This latest incarnation of the terror of Tokyo, promised to be the biggest, baddest Godzilla to date. With its impressive cast, and some pretty terrifying trailers, it looked poised to live up to all the hype.
Unfortunately, while Godzilla himself, more than delivers, the rest of the film comes up short.
The film opens with a look at the 1950s nuclear “tests” conducted in the Pacific. Of course, it’s all a coverup.
They then jump ahead to 1999 in the Philippines, a giant skeleton and chrysalis have been discovered following a mining accident, and it appears another large creature has escaped to the sea.
With the premise somewhat established, we now meet our would-be human-protagonist of film, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), the plant supervisor at the Janjira nuclear plant in Japan.
When an earthquake is blamed for the plant’s meltdown and the resulting death of his wife (Juliette Binoche), he becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth.
Fifteen years later, his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), has to bail him out of jail, after he tries to enter the the quarantined Janjira area. Still convinced he can expose the coverup, he talks Ford into accompanying him on one last trip into the quarantined zone.
While Brody does manage to discover the truth, the area was quarantined to coverup the discovery of a second chrysalis, he has to pay for this discovery with his life.
The chrysalis opens, releasing an enormous nuclear-energy-eating monster. Which means it’s only natural predator, Godzilla, has to come to the rescue.
At this point we’re nearly halfway through the movie, half the stars of the film are dead, the title-character has had his big reveal, and there’s not really anywhere for the story to go.
The film resorts to its monster movie roots, which is fine, but begs the question — why all the backstory and buildup for the human-side of the story?
The second half of the film offers plenty of action. The choice to build up to Godzilla’s mid-movie reveal was a good one. But the movie then tries to recreate that big reveal several times over, and it gets old.
As the action increases, the human-side of things gets one dimensional and cliché. Fair warning to any self-sufficient women in the audience, Elisabeth Olsen’s character may cause some offense.
Fans of pure-action flicks will not mind. Thankfully, Godzilla himself is pretty impressive. He truly is a marvel of modern computer animation.
However, as a fan of a good action film with a human touch, it was hard to shake the feeling that something was missing from the second half of the film. Overall, the film fell short of being a truly great summer blockbuster.
…just for fun: