Godzilla: The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly.


Godzilla Movie Poster

Godzilla Movie Poster

I must admit something straight away, I have been a Godzilla fan for as long as I can remember.  Running home to catch the Matinee Money Movie on WDIO television out of Duluth, Minnesota.  They would play classic movies throughout the week.  Abbot and Costello, and the Toho movies were mainstays in my childhood film education.

roar

Godzilla Roars

 

Over the years I learned that Godzilla was a metaphor for the horrors of nuclear war.  A creature spawned from the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In that sense the first half of Godzilla 2014 works.  The film opens with an imaginative set piece showing nuclear testing in the 1950’s with documents being censored as the opening credits.  We also  learn that the so-called tests were actually trying to destroy the monsters that had been awakened from slumber at the dawn of the nuclear age.

Thus the film’s disjointed plodding begins, Bryan Cranston playing a nuclear physicist who loses his wife to a meltdown in Japan and knows the accident was caused by more than a simple earthquake.  Fast forward 15 years and we find Cranston reduced to a conspiracy theorist on a mission to reclaim his research lost in the quarantine zone.

Bryan-Cranston and Aaron Tayor Johnson

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor Johnson

On this level Godzilla works however what follows quickly degenerates into a rah rah United States military booster film and poorly conceived cage match between humankind’s protector Godzilla and two insect like monsters bent on breeding and wiping out the human race.

Toy Version of the Winged MUTO

Toy Version of the Winged MUTO

 

The antagonist MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) creatures have no back story and were seemingly lifted from Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. Half insect and half flying squirrel the creatures destroy Las Vegas in an attempt to lay eggs in the irradiated Nevada desert. YAWN.  Of course this brings Godzilla out of his deep sea slumber and chaos ensues.

Starship Troopers Alien Creature

Starship Troopers Alien Creature

Those of you wanting major screen time out of the title lizard will be sadly disappointed.  You can save yourself some cash and time by watching the trailers on-line.  Although I wasn’t timing his on-screen appearances I am sure that Big G only shows up for a maximum of 20 minutes of the two-hour plus movie length.

Godzilla has really been packing on the pounds

Godzilla has really been packing on the pounds

Having said that there are some things that the movie does get right, any hardcore fan of the original Toho movies knows well what Godzilla’s super powers include and in that respect the movie does treat Godzilla well.  Although I found that the general appearance of Godzilla reminded me of a steroid abusing WWF wrestler of the 1980’s.  He’s very bulky and lacks the charm of a man in a rubber suit.

Early Godzilla

Overall the movie is a good popcorn muncher, but anyone looking for any redeeming features should go check out one of the chick flicks no doubt playing one screen over.  A lack of screen time for Godzilla, enemy monsters with no back story or believable goals and a weak second act that strays from Godzilla’s raison d’être ultimately sink this film to depths that even Big G cannot rescue it from.

Other opinions on Godzilla.

Godzilla returns to save humanity in serious summer spectical.  Randal King – Winnipeg Free Press

Still Radioactive and spoiling for a fight.  A.O. Scott – New York Times

Godzilla: A city shaker roars back to life.  Peter Howell – Toronto Star

 

 

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4 responses to “Godzilla: The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly.

  1. So you recommend just waiting for this to come out on dvd? Shame since I did look forward to this one…

    • I guess I should clarify my review a bit Rincewind. If you had your heart set on seeing it then by all means do go. The only way to see a monster movie like this is on the big screen.

      The visuals are impressive especially in 3D as I saw it the other night. But remember it’s a popcorn movie. Just go and clear your mind of thought and enjoy the ride. Do let me know what you think of Godzilla if you end up seeing it on the big screen.

      • Guess my hopes up high but considering the last incarnation of Godzilla I was hoping that this time Hollywood might get it right. But will probably go anyway and keep my brain at home :)

      • By all means go, and do let me know what your thoughts are on the movie.

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