WRITTEN BY: Max Borenstein
DIRECTED BY: Gareth Edwards
STARRING: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe
RATING: 3 stars
I loved the first 40 minutes of Godzilla. The anticipation was built so well and there were interesting characters introduced that made me think the film could have some substance as well as great special effects and action. Alas, the film quickly fell apart and was even a little boring and repetitive in parts. It was indeed visually impressive with three monsters destroying the world and the score was impressive, but the film was too long and good actors were forced to give simplified performances with some woeful dialogue. Godzilla was not really bad, it just was not very good either.
Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) are scientists working in a Japanese nuclear power plant when a disastrous accident happens. About 15 years later, their son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a military bomb disarmament officer with a wife (Elizabeth Olsen) and young son. Joe is obsessed with finding out what happened at the plant 15 years earlier, but Ford just thinks his father is crazy. His opinion soon changes when they discover the sealed off nuclear zone has no radiation at all because Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Objects (MUTOS) have absorbed it. Ford meets Dr Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and begins working with the authorities to stop the MUTOS and Godzilla before they completely destroy Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Francisco and the rest of the world.
Taylor-Johnson is a surprisingly good leading man, although he was a little wooden, which was seemingly an intentional decision on his part to go with his character's military persona. Cranston was as reliable as ever and humanised the story. Binoche had a small, thankless role and Olsen begins with some promise but ultimately spends much of her screen time looking frightened and crying. Watanabe also just seemed to stare off into the distance most of the time, which was awkwardly funny.
The entire plot was rather convoluted and hardly made much sense. There were also hardly any laughs at all. It seems Godzilla took itself a little too seriously and suffered as a result.