Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Bryan Cranston. Rated PG. Now playing.
The kid in me—the one that's loved monster movies ever since being deliciously terrified by It! The Terror From Beyond Space's guy in a 1958 rubber suit—was really looking forward to the new Godzilla movie.
But the kid in me was hugely disappointed by the latest take on the legendary Lizard King. And the adult wasn't too thrilled, either. Somebody coming out of the advance screening I attended called it "a failure on every level", and while a tad harsh, that opinion wasn't too far off the mark.
The movie starts off well, with a suspenseful depiction of engineer Joe Brody (Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston) losing his beloved scientist wife (Juliette Binoche) when the Tokyo nuclear plant he works at goes crumbling down.
Fast forward 15 years, and Brody's son Ford (Kick-Ass's Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has grown into a bland U.S. navy bomb-defusing expert who's living the contented life in San Francisco with his beautiful wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and young son Sam (Carson Bolde). But any post tour-of-duty bliss is cut short when he has to head back to Japan to help his unstable dad, whose obsession with uncovering the truth about the disaster has gotten him thrown in jail.
Much family drama ensues, but it never develops to the point where you care much about the characters. In Godzilla, humans are best kept around to quake in bug-eyed fear on stranded buses or subway trains, just like in that old Blue Öyster Cult tune. (Note to self: in the event of a monster attack, avoid public transit.)
After the initial buzz of being impressed by the enormity and destructive capabilities of the monsters—there's three on display here, including two MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) that eat radiation for breakfast—you get bored with watching them go at it. The overkill is reminiscent of Pacific Rim, where the sheer awesomeness of men in huge robot suits battling immense creatures grew tiresome as the fights piled up.
The only emotional connection Godzilla offers is that twinge of warmth you feel for the titular beastie near the end of the film. It's the same one you felt for poor old King Kong after he tumbled off the Empire State Building.
Other than that, the kid in you won't feel a thing.