Frustrating. But with moments of brilliance. Edwards' touch for images is undeniable - the camera lingers and paces itself in a way which recalls vintage Spielberg. In fact, its' closest cinematic cousin is Spielberg's take on 'War Of The Worlds' though you can also see touches of Jurassic Park, as well as Cloverfield, Super 8, and the King Kong remake. There are some truly fantastic moments where things land definitively; the opening credits, the jump, the final fight, and many chilling shots, and by God(zilla), they got their big hero right. There's one astonishing moment in the climax, where, emerging from clouds of smoke amidst the lanterns of San Francisco's Chinatown to sparse piano, he bends and roars with a primal force that incites sheer excited terror, that causes even Pacific Rim to shit itself.
Things become more polarized in the script department - Bryan Cranston is sterling,but bows out after the first act, and beyond that pointthe rest of the characters are mere archetypes in comparison, content to run in terror, have a sex scene interrupted by a phone, have to get on a plane to break their dad out of jail, make tearful appeals to military commanders, get separated in time for a joyful reunion, or all just deliver ominous soliloquies and exposition. It's standard stuff for the genre.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a better actor than I gave him credit for, and it's quite surprising how Ken Wanatabe's face can convincly convey so much dread. Yet, whilst nothing I've mentioned is strictly a dealbreaker, it's not enough to avoid pulling you out of the moment, puncturing the wonderful biblically dark mood that sometimes seems to arise spontaneously, underselling some of the cast and the nuclear backdrop, and curiously dragging and lurching in such a odd way you're left feeling dulled, and in need of some levity.
What is far more of a dealbreaker is that we get precious little of our monstrous hero. During all of the fights - the camera cuts away, at the point of contact no less, from the brawl to the human drama, and though this helps to build the anticipation for the final battle and is a brave directorial move, I was left feeling undersold every time - to be reminded of the last Hobbit film was a slight for me. One more brawl in full view would have made all the difference here.
Overall, the character development simply doesn't stand up, and isn't as dramatic as, well, seeing G-Man make another monster shit itself. But, this being essentially a modernized version of a Toho film, essentially a monster throwdown with cutout humans, I guess I couldn't have expected more, and it does succeed on that level, and more besides, with moments of perfection in atmosphere, and a truly great final scene. It just can't quite escape it's frustrating flaws.
It was good to see Vegas get trashed, though. 6 years 4 months ago
Feels so much like a Toho Godzilla films. Godzilla himself seems very legit too and when he's on screen I held my breath. That's a movie I always wanted to see and it's finally here.
Many people seem to be disappointed which is their own fault. The movie is fine, but you have to have realistic expectations before seeing it. It's a Godzilla film, none of them were particularly great, but they are entertaining. Although I will say Godzilla 2014 is probably the most subtle and well made of them all. A lot of respect went into making of this film and it shows.
Godzilla isn't on screen for very long, but when he is on screen it's glorious. Every single shot of Godzilla in this film it's beautiful to look at and it wouldn't be the case if he was constantly showing-off.
This movie leaves you hungry for more, but it's better than nothing at all or even too much. At very least you should celebrate that Godzilla is finally back and he's not ruined.
I'm personally very happy. 6 years 4 months ago
All of Godzilla's problems can be easily summed up in one issue: The main character.
Why we are meant to care about the antics of this generic Army grunt (or was it Navy?) is beyond me. He has no specific goals toward which he is pressing, and simply stumbles into one conveniently timed chance meeting after another, thrusting him into whatever plan the all-mighty US military has cooked up. I can't remember a single instance in which he did anything of his own volition, without being washed along in the flow of wherever chance happened to place him. This is not good character development! This is not good motivation! This is not good plotting! Yet for a good 2/3 of the film, we follow this generic grunt around as he does generic grunt things.
Are there any scientists who might have a comment about what's going on? Well, there's one, but everyone just ignores him until he's dropped from the narrative, once he says "Godzilla." Are there any side-characters we might be interested in following? Well, there's the wife, who stays at home, and makes sandwiches, or something. Are there any interesting leadership-type characters? One-minute scene, "Nuke 'em!" Hmm.
This film is at its best when it is setting the stage for events to come--which is done in an absolutely magnificent manner--and when the monsters are rampaging around, terrifying the little people. However, these brief glimpses of brilliance are quickly shoved aside for the Amazing Adventures of Captain Generic, as he hustles around with his military pals. Somewhere in the background, you might notice a giant lizard stomping about.
The differences between this and the Toho Godzilla films are simple: 1) The Toho films had likeable characters--even the '98 US 'Zilla had fun and memorable performances. And 2) the US Army is totally awesome(apparently)!!!!! Enlist today! 6 years 4 months ago