I admit it. News of a new Godzilla movie starring Bryan Cranston, the man who brought us the superbly acted iconic Walter White from Breaking Bad, created an off the charts wave of expectations for yours truly as well as fans of the actor and the world renowned Japanese monster. Rarely does a movie meet or exceed an overzealous level of hype. The intense movie trailers alone had fans frothing at the mouth with eager anticipation. Yet Godzilla (2014), despite a muddled story line coupled with peculiar casting and acting choices, almost hits the mark. Almost.
How’s the Story?
There are several wonderful scenes in the movie. Yet as a whole, they don’t always fit together harmoniously. That being said, unlike previous Godzilla movies, the human actors, thanks largely to Bran Cranston, keep the audience engaged on par with grand monster battles. We’re given plenty of exposition about the history of Godzilla as well as how humanity played a role at various points in history, especially the atomic bomb era. Joe Brody, a scientist played by Bryan Cranston, endures a horrific event at Japanese Nuclear Plant which lays the groundwork for his son Ford’s (played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) involvement 15 years in the future. So too does scientist Dr.Ichiro Serizawa played by Ken Watanabe who makes a discovery impacting future events 15 years later. Ultimately their paths are designed to cross.
How are the acting performance?
Bryan Cranston has a commanding presence on screen keeping the audience riveted. Sadly, his screen time is limited in “Godzilla”. His absence is immediately felt despite the uptick in action that follows. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, best known for his leading role in the indie film hit “Kick Ass”, holds his own as an action hero. Ken Watanabe seems to have found only one note to play in his performance as Dr.Ichiro Serizawa. He portrays him as a man who’s seen a ghost and has been left rendered shellshocked. It’s as if he’s in a dream like state, albeit a nightmare, and the world around him is a merely a manifested projection. Elizabeth Olsen, playing Elle Brody, is underutilized in the movie. She has a few moments to shine but mostly in formulaic circumstances.
How’s Godzilla himself?
Great! Maybe the best part of the movie is the big guy himself. In a bit of a throwback to the original incarnation, he’s upright, powerful, and heroic. The special effects look remarkable including the battles in the cities as well as at sea. Any fan of Godzilla will be pleased and impressed.
Any ideal times in the movie for bathroom breaks?
Several. Basically, any scene involving no monsters.
Overall Grade: B-
Recommended for kids 9 and up.
Pros: Godzilla is depicted in top form. Monster battles are fun. Bryan Cranston elevates the movie.
Cons: Too little Bryan Cranston. Story is disjointed.
Official Move Trailer for “Godzilla”
What’s your favorite monster movie of all time?