Godzilla

‘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.

Godzilla Rotten TomatoesLet 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.)

 

Bryan Cranston Brody Godzilla
“I’m screaming because I’m the only actor who did a decent job in this entire movie and they killed me off at the very beginning! Arrrrrrg!”

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.’

Aaron Taylor-Johnson Ford Brody Godzilla
“Hey there. I’m in the Navy. I look like a good guy. You know absolutely nothing about me, but I’m supposed to carry this thing for 90 minutes until Godzilla shows up. You with me?”

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.

 

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

17 comments

  1. I’ll be seeing DOFP this weekend. And after the catastrophe that was the 1998 American-made Godzilla film with Matthew Broderick, I have no desire to see the new Godzilla film. Every review I’ve read has more or less made the same points as you: that Aaron-Taylor Johnson’s character is bland as can be, Bryan Cranston is the only actor who’s actually trying and the fact that Godzilla barely appears at all.

    Ironically, Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen will both be playing siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” next year, after playing husband and wife in “Godzilla.”

    1. Ironically, Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen will both be playing siblings Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” next year, after playing husband and wife in “Godzilla.”

      Well, the good thing about their “marriage” in this movie is that people will forget it about ten seconds after they leave the theater. I hope that they do a better job in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” because these performances weren’t anything to write home about. Granted, the screenwriter didn’t give them much to work with, but it was still a huge let down.

    2. Hopefully they’ll both do a better job in “Age of Ultron.” You touch upon another thing I’ve heard about the new Godzilla: the script is weak.

      Wasn’t Johnson also in Kick-Ass?

    3. That’s funny that they played husband and wife here, because anyone following the Ultimate series know that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are really, really…uh…close.

    4. Yes, Carl, Aaron Taylor-Johnson is Dave Lizewski, the main character and otherwise known as “Kick-Ass” in the film Kick-Ass. The funny thing is that Evan Peters, who plays Quicksilver in X-Men: DOFP, is also in Kick-Ass, as one of Dave’s friends. So both of the actors playing Quicksilver, Taylor-Johnson in The Avengers: AOU and Peters in X-Men: DOFP, were in Kick-Ass.

    5. Opunaya: I never followed the Ultimates much, largely because thought the stories were disgusting. Not to mention Mark Millar’s anti-American nonsense being peppered throughout the series. Somehow I’m not surprised they made Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver… close.

      Zach: That’s interesting that both Quicksilvers were in “Kick-Ass.” Thanks for the information.

  2. Actually, instead of seeing the new X-Men (I’m sorry I did) OR the new Godzilla (which I won’t), look up the original Japanese Godzilla, vastly different from the American version with Raymond Burr. It’s now available on DVD, and it’s better than either.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll be sure to check it out.

      Side note: You’re the first person to tell me (through this blog, via other social media accounts and in person) that the new X-Men film was regrettable. What was it that you didn’t enjoy?

    2. Well, to be brief, there were too many characters, and you have a theoretical limit in movies of 2-3 hours. So the majority of them got two minute glimpses onscreen, with no backstory and sometimes no lines of dialog. What’s the point of seeing cool-looking superheroes who toss out an effect (their unique power) with no explanation possible, because we have to move on before everyone goes to the bathroom or concession stand?

      The other problem was, and this should be a minimum requirement in a superhero movie, there was hardly any humor. The only pure laughs were produced by a side character (Quicksilver) when he breaks Magneto out of jail. Everyone else has to spend the movie looking overly concerned, constipated with effort, or broken and haunted.

      There’s no doubt the movie was great for making trailers from, but it played as if the whole feature WAS trailers.

    3. The other problem was, and this should be a minimum requirement in a superhero movie, there was hardly any humor.

      One could make the case that certain characters didn’t have the screen time they deserve (and you note the limits imposed by a 2-3 hour movie), but saying a superhero movie should have a “requirement” for anything seems odd to me. Your personal preference is to have humor in superhero movies, which is cool … but that doesn’t mean darker fare is bad.

  3. Apparently, Hollywood still hasn’t figured out the problem with the original American Godzilla (or the Transformers, or the Ang Lee Hulk) film: We came to the movie for Godzilla, not cut-and-paste characters that no one cares about. I don’t want to pay 11 bucks to hear Shia LeBouf stutter for 2 hours with the occasional shot of Optimus or Bumblebee doing something silly and I sure don’t want to wait around listing to boring human characters argue while somewhere in the movie, we could be seeing a giant radioactive dinosaur being awesome and destroying stuff.

    I could even forgive dumb characters if it was compensated by awesome action. I mean, Pacific Rim’s dialogue was no Shakespeare, but they actually allowed us to see some really great fight scenes.

    But hey, I guess they’ve worked so hard in brow-beating these sub-standard movies into our brain for the last 40 years or so, why change now?

    1. That’s why I’d prefer to stick to the original Godzilla movies. People come for the monster battles, not the cardboard cutout characters. Same with the Transformers movies; the robots pummeling the crap out of each other is the main draw, not the human characters who lack personality and character development.

  4. So no good, eh? Well I hear both good and bad which is to be expected, but it really doesn’t matter, as each successive sequel only makes Ishiro Honda’s original version look even greater.
    -Peter H. Brothers, author of “Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda.”

  5. This garbage movie was one of the worst insults to the US Navy in Hollywood history. The monsters feed on radiation and nuclear power, so let’s try to kill them with….nuclear weapons. I laughed out loud, though that was inappropriate as it was not meant to be funny. I laughed again when the monsters started eating the missiles like hot dogs. And then you have the Navy trying to kill Godzilla, though he swam alongside the ships for 5,000 miles on the way to defeat the monsters in San Francisco….but he’s the enemy and let’s kill him.

    Perhaps Obama wrote the screenplay?

    1. While I feel sorry for you that at least $10 is now missing from your wallet because you decided to see ‘Godzilla,’ I’m glad that someone else who reads my blog has explained how rotten it is. My goodness, it was so bad. Aside from Godzilla breathing a radioactive plasma burst down his opponent’s throat, I just shook my head throughout the entire movie.

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