‘Godzilla’ is a bad movie. Yes, the big green guy does have about 15 amazing minutes of screen time, which somehow managed to convince critics and audience members to give it a thumbs up — but make no mistake — ‘Godzilla’ is largely forgettable. Aside from a few gorgeous shots (e.g., the parachutists jumping into San Francisco with red flares) most people won’t recall much about the film six months from now. It’s definitely not worth paying $11 per adult ticket unless you’re a Baby Boomer who is nostalgic for that time when you could see a ‘Godzilla’ flick for 10 cents.
Let us examine the evidence by first starting with Bryan Cranston, who plays Joe Brody (A hat tip to ‘Jaws’?). Mr. Cranston is the only actor in a movie, which wants you to care about the characters, who was any good. The problem: Joe Brody dies about 20 minutes into the movie. (Note: It took roughly an hour and a half for Godzilla to appear.)
That brings us to Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody, who goes through the entire movie with a bewildered look on his face. We’re supposed to care about him, but we know nothing about him. It’s established (for about two minutes) that he’s in the Navy and he’s a father who loves his wife and kid. When Ford’s own father dies he calls his wife and says (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much): “Dad died. I’ll tell you about it later. I gotta go. Bye,” and hangs up.
Why should the audience give one rip about him? Why should they care about his wife? Why should they care about his kid? The answer: because this is a military family. Sorry director Gareth Edwards, but that doesn’t work. You can’t just put a cardboard cutout of a military man in a movie and expect the audience to be emotionally invested in the guy — unless the actors are real Navy SEALs, as was the case with ‘Act of Valor.’
To make matters worse for ‘Godzilla,’ it then seems to take a page out of the playbook of ‘Jaws 4: The Revenge.’ The monsters in the film follow Ford Brody from Japan to Hawaii, and then just-so-happen to head for San Fransisco — where his wife and child reside. Mrs. Brody is so concerned about her missing husband that she … leaves her phone in another room on vibrate and misses his call. Smart lady.
Remember when Ellen Brody went from Amity Island to the Bahamas and a giant great white shark followed her in 1987s ‘Jaws: The Revenge’? If not, you’re lucky. Regardless, it boggles the mind why screenwriter Dave Callaham would seemingly draw inspiration from such a disaster.
If you want to see Godzilla do some really cool stuff, I suggest waiting a few months until the best parts make it into a 10 minute YouTube compilation. There are about three shots in ‘Godzilla’ that are downright awesome, but the rest of the movie is dull and boring.The scientists are idiots, the military is filled with idiots and the civilians are all pretty much useless. Godzilla saves the day, the city claps as he walks back into the ocean, and the movie ends. Done. It was 123 minutes that could have been boiled down to 20 because the fight scenes between the monsters were all that mattered.
If you have a choice between seeing ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ and ‘Godzilla,’ for the love of God do yourself a favor and see ‘X-Men.’ You’ll be glad you did.