Cert: 12A / 123 mins / Dir. Gareth Edwards
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.
• LET'S END THE MOVIE WITH A TICKING COUNTDOWN CLOCK, I DON"T THINK ANYONE'S THOUGHT OF DOING THAT BEFORE!
• 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!
• THREE CHEERS!
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.
I don't know how to answer that.
If it does, I need a serious word with someone at Warner Bros.
Yes. Yes I will.
No. No I won't.
I heard one early on, and it's no consolation.
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.
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