The kid in you won't feel a thing from Godzilla

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Bryan Cranston. Rated PG. Now playing.

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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.

Comments (21) Add New Comment
Nigel
Why do I never learn my lesson with these dumb big blockbuster movies? This was another one that sucked but at least learned more Marvel movies are coming out - ones that I'll end up walking out of theatres again half way through.

Home shows are where the quality is at nowadays - Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, etc.
Rating: -79
placido gurnider
Disagree - great godzilla movie - great monster movie - stop trying to live on the foam and chatter of stallone and cameron. this is about the big guy - and he is back for at least another 2 or 3 trips to the marquee.

Rating: +96
James Blatchford
There are no bad Godzilla movies...it's Godzilla!! What the hell more do you need!?!
Rating: +70
Martin Dunphy
Oh, man, James, wait and see.
My 13-year-old, who was stoked as stoked can be prior to watching this flick, said on the way out: "There's two hours of my life I'll never get back."
The much-maligned 1998 Emmerich version (which I actually liked) is heads and tails above this.
Rating: -85
Gamera
I hate Godzilla.
Rating: -78
Mond
I disagree entirely.
This is Godzilla as Godzilla can be. If you don't get that, you don't get Godzilla.
This movie is about Godzilla. The human drama is swept aside for that very reason. If you want your typical Hollywood garbage where you simultaneously get the "pleasure" of seeing central characters work on their "complex" relationship which has resulted from their past flings as the very Earth around them goes up in flames, there's plenty about to appease your sensibilities. But here, drama is shown for what it is: mere drama. It serves for suspense leading up to the spiritual climax that is Godzilla's coming and conquering.

If you didn't feel that climax... if you sat there watching without truly SEEING what was going down before you... then I don't think you could have felt anything, anyhow. Perhaps you'd be more satisfied with a humourous GIF of Godzilla playing a guitar solo.

It's people like you who threw Godzilla in that volcano in '85, and I think we all know that there was a sequel to that.
Rating: +84
James Blatchford
Gamera: of course you hate Godzilla! He's prettier than you, the chicks dig him, and he's better in bed...what's not to hate when Godzilla comes to town?
Rating: +68
Anon
So this review is just a lazy recap of the plot and a comment on the tediousness of certain action sequences. No comments on the direction of the story, plot development, writing, performances, vfx or cinematography. No study of the monster itself. Or is the title of this review supposed to stand in for all of that?

This review doesn't exactly appeal to the adult in me.
Rating: +82
Steve Newton
you've got a humourous GIF of Godzilla playing a guitar solo?!
Rating: -85
Mothra
Was more entertained by the old Japanese Godzilla where people were suited up in monster costumes pushing each other into lego buildings. That and some bad lip-synch....it'll make you laugh but at least keep you awake in the theatre.
Rating: -88
Not Steve Newton
If only bloated dinosaur Malmsteen had soloed through the epic Kaiju battles and had his mother held Newton's sweaty palm through the carnage - he may have opened his eyes for the majesty of the King of All Monsters. Poor Steve, poor poor Steve.
Rating: +75
Pat Crowe
I remember back in the day when Godzilla used to work the door at the Commodore.
Nice enough guy but DON"T fucking do ANYTHING wrong!
41
24
Rating: +17
A. MacInnis
Newt, you see Gareth Edwards' previous film, Monsters? It's kind of important to appreciating what actually works about this particular Godzilla film (see my blog, Alienated in Vancouver, for more on that - put up a lengthy review). It's also a way better film, though, because there's a lot that DOESN'T work about Godzilla, I agree - especially any of the "human drama" - as formulaic and un-engaging as can be. Best thing of it was that it gave me a pretext to play the 1954 Japanese original for my girl...
Rating: -81
A. MacInnis
...And gee, while we're at it, isn't it odd that the film features a nuclear reactor crippled in an earthquake in Japan, that leads to horrible things coming ashore on the west coast of the USA, and yet it still somehow manages to NOT seem to evoke Fukushima?
Rating: -80
Martin Dunphy
Yup, Al, it's bad at just about everything (except the murky 3-D CGI, which merely get boring really quickly).
Rating: -84
Ron Y
The car was silent on the ride back.

The kids said that everything with Walt (from Breaking Bad) was starting off well, so why switch our attention to his lacklustre son, who remained uninteresting despite being the survivor of multiple kaiju attacks?

I thought Cloverfield remained the current standard bearer in this field, mostly because of its refusal to leave the ground zero perspective, but the kids made a strong case for Pacific Rim.

Anyway, sadness.
Rating: -82
Vern Farmer
Well it looks like the consensus is that Steve Newtin is off the mark - and should leave the building before Godzilla swipes the straight offices off the map with his mighty tail. Long Live Godzilla!
84
17
Rating: +67
Queen Kong
I'm a lifelong Godzilla fan and I loved this movie. I thought Gareth Edwards managed to occasionally capture the goofiness of the original series of films, throw in numerous homage moments to those while adding the one thing I always wanted to see as a kid - believable scariness. Plus David Strathairn(!) as the authority figure delivering the obligatory science babble - what's not to love?! Even the shot of the chameleon crawling across the screen brought back pleasant memories of every Creature Feature where they glued a horn to some hapless lizard and set it upon a pack of humans. Two giant scaley thumbs up.
68
18
Rating: +50
Edward H. Rod
Just witnessed the best monster movie of all time, Godzilla was epic mass destruction. Not certain what creature feature Newt was looking for, obviously not a fan of the genre, or it seems any of the other scribes of the straight. To much chai not enough bean in their diets.
59
15
Rating: +44
Patty Gerard
Just watched Godzilla at the theater. GRAND AND EPIC in destruction and mayhem!
26
3
Rating: +23

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