Friday, 16 May 2014

Review: Godzilla

World of Blackout Film Review

Godzilla (3D) Poster

Godzilla (3D)
Cert: 12A / 123 mins / Dir. Gareth Edwards
WoB Rating: 2/7

In a way, I was a cinematically spoilt kid. The first film I remember seeing at the cinema was Star Wars, and while I went on to have a very sci-fi-centric childhood, A New Hope set a bar that many franchises (especially TV-based ones) couldn't really compete with. Blake's 7, Space 1999, The Black Hole; they look naff and shonky to us now, but they looked pretty much like that to me then. Call me snobbish, but I don't have the time to waste on media in the "so bad, it's good" bracket. To me, there's no such thing. And I think it was this infant elitism that meant I never connected with the Godzilla franchise (cartoon excluded, obvs). The very hallmarks that to millions were (are) its charm; corny dialogue, bad acting, rooting for the 'good' monster and booing at the 'bad' one, disregarding basic rules of biology and evolution… I file them all under "not good enough".

In that respect, 2014's Godzilla is a wonderful homage to its forebears.

A brief opening scene, slightly reminiscent of Jurassic Park, filled me with some hope that this may be the movie to change my mind, but once Bryan Cranston arrives and begins delivering his part with more ham than Miss Piggy firing a sausage chaingun at the Three Little Pigs, it's all downhill (even his wigs look embarrassed to be there). Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen seem to have no fucking clue what they're doing, while Watanabe, Binoche, Strathairn and Hawkins almost stare directly into the camera and mouth the words "don't judge me".

Every page in the disaster-movie-rulebook has been copied into what's meant to be a screenplay, seemingly verbatim.
• Wow, that reactor-meltdown's expanding at the speed of roughly just-faster than a running human!
• He's not a crazy old man, he knows the truth!
• You can't kill the dog (but can apparently wipe out thousands of people at regular intervals).
• Will the kids be alright though? The ones on the schoolbus where the driver has decided that in the wake of a monster being in the river and the army being everywhere, he's still going to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge?
• Hey, it's a good job that this ace bomb-disposal expert happens to be passing through town just as the army are semi-ineptly loading a clockwork nuclear device onto a rickety cargo train!
• Hey, he helped that kid who got lost, he's such a nice guy! I wonder if he'll see his own wife and child again, though?
• If you can't have the monster trashing the Eiffel Tower, have it trash the small version in Vegas!
• Yeah, have the monster absolutely fuck Vegas!
• We caused this with evil mankindedness and horrible science!
• Should we explain how he breathes lightning-fire out of his mouth when we've attempted to shoehorn in every other bit of exposition? …no. No, we shouldn't.
• Oh look, Gozdilla's just going back into the sea like the surprisingly anthropomorphic pseudo-ally he is instead of continuing to trash the fuck out of the city!

I call bullshit.

Like some sort of bastard hybrid of Pacific Rim and Battleship, Godzilla can't even be a convincing version of the thing it clearly loves. The only (only) saving grace is that the lizard himself looks and sounds fantastic, but the titular beast has so little screen-time that even that's no comfort. As is becoming a trend, the film's remarkably boring considering how much stuff gets blown up. Oh, and it's in 3D. Whatever.

To quote the wonderful Michael Legge: "Well, I can tell you now that Godzilla isn't the worst Godzilla movie anymore. Godzilla is."

What he said.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
I don't know how to answer that.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
If it does, I need a serious word with someone at Warner Bros.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Go away.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Yes. Yes I will.

Will I watch it again?
No. No I won't.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I heard one early on, and it's no consolation.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
How do we go about redacting all the good things which have been said about Bryan Cranston's carreer as penance for the face-palmingly shit performance he gives in this film? Is there a form I fill in?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


  1. This was bound to happen but I disagree. I saw Godzilla Iast night & I thought it was awesome. Okay the storyline wasn't great but it's a monster movie. Okay some of the acting was predictable, but it's a monster movie. Okay, we didn't see Godzilla in full for a while but we did see his enemy & destruction before he turned up & kicked the living shit out of them both.
    I shouted "OH WOW!" when he used his lightening from his mouth.
    Here's hoping for a sequel, which will be better thanks for this film not showing Godzilla straight away & spoiling it.

  2. All opinions welcome, Jamie, and I never claim to be right :p

    I'm aware at this point that I'm in the minority over Godzilla, but it's no consolation. After a week or so, the gripes the film has left me with are a) not so much the story itself, but the execution of it, and b) the acting, and by extension the director who would allow/approve it (Cranston's pantomime of a performance is only underlined by everyone else's seeming inability to emote anything at all). I listened to Gareth Edwards being interviewed yesterday, and he sounds like an intelligent, engaging and passionate filmmaker. To the point where I could have sworn he was talking about a different film (or different cut of the film, at any rate).

    The fact that Edwards has been given the gig of directing 2016's Star Wars first standalone movie does not fill me with confidence right now, but I'll investigate his earlier work, Monsters, and re-evaluate.

    And thank you again for your comment :D