Godzilla WYSIWYG

I took my wife to go see Godzilla this past weekend and then went again with my daughter on Monday.

Godzilla

 

Godzilla (2014) – Rated PG-13

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

You’re not fooling anybody when you say that what happened was a “natural disaster,”. You’re lying! It was not an earthquake, it wasn’t a typhoon! Because what’s really happening is that you’re hiding something out there! And it is going to send us back to the Stone Age! God help us all…

Clearly an executive saw Gareth Edwards’ 2010 film, Monsters. He wanted that film, only he wanted Godzilla in it. Lo and behold, Godzilla 2014 was born. WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get. This Godzilla film is pretty much exactly what you would expect from a melding of Monsters with the Godzilla franchise.

Unfortunately that is not always a good thing. As with Monsters, the humans are the focus of the picture. While this is good from an audience sympathy perspective, it is terrible from a desire to see monsters smashing scenery point-of-view.

Instead of a normal three act structure, Godzilla consists of two parts. The first half deals with humans and no monsters at all are seen. Yes, opening credits aside, Godzilla neither appears nor is even discussed for almost the first half of the movie.

This is a shame because the trailer basically lies. It not only gives you the impression that there is plenty of monster violence but also that Bryan Cranston is the star. Bryan Cranston is easily the best actor in the film but his screen time is very limited. I think he is just an excuse to tide you over until monsters show up.

Unfortunately our lead actor is Aaron Taylor-Johnson. While I didn’t think he was bad in Kick Ass, he is absolutely terrible here. You know you have a problem when not one but two (not especially good) child actors are better than you. Ken Watanabe looks pained at every ridiculous line he has to utter.

The script is an utter mess, jumping through various logistical hoops to get Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) into every scene, from Japan to Hawaii to California. When his son is not with him to be placed in peril, another child is separated from his parents just so Ford can rescue him.

The second half features plenty of wonderful CGI and rock ’em, sock ’em monsters. This assumes you have managed to stay awake through the first part. Gareth Edwards has a lot of wonderful visuals. He also loves reflections in water, glass, mirrors, and visors. The monster action is seen up close (though not as close as Pacific Rim), in fog and smoke, via telecast, from overhead, etc.and is very inventive.

While the movie is a mess, has terrible acting, and is downright dull for the first half, I still really enjoyed the second half. Just concentrate on enjoying your snacks during the first half.

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