“Godzilla” Review

The sophomore feature film from Gareth Edwards, this is the first American-made Godzilla film since Roland Emmerich’s in 1998. Although Godzilla himself isn’t introduced until late in the picture, the movie wastes no time in developing his backstory by having an opening sequence filled with photographs of the military attempting to kill him with nuclear weapons in 1954. Godzilla then spends a significant amount of time developing MUTOs, malevolent creatures that serve as the primary antagonist.

Unfortunately, most of the characters in Godzilla aren’t given a whole lot to do other than stare in awe or give meaningless military speeches in an Asylum-esche setting. There is a notable exception in Bryan Cranston however. Although his character isn’t more than a supporting role, he provides the most effective human element to the story. Elizabeth Olson is also incredibly charismatic and it’s clear she’s trying, but she just isn’t given too much to do. Even the titular monster is so poorly developed you don’t really care what happens to him.

With a 160 billion dollar budget, the special effects are incredibly complex and well done. Had the computer graphics been designed on a singular computer, it would have taken 450 years to render. That said, a large amount of the effects take place at night, so you aren’t able to see them in their full glory. Godzilla’s roar is absolutely astounding. It’s possibly the most impressive part of his design.

The film, veering away from the monster’s campy history, takes itself strangely seriously. It’s as if this was an actual event that took place and the filmmakers were trying to give it as much respect as possible, which could have worked, but with a script involving giant monsters fighting and an abundance of pseudo-science, it just doesn’t.

The score, by Alexandre Desplat, uses themes from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and is surprisingly effective. It’s subtle and drives forward the tone of the film.

While Godzilla at times seems like a big-budget Asylum film, it still does a lot right. For what it is, it’s pleasantly enjoyable. If your expectations aren’t too high, you shouldn’t be disappointed. 6/10.

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