Well, the science may not all be there, but for a giant, monster smashfest I got what I paid for. The entire film pulses with a gently quickening “daaa dum… daa dum…” until finally the scaly monster emerges from the depths of the ocean into the densely populated American city. Godzilla screams, smashes, and stomps just like his distant Japanese cousin, but brings a few significant modifications to the new millennium: his graphics have improved a wee bit, the monster’s biology includes an EMP, and there’s a bit of a plot twist concerning his purpose and nature which the trailers skillfully conceal. I’m going to try my best not to give this twist away so that you can enjoy Godzilla’s full wonder on your first watch.
The plot that I can give away is pretty much what you’d expect: on the foggiest day Earth has ever seen, a giant dinosaur towers over mankind, smashing every object in sight. This monster seems impervious to all weaponry, leaving the US Army with no option but to lure the beast away from civilization and hope for the best.
We all know the story, we all know what to expect, and our reactions were carefully calculated by the filmmakers. When the exploring scientist says, “It looks like some kind of spore…” we say, “Shoot it!” When her partner says, “It looks like one escaped…” we say, “For the love of Christ NUKE IT NUKE IT NUKE IT!!” Still, knowing what’s inevitably going to happen, Godzilla doesn’t fail to entertain. The CGI is phenomenal throughout, and even though we crave mass destruction at every turn, the best fight is saved for the finale. I felt a little cheated at some points, like a potentially epic battle was cut out in favour of ‘strategy’ consultations, but with a little patience, all was rewarded in the end.
Godzilla kindly asks that you leave all your disbelief at the door, but I have to nitpick at a few details because, hey, that’s what I do:
- I’ve never been in the army, but I’m pretty sure when one solider radios ahead to check that the bridge is safe to cross, and the only answer he receives is, Bang! Crash! Pow! Pow! “AHHHHHHH!” …the bridge probably isn’t safe to cross. But then again, I’ve never been in the army.
- When I use binoculars, it’s usually because I can’t see something clearly from a distance. When these guys use binoculars it’s to find a monster so big that when the binoculars spot it, they’re essentially blinded by the blurry dark mass. Using binoculars to find this dinosaur would be like using a telescope to find the olive in a martini.
- If you’re trying to evacuate a city, the process would probably go faster if both ends of the bridge weren’t blocked by police barricades.
- Why doesn’t anybody ever take the scientist’s advice? What’s the point of bringing a specialist on board if not for the benefit of some educational, lifesaving advice?
Granted, in this Godzilla, after the first attack and the scientist’s near-death-experience, he never really recovers from the shock, and is thereafter mostly seen staring open-mouthed into the distance…
More than just characters, this movie fills stereotypical roles like The Scientist, The Soldier, The Wife, The Commander, The Beast, etc. For 123 minutes I was totally lost in tumbling rubble, pounding bass, and slobbery, alien battle cries – all escapism with a touch of unintentional comedy. For the score, I give Godzilla a 6.3 on the Richter scale.