Gareth Edwards 2014
Let me begin by saying I never watched Godzilla movies. Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of monster films? But seriously, I had seen the film when it came out and enjoyed it but when it came to reviewing it, I was lost. And truly, I have always been lost when it comes to Godzilla: is he a good guy or a bad guy? Is he the monster or are the MUTOs?
I’ll start with basics. I liked this movie because it gave me an origin for the monster(s) and gave the main characters a background—a reason to be the focus. My only real complaint was the early loss of Bryan Cranston’s character Joe Brody (Brody—Jaws–haha) because he had so much more personality and likability than his son Ford. I read Roger Ebert’ review of this movie and he compared Cranston’s character to Roy Neary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So why kill him off? That bothered me and I felt like it was a big mistake. Removing Joe Brody took away a lot of the intellectual portion of the movie turning it into a more action hero film.
Then there was Ken Watanabe’s character Ishiro Serizawa who started out strong but turned into the “token Asian” who tearfully cheers for Godzilla like he’s a mascot which is what I fear they were going for here and that felt wrong to me. Like Serizawa knows what Godzilla’s motives are all along based on what? His cultural heritage? Transactive memory? I didn’t buy it and he became like a child who fiercely believes in Santa Claus. Don’t get me started on the female characters who could have played bigger roles, but really didn’t get the screen time or plot line they deserved. They were relegated to sidekicks.
But let’s get to the monsters. The MUTOs and the king himself, Godzilla. Ok, I get the nuclear/radiation connection. I get the humans messing with nature warning. But what I don’t get is which of these gigantic creatures is the “monster”? The MUTOs were obviously made out to be the bad guys, but were they? Weren’t they just trying to make their way through a world that wasn’t made to accommodate them? Neither they nor Godzilla seemed to have malicious intent towards humans, we’re just little ants in our colonies below them. The fight between them causes mass destruction. Godzilla does as much damage as the MUTOs really. The MUTOs busy building a family while I guess Godzilla is trying to balance nature? Meanwhile we little ants are trying to blast them away with weapons similar to those that created them. Humans, I am quickly discovering, are actually quite stupid.
For me, this movie was entertaining as an action movie. It kept me interested with very little down time between action scenes. Could it have been better? Sure. Was it a monster movie? I guess so (my classmates who adore Godzilla will probably skin me alive for even questioning it). Does it belong in the horror genre? I’m gonna have to say no to that.