The picture above shows Aaron Taylor-Johnson in his central role here as Ford Brody, who must brave all to face the monstrous threat that ancient large beasties pose to the whole of mankind, although really his character, like almost all the others in the film, actually serve no real purpose and the script constantly bends itself over backwards to fit them into the plot, in this instance he looks rather like he was casually walking down the street when the director and film crew sprang upon him and shouted ‘Ok, now look over here and I want to see a look that says big dinosaur comes to life smashes everything and puts family member into mortal danger which also shows he wasn’t mental all these years and you were completely wrong about him, action!’, and alas the direction and acting do not improve on this throughout the film – asides from Bryan Cranston who, along with the effects, are the only good things about the movie (he plays the said family member in peril).
The story despite ostensibly focusing on Godzilla, actually doesn’t – we spend most of the time watching inept military personnel chasing a couple of giant bat thingys before they can mate, but their mating call attracts Godzilla who acts as a gigantic balancing force of nature and attempts to tackle them head on. Handily the bat things eat radiation and emit electro magnetic pulses, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever but does make it more difficult for us to kill them, although a neutron bomb would surely be difficult to absorb and feed off after it’s atomised everything in the region, one would think. Or chemicals I’m sure would work, or trying to shoot them in their eyes maybe, or …. well basically they are granted carte blanche to do what they like until hero time, and the arrival of Godzilla.
It has a boredom intensity that hasn’t perhaps been seen since the last terrible American Godzilla film back in 98. This sort of tragic action film kind of had its heyday in the nineties, and thankfully studios and directors and writers learned that audiences were not into stupid contrived plots, predictable starts, middles and ends all delivered by turgid hopeless characters. It seems director Gareth Edwards is very much in love with the nineties, whose last film ‘Monsters’ (10) was much better than this but still featured nothing very interesting happening for the majority of the film. Traditionally Godzilla arrived in Japanese cinema as a cultural expression of the horror of having two atomic bombs dropped on their soil – this film seems to be saying yes but that was necessary and we, the Americans, are still the good guys. This is a horrible, horrible film and one that is extremely difficult to make it through to the end of.