Sunday, May 25, 2014
Godzilla review; a new take on an old character
When a Godzilla remake was announced a few years ago, I thought to myself, 'It can't be any worse than the 1998 film starring Matthew Broderick'. That film damn near ruined the character's future in film and put monster movies in a terrible light. But, time has passed and we've seen some great monster movies the last few years. JJ Abrams brought us Cloverfield and Super 8, and just last year, we were rewarded with Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim. All of these films were inspired in some way shape or form by Godzilla. So it's nice to see the grandaddy of them all getting his own reboot. Is it any good? Read on to find out.
What I liked about the film:
Gareth Edwards doesn't have a long resume as a director, but I think he did a great job with Godzilla. The tone of the film is very unique for a monster film of this nature. The film is dark and it's vision was obviously well thought out. I really liked the way Edwards built up the tension before the big reveal of our starring character. Hollywood has taken notice of Edwards and he's already been attached to a Godzilla sequel as well as a Star Wars spin off film. I hope to see a few more of his films in the near future.
SPOILER, SKIP THIS ENTIRE PART
What I didn't like about the film:
Max Borenstein's first screenplay, and I'm sorry to say, it's a stinker. While I believe Edwards directed the best that he could with the material he was given, it's ultimately a good story we go to the movies for. The plot and the toying with the mythology of the character is commendable, but Godzilla essentially plays a supporting role in his own film. I'm probably not the first person to write this, but why wait so long to debut the main character? And if you're going to wait that long to do so, why wait another 20 or so minutes to show him again? The bad writing manifested several other complaints I had about the film too.
Bryan Cranston was the lead actor in this film; let me be the one to spoil it for you, he's not. He's barely in the film. So if Cranston is not the lead, who is? Well that's Aaron Taylor-Johnson's character, Ford Brody. Yes, I'm serious, the character's name is Ford flippin' Brody. They give the character a unique set of skills that JUST SO HAPPENS to come in handy later in the film. But I didn't care about him as a man, or as a human in general. What drives him is not given enough time to be flushed out, so we're left to believe he's doing so much for the sake of his family, who we've only seen for mere minutes in the film. Cranston and Taylor-Johnson are just two examples of many actors' wasted talent.
Elizabeth Olsen plays Taylor-Johnson's wife in the film. And while I think she's a gifted actress, she's given absolutely nothing here. She essentially ends up being the damsel in distress. There's more. Juliette Binoche is a wonderful actress, and she's not in the film for more than a few SECONDS. David Strathairn is an Oscar-nominated actor, but he basically plays a figurehead for a military that is so obviously useless against these monsters. Last but not least are Ken Watanabe and Sally Hawkins, who play scientists in the film. They are in the film for nothing more than exposition; a devise to bring the audience up to speed on what's happening in the film. Did I mention they too are both Oscar-nominated actors?
I. Didn't. Care.