Monster mayhem, but the human characters are flat and uninteresting. Godzilla is for audiences who are asking for mindless destruction, and don’t mind that there isn’t much else. Once military scientists Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche leave the picture, we’re left with their personality-challenged military brat son Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Kick-Ass”). There was a time in the 1990’s when blockbusters gave their characters smart alec personalities equipped with funny catchphrases. Now blockbusters are leaden. There isn’t one memorable line to be found here. Everything said is so drab.
Huge arachnid insects mutated from radiation travel the sea from Japan to wreak havoc on Hawaii and Las Vegas of all places. These arachnids are immune to an ineffective military and do not get along it seems with Godzilla. (Is Godzilla a friend this time? Suppose so.) Lots of cities get beat up – but get this – mostly it’s suggested and we only see the aftermath of destruction. While it’s happening, the camera always cuts away to… someone unnecessary. Like Elizabeth Olsen, who is wasted in the role of Taylor-Johnson’s wife.
It’s all so mechanical. I’ve come to realization that there will probably never be an intellectual spin or social satire on the “Godzilla” story, no matter how many remakes we get. And while the opening ten minutes has potent fixed-camera images, it’s forfeited and replaced interminably with the wobbly camera. Damn I’m tired of handheld camerawork! Director Gareth Edwards previously made the wonderful “Monsters” (2010), but that title’s stock goes down in my mind following this movie. Oh, that’s just anger getting the best of me. To be fair, there are a couple of good moments, particularly of soldiers parachuting from a plane into a ruined city while it’s scored to Gyorgy Ligeti “Atmospheres,” i.e. Kubrick’s “2001” music.
So there are some scenes I liked. But after it was over I had but one hope, that I would never have to see it ever again. Note: This review is downgraded from 2 originally to 1.5 after I’ve spent a month accumulating hate for it, and my realization of what a foggy memory I have for it. That’ s because, there’s hardly a Godzilla memory that’s worth latching onto. It just evaporated so fast from my mind.
123 Minutes. Rated PG-13.
ACTION & ADVENTURE / CREATURE FEATURE / MINDLESS WEEKEND MOVIE