (and even a dog) to make us feel personally invested in the disaster situations. It was such an obvious ploy that it just cheapened the film, but apparently movie-going audiences don’t feel anything when seeing a bunch of people dying unless there is an innocent involved.
There are some surprisingly beautiful moments of computer graphics that really make the film worth it, though the monster design was perhaps not incredibly original. One moment that stands out is when a bunch of soldiers are parachuting into San Francisco with red flares trailing behind them. This action rendered against a beautiful stormy backdrop was visually stunning. If only there had been more time spent on character development and story then this could have been one of the best action films of recent times.
If disaster films and monster movies are something you enjoy, then Godzilla is a must-see. Although it was perhaps not quite so well developed story- and character-wise as Pacific Rim (2013), it still manages to make quite an impact. It is definitely worth seeing this in the theater to get the full surround-sound and visual effect, which is quite impressive.