"Let them fight"
Fifteen years after witnessing a "natural disaster" at a nuclear power plant in Japan, a disgraced former employee (Bryan Cranston) with the help of his soldier son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), seek the truth of what really happened. What they discover is the awakening of a giant monster that threatens to destroy the world as we know it.
It's very hard to knit-pick a film like "Godzilla". It's pointless to debate the "science" of the movie or it's lack of plot or even the corny dialogue. Anybody who goes into a giant monster movie like this expecting something Spielbergian in it's construction will be sorely mistaken. The biggest problem with this latest rehash of the classic Kaiju series is that the trailer and everything leading up to it's release indeed did appear to promise something more. And as we've learned time and time again with this latest generation of big budget Hollywood blockbusters, the higher the expectations, the greater the disappointment.
Disappointment might be a little harsh for this film... but come on, those trailers that were released in the lead up to this movies release were pretty awesome! They promised a darker, more brooding film (which seem to be becoming Legendary Pictures go to lately) with a powerhouse cast of great character actors that had a big emphasis on old school monster action and destruction and not on the father/son relationship dynamic that in fact takes up the a good chunk of the flick. There are indeed plenty of great action set pieces, the majority of them appear in the last 20 minutes of the 123 minute running time and while there are some great scenery-chewing performance moments on display as well, they are scattered sparsely in amongst some cornball scripting. That being said, it is of course a whole hell of a lot better than Roland Emmerich's 1998 disasterpiece.
The film works nicely as a follow up to director Gareth Edward's 2010 fan favorite "Monsters", where once again the emphasis is on character as opposed to the creatures in the title. Here we focus on Aaron Taylor-Johnson's soldier character, Ford, as his relationship with his aloof (and possibly crazy) father (Cranston) as well as his relationship with his son (this time him being the aloof one) and his wife (an extremely underused, always brilliant Elizabeth Olsen). Throw in some brief scenes of Sally Hawkins and a slack-jawed Ken Watanabe (seriously, his mouth is open in every scene!) as research scientists playing the "we told you so" card with David Strathairn and you've got a solidly rounded out, reasonably entertaining night at the movies. With a cast this good it's hard not to be entertained as they spout their corny dialogue set amongst scenes of destruction on a fairly epic scale.
While the film does not live up to the heightened expectations established when the first trailers dropped months backs, it is never dull. While not a masterpiece and never really delivering anything new or special, the film works well as pure escapist entertainment, and fingers crossed with the help of last years "Pacific Rim" (a far cheesier and more ridiculously entertaining movie) will help, similarly to it's titular character, to reawaken the long dormant genre of "giant monsters smashing things" to help save us from the current slew of horrific Monsters with Unrealistic Transformersesque Action (or MUTA's for short... if you've seen the movie you'll get that joke).
6 out of 10
Reviewed by Chris Swan