Godzilla, released on May 16, 2014 and directed by Gareth Edwards, stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Ken Watanabe, and sees the first return of the famous monster to the big screen since Roland Emmerich’s 1998 film, which garnered mixed to negative reviews and left a bad taste in the mouths of those who were faithful fans of the creature. In this age of CGI and summer action blockbusters, Godzilla seemed like he was just waiting to grace theaters again.
Unfortunately, he still is. Without spoiling the film, it must be noted that Edwards’ Godzilla makes the monster a background character, being featured for a limited time and relegating him to supporting roles for much of the film. The faithfulness to the character, his giant size, and certain other elements of his universe are brought about well, but the creature himself isn’t given due attention. To a certain extent, one can argue that this was done to give more tension and anticipation for when he did appear, but even his final appearance seemed underwhelming.
The movie does deserve commendations for its human element, as Joe Brody and his son Ford Brody act well in their roles and make the film feel more authentic. And the film does have certain twists and turns that add extra intrigue to its plot— this is not simply a movie about a monster that comes up and destroys things. The set pieces, as one should expect, impress as well. Yet at the end of the day, the limited showing of the monster itself limits the movie to having the satisfying payoff that it deserves, and the narrative can’t avoid certain cliches that plague other summer blockbusters— one can count at least 4 or 5 scenes where a threatened little kid is suddenly used to add a sense of peril to the film.
But ultimately, if you expect an entertaining and at time smart summer blockbuster film, that’s what you’ll get. The lack of Godzilla may be frustrating, but the human element brings enough action and drama— even if it can’t fully compensate.
Edsman Rating: B-