Godzilla Reboot Avoids Complete Disaster
It’s been 16 years since Roland Emmerich’s heavily panned Godzilla hit theaters. After all this time, the monster franchise is still feeling the repercussions.
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot is doing everything it can to distance itself from the Emmerich film. First and foremost, this reboot undertakes a more grounded approach to its lead monster and mayhem.
Godzilla opens in 1999 as the Monarch corporation attempts to cover up their findings in the Philippines. What they found is wreaking havoc, but they label it as natural disasters. Bryan Cranston’s Joe learns otherwise, realizing the truth behind these “natural disasters.”
The film flashes forward to present day. We pick up with his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a US Navy officer caught in the middle of a military plan to eliminate the creatures. Duty distances from his wife, Elizabeth Olsen and young son who he wants to return to. Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins are tossed in to the plot too as two scientists, who found the pods in 1999.
Godzilla is a mixed bag with loads of potential. It’s the lackluster execution that cripples the end result. The first 90 minutes of Godzilla misses the mark time and time again. Edwards forces a countless list of characters and situations into the plot that are simply one-dimensional and uninteresting. There’s hardly any risks taken with these characters and by the end, all that’s left is a forgettable ensemble.
The problem here is Godzilla is littered with exceptional talents. Cranston, Olsen, Watanabe and Hawkins are fine in smaller, independent films. But when they’re given nothing with work with, there’s a major problem. The absent chemistry between characters is startling to say the least. Kick-Ass’ Aaron Taylor-Johnson is the lead of Godzilla, but as weak as they come.
Until Godzilla makes his triumphant return to the big screen, the film keep digging itself deeper and deeper. Godzilla’s arrival injects new found life into the overlong disaster film. For a while there, everything is visualized as epic, but comes off underwhelming. Even 20 minutes shorter than the Emmerich fiasco, Godzilla could use more concise editing. The final 30 minutes of Godzilla don’t make up for the first 90. It’s real close though.
The monster has not looked any better. Props go out to Jim Rygiel (The Lord of the Rings) for bringing the King of Monsters to his finest form. The level of detail and textures is astounding. The same goes for the two creatures he faces off against the final showdown in San Francisco. The mayhem at the end demands to be seen on the largest screen possible with the best audio.
Godzilla takes itself too seriously to enjoy. Its grim and moody atmosphere strips the fun that branded the franchise in the first place. Edwards should be applauded for straying from the cheesy side of Godzilla, but there’s no reason not lighten the load just a tad.
While Godzilla wasn’t a total disaster this time around, he still made a big enough mess that needs to be cleaned up in the sequel.
GRADE: C (2.5/5)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.