In this Hollywood return of the grand daddy of movie monsters it’s all about dull humans and a limp plot wrestling for screen time against some breathtaking action visuals.
Everybody knows that when Godzilla comes to visit, trouble just might be on the cards.
Putting it lightly, when it’s finished ‘getting acquainted’ your citie’s Trip Advisor rating would be through the floor.
In Godzilla, Gareth Edwards’s new outing for Japan’s atomic amphibian the smashing; bashing, stomping, crunching and all-round creature carnage is fantastic!
Handled masterfully, it’s dynamic, thrilling and includes some genuinely chilling set-pieces.
Re-introduced as an ancient predator on the hunt for other nuclear-nasties set loose by a foolish cooperation, Ishiro Honda’s king of monsters (the subject over of 30 features already) looks to be moving in a new cinematic direction.
Chuck in Bryan Cranston in the ‘sciency’ role, Aaron Taylor-Johnston as your action lead and Elizabeth Olsen’s also adding her star touch and success surely beckons!
BUT there’s a sting in the film’s scaly tail.
A set of lacklustre plot twists played out by characters more wooden than the desk this review is being written on makes for one mixed up bag.
In many ways, Godzilla is style over substance pushed to its limit.
For once its problem (unlike the rest of modern blockbusters) doesn’t lie with its CGI – It’s the writing that struggles to be believed.
Good casting has been used to cover over hollow characters – but it doesn’t help. Cranston, Taylor-Johnson, Olsen and Ken Watanabe are all savagely under developed and pigeon-holed into the stock ‘Michael Bay-esque’ templates.
Another pitfall is Edwards’ widening of the pantheon of gargantuan beasts from what Western audiences have seen before in a Godzilla movie.
Although this makes for some enjoyable reptilian roughhousing ala Del Toro’s Pacific Rim, it practically dilutes his biggest asset and titular star into what alarmingly feels like a supporting role.
A softening of the creatures motives, turning it from friend rather than foe also lowers the ‘end of the world’ stakes – it’s not exactly an episode of Barney the friendly dinosaur but not that far off at times.
Ultimately, Godzilla works well as a series of wide-scale, Disaster movie vignettes but becomes disappointing the longer you consider the wasted talent at its disposal.
Review written by Tom Parry