Even though the five-year-old inside of me just wants to watch Godzilla destroy buildings and kill millions of people for two hours, the 17-year-old me needs something more. I need an interesting story with great dialogue and characters to care about……and…you know…..a giant monster leveling a city.
And Godzilla looked like it was going to give us exactly that. The trailers evoked more fear and terror than most movies dream of doing, and seeing a giant monster standing in the middle of a dark city letting out a huge roar made me want to cheer.
Which is why it’s such a shame that 2014’s Godzilla not only didn’t deliver on the human element of the film, it couldn’t balance action and story, and it makes for one of the biggest disappointments in recent memory.
I won’t get into story specifics because the trailers told us nothing. All you need to know is that the movie is 90% dialogue and story, with the other 10% being the big budget action you’d expect from a Godzilla film. That’s all fine and dandy, except for the fact that the story and dialogue are boring beyond belief.
From the dull characters to the uninteresting dialogue, this movie was a chore at times. It’s not all bad with some standout scenes with great emotion and intensity, but they’re few and far between. Most of the movie consists of people standing around talking about where Godzilla is going and where he came from. That’s interesting to an extent, but more is needed if you want to occupy a two hour movie.
Take the original film from the 50’s. That movie had a strong message about nuclear war with great scenes of dialogue with scientists and government officials debating about how to handle a giant monster rampaging through Japan. It was beyond interesting, and it makes this movie all the more disappointing.
It doesn’t particularly help that the characters are dull. Emotion is rarely shown from the actors with the only exception being Bryan Cranston who doesn’t get much screen time. Our main star is Aaron Taylor-Johnson whose character is generic and cliché to begin with, and is made even worse when he has the same look on his face if he’s talking with his fellow soldiers or staring Godzilla in the eye. Most of the other characters have that same problem, and it makes the dialogue even more painful to sit through.
Thankfully, the action makes up for the lifeless human element. Whenever this movie goes for intensity or just cool action, it works. One scene where two soldiers have to keep quiet while a giant monster is right near them captured the intensity and fright I wanted from this movie. Even though the boring characters are involved, I felt their emotions and it’s just one scene out of a bunch that just really worked.
One of those scenes is the finale which is movie magic at its finest. The special effects and camerawork are strangely not the reason for its success, it’s the choreography and actions the characters perform that make it work. If only the entire movie had that same level of intensity and excitement.
The 3D in the movie didn’t add much to the experience besides a decent depth of field. Stick to the 2D. NOTE: I saw regular 3D, not IMAX 3D because it was sold out. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Want to see a Godzilla movie where the king of the monsters is shoved to the side by boring characters and uninteresting dialogue? Me neither.
Also take a look at our other Godzilla review from Bryan Weatherall to see what he thought of the film, you can read that right here.