Let’s talk marketing for a second, shall we? Normally, the marketing of a movie really shouldn’t bear on your actual impression of the film itself. The promotion is a separate entity from the actual body of work. But that being said, sometimes its hard to separate the two, like in the case of 2014’s Godzilla. The marketing for this movie did an excellent job of separating itself form the 1998 Emmerich atrocity and made audiences believe that this was going to be a smart, well-crafted, top-notch thriller.
In reality however, this Godzilla really just wears that marketing-induced impression like a cloak, but underneath is just naked cliched fare, not much better than 98. The problem here is that the story of the human characters surrounding the actual concept of giant monsters attacking cities is not remotely interesting. Not only that but because the director wants to put on that air of a well-crafted, slow-burn thriller, the human aspect takes up a massive majority of the movie. Whats worse is that we are even teased with one scene, which involes a train bridge in a forest, which gives a hint of potential of being the movie it originally looked like this would be, but never capitalizes.
We start with Brian Cranston’s character and his son (I really dont remember their names. Oh wait, the son’s was Ford. I remember cause its a stupid name). Its pretty basic fare where one is the only person who suspects somethings going on, the other is reluctantly trying to deal with him.
It doesn’t help that the main character (the son) is basically a doorknob. He has no charisma whatsoever. And once things finally start moving, they keep finding ludicrous plot contrivances to keep him in the action. They even give him a ridiculous scene in a subway where he is just randomly given a Japanese boy to take care of just so that we can think he’s heroic. Its a joke.
This movies only redeeming factor is Godzilla himself. I absolutely love the way he looks; both the design and the actual CG animation are top notch work. He truly looks like a modern version of the classic creature. He actually looks like Godzilla. And sounds like him. And acts like him. The two mothra monsters weren’t as good of a design. They seemed pretty derivative of Cloverfield, Pacific Rim and other movie monsters. But the big man, every time he was on screen I was excited. Its just too bad that those moments of excitement were few and far between.
This isn’t the movie we were promised. It was a disguised version of a formulaic summer blockbuster whose roots go back to Independence Day, et al. Godzilla was awesome, and that last fight scene was pretty sweet, were it not for the boring lead doing whatever it was he was doing. I give it marks for the design and use of Mr. Zillla, but otherwise I can’t say I liked it much.