Godzilla (2014) Review

godzilla

RATING: 2.5/5

[SPOILERS]

With two monsters on the loose and causing destruction wherever they go, it is up to the King of the Monsters himself, to put an end to them both.

Since Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters is around the corner, I want to take a look back at its predecessor released in 2014.

The opening credits were really good. All of the old-war and atomic-bomb testing clips were cool to witness, as it was nostalgic of old Kaiju movies.

Alexandre Desplat’s music was great. Two standout scores were the main theme that played in the beginning and theme that played during the Halo Jump scene (Gyorgy Ligeti). Actually, something cool I didn’t know until recently was that theme was used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Those two scores and the rest really captured the tone and feel of the movie nicely. It got one invested and would send chills down the spine.

The cinematography was great. The movie did a very good job of capturing the spectacle and showcasing how large the monsters were. There was an array of wide shots, high-angle, low-angle, and many more to reveal the amount of destruction. The film was not fast-edited and there wasn’t any shaky cam of any kind. The camera would stay in position just long enough for one to get immersed in the environment.

The visual effects were pretty good. There was definitely style in some shots to make the monsters and world look awe-inspiring. But at times, especially during night scenes, it looked to be dark. It was hard to see what was happening on screen. Another thing to point out was the color aesthetics. There were times where the colors looked to be muted or were vibrant.

A vast majority of the characters were not that memorable, unfortunately. Outside of Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe, the others don’t stick out in the least. Their performances were ok, but they didn’t get me to latch onto them. As I said, Cranston and Watanabe were the best actors in the movie, especially Cranston.

Godzilla, himself, was great to see when I watched this in the theater 5 years ago. There were many moments he did that delivered immense joy to me. His reveal in Hawaii, the roar he does in San Francisco, the “Kiss of Death”, etc. Although his design was more close to real dinosaurs, I still like it very much.

On the other hand, you have the monster antagonists, the MUTOs. I do like their EMP attack. Everything else about them, I wasn’t too fond of. Mainly due to their design, as it reminded me too much of Clover (Cloverfield), Gyaos (Gamera series), and Gigan (Godzilla vs Gigan).

Structurally and pace-wise, the movie needed to work on these elements, big time.

The first act of the movie was strong. It was great at establishing the characters, their goals, and the situation at hand. It was paced well and it kept one invested into the story. This was helped by Cranston’s strong acting. As he wanted to know so badly that what happened at the power plant was something much more. But everything goes downhill when Cranston died at the 45-minute mark. The second act was slow, dull, and boring. Especially during the scene where one of the MUTOs attack the train tracks. Of course, this was where the movie would cut away from the monster action, 3 times. I understand what it was trying to do. It was to let the audience imagine in their head what went down because sometimes what one doesn’t see, could be more terrifying. But after 3 times though, it got annoying. At least show one of those times in full. The third act came in to pump things up and it does it fine. But at that point, it came in too late.

Now was this movie entertaining? Yeah, it was. But it came in bursts. I would say “Godzilla” (98) won in that department.

There were many story and plot elements that could have been fixed too. The movie could have handled the father and son relationship better; like having it be expanded throughout the duration of the film. Cranston and Watanabe should have been side-by-side working together on how to confront the monsters. Have the movie be more about Godzilla because this felt like a MUTO movie. The son should have kept the photo of his family instead of leaving it behind with Watanabe. Again, there were many elements in here, that one or two rewrites could have fixed a lot of them.

“Godzilla” (2014), was not a bad or a great movie. At the time of its release, I thought it was really good. But that was for the fact I was a super-excited Godzilla fan and there hadn’t been a Godzilla flick for a decade. Now 5 years have passed, to which I can say there were some great and awesome things. Things like music, cinematography, effects, two of the actors, and Godzilla. But the rest of the actors, the arrangement of the story, how it was paced, focus on the MUTOs, and some of the visuals prevented the movie from becoming something that could have at least been good.