The first question that are on many minds regarding the new "Godzilla" movie has to be whether it is better than the 1998 version. Many of us had high hopes with that movie as it was directed by Roland Emmerich, who had just made "Independence Day" and all the commercials and trailers for the new monster movie made it look pretty good and it turned out to be an awful movie. The trailers and commercials for this new movie look good too and while it is certainly better than that 1998 disaster, this new one does not fare much better, but for completely different reasons.
If you are reading this review, you are in luck because you will get no spoilers here in the description of what the movie is about. Other critics are likely to spoil some major plot points for their readers. Nuclear physicist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) survived an accident at the plant he was stationed at in Japan, but is convinced what happened was no accident. His quest to discover the truth reveals a horrifying discovery that leads to the terrifying monster known as Godzilla to land on US soil.
To start, almost everything that was wrong with the 1998 version has been addressed and rectified in this "Godzilla" beginning with the look of the monster. This time he looks like the monster many of us have come to love. There are tweaks, of course, but all for the better. He looks pretty damn awesome.
The problem plaguing this movie is all the people in it. You never make any kind of emotional connection to almost any of the characters. This is the major problem with Max Borenstein's screenplay. Gareth Edwards is the director who directed the Indie hit, "Monsters" some years back and it appears those creatures he knows how to direct, people... not so much. There are great actors in "Godzilla." You see all their names in a pretty cool opening title sequence, but they pretty much go to waste in this movie. It is great seeing Hollywood give directors like Edwards and Marc Webb a chance to direct these big studio pictures, but if they keep failing to deliver the goods, then opportunities for others may not come along.
You may argue that you do not come to a "Godzilla" movie for the actors who are in it. You came to see the monster. Good point, but be warned that the actors are so stiff in this movie that when no Monster is on screen, it is like watching gaps of nothing. If a lead actor were to get stomped on or eaten by Godzilla, or if a building collapsed on them, you wouldn't care. Don't you think you should?
By the looks of it, "Godzilla" appears to be a movie that was converted into 3D in post-production. Outside of a few shots of a helicopter flying around, it is not a very good conversion. It IS nice seeing Godzilla appear on a big IMAX screen. It's too bad there is not a 2D IMAX presentation of the movie because that would be worth seeing. However, since all the IMAX showings are in 3D the price of seeing it that format does not justify paying the extra money.
When Godzilla is in action, those are some good scenes. They are what we wanted to see from a "Godzilla" movie for a long time. Unfortunately, anytime the monster is not a screen the movie is almost hard to sit through and makes this yet another disappointment to this early 2014 summer movie season. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.