Human Interest Misplaced in Monster Mash

Grant Chudler, Staff Writer

After a ten year hiatus from film, the famed Japanese lizard made a monstrous return to the silver screen in Gareth Edward’s Godzilla on May 16. Making $93 million in America on its opening weekend, Godzilla is an exciting, yet poorly written reboot of the famous franchise.

The protagonist of this installment, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), focuses all his energy on finding the truth behind a nuclear meltdown that killed his wife. His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) helps him return to the now-quarantined site of the meltdown. The two discover that several scientists are observing a giant egg at the site. While the son and father are watching, a giant bat-like monster hatches. Godzilla then appears as its natural predator. Entire cities are demolished during the fight between these toxic aberrations.

The creators of the movie did a nice job with the monsters and their fight scenes. The monsters are revealed at a decent pace, so their entrances make them feel surprising and thrilling. When the first monster hatches, its early enough in the movie to hold you over until Godzilla appears. When he does, it’s like meeting a celebrity. The famous king of monsters squares off against foes in all of his city-destroying glory.

The greatest shortcoming of the movie is the lack of human character development. Bryan Cranston is a generally well-respected actor, but in Godzilla his character, Brody, is irritating and boring. Also, the subplot involving Brody’s wife and his child is silly and unnecessary. Even the two scientist characters studying Godzilla really do nothing.

The story of Godzilla is worse. The movie is riddled with plot points that make no sense. A great example of this is how the military tries to kill a monster, who feeds on nuclear radiation, with a nuclear blast.

What made the movie enjoyable was the monster violence. The battles are intense, with some rather unexpected scenes. With each successive fight, the excitement builds, resulting in an amazing final brawl.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of these fights to make up for the horrible story. If there were less humans and more monsters, Godzilla would’ve been a significantly more entertaining movie. For every 5 minutes of solid combat, there are 25 minutes of uninteresting human interaction. The creators of Godzilla made its human characters boring people, so its strange that so much focus was put on them. The real stars of the movie, the monsters, should dominate the stage.

Godzilla has its focus in the wrong place, but it should still be given a chance. The action is pretty solid, and while it may not make up for terrible writing, the action scenes are amazing. Godzilla tries to be a more serious movie, with a deeper human element. Unfortunately, it only serves as an unwelcome distraction from what audiences want: giant lizards in action.