After watching Godzilla I can’t help but feel I got suckered with a bait-n-switch. The trailers depicted horrific imagery of fear, destruction and despair. Ominous Gregorian chants, people running in the streets, and the Glasglow smiling roar of a giant creature as the doors closed the shot- were no where to be found. what we got instead was some really incredibly tedious exposition by actors who were seemingly phoning it in from the beginning. What’s worse , the almost hour and a half of explanatory buildup had nothing to do with Godzilla.
A lot of what made Godzilla not work for me have a lot to do with the actual story. Something the trailers attempted to keep covered since many of those memorable trailer shots are completely different from the final movie.. So take this as a heads up. I will be spoiling aspects of the movie that basically ruined it for me… so consider this a warning!
The movie attempts to create a strong sense of tension and build up for the eventual monster reveal. On many occasions it tries to extend that tension with plenty of false reveals, that don’t work. Y’know kinda how in a horror movie there will be a loud musical chord sound, and a screech, only to reveal it was just some frightened cat? Well this movie attempts to do this for the first hour and a half. Ultimately though, the flat dialogue, and uninspired acting only further frustrated me as I sat there uncomfortably in my seat. Also doesn’t help that the movie hops through characters for that first hour and a half, so you as the viewer never have anyone to relate to or care about. Its just sequences, of scientists saying “something is out there!” but none of his family believes him,-of generals looking at maps in control rooms, -army platoons scurrying between positions with guns drawn, (how that would help them against a 600 foot monster is beyond me.) -Nurses trying to care for their patients and frantically calling their boyfriends.. And close tight shots of children looking deadpanningly out towards danger while adults run around with their heads cut off. Good god that must’ve happened like 3 times in this movie. All with children who weren’t even part of the main cast. Are we supposed to feel something? Is this a powerful shot, when the characters are just throw aways? Steven Spielberg does shots like these in his movies, but it usually a pivotal moment when a MAIN character has discovered something. These days its as if directors just grab these iconic shots just for the sake of emotional buildup without realizing, YOU STILL NEED TO DEVELOP THAT CHARACTER for that buildup to have any meaning….
So we have all these characters with no development time. Then we have the monsters…. not godzilla, but bug-like creatures straight out of a ‘Gears of War’ game, with smooth dolphin like skin and LED lit eyes.. Extremely plain and derivative looking bugs, that come from the planets core to feed on nuclear missiles, mate and breed.Its only then that Godzilla has picked up their mating calls and comes out of the watery depths to kick their ass.. So in comes Godzilla – fashionably 2 acts late, with his entourage of battleships .. Its around this time when the Japanese scientist huddles all the military fools together to give them a quick history on “Gojira”..Thats right, no mention of Godzilla until he shows up, and then we get a rushed history lesson on how he was last seen in the 50s when they attempted to bomb him to hell.. So not only is this really not a reboot/remake what have you, but its really a sequel of the original.. From this point on, this japanese scientist, insist that Godzilla is here to restore the balance of nature, not to interfere with his mission and “let them fight”…. So after being blueballed for almost 2 hours, this movie isn’t even about Godzilla, and to top it off, it isn’t the vengeful Godzilla that was portrayed in the trailers… Totally got suckered… “Godzilla 2014” is a sad and confused movie, that wants to tell a meaningful story about a Corny giant monster, but regrettably fails…. So really its Star Ship troopers, mixed with Independence day, guest staring Godzilla… No thanks.
To the credit of the CG director and all the amazing artists involved in those last 20 minutes,.. While the bugs were terrible, -Godzilla himself was incredibly detailed, moved with real weight and his atomic Breath and dorsal fin light up details were visually arresting.. Not to mention that breath taking roar.. it is some of the most amazing visuals of Godzilla you’ll see, at least till the inevitable sequel.I just wished they couldve made this first one about.. you know.. Godzilla.