a quick review of “godzilla”

Like many of you, I saw Godzilla over the weekend.  I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid, watching old monster movies on Saturday morning TV, right after cartoons.  So what did I think?



What I Liked:


  • Godzilla looks AWESOME.  Huge, powerful, unstoppable.  Evokes the spirit of the original “guy-in-a-rubber-suit” look with none of the cheesiness, if that makes sense.
  • Godzilla breathes fire.  I was worried that the film makers were going to wuss out (like the other guys did with that wretched 1998 version) and not have Big G breathe fire, in some misguided sop towards “realism.”  Because apparently, asking people to suspend disbelief for a 350′ mutant dinosaur is fine, but asking them to believe it breathes fire is too much.
  • Godzilla’s roar.  Big G’s signature call has been modified from the original (“Now with even more bass!”), and it sounds great.
  • Big G don’t sweat the small stuff.  Some of the U.S. military’s finest hardware goes up against Godzilla, who appropriately shrugs it off like it ain’t no thang.  A welcome contrast to the ’98 version (which I can’t hate on enough) where GINO (Godzilla In Name Only) ran and hid from the firepower thrown its way.
  • The MUTOs are interesting and badass.  Godzilla’s foes in this latest movie are two giant insectoid monsters (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) who separately are no slouches in the city-destroying department, and who together are a major threat, even to Godzilla.


Hint: Not Big G


What I Didn’t Like:


  •  Not enough Godzilla.  The film makers have said that they wanted this movie to be like Jaws, where you don’t see much of the shark, drawing you in.  And that’s all well and good.  But at least the shark was around a lot, and there was a lot of action involving it, even if you only saw part of it at the time.  The humans get most of the screen time, then the MUTOs, then Big G.  It’s like he’s a guest star in his own film.
  • Tease, tease, tease…  Several times in the movie, you think you’re about to settle in for some monster-on-monster action…and then it cuts away to something else.  Or you’re going to watch a monster tear through a city…only to cut away to something else.  Eventually, however, you get to the showdown in San Francisco between Big G and the MUTOs and…
  • The final battle is over too soon.  Wait—that was it?  And during said battle between behemoths, the director keeps cutting away to show us what the humans are doing: 30 seconds or so of monsters fighting—and then five minutes of people talking, running, emoting, trying to defuse a nuclear bomb, or just standing around looking worried.  Another 30 seconds or so of monsters doing monster stuff—and then a few more minutes of people doing people stuff.



What I Was “Meh” About:


  • Character development.  Yes, it’s a refreshing change that there was actually some thought put in to the human characters, including an extensive backstory for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s bomb specialist.  However, human characters in a Godzilla movie are like popcorn at the theater: nice to have while you’re there, but not why you made the drive.  And certainly not worth devoting almost the whole first half of the movie to.


Overall, I liked the movie, and I’m glad I saw it at the cinemas (where Big G and the MUTOs looked and sounded awesome).  But the sequel needs more of Big G wrecking stuff, less of people saying stuff.


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