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Friday, May 16, 2014

"Godzilla" (2014) - Movie Review





(SPOILERS) - Best to Read if You Have Already Seen It, or Don't Care!

I thought the new "Godzilla" was just okay. It just got over the mark of being okay from being disappointing. I love Godzilla, and was hoping that this movie would do it right, but it didn't. Only the monster action at the end gets the movie over that line.

I get it. Director Gareth Edwards was trying to recapture the feeling of the great original Japanese 1952 "Gojira," which I have just seen. Yes, I know! It took me all this time to get the original from Criterion. And, it's much better than the choppiness of the Americanized 1954 "Godzilla: King of the Monsters."

In that film, there is really only about 10 minutes or so of actual Godzilla crushing stuff. The rest is the human drama with the well-drawn characters. But, in that movie, those characters are very well realized. They are fully fleshed out, and the drama that plays throughout carries through to the emotional conclusion.

The problem here is that all the characters, except Bryan Cranston's, are bland and uninteresting. Plus, there isn't a compelling storyline here, as there was in the 1952 "Gojira." And, most critically (MAJOR SPOILER) Cranston's character dies early on. He could have been used as that tragic character who has to sacrifice himself. But, unfortunately, he just dies and that's it. (END SPOILER).

I almost titled my review "Godzilla Without Godzilla," since there isn't that much Godzilla in the movie, and when we get to see him, it's mostly in the dark. You would think, 16 years after the much-laughed-at 1998 Emmerich-Devlin "Godzilla," we'd technologically be at the point where we didn't have to stage the monster action in the dark and/or the rain. But, the $160 million spent here doesn't seem to be enough to make that happen.

Hopefully, since Godzilla lives to fight another day at the end of this movie, we'll get a sequel where we get to see some good old fashioned monster action. In the daytime, please!

*** (3 Out of 5 Stars)

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