- It’s no fun watching humans when watching Godzilla is all we want
- Regurgitated themes about family estrangement and US military prowess
THE thing that strikes you the most watching this turgid and cold-blooded mess called Godzilla is the size of the aforementioned reptile. It is gargantuan in size and probably even taller than the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
However, bigger isn’t always better and no matter how spectacular the CGI is, if you can’t write a script with a modicum of interest in it, then it would have been better to have kept the project in cold storage.
The film is reminiscent of so many disaster films, from the US military hero separated from his family to the huge influence of the US army in trying times. However, if you’ve seen one city levelled by destruction, you’ve seen it all.
And to make things worse, we have a bland hero with neither the gravitas nor the star sparkle, though he does have the charisma to pacify a distraught kid.
Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) links the formation of the present-day carnage to the nuclear test bombs in the Pacific in the 1950s. It then jumps to a Philippine mining site in 1999 where scientists Dr Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) are hot on the trail of a huge creature.
The next scene is in a Japanese nuclear plant where Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) work at. On the day disaster strikes at the plant, it’s strangely convenient that it’s Joe’s birthday. Their son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson of Kick-Ass) makes a birthday card for him.
The risibly-called Muto, or Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, rumbles underneath the plant and causes death and destruction, resulting in the death of Sandra.
Fifteen years later, Ford is a lieutenant in a bomb disposal unit (warning, job descriptions are mentioned in the beginning in movies as they will strike back with a vengeance at the end).
He’s turned out pretty okay and buff, considering that he witnessed the nuclear plant collapse to its knees.
It’s all downhill from here for the film as it concocts a strained relationship between the two Brodys, who break into the now quarantined nuke plant.
The Muto, ensconced at the plant in a Jurassic Park-like enclave, escapes and makes its way across the ocean to San Francisco. It gobbles up everything in sight and has an appetite for nuclear power.
The film switches between Ford’s search to get back to his cute family — comprising a son and nurse wife (Elizabeth Olsen), who doesn’t do much except look hapless — and the excitement happening elsewhere.
What about Godzilla, you ask. We see glimpses of it as it rushes across the ocean to save humanity by battling not one, but two, Mutos.
The final third of the film sees a huge battle taking place in downtown San Francisco, and we get to see Ford do a Ripley (in Aliens) by burning the Mutos’ eggs.
Where’s the US army, you ask. Have no fear, they’re always around. Led by Admiral William Stenz (David Strathairn), the army is adamant about using violence and nuke bombs to blast the three creatures to kingdom come.
However, Dr Serizawa urges the military to keep its hand off the trigger button and let the nasty reptilians battle it out among themselves. He said: “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around. Let them fight.”
Film buffs will know that this is a very Jurassic Park-like theme, which focused on how humans wanted to control nature through science.
However, Godzilla is no Jurassic Park. The former spends all its money on the money shot, that is, the climactic battle between the three monsters, and leaves nothing for character development.
But one thing you can give the film credit for is the battle scene. The film delays a whole view of Godzilla until the end but it’s worth the wait, as the fire-breathing monster could have breathed some fire into the insipid human characters.
2 out of 5