Godzilla Crashes and Burns

By Tyler Brown in Opinion

It’s difficult to remake a popular franchise movie like Godzilla in a tasteful way that isn’t an awful nightmare like the first American Godzilla movie from 1998. Thankfully the new Legendary Pictures production has 100 percent less Matthew Broderick. But it still leaves the audience wanting so much more than it gives. 

Godzilla came crashing into theaters everywhere May 16 hoping to steal the hearts of old fans and make a generation of new ones. An exceptionally large amount of special effects and award-winning actors hope to overshadow a hollow and unoriginal plot. With little character development it fails to give the audience the monster-mashing action they pay to see.

However, the new Godzilla movie starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston does a few things right. The world’s most famous monster pitted against big, bad monsters threatening our very existence is what makes a Godzilla movie. The new film offers that on a platter — even if only 10 percent of it is actual action.

The King is given action scenes against two giant beasts, boosted by our own arrogance, and he decimates them in awesome ways. There is tons of wreckage and chaos in every city they fight in, from Honolulu to San Francisco to Las Vegas. Admittedly, it’s fun to see.

It felt like some of the older Godzilla films when focusing on the actual monster fights. I enjoyed seeing Godzilla do what he does best — mess up some monsters.

Every film in the past has had that one similar plot device of giant monster — two in this case — versus the King of Monsters, and it worked every time. Even in the terrible older films that Godzilla’s original producers, Toho Co. Ltd. made, the formula was what people wanted to see. That should never be messed with. The saying “Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken” definitely applies here.

For a movie that should be centered on our lovable lizard, he sure seems to be camera shy. The King only appears in about a quarter of the movie. Every time he appeared on screen the camera seemed to pan over, almost immediately, to the human characters. Kind of like a “here’s Godzilla… oh, just kidding” attitude, seemingly teasing the audience.

Which essentially sums up the whole movie: a giant tease.

Additionally, the entire film is filled with so many vapid, empty, uninteresting characters that it was difficult to develop any interest or connection with the people this film so desperately wants you to care for. Bryan Cranston, the only solid actor in the film, is killed off within the first thirty minutes.

The movie follows Ford Brody, who plays the son of Cranston’s character. He is at every scene of destruction each monster seems to create, and his clichéd daddy issues and boring family are uninteresting and unlovable.

It had so much potential but fell short. The film tries very hard with cinematography, excess detail and overacting, but in their efforts, built no foundation for a genuinely good movie— the movie it should have been.

If I had to rate this film I would give it three out of five stars. You can clearly see that Legendary and Toho were trying something new, and I applaud that, even if they failed. The cinematography was interesting and, if anything, was the highlight of the film. As far as it’s integrity and its attempt to try a different viewpoint of the big green meanie, I say, “nice try.”

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