2014 / Director. Gareth Edwards.
Review by Glenn Cochrane (minor spoilers)
For the past six months I have been educating my son with all of the dozens of classic Godzilla movies. It has all been in preparation for this new film, which we've been itching to see. For my son it was like all of his Christmases came at once... sadly for me, I was left underwhelmed. It's a curious film because lots of it impressed the hell out of me while the rest of it was hugely disappointing. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a lot from any new Godzilla film when there's such a strong history behind it. Firstly credit where credit is due and I was relieved to see that the film is conceptually true to the whole ethos of Godzilla. He still looks a little stupid, he still comes to battle enemy creatures and the film still concludes with an epic smack-down (that's not exactly a spoiler). Stylistically the film looks great too and is jam-packed with cool set-ups and action sequences... unfortunately this new version is still very much a Hollywood movie. There's far too much bravado and a sense of patriotism for my liking. The story may start in Japan but shifting the focus to America really lets it down. Changing Godzilla's origins was also a blow. While the cast is good, and without giving away any spoilers, it's fair to say that most of them were under-utilised. Ken Watanabe is a superb actor and he was an exciting addition to the cast and yet he spends the entire film wandering around, speechless. His character could have stolen the show. The 123 minute running time is also quite gratuitous and drawn out. The first half of the film meanders at a snail's pace and attempts to set up an emotional anchor for the rest of the story... epic fail. I honestly do not give a shit about anything except for humongous monsters destroying cities and locking horns. THAT'S what Godzilla is all about and this film tries far too hard to make more of it. With all of that said I can still step back and say that I was entertained. My expectations were possibly too high and I will revisit it on blu-ray... although I think that PACIFIC RIM was a hell of a lot more fun... I'll be curious to see how others rate GODZILLA. At the end of the day I'll still take miniatures and rubber costumes over this in a heartbeat.