Godzilla (2014)

A great addition to my Digital Movie Poster Collection! I finally had a chance to watch the movie Sunday night. It was…hmm…it could have been worse. I guess the 1998 “Godzilla” was so bad, they couldn’t do much worse. I have watched Godzilla films since I was a kid; I am always excited to see the King of Monsters on the big screen. Here come the spoilers if you have not seen the film yet.

The Cast.
Actor, Bryan Cranston, stole the show. He held my attention the most, the best acting in the film, hands down. Problem? His character didn’t last very long. He died. 😦 I began to wonder, “How can they kill the main character like that?!” Well, I found out…he wasn’t the main character.

Enter his son, Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He was okay. It just felt like his character lacked the same confidence, the same bravado as Cranston’s character. Which resulted in a bland portrayal of his character. He did some good things throughout the film, but he almost seemed detached from the action. No real sense of fear or sadness or uncontrollable panic. If I thought I was about to be eaten by a giant monster…I’d be freaking out. Not him. So, part of the blame has to go on Director, Gareth Edwards.

The second best character in the film was Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. Ken Watanabe was the cool, calm, Japanese character who fulfilled the nostalgic emotion necessary to make a Godzilla movie good. Problem? He barely did anything in the film beyond basically telling the U.S. Military General that he didn’t know what he was doing. A correct assessment, by the way.

I have to give a nod to the cute, little kid, Sam Brody, played by Carson Bolde. Cute. Adorable. Yet, again, very little emotion. Not many outbursts from the terror looming overhead. Sometimes, I wanted to give him a bit of caffeine…just a bit. Too calm to be believable. Kids these days. Desensitized by movies and television. 🙂

The Story.
Well, it could have been worse. Apparently (I think) the nuclear arms race back in the (1950s?) was actually a drove of countries trying to kill these huge monsters. The monsters were remnants from the beginning…as the Earth was being formed. These monsters fed off the radiation present in the atmosphere. Over time, there was less radiation on the Earth’s surface. They were forced to feed off the radiation coming from the Earth’s core.

Here is where the story does not make any sense. The countries of the world try to kill the monsters with nuclear weapons. Right? Don’t nuclear weapons pump out deadly radiation? The same radiation they feed off of to, not only stay alive, but grow to enormous sizes? That was the U.S. Military’s plan for defeating the giant monsters. Let’s nuke ’em! (what?)

Seriously, they were feeding off of the radiation from nuclear plants and other sources for the majority of their screen-time. Why would you try to kill them with “anything” that emits large amounts of radiation? Please…let’s not go with “stereotypical” American military logic of “blow it up with the biggest bomb we have!”

Of course, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa tries to tell the U.S. General that nuking the monsters is not going to kill them, but they implement the plan anyway. Shocker. Never mind the fact that the nuclear warhead is going to explode off the coast of San Francisco and several thousand (if not millions) will die from the radiation fallout. Ugh…(don’t think, Eric, just let it go). Anyway, the good doctor advises them to just let Godzilla fight the two evil monsters and see what happens afterwards.

Nope. One of the evil monsters takes the nuke they’re trying to kill it with back to “the hive.” The evil monster uses the nuke (that was supposed to kill it) to feed it’s growing, not-yet-hatched, offspring. Great plan. Great plan. Knowledge without wisdom turns to idiocy.

Special Effects
They absolutely, positively did an amazing job on special effects. In 2014, it’s difficult to impress people with CG. We’ve seen too much of it. In this film, I think it helps that the monster fights were done at night with low-key lighting. Good use of atmospheric perspective for the most part. Dust. Lots of dust and debris flying around, so it didn’t look like the monsters were pasted onto a miniature set.

My favorite moments were when I got to see Godzilla’s facial expressions. He had personality; you could almost see him “thinking.” You saw more detail in his eyes and how his face contorted. Amazing.

Sound effects. Thumbs up. We know that Godzilla shoots a beam out of his mouth. I LOVE the way they introduced the effect. There was a “humming” noise that started to build. The very end of his tail gave off a light blue light and the light traveled up along his back. Then, it’s like he took a huge breath in…and exhaled. I saw it coming. I sat up on the couch and said, “Light ’em up. Boom!” Glorious. I sat through a whole lot of movie waiting for a moment like that!

Creature design. The evil monsters, especially the female, reminded me of the monster in Cloverfield. I, too, am happy that the original design for Godzilla was brought back. LOL…I do have to say, it looks like Godzilla’s been packing the snacks while he was away. Sitting on the couch eating too many chips. 🙂 Gosh! Plus, his feet are stubby, so they don’t look like they can support his weight! 🙂 It was funny. Diet, you!

Before I returned the movie to RedBox, I watched the final battle sequences again. It’s a Godzilla film. The title of the movie is Godzilla. But Godzilla has the least amount of screen-time in the film. Of all people, I shouldn’t complain about character-driven stories, the human element. It’s still good…but not in a GODZILLA movie! I just wanted to see them fight throughout the film. They gave me little hints of a fight before the final battle, then they’d cut away to something else. Eventually, I spoke to the TV 🙂 “Oh my goodness, they’re killing me with this. Just get to the point!”

Final Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars.

I must say, .5 is because of the awesome CG and sound effects. Plus, they went back to the original Godzilla creature design. The movie poster…awesome.

Eric Christopher Jackson


One comment

  1. garethrhodes says:

    Even though they limited Godzilla’s screen-time, I felt they did a very poor job of helping us care about the human characters. It was all just so flat. Good review, though.

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