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Godzilla Review: Not Bad, but Not Great Either

Godzilla 2014


Three out of the first four movies this reviewer assessed had her wanting to like them but just not having a thoroughly satisfying cinematic experience. There are some redeeming elements in the film. Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche, felt relevant with what little screen time they were given. Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe did the best with what they were given as well. Their stories did fizzle a bit, but not in a completely annoying way. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen made a decent couple. They weren’t the best couple ever in a disaster movie, but they were better than Brad Pitt’s family in World War Z or John Cusack’s family in 2012 (In both cases, there was a feeling of ‘why do these people deserve to live more than everyone else on the planet?’ This reviewer didn’t think that as far as the Brodies were concerned).
Using the Roland Emmerich scale to measure disaster films over the past few decades, there is Independence Day on the high end. While it was filled with plot and logic holes, one couldn’t help but like and root for the characters. There were suspenseful, funny and touching moments (though it should be left well enough alone, the story was complete and they don’t need a sequel). This reviews pops in her Independence Day dvd every year on the Fourth of July and still enjoys it.
In the middle there is The Day After Tomorrow. It’s good to watch of TV when stuck inside during a blizzard, but not really worth the effort to actually buy the dvd or pop it into the player. It is saved by a somewhat interesting premise and some decent performances.
2012 and Emmerich’s own version of Godzilla are at the bottom. The characters are annoying, and it’s too much effort to try to sit though the entire films when there are better like cleaning lizard cages (spoiler alert! There is a pretty cool cameo by a Jackson’s Chameleon in this latest Godzilla flick).
This latest version of Godzilla falls in the Day After Tomorrow category. This reviewer will probably watch it if it comes on TV, but won’t make the extra effort to buy the DVD. Godzilla himself (or herself) is pretty cool in this film. There isn’t much more to the gigantic reptile than what is seen in the trailer. There is a cool moment when Godzilla comes face to face with the main protagonist and looks him in the eye, and the fire breathing. It’s cool that the monsters in this film even feel a little old school.
The actual action scenes is this film are cut short (the second to last city that gets attacked is a throwaway moment), so the urgency of the situation doesn’t feel quite as urgent as it does in the trailer. The main urgency comes from the stupidity of the people in charge. That has certainly been a theme in disaster films in the past 25 years. The fate of the planet could be in the hands of people who either make rash decisions that evidence right in front of their faces show will not solve the problem, but it will cost the lives of a substantial number of people. The world’s fate could also be in the hands of people who wait too long to make decisions that should be obvious like getting people out of the path of harm. This new Godzilla film certainly touches on that idea, but doesn’t really explore it to the fullest potential.
This reviewer wanted to leave the film thinking “Holy crap, that was Awesome!” but the best she could say about it was that it wasn’t as annoying as a lot of other disaster movies. It felt like Jaws/Jurassic Park and World War Z had a baby (With a certain moment from the Avengers that is a common element in disaster movies), and the most exciting parts of those films were recessive that did not fully manifest in Godzilla.